Thought Wheel

Ann Chiappetta


| Filed under Guide dogs

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Before I answer what I’m grateful for, I want to describe another dog guide adventure. We set out to get a bite to eat for lunch, an ordinary thing for folks who can see but full of unpredictability for someone with vision loss. Fortunately Verona and I have been working together for almost five years now and we do what I call auto pilot. Whenever we are out on a routine walk, she knows what I want and how to get there from my office. For instance, I say “bank” and she will take us the entire way without me having to direct her.  Door to door service, like a canine limousine.


On this day, though, I changed it up, crossing to the opposite side of our normal route to keep her interest and avoid some of the afternoon foot traffic. We get to the corner and begin crossing the one way street with traffic coming toward us. I listen, hear the traffic begin to merge the other direction, and give the forward command. We are about ten steps into the street when she puts on the brakes and pushes me aside. I praise her, and then feel the pressure of a quiet car drive past. I praise her again, then give the forward command and we take a step, then she again puts on the brakes and I can feel her looking to our left. There must be another car waiting to turn right onto the street. I wait for it to turn in front of us but it doesn’t. Now we are standing in the middle of the street and I feel like we’re at the edge of danger like in the Old West.   Will the car lurch ahead or can we trust that they will allow us to get to the corner?  I count to three, then realize the car is most likely gesturing us to go. The moment I think this, Verona pulls ahead and we are once again safely across the street.

I tell her to turn left and I take a deep breath as we wait to cross the next street. We get lunch, then make it back to work without another traffic check.


Now, back to what I’m grateful for: my dog, my independence, and folks who will read this and learn a little more about what it’s like living with vision loss.

May those who read this have a loving, safe, and content Thanksgiving.



by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Protest in support of Guide Dog Team

| Filed under writing

Passengers Protest In Support of Dog Guide Team

By Ann Chiappetta


People with disabilities are often challenged whenever engaging with the general public. Take Albert Rizzi. He was returning from a business trip, catching a connecting flight from Philadelphia to his home town near Islip, New York. Albert is blind and travels with his dog guide, Doxy. They boarded the U.S. Airways 35 seat turbo jet and like the other passengers, strapped in and waited to take off.

Based on what Albert and the news media have described, the flight attendant did not act upon the simple task of re-seating he and his dog to a more appropriate seat, to ensure both their safety and comfort. By not doing this, the flight attendant made a serious mistake and it resulted in an argument culminating in Albert being unfairly treated and escorted off the plane.

Due to the apparent ignorance and negative attitude of the flight attendant, not only was Albert supported by his fellow passengers but the same passengers all left the plane in an act of solidarity.


What I find the most intriguing about this situation is that folks protested the unfair treatment of Albert in an act of boycotting, by walking off the plane.   If you may recall, the definition of boycotting is a group’s refusal to have commercial dealings with some organization in protest of its policies. Based on what I’ve read and from what Albert has described and the statements of the other passengers, I believe this indeed happened. U.S. Airways has a lot to answer for and I hope Albert receives an apology and compensation for the way he was treated. I also hope this incident acts as the fulcrum to fuel better training for the airline industry.

In the meantime, I will not do business with this airline   in support of Albert and the other passengers.


To read more try the following links:

1010WINS radio link:

For a video blog on Yahoo Trending:–service-dog-are-kicked-off-flight-172524277.html?vp=1

And, the article on CNN:



by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Veterans Day

| Filed under writing

Veterans Day

By Ann Chiappetta

from The Matilda Magazine November 11 Edition



I thought it would be most appropriate if I wrote this week’s article celebrating Veterans Day. No, I am not a veteran. I am, however, a veteran’s daughter and most notably, the spouse of a veteran. I also work closely with veterans and their families as a readjustment counseling therapist for the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Working with veterans is rewarding and I am honored to be able to assist the men and women who sacrificed so much to uphold our Country’s freedoms.

Did you know that Veterans Day was once called Armistice Day?


According to the Department of Veterans Affair’s website,, in 1938, the United States Congress approved an Act that made the 11th of November a legal holiday known as Armistice Day

Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II, and the Korean War, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans. The day would recognize Veterans of all wars.


Interestingly, because the World War I armistice was reached on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, celebrations originally reflected this with parades and memorials not beginning before 11 a.m. . . . Now, though, I don’t think many folks appreciate what starting the parades at 11 a.m.  Means.

There is another part of the original Proclamation that is very meaningful:

“…that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples”


This sounds like a day of peace and recognition,  doesn’t it? I like to think of it as an alternative to Independence Day. Finally, I’d like to ask a favor from our readers.

When you see a Veteran, shake their hand and thank them for serving.   It makes all the difference to them because they are usually surprised that we take the time to do it. I asked many a veteran why they are so surprised when thanked for serving. Almost always the answer is, “I was just doing my job.” I don’t know about anyone else, but that sense of duty and responsibility is what keeps me remembering to say thanks.


May all the Veterans and their families have a blessed and safe holiday.






by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

An Update on Our Fundraiser

| Filed under writing


Thanks to some thoughtful folks,  the half way point has been reached thanks to our  friends and family. The Share the Warmth fundraiser to sponsor the January 2014 Graduation at guiding Eyes is now at 54%. I just want to say that I am humbled by the generousity of my family and friends and urge anyone else who has been thinking about supporting our fundraiser to log on to:


Best to all,

Annie and Verona

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Share the Warmth

| Filed under writing

October 2013

Dear Family, friends and colleagues,


In January 2009, I met Verona, the dog who saved my life by giving  me back my independence. This is all possible because of Guiding Eyes for the Blind.  Through Verona, I was   offered  the opportunity to once again walk the path of blindness with dignity and confidence.


January 2014 will celebrate our five year partnership. In the spirit of paying it forward, it is my hope that you will help me by assisting in sponsoring the January 25th, 2014 graduation with a $25 donation, the overall goal being $500. To acknowledge  your support,  for those of you who are local, guiding Eyes is inviting all of you to a pre-graduation lunch and tour of the Guiding Eyes campus as a way to thank you for your gift.


Here are some guide dog facts to help understand just how much time and effort is invested into them.

  • Currently, there over 1000 working  Guiding Eyes teams.
  • Cost      per dog: Approximately $45,000 to breed, raise, train and match a dog, as      well as to support the team throughout their lifetime together.  Both guide dogs and autism service dogs      are provided to their handlers at no charge.
  • Over 7000 teams have      graduated from Guiding Eyes since       it began in 1954
  • Volunteers:      More than 1,400 people support the Guiding Eyes mission in a number of      roles, including puppy raising, fostering members of our breeding colony,      socializing our pups and dogs in training and assisting with events,      administrative tasks and special projects.
  • About 470 pups are weaned annually      – 92% Labs, 8% German Shepherds
  • About half of dogs bred become      guide dogs, autism service dogs or join the breeding program

n  Courtesy of

Now that you know a little bit more about this distinctive and dedicated organization,   I can’t think of any more appropriate way to share the gift of independence with my family, friends, and colleagues. Hosting the January 2014 graduation celebration would mean so much to us and with your support, we can make it happen. In addition to the lunch and campus tour, there will even be puppies available for paw-o-graphs and a kennel tour.

To make your donation, please go to:



To obtain driving directions, go to:

Or, please call me for more information: 914-393-6605.



Annie & Verona





by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Shameless Self Promotion

| Filed under writing

Shameless Self Promotion

Once again, life’s  ever changing patterns have shifted my routines. I’m working an evening shift four days a week in order to bring up my client count. This has thrown a wrench in my gym routine and I’m still adjusting.  The goal for this week is to get there three days and the following week four days.  Another item that has shifted is writing time. Since the byline in the Ziegler is important, it leaves little time to work on my other writing projects, so, I am now going to post these articles here to help me connect with other blog followers. I think this will help me find and stick to a new routine that will increase my output. I get many positive posts whenever I utilize this blog to reach out, so, it only makes sense to use it, right? J   Stay tuned and happy reading.


by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0