GDUI ANNOUNCEMENT: International Guide Dog Day and More

Hello. I’m a day late getting this out. I apologize. If you own and handle a guide dog, know someone who does, if you fly, and if you live in Canada you’ll want to read this. All I can say is great job everyone, and let us all continue to work to keep the rights of disableds of all sorts alive. Dear GDUI Members and Friends,
Willow and I have a few announcements to share with you on this International Guide Dogs Day. What a good idea it is to name a day for a worldwide celebration of guide dogs and all of the independence and exuberance they bring to our lives! At our house, we have a stash of doggie treats all ready to go!

GDUI whole-heartedly concurs with the World Blind Union’s statement celebrating International Guide Dogs Day and encouraging airlines, worldwide, to treat all people who are blind, including guide dog users, with the dignity, respect, and courtesy they are expected to extend to all their customers. Read the WBU statement on the occasion of International Guide Dogs Day here:

The first GDUI Candidates’ Forum is coming up this coming Saturday, April 28, at 1:00 p.m. on this phone line: 712.432.0075, Conference ID 919245-Pound! Thank you to those of you who submitted questions for the candidates. We all look forward to the opportunity to respond on Saturday, and again at the second candidates’ forum, scheduled for Thursday evening, May 10.

Remember, The 2018 GDUI Elections will begin at 12:00 AM EDT on Saturday, May 26, 2018 and end at 11:59 PM EDT on Sunday, June 3, 2018. All GDUI members eligible to vote will receive their individual voting identification numbers shortly before our election week commences, either by e-mail or postal mail.

For everything you need to know about this year’s election and the candidates running for office, visit the GDUI Elections 2018 page

Down to the Wire! The GDUI Awards Committee will accept your nominations for GDUI awards until the close of business on Monday, April 30! Here’s a message from GDUI Awards Committee Chair, Charlie

Hi GDUI members and friends,
It’s that time of year again: and it is running short for you to Help GDUI Honor the People Who Make a Positive Difference in the Lives of Guide Dog Handlers!
Guide Dog Users, Inc. has a long tradition of honoring the people who have assisted us as guide dog handlers and improved our communities in positive ways.
Again this year, we are seeking candidates for our Ethel Bender and Moffitt-Gleitz awards. In addition, we will honor the writers and communicators who make our quarterly magazine, PawTracks, and other productions such as the GDUI Juno Report, the informative and entertaining publications they are.

We encourage you to think about all the PawTracks and GDUI Juno Reports contributors whose stories, articles, and poems have informed and entertained you in the last year. If someone moved you or made you smile or taught you something new about yourself or your dog or your experience as a person who is blind, we hope you will nominate that person for the GDUI Writers/Media Award.

Our Ethel Bender award honors a sighted person who has made a significant contribution to the guide dog community. Past winners included Ted Zubrzycki, Lukas Frank and Michael Lilly.

Our third award, the Moffitt-Gleitz Award honors a person who is blind and who has significantly improved the lives of guide dog users.

Awards will be presented at this year’s annual GDUI luncheon on July 4, 2018, in Saint Louis. Send your nominations to Charlie Crawford at this address: and Put the words, ” 2018 GDUI AWARD Nomination(s)” in your subject field.

No access to e-mail? Call GDUI’s office manager, Sarah Calhoun at 866-799-8436. Please submit your nominations by April 30, 2018, and thank you for helping us honor the people who make life for guide dog teams better every day. I thank you in advance for assisting our committee in our selection of well deserving persons to receive these distinguished awards from our very own Guide Dog Users Inc.
Charlie Crawford: Chair, GDUI Awards Committee.

Speaking of the GDUI Convention, our national Convention offers A time and a place for you and your guide dogs to meet and catch up with guide dog users from across the country and the world. Mingle, meet, share experiences, ask questions, learn and play together

Where: At the Union Station Hotel, 1820 Market Street, St Louis, Missouri 63103

When: Sunday, July 1-Wednesday, July 4, 2018

And, you should know that GDUI members are already visiting our GDUI online shopping page and calling Sarah to purchase raffle tickets for our beautiful plush yellow labbie guide dog in harness named Moe!
Someone has to get that winning ticket – It might as well be you!

Purchase tickets, 3 for $5 or 7 for $10 and pay with PayPal online toward the bottom of GDUI’s Products Page:
or call Sarah Calhoun on the toll-free GDUI number to order tickets and pay by check: 866.799.8436. Tickets will also be available in the GDUI Suite during the GDUI convention, July 1 -July 4, 2018.

Just a few more days to schedule an appointment for a Free Eye Exam for Your Guide Dog! Board-certified veterinary ophthalmologists across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico are prepared to provide more than
7,500 service and working animals with free eye exams during the month of May as part of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO®)’s 11th annual ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam event.

Online registration for owners/agents for the animal(s) opened April 1 at and closes April 30.

To qualify, service and working animals must be active, working animals that have been trained through a formal training program or organization, or are currently enrolled in a formal training program.
View the qualifications at
For more information, and to register your guide dog for an exam, visit

Sad News: We are sad to announce the deaths of two people we cared about.
Lauren Casey of Lawrenceville, NJ, was a guide dog user and a long-time member of GDUI. She worked as a social worker for the state of New Jersey and volunteered for many years as an active member of the New Jersey Council of the Blind We are sad to learn of her death at age 64.

Sue Ammeter of Port Hadlock, WA, passed away on April 18. Sue was not a guide dog user, herself, although their many dogs were important family members for Sue and her husband John, and she was a supporter of guide dog users, and of all people with disabilities. A long-time member of the ACB and the Washington Council of the Blind, Sue was justifiably proud of her service on the President’s Committee for People with Disabilities, which wrote the Americans with Disabilities Act. When Sue contracted breast cancer, while undergoing treatment for the disease, she single-handedly convinced the American Cancer Society to make printed materials regarding the disease and its treatment available in braille and alternate formats, and she organized several support groups for blind and visually impaired women who were coping with cancer themselves. Sue’s lifelong advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities undoubtedly continues to make a positive difference in all of our lives, and I want to honor her contributions and express gratitude on behalf of all of us in GDUI.

Celebrating our Victories: Sometimes it seems like all we do is ask all of you for help. Too often, I fear, we forget to congratulate you on the advocacy victories we owe to your activism and the passions we all share. One recent victory concerns our community’s successful effort to block introduction of the ADA Education and Reform Act(H.R.
620),in the Senate. A letter written by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)received enough signatures to defeat attempts by some in the Senate to introduce a companion bill to the one which the House had passed, and so the Americans with Disabilities Act remains in tact and unaltered – Phew! – for another day! Thank you to all of you who contacted your Senators and urged them to sign onto Sen. Duckworth’s letter.

Another recent victory relates to rejection of service dog national standards which had been proposed for adoption in Canada. The proposed “standards” were so prescriptive and so ill-informed as to seem ridiculous. Yet, there was, in fact, a strong push by many to convince the Canadian national government to adopt them – which would have been disastrous for our members and friends who are guide dog users in Canada, and could have had unfortunate ramifications for us in the USA as well. GDUI, along with several other organizations and guide and service dog training programs wrote a letter opposing the proposed standards and urging their rejection, and we are pleased to let you know that the standards have been rejected.

Finally, recent policy decisions made by Delta, United and Alaska Airlines which recognize the reliably good behavior of our well-trained guide dogs and therefore impose no extraordinary burdens on us when we bring our dogs aboard their planes is due in no small measure to the successful and articulate advocacy in which many of you engaged when you contacted the airlines and the U. S. Department of Transportation to advocate on our behalf. Thank you!

We hope to find many of you on the phone line for Saturday’s Candidates’ Forum. I know you join Willow and me in celebrating International Guide Dogs Day. Thank you, as always, for your friendship and your support.
Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

Deanna Noriega, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.

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Enter the Access Code 488062 followed by the number sign. When prompted, enter the Reference Code, No. 1. The recording will remain available until it is replaced by a recording of the next GDUI Announcement. Please share this information with friends who may not have access to the internet. Thank you. We look forward to sharing information with all of our GDUI members and friends.

About Patty L. Fletcher

About Patty October 2021 Patty and her guide dog Blue. Patty has her hair tied back in a low ponytail and rests her right hand on Blue's head. She wears a white shirt with a pink and purple butterfly on the front and light blue shorts. Blue is a handsome black lab. He wears a brown leather harness with a handle attached to the back and is smiling at the camera as he sits in front of Patty. In the background is a brick building with white, windowed doors and a flowerpot overflowing with pink and yellow blooms. Updated – October 2021 Patty Fletcher is a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom she is enormously proud. She has a great son-in-law and six beautiful grandchildren. From April 2011 through September 2020, she owned and handled a black Labrador from The Seeing Eye® named King Campbell Lee Fletcher A.K.A. Bubba. Sadly, after a long battle with illness on September 24, 2020, King Campbell went to the Rainbow Bridge where all is peace and love. In July 2021, she returned to The Seeing Eye® and was paired with a Black Labrador Golden Retriever cross named Blue. PATTY’S BLINDNESS… Patty was born one and a half months premature. Her blindness was caused by her being given too much oxygen in the incubator. She was partially sighted until 1991, at which time she lost her sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. She used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a guide dog. WHERE SHE LIVES AND WORKS… Currently, Patty lives and works in Kingsport, Tenn. She’s the creator and owner of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing (Author, Blogger, Business Assist), The Writer’s Grapevine Online Magazine and the creator and host of the Talk to Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing Podcast. WRITING GOAL… Patty writes with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disabled from the non-disabled. HOBBIES… Patty’s hobbies include reading, music, and attending book clubs via Zoom. FAVORITE TUNES… Some of her favorite types of tunes are classic rock, rhythm and blues, and classic country. FAVORITE READS… Patty enjoys fantasy, science fiction, and books about the supernatural. She loves books by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Norah Roberts, and many more. Some favorite books include Norah Roberts’ Hide Away, Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series. SPIRITUAL FAITH… Patty describes herself as a spiritual Walker. She says she knows both Mother Goddess and Father God and embraces all they have to offer. CONTACT… Email: Visit: And: As well as:
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