Thought Wheel

From the mind of Ann Chiappetta

Listen to New Interview

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Hello , Branco Events News has published a new article on our website. InPerspective 89 – With Author Ann Chiappetta Talking About Guide Dogs January 26, 2019 edition of “In Perspective” You may view the latest post at https://www.brancoevents.com/in-perspective-89-with-author-ann-chiappetta-talking-about-guide-dogs/

New Coat

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I purchased a knee-length puffer coat over Christmas. It is a 50/50 goose down/poly fill alternative with fleece cuffs and lined with fleece around the chest and back. Very warm. Perfect for winters in New York. Since I am a plus size, the coat is also like taking along a child-size sleeping bag. No, really, it really needs its own chair. I realized this last week while waiting for a test at my medical group. I got Bailey settled, pulled off my hat, and after I took off the coat, found it was too puffy to just drape it over my arm and sit. I suppose I could have sat on it, but I ended up placing it on the chair beside me. I swear it seemed as if it was alive, rising to perch there, stiff with air and puff. Maybe since it is black, I will name it the dark twin. New Coat By Ann Chiappetta Never worn one like it Even the zipper is complicated Whispers of nylon and down alternative insolation Creates a womb of warmth, protecting from Overtures of icy breath and fingers As I bundle up Toasty but feeling like a jacketed marshmallow. %TITLE% %SURL% %IMG% %ANNOUNCE%I purchased a knee-length puffer coat over Christmas. It is a 50/50 goose down/poly fill alternative with fleece cuffs and lined with fleece around the chest and back. Very warm. Perfect for winters in New York. Since I am a plus size, the coat is also like taking along a child-size sleeping bag. No, really, it really needs its own chair. I realized this last week while waiting for a test at my medical group. I got Bailey settled, pulled off my hat, and after I took off the coat, found it was too puffy to just drape it over my arm and sit. I suppose I could have sat on it, but I ended up placing it on the chair beside me. I swear it seemed as if it was alive, rising to perch there, stiff with air and puff. Maybe since it is black, I will name it the dark twin. New Coat By Ann Chiappetta Never worn one like it Even the zipper is complicated Whispers of nylon and down alternative insolation Creates a womb of warmth, protecting from Overtures of icy breath and fingers As I bundle up Toasty but feeling like a jacketed marshmallow. %TITLE% %SURL% %IMG% %ANNOUNCE%

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

A Phone Call and a Big Smile

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A Phone Call and A Big Smile My mobile rang the other day and I sent it to voicemail; it was a number I did not recognize. Later that night, I listened to the message and it brought a smile and the telltale prick of grateful tears to my eyes. Little did I know that my guide dog school, Guiding Eyes For The Blind www.guidingeyes.org sends out my book, FOLLOW YOUR DOG A STORY OF LOVE AND TRUST www.annchiappetta.com to donors as a thank-you for their support. The message was from a woman in California and she said she love my book, could not put it down and read it straight through. She said I did not use self-pity but expressed the struggles with clarity and strength. So, of course I called her and we spoke, both benefitting from our short and powerful conversation. Here it is again, a miracle of inspiration — our dogs have brought us humans together; we shared a powerful moment of connection and this, folks, is why I write and why we need to continue sharing and loving one another and thank our dogs.

Follow Your Dog book cover yellow lab on rock  with blue skies above and blue water beside dog reflecting dog in water.

Sweet Nikka Update

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A year after Katrina devastated New Orleans and the surrounding areas, Nikka came into our home. She is described in my book, FOLLOW YOUR DOG A STORY OF LOVE AND TRUST as the dog who healed our hearts and replenished our hope after losing two young dogs first from thyroid disease and then stomach cancer. She’s lived up to the promise of “living a long time,”, and, at 15 years old (possibly older), has taken our hearts with her beagleness and sassy attitude.

Today we were informed she has a growth in one lung, it is unclear how long she has and we are not going to prolong her suffering by poking and prodding and causing more pain. Jerry and I made the decision to keep her comfortable and pain-free and honor her long life with love, care, and upholding her dignity with the required pain meds and anti-inflammatory medicine until she can no longer do it. We don’t know how long it will be but we do know this is the right and humane course of treatment. I am posting the three dog pic and Nikka is the smallest dog but mighty in spirit, We will update folks as

OUr three dogs.

Bailey, Verona and Nikka

needed.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 2

A Great Way to Wrap-up 2018

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized Writing Life

Thanks to Kim Charlson and the Perkins Library for the Blind, the memoir I wrote is now an audio book for listening through the National Library Service, or NLS. Expressing how it felt to listen to my words for the first time was emotional. It was immensely gratifying and powerful. A few weeks prior to the email notifying me the book was in the final editing stage I listened to the introduction I penned for GDUI’s A HANDBOOK FOR THE PROSPECTIVE GUIDE DOG HANDLER (4th Edition), also recently released as a free digital book available via the NLS talking book and braille library.
Follow Your Dog: A Story of Love and Trust DBC11582
Chiappetta, Ann. Reading time: 4 hours, 27 minutes. Read by Ana Maria Quintana. A production of Perkins Library, Perkins School for the Blind. Animals and Wildlife. Drawing on her skills as a poet and a therapist, the author of this candid memoir explores her life-changing relationship with her guide dog. The book is also available on Bookshare and all eBook sellers as a digital book and print soft cover. Go to www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/

The GDUI Handbook’s catalog number is DB92557 and it is also available from Bookshare.

Here’s to a book-filled 2019.

The Traveling Bed

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Inspired by Yellow Lab Bailey.

Bailey on round dog bed

yellow lab Bailey curled up on new round dog bed

It began in 2015, after Annie met Bailey and the two became a team. Bailey was making the transition to his new partner, a new home, and a new routine, all of which probably contributed to Bailey’s attitude about the dog bed in the office.

After the destruction of dog bed one, Annie tried a new mat, professed by the company to be “chew proof”. It was not Bailey proof, but durable. Annie thought reinforced steel mesh corners would be an improvement, but did not share this with the manufacturer, thinking it might insult them.

The next bed was almost too big for the office, but after the dutiful corner-chewing, along with numerous patch work and generous bitter apple spritzes, it survived, tattered but useful.

After hearing a few remarks from office mates asking when Bailey was going to get a new dog bed, Annie decided it was time for a change, plus she was tired of sewing and hot gluing up the corners a third time. Annie shops online, and the decision to try a round bed is like a canine-inspired epiphany.
chewing won’t occur, because, well, round beds don’t have corners.

A 40-inch polyester-filled bed is ordered. It is delivered and schlepped to the office three days later. The paratransit bus driver smiles when Annie says it is her guide dog’s new bed.

The transition does not go well; Bailey applies passive resistance, unwilling to get off the old bed; Annie must wrestle the old bed from under Bailey’s large Labrador butt, and afterward, convince Bailey the new fleece-topped cuddly bed is not a huge toy. Bailey ignores Annie’s professions and verbal coaxing, like, “You will be warmer, right Buddy?” and so on. He paws at it, finds the fabric handle and drags it from one side of the office to the other and eventually, with a few treats, and the “place” command, he takes a nap upon it. Day two is much the same: enter the office, paw at it, fling the bed around like it is a hover craft, and afterwards, decides he will take a nap under the desk instead. Okay, thinks Annie, he will go to the bed when he wants to curl up into a doggie-ball.

Day three is much like day two with one exception: he tries to drag the bed while Annie and the computer tech are troubleshooting. Annie has to take charge and put an end to the shenanigans. Luckily for Bailey, the tech is a pet lover and he approve of the tough love modality.

It is now the weekend, and Annie anticipates the traveling dog bed shenanigans will continue. Annie wonders what is going on inside Bailey’s peanut, tries and fails to think like a dog. Is he confused? Maybe he really does see the bed as a huge fluffy, dog toy? It is a sobering thought and might be a little unfair for Annie to think this about her sweet and loyal guide dog who is also a dog possessing intelligent disobedience skills.

Thank You, Manor Club

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Earlier in the week, I did a presentation about service dogs helping veterans. The location was THE MANOR CLUB, https://m.facebook.com/themanorclubofpelham/?refid=46&__xts__%5B0%5D=12.%7B%22unit_id_click_type%22%3A%22graph_search_results_item_tapped%22%2C%22click_type%22%3A%22result%22%2C%22module_id%22%3A1%2C%22result_id%22%3A1458319901116532%2C%22session_id%22%3A%22bb84a772b4a0f2cde0010ae473072f3d%22%2C%22module_role%22%3A%22ENTITY_PAGES%22%2C%22unit_id%22%3A%22browse_rl%3Ac8eff228-77e7-1485-2242-72f97b574782%22%2C%22browse_result_type%22%3A%22browse_type_page%22%2C%22unit_id_result_id%22%3A1458319901116532%2C%22module_result_position%22%3A0%7D a women’s club in Pelham Manor, New York. 30 folks were there andI opted to attend the lunch so I could get to know the members. How could I have known that one of the members was friends with a couple I also know? It is a small world, for sure, .

Because of the six-degree level of association, I felt comfortable and relaxed, a good thing when the performance anxiety is at its’ highest.

Good food and good conversation made both me and my guide dog, Bailey settle in and enjoy the afternoon. The only glitch was Bailey’s restlessness; he eventually was deemed so pathetic, a member offered her jacket for him to lay upon after it was clear he did not want to lay on the cold, hard, floor beside the podium. Even after Bailey’s disruptions, the presentation was well-received and the Q & A was even better. I hope to return to talk about my new book, WORDS OF LIFE: POEMS AND ESSAYS planned for a March 2019 release, in the new year.

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by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 1

12 Years Young

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Birthday Wishes for our Verona who is 12 years young. We have known her since 2009, when she was two years old. She guided me with focus and precision until age seven, at which time decided to let us know she didn’t want the job anymore. She comforted my clients during times of emotional pain, eased the physical pain of adults and children with pet-assisted therapy, and while she worked, was by my side for presentations and workshops.

Now she enjoys her retirement being a cherished pet and we couldn’t have chosen a more loving and intelligent dog. We love you, sweet Verona.

Verona
By Ann Chiappetta

I wait for the knock
Once it comes my life will change forever

Since I arrived
For two days and nights

For my entire life until now –

I’ve waited
Unprepared
Searching

I sit on the bed
Wondering how it will feel an hour from now
And go numb with nerves

Question scroll across the marquee of my mind
What will she be like?
Will she like me, learn to love me?

The hot red letters of doubt scroll past
Can she guide me?
Will I be able to trust her?

Then the knock comes and my heart jumps
“Come in.” I say
Hoping I can open my heart with as much ease as the door.

I hear her nails click on the floor
I put out a hand, touch her head
She licks me, tail wagging
“Ann, this is Verona.” the trainer says

I don’t really know what to say or how to feel
But her presence soothes me

“Aren’t you a beautiful girl?” I coo as the trainer leaves
We sit on the floor together

The marquee of doubts vanishes
The blocky, red letters fade
Replaced by a message of calm, canine acceptance
Dressed in ebony

She settles her head in my lap
Each stroke of my hand
Strengthens the hope, quiets the fear
The questions dissipate with the knowledge
— Stroke by stroke —
That she is the one who will lead me

January 2009

This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blankEither add alt text or mark the image as decorative. Black lab Verona’s face with snow on her nose.