Thought Wheel

From the mind of Ann Chiappetta

Tears for a Warrior

| Filed under Poem Relationships writing

Tears for a Warrior
By Ann Chiappetta

I am thinking of my friend today
Caught in the viral war,
Being forced to use the last vestiges of strength
To find safe haven in this epidemic.
Where no safety is found.

This person, this friend, this man
With AIDS, who has defied all expectations during
Another epidemic
has survived
And I wonder, with sorrowful thoughts
If he will defy Corona like He did HIV.

This man, this person, this patient
Is surviving with minimal care,
Enforced clinical Neglect cut off
from us, suffering
Wracked with fever, lumbar pain, and mobility loss
Brought upon by quarantine.

Twenty-five years ago, he faced death and came back
I will find him in the places between dreams,
Make conversation on the astral plain
This is all I can do, dream and hope
my friend Will hear me.

March 30, 2020

Free read from Smashwords and Me

| Filed under writing

This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative.Smashwords
Authors Give Back Sale
I am giving my book,
Words of Life: Poems and Essays C 2019 by Ann Chiappetta
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AnnChiappetta

To readers for free to show support during the Covid19 pandemic.
Get your free copy today. No coupons or trick promos. Go to www.smashwords.com and register, you won’t be disappointed.
Indie authors are offering thousands of titles from poetry to thrillers.
Your support means so much!

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Dogs Help with Social Distancing

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Relationships writing

The past two weeks has provoked many powerful and uncomfortable feelings for our Nation, our community, and our families. We are being globally challenged by what some say has been a biblical portent, aka, the “plague”.

Being a skeptical person, I am not yet ready to agree, however, I know the world has changed already, evident by, well, by how we are acting, reacting, responding, and feeling.

I was just sharing playtime with my three dogs, enjoying the calm petting session with my elderly black lab. I watched my other two dogs play, and as they tugged and wrestled, was struck by an intense feeling of relaxation and peace. I thought, that if I must distance myself from other humans to protect myself the hidden gem in this is having more time to spend with my dogs and husband.

On that note, today I received a call from a staff person named Kate from Newsreel Newsreel magazine magazine. She said she was “just checking in with my New Rochelle people,”. Now, that was very kind and equally unexpected. Thanks, Kate!

This time of crisis should bring us together in gratitude and kindness, not isolate us. A phone call or email could bring a bit of relief to a neighbor or relative.

For example, the Next-door app has had folks volunteering to help with shopping for individuals who are quarantined here in New Rochelle. Folks are helping out with dog walking and other tasks.
In the wise words of a writing friend, Carol Farnsworth, Carol Farnsworth wrote on her blog, https://blindontheliteside.com/ ,
We as a nation, are only as strong as our marginal members. We will be judged not by what we have but how we care.

Thanks, Carol. Agreed.

Building Bridges with Colonial Elementary School

| Filed under writing

Thanks Colonial Elementary School

Bailey and I, along with our good friend, Anna Masopust, visit the schools in Westchester county and speak about disability awareness and blindness. We usually visit the kindergarten or first graders, along with the parents and teachers. It provides a way to connect with the kids and allows them to ask questions. I throw in a little bit of everything, hoping that when we leave, something sticks. I show the kids my white cane, ask them to look for braille in elevators and on signs, tell them that I listen faster than they can read, and about my guide dogs. It’s also a way to promote positive regard for our fellow human beings.
I also share that losing my sight was scary and hard to cope with but that I am just like them, I just do things differently.

The best part is the questions. How do I know where I’m going if I can’t see? Who helps me get dressed? How does the dog know where to take me? When my dog goes to the bathroom, how do I find the poop?

Anna schedules the visits and I appreciate everything she does to make these visits worthwhile.
My yellow lab, Bailey, while a very focused guide dog, is also a comic relief. This time, as we entered the school, he looked at the life-sized stuffed dog at the top of the landing and I knew something was up. Once a teacher told me he was staring at the stuffed dog, I started to laugh. We got a picture, too.
Just knowing Colonial is a service dog friendly school and supports people with disabilities, is wonderful and we had a great visit. I hope we can visit again next year!

yellow lab Bailey and stuffed dog mascot sitting beside one another

yellow lab and stuffed dog

New Book: A String of Stories

| Filed under writing

A String of Stories: From the Heart to the Future
by Ann Chiappetta, 2020
In e-book and print (182 pages) from Amazon and other online sellers.
www.annchiappetta.com
www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/

About A String of Stories
A demon deer and a ghost cat. Sibling rivalry and sexual awakening. Self-image and self-confidence. The chance for an offworlder to breathe free at last on a new planet. Those are just some of the diverse themes of these remarkable stories. Some endings are happy, some are sad, and some are intriguingly open-ended. But once you step inside the author’s world, you cannot emerge unmoved.
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by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 2

Dogs in Space

| Filed under writing

Anthropomorphic Space Story

By Ann Chiappetta

The Quick Brown Fox jumped over the Lazy Dog, engaging the warp drive and entering hyperspace.
Blood and bones,” snarled the Lazy Dog’s commander Akita, “Ensign Fido, track that ship,”
“Arf, Captain,” she barked, toenails tapping and wagging her tail.

“Captain, the Fox ship is headed for the Feline Space cluster,” reported Ensign Fido.
The Captain licked his canines
“All paws on deck, “Captain Akita howled.
He turned to his second in command, Lieutenant Rottweiler,
“this could be a trick, be ready for anything,” he growled, shaking his head in annoyance.
“Arf, Captain,” he barked, “Red alert!” he snarled, tapping the communication array.

To be continued …
Thanks to Abbie Taylor Abbie https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com/and the Behind Our Eyes writers group for proposing this writing challenge.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

The Spirit of Dog

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Relationships

This is a post written for, in part, the puppy raising and guide dog community. It explains what a real service dog is and how it develops. Indulge me for one more paragraph before we get to the subject line of the post. There is an ongoing issue here in the United States regarding people posing pets as emotional support or service animals to ride in airline cabins. It is called the ACAA, or the Airline Carrier Access Act. I am not going to explain the actual FAA and TSA notices and the rule making discussion, but I will say that a genuine, trained service dog will do it’s best to behave in places of public accommodation. For example, a hearing alert dog will sit quietly on its handler’s lap and not disrupt anyone’s experience. A PTSD service dog will lie quietly between its handler’s feet during a train ride. Any dog brought into the public that barks, lunges, urinates, is unkempt, is not under its handler’s control or is not tethered is not a real service dog and can be asked to leave. It’s all in how the dog and the handler behave and interact. I hope this helps folks understand what is at stake and the real service dog handlers are at risk of being negatively effected by those who break the law.

Okay, back to the original post.

Once a puppy reaches an appropriate age, usually around 18 months, the dog is returned for advanced training. By this time, the puppy raiser has imparted all the socialization, love, obedience, care and discipline to allow the dog to continue the rigorous and challenging harness training and hopefully exhibit the required qualifications to become a guide dog.

Yup, folks, it is canine college and the dog will graduate with an advanced degree in intelligent disobedience. What this means is a dog will disobey a command given by the blind handler if it is unsafe. Think of a car coming out of a driveway as the team is walking toward it. The dog will see the car pulling out and stop, then continue when it has judged it to be safe. If the handler tries to give the command to proceed before the dog judges it safe, the dog will ignore the command.

This is, of course, after months of formal harness training with a qualified GDMI – during which time the dog learns how to guide and learn other commands, like directions (left, right, forward) and targeting (to the door, steps, bus, elevator,) among others.
One time Bailey even stopped to show me a fiber optic wire hanging from the ceiling in the hallway leading to our office. Avoiding an overhead obstacle is the most difficult to teach a dog, I was impressed, for sure.

But, for the second time in this post, I digress.

Today we made the hour-long bus ride to visit Guiding Eyes For the Blind’s main campus and visit Bailey’s first Mom, Pat Bailey Webber. He just about lost his mind, spinning and doing some excited barking. He carried on, yodeling, rubbing, and licking Pat for at least ten minutes. This is the person who he bonded with, who saw him through all stages of puppyhood, some of it pretty gross and annoying, if I must say so. 😊

Witnessing the bond with Pat is just so special, so rewarding, I believe it makes my bond with Bailey even stronger. While he loves Pat and would go with her, he also willingly comes to me and does his job. He switches his attention, applies his training, and has the adaptability to get it done.

I have written before about the Spirit of Dog, what it means contextually; this is an example. The Spirit of Dog is loyal, adaptable, and talented. How could a person not admire these qualities in an animal? How could I deny Bailey the pleasure of visiting with his first family? I am honored and humbled after these visits. I am a recipient of a very special gift; it is the spirit of dog that brings people together.

Smashwords book sale

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Writing Life

Words of life book cover

Tranquil photo of stacked stones beside circular pattern in the sand.

End of Year Holiday Book Sale
Looking for a unique eBook for a special gift for a fellow reader? Do you belong to a book club and need to find a low-priced eBook with a beautiful cover and meaningful content? Do you like to load up your book reader with great titles for the wintertime? Look no further, This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative.Smashwords has what you want.

Take advantage of the Smashwords book sale from December 25 to January 1. All three of my titles are discounted at checkout, no hunting for discount codes. Here’s the link to find out more: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AnnChiappetta