Thought Wheel

From the mind of Ann Chiappetta

Love in Seventeen syllables

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized Writing Life

Hello readers, an interesting thing happened the other day after posting a humorous haiku about poo to the email list belonging to my guide dog school training program. The outpouring of love and respect for our canine partners overflowed into dozens of haiku. The edited collection is below. It is one of the best things about the creative experience: passion drives creativity and our incomparable companions keep us passionate, for sure.

Thanks to all who contributed; while there were over 8 pages of poems, the pieces here are only a small sample representing the love and respect I think we could agree is a reflection of how we feel about our dogs.

Haiku
Poetry Collection
A Profession of partnership
Guiding Eyes for the Blind Graduates

What does your dog do
Alight upon the sun beams?
Yes, each day we fly

Mac has love so blind
My faults hidden from his view
So simple, so real

Rub Prince’s tummy
Safely Guide Judy day/night
Gifts of Love for each

The squirrel runs fast
Legs are twitching as he runs
In the Guide Dog dreams

People, subs, shadows
Julia’s loves in six years
Julia the first

Yankee Doodle guide
Buses, sidewalks, and streets
Guiding quick and true

Blind, alone, afraid
Geb guide no longer alone now
Guide is my best friend

Amos, my sweet boy
Soaring through crowds to targets
Lying on my feet

Henley is so sweet
Sugar and candy can’t match
German shepherd love

The Concrete Jungle
Where Kit and I stroll daily
Freedom beyond dreams

Small, fast, and agile
Like supercar and driver
Dog and I are one

Dixon, first in line
He wanted to lead the pack
When not on my lap

Jada is my wings
Watch us fly across the sky
We don’t see the ground.

Adler went too fast
He taught me trust and patience
How to replace him?

You are my best bud
My loud and lively Lawson
Thanks for all the joy!

JJ son of “Wildman”
Playful when out of harness
All focus in harness

Squire, dark as night.
smart, strong, and ever so sweet.
Ever and always.

Observant guide dog,
Counters sadness with face licks
Makes me laugh and smile.

Pip, out of harness,
my social butterfly girl
Has more friends than me.

Irish cream doggie-woo
Giant heart spirit of two
Taken hold of me

Hadley is two dogs
At play: run and slide! Bounce! Fly!
Harness on: a king.

Quincy was my first Guide,
That Golden boy stole my heart,
Always in my Heart

The trees and sky breathe
My golden girl goes forward
Our hearts together

Curled asleep at feet
Waves of love from guide Ryan
Smiling a tear falls

My vision’s as wide
As a dog can see, hear, smell.
Guiding Eyes radar.

Liza is so quick!
Gave that candy a big lick.
The clerk put it back!

Walking by my side
You safely show me the way
Teamwork everyday

Flying through our world,
Brilliant mind and stellar step . . .
Marli’s guiding eyes.

My dog is Cici,
She is my guiding Eyes girl,
Without her I fall

Two Years together
Yankee and Mom a great team
Working and playing

I walk in snowshoes
Dog is in four black Mukluks
Home, now there are three

Guides. Finds, loves to play
Always willing willing to retrieve
Muzzle stuck in shoe

Hadley loves to love.
He’s all cuddles, no kisses.
Mouth’s reserved for toys.

Naughty puppy face
Harness on, working face on!
What to do without?

With sudden blindness
Clare became my light and sight
My guide and friend

Our talks as we walk
Open volumes clearly spoken
Unheard by strangers

Night comes, harness off
Naughty puppy face once more
We dream together.

Akron, gentleman
Needed a much slower pace
Sleep contortionist

Tessi bouncy girl
Met no one she didn’t like
Glad at work or play

Find eighty-eight keys
That is where you will find Mac
Snoring underneath

Sweet but sneaky Pip,
will commando crawl for food
Dog foodaholic.

The one that started it:
Brown nuggets drop from
Dog to snow, hidden in white
Lost until spring thaw.

Love in Seventeen syllables

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

News and Notes

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized Writing Life

Hello Readers,
It’s February, the month dedicated to love and inklings of spring. Here in New York, we have been experiencing yo-yo weather and I am ready for the warmer weather. Bailey and Verona, my Labradors, would love it to snow a few more times just for fun, though. Silly dogs!

I have a few announcements this time around – first is the ACB Radio Mainstream podcast on February 21 at 10:30 p.m. eastern. I talk to the host, Brian McCallen about being a writer and coping with blindness. You can subscribe to the podcast for other interviews and informational segments.
Here is the listing: Ann Chiappetta – Wednesday February 21st 10:30PM Eastern/7:30PM Pacific (and replays every two hours throughout the next day)

To listen to “Speaking Out for the Blind,” go to: http://acbradio.org/mainstream, and choose one of the links under the headings “Listen to ACB Radio Mainstream” and “Now Playing;” or call 712-775-4808, and when prompted, press “1” for ACB Radio Mainstream. You may also listen to the program live on the ACB Link mobile app.
For more info related to the show, go to: https://speakingoutfortheblind.weebly.com/list-of- episodes-and-show-news/for-more-information-episode-160-ann-chiappetta

For all you local folks, I am hosting a book signing on March 15, 2018 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Westchester Disabled on The Move in Yonkers, New York. Printed, signed copies of FOLLOW YOUR DOG A STORY OF LOVE AND TRUST are $10 each, and UPWELLING: POEMS are $8, cash only. Call 914-393-6605 if you have any questions. Directions are on WDOMI’s website,
www.wdom.org

I’d love to give a multi-book discount to organizations, programs, and schools, so email me at [email protected] to find out more.

Thanks for reading, here is a little haiku for you:
What does your dog do?
Alight upon the sun beams?
Yes, each day we fly

Be well,
Annie, Bailey, and Verona

Reaching Out

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized Writing Life

I recently sold 37 copies of my new book, Follow Your Dog a Story of Love and Trust www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta in January. I am proud of this accomplishment because although the number is modest, I am an Indy writer managing my writing career without a publicist or agent to push sales on my behalf. My colleagues, friends, family and social media contacts have helped me, too – something I thought would be impossible just a few years ago.

The most difficult barrier is time. I work full-time, so whatever promotions I engage in must be squeezed in judiciously; weekends are crammed with secretarial duties like stuffing envelopes, ordering promotional materials, scheduling guest appearances and podcasts or radio interview’s, , and catching up on email. Phew! Often, the household duties fall to the wayside or are completed between these other tasks. ‘Tis the life I choose to live.

If an interviewer asked what is the most difficult part of being an Indy author who is promoting her books, I’d reply it’s about asking others to help me do it. What I mean is, being bold enough to make a cold call to a book seller, artist’s guild or friend and ask for help with a recommendation or book review. The risk of being rejected or told no, sorry, I can’t help you is the one fear I work through while selling my book.

If the interviewer asked what is the most fulfilling part of being an Indy author, I would say the people’s responses, of course. It is about touching a reader, connecting the emotions and resonating with them through the written word that keeps me going and fills me with joy.

Thank you, readers, for keeping me going.

Thank You Verona

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized Writing Life

I got on the bus last week and took out my cell to pass the time. I opened Face Book and fingered through my status and read that it has been 9 years since I met Verona. I shared the milestone like a good little FB user but the nostalgia stayed with me all day. I wasn’t able to reach out and pet her to say thanks for a wonderful first guide dog experience. It was like not saying “I love you,” to my human family upon leaving for a day’s work.

There are so many reasons for writing this post, from appreciating the people involved in bringing Verona and I together to those who helped me make the decision to retire her and supporting our family so we could keep her and let her live out her retirement with regal dignity.

It’s a little overkill, perhaps, to keep writing about this dog, but, hey, I write about relationships and the most meaningful ones have been with dogs, so, you know, write what you know, right?

Verona continues to provide unconditional love dressed in ebony, a constantly wagging tail, and a gentle nature. She is the only dog in our lives that has generated a fan club and a long list of possible retirement homes when folks heard she was hanging up the harness. All the paratransit bus drivers talked about her, how intelligent she looked, that she “has smart eyes,”. We are featured in the para transit taxi program brochure; when she retired, the local newspaper wrote an article about how much the veterans would miss her. She saw her trainer the other day and actually jumped up to lick her face, prancing around like she was two years old. It is in these moments for which I feel grateful. I am appreciative of the dedication and expert attention to her training and breeding. Our family has benefitted from such a phenomenal dog, she is a true Labrador retriever and the kind of guide dog who became an ambassador because of her character. This is why I write about her so much, have written a book, two poems and dozens of articles about her. She is exceptional. It is this piece of canine personality which grabs our attention and stays with us. It is this type, this definition that sticks to our hearts like Velcro and owns a part of our hearts making us grieve when the animal passes.

People talk about soul mates, and a great guide dog match is similar. Some folks refer to it as a spirit dog, or a heart dog. I felt her unique energy the first time we met and don’t ever want to forget it. The energy still keeps me grounded, gives me confidence.

Here’s to you, Verona, sweet girl, whose ability to trust me and to have been able to take us places and lead us into adventures is the most powerful partnerships I’ve known. Happy ninth anniversary. I love you.

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A Mixed Doggie Bag

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Uncategorized Writing Life

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about being out in public with a guide dog. After writing my book www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta , I have to fill up the repertoire, having used most of the material for Follow Your Dog a Story of Love and Trust and in 2016, following the release of Upwelling: Poems. Not sure about other book writers but I felt quite depleted after publishing each book. I did not write much and found I wanted to read more, write less. I honored this urge and have read about five books since releasing Follow Your Dog in October. But I digress.
Onto the dog story …

It was a mixed bag last week, and I will try to show you why in this post.
I was scheduled for a routine ultrasound test. Bailey and I find the door to the waiting room, and I poke my head and ask if this is the right place. The building does not have braille or raised print on any of the doors so I have to ask. A few folks say yes and we enter. I step inside and hear, “She’s got a dog, I’m scared of dogs,” and then I hear, “She’s not coming in here, is she?”

A quick wave of anxiety rises, then I tell it to go away, that I should not be intimidated by what this person says. I should be used to it by now, but after almost ten years of working a guide dog, it still triggers some anxiety.

I ask where the counter is and direct Bailey forward, he stops. I determine there is not enough room for both of us to walk between the chairs, so I begin to shuffle past the patients sitting there, tucking in their feet to let us pass.

I tell Bailey to lay down while I fill out and sign paperwork and hear the same person say, “They shouldn’t let dogs in these places, people have allergies, you know,”. Thankfully no one responds.
To make matters worse, the receptionist treats me like I am a plague victim. She barely touches my hand to help me get to the line to sign my name. I ask her to direct me to a place so my dog won’t be stepped on, as I notice the chairs are very close together. She misdirects me twice, and tries to push me over to the chair instead. I lose my patience, saying, “The chair is not in front of me, the chair is to my right,” She retreats behind the counter, and I can feel her relief of not having to help me anymore.
as it happens, the safest place for Bailey to lie down is the farthest from the radiology room door. I have to walk back around the entire line of people to get to the technician when my name is called. Thankfully, she is helpful and actually loves dogs, allowing Bailey to lie wherever he feels comfortable once I am settled.

I end up waiting after the test for the return trip and pass the time in the waiting area. Bailey takes me back to our chair. Before leaving, I risk a trip to the bathroom. I direct Bailey and because the room is so full, I can tell where the turn to the bathroom is and trail my hand on the wall to keep oriented. Unfortunately, I don’t know that there is a line of chairs against the wall leading to the bathroom door and almost pass my hand across the face of a man sitting there; I apologize as soon as I realize what my fingers touched and urge Bailey on to the bathroom. The reluctant receptionist appears as if by magic, saying, “The bathroom is really small, I don’t think you will fit.” She tries to block me but I just smile and say I think we can fit. I let Bailey go in first, and I go in, then she helps me close the door, as if I am unable to figure it out for myself. I exit the bathroom without incident, Giving Bailey the command to the outer door and we are clear of an uneventful test and I sigh with relief that we have survived that receptionist. Yuck.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

A Kiss From Arrow

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Relationships Uncategorized Writing Life

The photo depicts Arrow kissing my face.
What could be more comforting than puppy kisses? This is what I thought as I held yellow lab pup Arrow. She wagged her tail the whole time I held her and she tickled my cheek with her warm tongue. Every time I get the chance to hold a puppy, I think, is this pup going to grow up to be a guide dog? A detection dog? A search and rescue dog? The only fact I can rely upon for a pup like Arrow is this: no matter where it goes, it will be loved and cared for and given a rewarding life, whether it guides or is given a place in a forever This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative.home. Thanks to Guiding Eyes, A pup like Arrow will learn to develop its innate traits so it can grow to become a well-rounded and confident dog.

As someone who has marveled at and given much thought on the psychological growth of puppies, knowing a purpose bred pup like Arrow is nurtured and encouraged to embrace its true potential is amazing; every pup has a gleam of potential and when graduation time comes and I hear their name I send up a huge thanks to those who have contributed to make it happen.

May you and your loved ones share a happy and peaceful holiday season and Merry Christmas from all of us here at Castle Chiappetta

December Engagements Whoopee!

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Uncategorized Writing Life

Hi folks,
I am so excited to announce the official launch and first book signing event for FOLLOW YOUR DOG A STORY OF LOVE AND TRUST. The signing will take place before and after the graduation ceremony at Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. The date is Saturday, December 9 from 12:30 to 4 p.m. and the address is 611 Granite Springs Road, Yorktown Heights. 10598. Go to www.guidingeyes.org for directions. Why not come on by and pick up a copy and while you’re there, take the kennel tour or stay for the graduation ceremony, you won’t be disappointed.

If you can’t make the book signing, there is still more than enough time to order it for the holidays from Amazon, just go here: https://www.amazon.com/author/annchiappetta
I hope we meet you there – Bailey would love for you to take his pawtograph.
Please read on for other opportunities to hear about the book.
On December 7 at 6 p.m. Central time, I will be a guest on the Disability and Progress radio show being broadcast from Twin Cities Minnesota. The Disability and Progress show information is KFAI 90.3 FM Minneapolis 106.7 FM ST. Paul and the website is www.kfai.org/disabilityandprogress

If you can’t tune in, on December 11 at 7 p.m. eastern time, I will be the guest author on a telephone conference broadcast called Branco Broadcast, go to www.annchiappetta.com/ for the call-in information. If you miss the shows, no worries, listening links will be added to the interview page of my author’s website www.annchiappetta.com

Thanks for reading and here’s to a blessed and happy holiday season.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

More Thanks To Go Around

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Uncategorized Writing Life

Hello readers, I wanted to send out this acknowledgement to the Xavier Society for the Blind www.xsb.org/ . Once again, XSB, as we like to call it, has supported the release of my next book with braille copies ready to be borrowed in their lending library. Just like with my poetry collection, receiving FOLLOW YOUR DOG A STORY OF LOVE AND TRUST was thrilling; I opened the box, took out the first of two volumes and, in my slow but steady way, read the title with my fingertips. Thanks, XSB for supporting my efforts and thanks even more for this loan library, filling in the gaps for so many braille readers worldwide. Just go to their website to find out how to become an XSB loan library patron.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Being Pawsitive

| Filed under blindness Fiction Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized Writing Life

Thanksgiving is about staying connected and sharing love and companionship. For guide and service dog teams, it means so much and more – here’s to our partners and how much we appreciate their unconditional regard, trust and protection of us.
Whatever you bring to the table, Bailey, Verona, Nikka, Titan the cat and the humans in our home wish you all peace and warmth.

Read on for a book update.

Well, readers, since the last post, FOLLOW YOUR DOG has taken off at a solid trot. It seems like just about every time I’ve asked businesses and other entities to consider a partnership the answer is YES. I am pleased and just a little bit intimidated by it. Don’t worry, though; I have been practicing for this for what seems like years and Bailey and I are ready for the attention. I hope, gulp.

Go to http://www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/ to fill up a stocking or two with the new book.
Guiding Eyes for the Blind has been gracious and supportive, too, which is an added bonus. If you are reading this blog post, consider them as one of your organizations of choice for monetary giving. Go to www.guidingeyes.org/

If you are in the Yorktown Hight’s neighborhood on December 9 for the Guiding Eyes graduation, I would be happy to personally sign your copy of the book. Stay tuned for more information on the event or visit my personal website to find out more about other events to promote the book: www.annchiappetta.com

Author Update

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Uncategorized Writing Life

Hello all,
I’d like to share an author’s update. Today I received 50 copies of my new book, “Follow Your Dog a Story of Love and Trust”. My goal is to sell all of them by the end of December. If you haven’t purchased a copy, go to http://www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/

How did I get there? What motivated me to write and publish a book? The creation of the book merits another post entirely, therefore this post will start at the point shortly before I sent the draft to the editor.
To begin, part of the promotional plan began six months ago. I was thinking about how to improve my promotion since my first book was not as successful as I thought it would be. Poetry doesn’t sell as well as other genres.

The good thing is the new book is nonfiction and appeals to more than just poets and writers. I put the finishing touches on the manuscript and decided to follow advice from other professional authors to create a personal website. I made the decision based on what I wanted to accomplish with this book as well as how to expand my visibility in general. I made a list of what I’ve been doing when volunteering, like being a public speaker and newsletter editor for other organizations. I was also a copy writer for a few organizations, helping with writing content for new websites, membership letters, brochures and social media posts. I have 15 years of coordinating programs and small to medium sized events, too. I’d spoken to audiences from pre-k to seniors on topics like disability, guide and service dogs, mental health, military cultural concepts, PTSD and trauma, rehabilitation, art and literature and fundraising. I thought, why not utilize the experience and talent alongside with the literary arts? I decided to tie it all up in a pretty bow and become a consultant. http://www.annchiappetta.com/ is now live and offers a robust menu, including a speaking engagement form, biography and links to interviews, presentations, and awards. My blog is also linked and the DLD Books author’s page directs folks to it as well.

Which entities or businesses and other promotional contacts have I pursued? Here is a list: guide and service dog schools and programs, Labrador breeding magazines and groups, both my undergraduate and post graduate colleges, local bookstores, bookstores in other States, pet stores, pet groomers, service dog equipment suppliers, social media groups on Face Book, radio stations offering disability-related programs and shows, podcasts and other media outlets. .

I have one book signing planned which will hopefully get media attention as it is being planned with the guide dog school from where I graduated. I have a recorded phone interview and a radio show interview planned as well. I also have been trying to find where I could sell books on consignment and will be saving up for a few magazine ads after 2018, if all goes as planned.

What, one may ask, is on the wish list? A table at a few crafts fairs, a few speaking engagements for National Poetry Month, a weekend writing retreat, and being able to attend the annual Indy writers conference. Also, being able to put my book in the big box bookstores like Barnes and Noble and a book signing at The Strand in NYC would be absolutely crazy-cool. A book signing at The Strand would be like being on Broadway. This brings me to a fanciful thought: what if my book could be adapted as a play or movie script?
Thanks for reading and see you on the pages.

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