Dear GDUI Members and Friends,

Welcome to December! We hope you were suitably fortified by cranberries and turkey and Thanksgiving camaraderie to prepare you for the holiday frenzy … because it’s already here on the second day of December! Make sure that harness is hanging near your front door and you have a bribe (i.e., yummy treat) or two stashed in the most easily accessible pocket in your downiest, warmest jacket, because it’s time for mailing packages and singing carols, shopping for presents, visiting family, hanging out with friends, attending parties, catching snowflakes, digging out and digging in! The season for celebrating is here!


First, though, catch up on news from GDUI! If you missed our November board meeting, listen to the recording here:


Topic: GDUI Board Meeting

Date: Nov 23, 2019 12:52 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) Meeting Recording:


Thank you to Maria Kristic for connecting all of us so seamlessly, and for making the recording available!




In addition to the shopping and traveling, and buying, and giving, and digging out and digging in, our GDUI Budget and Finance Committee will be working on and working out our GDUI budget for the coming year!

Think of us meeting for at least several nights during coming weeks to figure out all of those dollars and cents needed to sustain our important work on behalf of guide dog teams. We hope to have the budget ready for board approval by the end of the month!


This is also the time for us to launch our annual GDUI Membership Outreach campaign with rekindled energy. If you haven’t yet renewed your GDUI membership for 2020, please respond to our appeal letter, and get your 2020 membership dues in to us as soon as you can. We also appreciate your talking with other guide dog users about joining us in our mission of supporting, advocating, and improving the experience of living with a guide dog for everyone! “The more the merrier” is an aphorism that  certainly holds true here! Also, the bigger our membership, the more seriously legislators, government officials, and businesses will consider our advocacy! Call our toll-free number, 866.799.8436, or visit our membership page here: Thank you!


Our Publications Committee is keeping busy, making plans for enhancements to the content, as well as the availability of GDUI publications in the coming year. Our Guide Dog Schools Liaison, Vickie Curley is working with others to update our guide dog school surveys, and our goal is to have the work completed early in 2020, as well.




It’s almost time for another meeting of the Guide Dog Handlers Lounge!

And, this time, visitors to the lounge are going to be talking about guide dogs and holidays! Want some advice? Some suggestions? Need to rant … or recommend? The lounge is the place to be!


Robert Acosta and Susan Glass are inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: The Guide Dog Handlers Lounge, chaired by Susan Glass Beginning

topic: “Your guide dog and the Holiday Season.”

Time: Meets Wednesday December 4, 2019, from 7-8 pm PST.

Golden State Guide Dog Handlers Inc invites you to participate in our Guide Dog Handlers Lounge telephone call to be held on Wednesday,

December 4, 2019,   from 7 to 8 PM PST. Think of the lounge call as an

informal gathering in a virtual living room complete with virtual drinks and snacks. Callers come and go, drift in and out. Unlike our guide dog program calls, there’s no set topic for a lounge. We have inserted one just to get things started. Our topics are controlled by the group as we talk spontaneously about our wonderful dogs.  The purpose of the Lounge is to let us get to know one another, and discuss anything concerning guide dogs: health issues, dog diets, handling challenges, fun excursions, amusing anecdotes, anything that’s on our minds. These calls will not be recorded, and the one caveat is that whatever is said on the call stays on the call. The lounge is intended as a safe space where participants can speak freely. If you are interested in participating please email so that we will have a general idea of how many folks to expect. We plan to schedule a Lounge every other month. We look forward to chatting with you on December 4.

Warm Regards,

Susan Glass: Co-Chair Membership Committee Robert Acosta, Co-Chair


Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:


Or iPhone one-tap:

US: +16468769923,839935813# or +14086380986,839935813#


Or Telephone:

Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):

US: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 408 638 0968

Meeting ID: 839 935 813


International numbers available:




Shopping: Okay, it’s time for a reality check: I know that when you heard me include shopping on my list of holiday “fun activities,”

“taken aback” is probably an understatement for the way you reacted.

Figuring out what to buy for whom, how to afford it, how to wrap it, where to buy it, when to mail it, and – Worse! – whether or not it will be accessible are all more than daunting considerations under the heading of “Shopping.” Fortunately, this year, there’s help!


There’s a new Accessible Products Hotline from Envision!

Consumers with vision loss will no longer have to spend hours searching for products that fit their unique accessibility needs, thanks to the launch of the first-of-its-kind Accessible Products Hotline by Envision. The hotline will be operated by the William L.

Hudson BVI Workforce Innovation Center, connecting callers with professional advice about purchasing and operating the top home, office and personal use products on the market today. The BVI Workforce Innovation Center is part of Envision Inc. with the objective to train and employ individuals with visual impairments, place them into skilled positions and provide accessibility inclusion expertise to businesses around the United States.


The new hotline, 316.252.2500, is staffed by trained customer service representatives who are blind or visually impaired.


Learn more at:




And, you can join the ACB Information Access Committee for an evening webinar/teleconference on accessible shopping, technology, and home appliances with special guest J.J. Meddaugh, Author, Access World.

we’ll be breaking down what’s naughty and nice in terms of accessibility, discussing tips and tricks to improve the shopping experience, and highlighting many of the products that are now accessible out of the box and sharing ways that we can overcome challenges when smart appliances fail the accessibility test for customers who are blind and visually impaired.


WHEN: December 5, 8:00 – 9:30 pm, ET (5:00 – 6:30 pm, PT)

WHERE: See Instructions below for joining the Zoom meeting.

Join the Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 130 960 321

Password: 032736


One tap mobile

+16465588656,,130960321# US (New York)

+17207072699,,130960321# US (Denver)


Dial by your location

+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

+1 720 707 2699 US (Denver)

Meeting ID: 130 960 321


Find your local number:



If you’re shopping at, remember that there’s a Disability Assistance Line available where agents can describe items, help you make comparisons between similar products, and even put the items you choose in your cart for you. Remember, when you shop at Amazon, choose GDUI as your smile partner! We will appreciate the donation!

Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at




Candles are nice, cheerful gifts for friends or family or even ourselves. Winter nights are long and dark! SUPPORT GUIDE DOG USERS, INC GROUP #999969764 when you purchase candles and other decorative items from the Yankee Candle Store here:




ACB recently announced an exciting discount for members. OrCam devices are available for sale to ACB members for a 10 percent  discount off the purchase price! Learn more at


The  OrCam has been listed as one of TIME’s 100 Best Inventions of 2019. OrCam MyEye 2 uses AI technology and instantly reads text, recognizes faces, identifies products and more.




Finally, find even more opportunities for shopping – with the added fun of competing with your friends in ACB! At the annual ACB Radio Auction!

It’s time to bid!  It’s time to buy!  It’s time for the 2019 ACB Radio Holiday Auction, coming to you live on Sunday, December 8, from 6:00 PM to midnight Eastern Time (3:00 to 9:00 PM Pacific), or until all items are sold. The Holiday Auction is the only fundraiser in ACB that specifically raises  money to help cover costs of keeping ACB Radio on the air.  71 items are  listed in this year’s auction.  You’ll find technology, jewelry, home-baked  treats, music boxes, crafts and collectibles. We happen to know there are some items that will be especially appealing to any guide dogs that might happen to be on your gift-giving list!


The Auction Preview Page is available now where you will find photos and descriptions of each item.  Visit  and follow the 2019 Holiday Auction link to access the Preview Page plus complete auction instructions and rules.


The auction pre-registration line is now open.  Pre-registering for the  auction does not obligate you to bid; it just helps the auction run more  smoothly and quickly.  Call (877) 630-7190 before 11:00 PM Eastern Time

(8:00 PM Pacific) on Friday, December 6 and leave your first and last name,  telephone number, email address, and city and state.  If you  do not pre-register, you will need to supply the same information on  December 8, the day of the auction, before we can accept your bids.


Follow the 2019 Holiday Auction link at




Please stay in touch with us during these busy weeks at the end of the year. We understand – or at least, we’ve heard rumors to the effect that the Department of Transportation (DOT) will be releasing the long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rule Making on the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and service animals in December, following the DOT final enforcement statement on service animals and airlines which they released last Summer. We have also heard that The probable intent of the service animal NPRM is to align the ACAA service animal definition with that of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Once the NPRM is posted publicly, we will likely have 60 days to file comments. We will be counting on all of you to become as well informed as you can regarding the content of the NPRM. Charlie Crawford’s Advocacy Committee will, of course, be as available as they can to help all of us sort out the language, evaluate possible outcomes, and provide meaningful feedback to the Department of Transportation. Our access to airplane cabins was a hard-won right in 1987, and all of us know how alterations in the original ACAA regulations have made flying with our guide dogs more challenging  than it used to be back in the days before the DOT extended our rights to owners of emotional support animals, and before it became so easy for people to falsely identify often untrained and ill-behaved pets as emotional support and service animals. We all need to participate vigorously – and thoughtfully – in the coming opportunity to shape the regulations that will protect our civil right to fly safely with our dogs. So, please remain aware, and be ready to act.


Despite the frenzy and the pressure that can define the passage of time during coming weeks, we can rely on our dogs to remind us to take pleasure in each moment that life offers, and to welcome new adventures and treasured companions with affection. Enjoy these first weeks in the last month of 2019, and thank you all for your friendship and support.



Penny Reeder, President

Guide Dog users, Inc.


Maria Hansen, First Vice President

Guide Dog Users, Inc.


Visit our web site: Call us, toll-free, at  866.799.8436 Our Facebook page can be accessed at , our Facebook group can be accessed at

, and our Twitter timeline can be accessed at


Download or subscribe to the GDUI Juno Report pod cast here:


Support GDUI when you use this link to shop at


SUPPORT GUIDE DOG USERS, INC GROUP #999969764 when you purchase candles and other decorative items from the Yankee Candle Store here:


To join the GDUI-Announce List, visit this link:

To subscribe to the GDUI Chat list, visit this link:

To subscribe to the (members only) GDUI Business list, visit this link:





About Patty L. Fletcher

Patty L. Fletcher lives in Kingsport Tennessee where she works full time as a Writer with the goal of bridging the great chasm which separates the disAbled from the non-disAbled. And as a Social Media Promotional Assistant. She is the owner and creator of Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing (Author, Blogger Business Assist), and is the published author of two books, Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life and Bubba Tails From the Puppy Nursery At The Seeing Eye: Volume One. She can also be found in two anthologies which are, December Awethology Light And A Treasure Chest of Children’s Tales. She is now working on her third book which is to be a memoir trilogy called, ‘Pathway To Freedom: Broken and Healed’.
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