International Guide Dog Day

        A message from Guide Dog Users of the Empire State (GDUES)

April 29, 2020

It’s International Guide Dog Day, a day set aside to recognize the work that our loving and loyal canine companions do for us every day.  Each year International Guide Dog Day is celebrated on the last Wednesday of April.

It takes a village to raise a puppy and help it gain the necessary skills to become a guide dog.  Every year staff and volunteers from training organizations around the world breed, raise and train guide dogs and partner them with blind handlers.  Our dogs are our heroes, and today is a way to let others know just how much we appreciate them.

Now that we have raised some paws and wagged a few tails to celebrate, we also want to share what it is like to be blind and out in public with a guide dog. During this year of worldwide crisis GDUES wants to share a few tips about how you can help people who are blind maintain social distancing.

When you see a guide dog team, please don’t pet, feed, call or distract the dog. Speak to the handler. It is important for the public to know that guide dogs don’t know about physical distancing. Our dogs are trained to move around obstacles, not to stop six feet away from a door, or in line at the supermarket or pharmacy.    It’s important to understand a blind person using a white cane or a guide dog cannot always accurately measure distances or see lines on the floor.

Since we might not hear you come out of the store as we go in, a quick “Hello,” would help. Or, “Hi, you are at the end of the line.: or “Hi, you can Move up a few steps,”. When passing a guide dog handler outside, saying hello will help us keep required physical distancing by hearing where you are in relation to us.

We want to follow the same health and safety precautions as everyone else, however, we might require a little more information than normal.  We are all in this together.

The mission of GDUES is to advocate for and support guide dog teams living and working in New York State. Learn more by going to

Service Dog Tips for Businesses

Service Animal Access

What Businesses and Establishments Should Know

• A business has the right to ask only 2 questions of a service dog handler: 1. “Is this a service dog?” 2. “What assistance does it perform?”

• If the answer is “Comfort” dog, or “Emotional support” then it is not a legal service dog recognized by the ADA or Canadian Human Rights Law, and need

not be allowed entry.

Behaviorally appropriate, Trained Guide, medical alert, hearing alert, as well as PTSD and autism service dogs can, by law, accompany their owners anywhere the public is allowed.

• Note: Any dog, including a legitimate service dog, that is aggressive or cannot refrain from soiling indoors may be legally ejected from the business by law. Such dogs are a threat not only to your clientele, but to other legitimate service dogs.

•Visit: ADA Hotline (U.S.): 800.514.0301 Canadian Human Rights Commission: 888.214.1090

•Please help curb the epidemic of “Fake” service dogs by understanding and asserting your rights as a business owner or manager.

Kaiser Campaign

What does making craft beer and   supporting guide dogs have in common?    Hmm, still thinking? Dog treats, of course.

Thanks to a retired guide dog, his former partner and a puppy raiser, we found a New York based dog treat maker who wants to help us by donating up to 40% of treat sales back to GDUES.

We are naming this first online endeavor the Kaiser Campaign, after the big, gentle Labrador who loves these treats, Kaiser and for all he symbolizes in the spirit of guide dogs

Hungry Hound Beerscuits are made with fresh, human grade ingredients like barley, pumpkin, eggs, and peanut butter and baked to a yummy crunch.

Click here to read about this unique and delicious dog treat made by Hungry Hound Beerscuits LLC

In order for Guide Dog Users of the Empire State to receive a donation from an online sale, you must enter the online code GDUES in the form before check out. Please share this fundraiser with everyone you know. Thanks to the folks at Hungry Hound for making this fundraiser possible and visit to read about how we advocate for and support guide dog teams in New York or to

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New Guide Dog Users Group Joins American Council of the Blind of New York

For Immediate Release

Contact Lori Scharff, President, American Council of the Blind of New York, Inc. 516-695-6370


Annie Chiappetta, President, Guide Dog Users of the Empire State,  914-393-6605


New Guide Dog Users Group Joins American Council of the Blind of New York

Malverne, NY — February 23, 2016, a new chapter of the ACB of New York was granted  a charter.  Guide Dog Users of the Empire State (GDUES) numbering twenty three members, becomes the ninth regional special interest chapter of the American Council of the Blind of New York. GDUES is the first guide dog user’s chapter in New York  to be chartered since another group separated from the State affiliate many years ago.

“This is an exciting time for us. GDUES will fill a much needed voice at the State level,” says Annie Chiappetta, the chapter president.


Chiappetta hopes the new chapter can work on recent imposter service dog issues and legislation and become a support for guide dog users throughout the State.   Guide dog users often face access issues and other barriers despite Federal laws protecting them from such discrimination.


Chiappetta says that a website will be launched in late April and the group’s Facebook page is already active.


To find out more about the American Council of the Blind of New York, go to:


To view the GDUES Facebook page, click here!