Thought Wheel

From the mind of Ann Chiappetta

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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The Authenticity Gnome

| Filed under Relationships Uncategorized

I picked out another fossilized pine needle from my sock; it was so dry I thought it was a tooth pick. How did it get in my shoe, then poke through my sock and the my tender tootsie? I believe it is the curse of the authenticity gnome. Yes, the bug-eyed eccentric mini-man is related to the elusive cousin, the elf on the shelf and looks similar to its country cousin, the garden gnome. It takes the needles from the old Christmas trees and sprinkles them into the radiator, the closet, and the bowl of water left for the dogs. This nefarious little creature also infuses the needles with a special energy that pushes them out from under the vacuum and broom.

You see, it does these things to keep us from deciding to opt for a fake tree, what is now called a fiber optic tree. It works like this: when a human is picking the old pine needles from the clogged vacuum, the human thinks, I should really buy a fake tree so I don’t have to do this anymore. Then the human looks off into the distance, recalling the many holidays, the smell of fresh balsam and gifts given that brought smiles and thanks and as the human sets down the unclogged vacuum, the thought of the facsimile tree is wiped from the human’s frontal lobe by a magical flick of a stubby authenticity gnome finger. Classic reverse psychology and it works. I wonder if they get kick backs from the tree farms.

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

Ahead of Schedule!

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

For Immediate Release

Contact: Ann Chiappetta, author 914-393-6605 [email protected]

Writer tells Compelling Tale, and it is all for the love of dogs
New Rochelle, New York — October 24, 2017 – Local author and poet, Ann Chiappetta, celebrates the release of her second book, a memoir titled, “Follow Your Dog: a Story of Love and Trust”.
Legally blind since 1993, Chiappetta received her first guide dog from Guiding Eyes for the Blind in 2009. The nonfiction book tells of her struggles growing up as a visually impaired child and learning how to cope with progressive vision loss while working and raising her family. Throughout the book, her relationship with each dog in her life at the time shares a prominent place.

“It’s all about the dog,” she says, summing up being out in public with her guide dog, adding, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The latter half of the book focuses on the human and canine bond that develops when matched with a guide dog. Chiappetta writes, from the back cover: “With this book, I hope to take the reader on a journey of understanding: learning what it’s like to overcome the darker side of disability by walking the path of independence with a canine partner. “
Chiappetta will be scheduling book signings and readings throughout the United States, beginning with a book signing at Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights on December 9. The book is available from popular eBook and print on demand booksellers.

To purchase Ann’s book, go to http://www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/
Or, to access Ann’s schedule of book signings and interviews, past interviews, or request her as a guest speaker, go to http://www.annchiappetta.com

To find out more about the publisher, go to http://www.dldbooks.com
To find out more about Guiding Eyes for the Blind, visit http://www.guidingeyes.org

Support Indy Authors on Independence Day

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

Yes, readers, thanks to www.smashwords.com Upwelling is now half price, that’s right, just $1.50 in the downloadable file of your choice. Just put my name in the search field and follow the link to purchase Upwelling at a 50% discount. For the month of July, you can find thousands of eBooks, some for free. I hope you take a look at the sale on www.smashwords.com and load up your eBook reader or tablet and support independent authors everywhere on Independence Day by purchasing a few titles.
Have a meaningful and fun Fourth of July and stay safe and strong.

Life Lessons From bob

| Filed under Uncategorized

My sister Karla spoke about her fondest memories of our dad during his memorial service in January. As I listened to her recollections, I was reminded of my own with Dad. There is so much to sift through; so many things I want to remember forever, it’s overwhelming. Because I cannot possibly put them all down at once, I have decided that whenever I feel the need to work through the grief and loss of losing Dad, I am going to blog about him.

For instance, Karla spoke of being awakened at dawn to go fishing, bribed with coffee and doughnuts, casting off and trolling Long Island Sound for blues or stripers. Sometimes we would jig for bunkers, a popular bait fish. The days were long, sometimes intolerable due to motion sickness, but they were all spent with Dad. From age 10 to 14 I lived on that boat every weekend. One summer Dad took me, my stepmom, Helen and her sister law and kids on a ride around the Long Island Sound. While on the way back to our dock in Cos Cob, we were hit by a squall. Dad did a very smart thing, braving the 6 foot swells, he ran full throttle and got us behind a small island just outside the harbor. We tried to anchor but were blown ashore. All that time he kept his cool, got me to get everyone below and put on life vests but yelled at the others to stop screaming and panicking. I got to ride out the storm on the deck with Dad, and he told me what to do if he got hurt, how to call in an S.O.S., etc. Thank God it didn’t come to that but I remember he said I earned his respect that day.

I can thank Dad for teaching me how to stay calm and think things out even in high stress situations, a skill that helps me in my chosen profession. Let’s face it, when a client becomes argumentative, threatens to hurt someone, or is combative, the more they escalate, the calmer I become. It’s saved my ass many times.
. It certainly came in handy when I lost my vision and needed to keep a level head when lost or confronted with a situation in which my brain and common sense, not my sight could help me.

I miss those life lessons Dad strived to teach me and I am fortunate to have spent the time I did with him.

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