Aloha! And we're off!

This summer in Kentucky, GDUI proudly celebrates 10 years of travel to Hawaii with guide dogs. This amazing accomplishment and landmark settlement, which many take for granted in 2008, was spearheaded by GDUI and masterfully negotiated by attorney Michael Lilly, whom it is a great privilege to have as our blue-ribbon keynote presenter at GDUI's July 9 luncheon. GDUI's convention program presentations will feature "Around the World with Guide Dogs," an informative panel discussion which may surprise you. Did you know that guide dogs in Norway aren't vaccinated against rabies? Rounding the bend on Wednesday, you won't want to miss the opportunity to participate with, or root for, your favorite dog in the AKC- style Simon Sez Rally, then relax that evening at the Louisville Luau with more details to come on these events and many more.

On Sunday afternoon, July 6, guide dog instructors will orient convention attendees to the Galt House and surrounding areas at noon and 5 p.m., where you'll learn how to teach your dogs the best convention routes guaranteed to get you where you need to be on time and in one piece. GDUI's affiliate roundup meeting is scheduled from 2:30 to 3:30, and all affiliate representatives should plan to attend this meeting. GDUI's board meeting follows from 4 to 6 p.m., and there will be some space available for observers.

July 7 will get under way with Breakfast Club. Walk to a nearby restaurant at 7 a.m. for a delicious fast break from the hotel, and be back just in time for general session. Breakfast Club will be an official GDUI option Monday through Thursday, for canine teams and cane travelers alike.

After general announcements at 1:30, GDUI's Monday afternoon program activities begin at 2:30 p.m. with "Around the World with Guide Dogs," featuring Tone Mathisen, a Norwegian handler, and other international reports, including a special tribute to Michael Osborn, who was so effective in increasing the ability of guide dog teams to travel internationally. Next up, "What You Need to Know about the Guide Dog Schools: Where to go, who to talk to and when to tune in to Dog Club to learn more." On Monday evening at 8, come stroll along the waterfront where there are many new attractions since our last convention in Louisville.

If you are a person with some vision and have wondered whether you would benefit from the assistance of a guide dog, you won't want to miss "How Much Is Too Much?" on Tuesday afternoon at 1:30, where a panel of experts will discuss assessment, requirements and training for low-vision clients. Then you will have the opportunity to participate in a town hall- style discussion of "Hot Topics for Handlers," and the final Tuesday afternoon session will be GDUI's caucus at 3:30.

On Tuesday evening, GDUI will hold its fund-raising auction. This is our third time around the track with this event, and it just keeps getting better. Brian Charlson, who has been invited to emcee this entertaining event, is the best auctioneer anywhere, and what's more fun than spending money on great stuff for a great cause? The countdown preview is at 7, and the bidding race starts at 8.

GDUI is honored that attorney Michael Lilly has accepted its invitation to help us celebrate the famous landmark Hawaii settlement at its luncheon on Wednesday at 12:30, where the membership and other attendees will hear how their sustained effort in "breaking down barriers" in Hawaii paved the way for other service animal teams and ultimately the general public. After GDUI's luncheon, it's the "Simon Sez Rally" at 2:30. Human signs will instruct guide dog teams to perform familiar obedience commands sequentially at indoor stations, a lighthearted competition you and your guide could win.

At 7 p.m., join GDUI's Hawaii party aboard the Spirit of Jefferson, where Hawaiian outfits will blend with island appetizers, a brief entertainment and cash bar. Space is limited, so make your reservations early!

On Thursday afternoon at 1:30, learn about the innovative programs that Leader Dogs for the Blind has to offer. Then at 2:00, Guiding Eyes for the Blind asks and answers: "How many guide dog puppies does it take to steal your heart?" Finally, on Thursday evening at 8, Dr. Rusty Gailor will tell us what we need to know about "Maintaining Good Health in Our Guides: The Often Overlooked and Important Basics of Canine Health Maintenance, From Tooth Care and the Reasons for Daily Grooming to Vaccination Protocols and First Aid."

Veterinary Contact Information

Gailor Animal Hospital
7422 Old Third Street Road
Louisville, KY 40214
Telephone: (502) 367-6400

Gailor Animal Hospital is open 9 to 6 Monday through Friday and from 9 until noon on Saturdays. One of the three staff vets is always on call, and they will see patients after hours.

For convention attendees who wish to order dog food for Louisville, please call Christopher DiIorio with Doodle Scoopers, 1-888-780-2095. The deadline for orders is Monday, June 23. All dog food orders should be made using a credit card, and you must identify your order as being a part of the GDUI group order. Dog food can be picked up in the GDUI suite between noon and 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 6. So please pack enough food for your dog to last until your order is ready for pickup in the GDUI suite.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who is working on GDUI's 2008 convention, and we can't wait to see as many of you as possible in Louisville!

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