Affiliate News

GDUI Update

GDUI held elections for officers and two directors in early July. The officers are: Penny Reeder, president; Will Burley, first vice president; Maria Hansen, second vice president; Sarah Calhoun, secretary; and Lynn Merrill, treasurer. GDUI’s new directors are Annie Chiappetta and Betsy Grenevitch.
Want to keep up with GDUI’s news? There are several ways to do it. You can join the GDUI-Announce list. Our goal is to send out an informative announcement once each week. To subscribe to GDUI-Announce, visit Then, you will receive an automatically generated e-mail message which will include instructions for confirming your subscription. For those of you who do not want to join an e-mail list or who don't have a computer, GDUI makes its weekly announcement available via telephone, too; just call (646) 653-1900. The telephonic announcement is updated every Tuesday.  
To chat with others about guide dogs or anything related to GDUI, we encourage members and friends to subscribe to our GDUI-Chat e-mail discussion list. Send a blank message to to sign up. You will receive a message which will ask you to confirm your intention to subscribe. Just hit reply, allow up to three days for your subscription request to be processed, and you'll be all set to chat about your guide dogs and all things GDUI-related!
GDUI's board meetings are open to anyone who is interested in GDUI.  Meetings are held at 1 p.m. Eastern on the last Saturday of every other month, beginning Sept. 27. To attend the conference call, dial (712) 432-0075, and enter the access code, 919245#. All are welcome.

Top Dog in Charleston

Dixie Land Guide Dog Users, Georgia Guide Dog Users and Guide Dog Users of Florida invite you to attend the Top Dog Charleston-2015 "Funvention" at the Comfort Inn & Suites (Savannah Highway), West Ashley, Charleston, S.C. beginning Friday, Jan. 30 through Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015.
The fun begins on Friday morning with an optional session, “Paws 4 Technology,” where Kimberly Taylor and her guide, Abby, and Dixie Land's very own 2nd vice president, Brianna Murray and her guide, Lacey, will introduce us to the iPhone and iPad. The lucky winner of our early bird door prize will win a carriage ride through the historic streets of downtown Charleston, provided by Charleston Carriage Tours.
Be sure to check out the exhibit hall! We've already gotten 6 guide dog schools committed, as well as a chocolatier, a technology firm, a couple of jewelry representatives and a master woodcrafter. If you'd like a table in the exhibit hall, get your request in early. The exhibit hall will be open all day Friday and Saturday.
Top Dog will officially begin with “Paws 2 Recognize,” featuring Pastor Ed Grant of Calvary Lutheran Church and the veterans from the VFW, followed by Yappy Time! Bring your appetite, because Jamie Westendorff of Charleston Outdoor Catering is going to cook up the Frogmore Stew that he's so famous for.  Don’t worry, no frogs are injured in the preparation of this low country dish.  It originated in Frogmore, S.C., and contains giant shrimp, sausage, corn on the cob and potatoes. For those who can't or don't eat seafood, we'll have Southern fried chicken and all the fixin's.
Saturday’s events start with "The Blessing," featuring music by Laurel Jean, with a couple of pastors to officiate. This year we're going to do a different tribute to our retired guides and a special service for dogs that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Pack lots of tissues.
Dr. Ruth Roberts will return to tell us how we can help keep our guides healthy, and San LeBeauf will discuss making final arrangements. A group of puppy raisers will tell us some of their favorite stories about the dogs they've raised.  The final program will be “Paws 4 Updates,” where a panel of distinguished guests will tell us about the latest developments with airport in-house relief areas and fake service dogs.
After lunch, join us outside for an exciting motorcycle ride (in a sidecar) or an exhilarating tandem bike ride with the Charleston Flyers.  If you're really up for a challenge, try your skills in our obstacle course. The four-legged finishers will get a Frosty Paw and their handlers, an ice cream. By dinnertime you'll be ravenous; but don't worry, Jamie will be back with his world-famous all-you-can-eat barbecued pork and chicken!  After dinner, we’ll be entertained by the renowned Ann Caldwell and the Magnolia Singers.
Registration is $55 per person and includes a professionally done photo of you and your guide; all meals; entertainment, and a bright blue T-shirt boasting a guide dog in harness and a matching bandana for your guide. But you need to register by Dec. 31, 2014.
Room rates at the Comfort Inn & Suites are $89.99 per night plus tax, and each of their suites can accommodate up to 6 people. A hot breakfast is included. They've agreed to honor that price for the entire week. Make your hotel reservations by calling (843) 769-9850. Be sure to tell them you're coming to Top Dog-Charleston, and reserve your room by Dec. 15, 2014.
For more information, send an e-mail to, or call (843) 571-0737. To register online, visit and scroll down to the registration form.