Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program (DAPP)

The Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program (DAPP) is now available to GDUI members who are teamed with a guide dog. The fund was created in June 2011 with the funding provided by a private donation.  Since then, the program has been renamed to better reflect its purpose.

A devastating event like an earthquake, wild fire, or act of terrorism can leave people feeling confused and not sure where to go for help. Because we know that adversity can befall any one of us, leaving us with few resources and even fewer places to turn for help, Guide Dog Users Inc., (GDUI) offers the Disaster Assistance and preparedness Program (DAPP).

GDUI members with working dogs recovering from a catastrophic event can apply for a stipend to purchase dog food and other essential supplies on behalf of their working dogs.

We encourage all GDUI members who are currently working with guide dogs to read the instructions outlined below carefully; if you find yourselves facing financial crisis in caring for your dog as a result of a natural disaster or catastrophic event, to call or e-mail and ask us for help. Who can apply • Once the application is submitted, the proposed funds shall be issued only to a current GDUI member with a current working guide dog. • Guide dog and handler must have been directly and negatively impacted by a recent

Disaster and in need of financial assistance for the well-being of the working dog.

  • GDUI’s Disaster Assistance and Preparedness Program funds will be available for three (3) weeks from the first date of a known and declared disaster. • Each GDUI member with a guide dog will be allowed a onetime monetary assistance grant of $50.00 after the application is processed. • Prior to releasing any funds, the applicant’s required information and qualifications will be verified and approved by the DAPP committee.
  • Upon approval, the funds will be issued by GDUI ‘Treasurer (or designee), to the applicant or directly to a vendor such as a pet food store or veterinarian depending on each circumstance. • An applicant must live in the affected area and have been negatively impacted. Additionally, the working guide dog must be in immediate need of resources to ensure proper daily care, food, medicine, veterinary intervention and/or to meet other needs.

How to Apply please read this section before proceeding to the bottom of the page for the contact information. Thank you.

Please note, in the event the handler does not have any means of contacting GDUI due to the present disaster, he/she may have one of the following individuals or organizations communicate on his/her behalf: family member, friend, veterinary hospital or clinic, Humane Society, Red Cross/hospital, Salvation Army, religious institution, local or acting police or fire department or similar agency.

Depending on the individual circumstances, additional assistance may be requested by   the applicant,   based upon prior approval by the DAPP committee for possible additional funds.

  • The approved funds may be issued in the form of a gift card from a known store which carries pet/dog supplies or tendered as a pre-paid credit card. Funds may also be directly transferred to a Veterinarian or Veterinary hospital or clinic. The monies may also be issued by a GDUI check or money order, wire transfer or other means depending on the handler’s circumstances. The means of issued funds will be determined by the treasurer (or designee) in consultation with the applicant. • All information submitted to GDUI by the applicant may be used by the GDUI Board of Directors or committee of the Board for purposes of determining approval of the application. All information will be held in the strictest of confidence. A news release may be issued but the name of the recipient and/or guide dog will be kept confidential per applicant’s request.

***Exceptions of Eligibility*** The Disaster Assistance & Preparedness Program is not available for a retired guide dog, a puppy in training and / or puppy raiser, or any household pet.

***APPLICATION Process*** All necessary information is required before any funds will be issued. Required Information: The following information may be provided by telephone or e-mail before eligibility is determined. We are sympathetic to the high stress levels experienced by both guide dog handlers and their dogs, and we will do our best to secure all the required information so we can respond quickly. Please have the following information ready when making initial contact:

  • Handlers full name, home address, city, state, zip code and phone number(s), at the time of the disaster.
  • If applicant’s living situation is unsustainable, i.e., homeless/shelter/family/friends, GDUI require the following information: the name of the shelter, the name of the shelter director, and phone number of the shelter. If staying with family or friends, please provide the name, address and phone number of new location.

How to Contact GDUI DAPP Volunteer Staff:  Applicants and/or those assisting the applicant can call or Email any member of the DAPP Committee:

Sarah Calhoun, Chair (Missouri)

Home: 636-942-5956

Cell: 314-753-5191


Bob Acosta (California)

Home: 818-9980044

Cell: 818-620-2200


Ann Chiappetta (New York)

Cell: 914-393-6605


Lynn Merrill, GDUI Treasurer (Maine)

Cell: 207-458-1362


Ken Metz (California)

Home: 818-882-3610

Cell: 323-793-1805


Dixie Sanderson (Connecticut)

Cell: 203-453-6474


Ron Brooks, Arizona Cell: 602-616-1171


Jane Sheehan, Office Manager (Maryland)


Revised 10/2014 A.C.