Ann Chiappetta

Making meaningful connections with others through writing

Artificial Divide Anthology

| Filed under blindness Fiction Guide dogs

Hi readers, check out a new #OwnVoice anthology by authors with visual impairment, the first anthology to include one of my short stories plus over twelve other authors. Read the description and you will understand why it’s a pivotal collection. Thanks to Robert Kingett and Randy Lacey for making it possible, along with Renaissance Press.

I hope you and your friends and colleagues support it by pre-ordering the collection. Thanks for your support, we cannot be a success without readers like you.

Release date is September 15, 2021, order now, why wait?

Artificial Divide Anthology by Renaissance Press

 

Step into a world of rogue screen readers, Braille in fantasy worlds, a friend meeting an acquaintance after several years, and more.

This #OwnVoices anthology features fiction by Blind and visually impaired authors showing readers how they thrive, hurt, get revenge, outsmart bullies, or go on epic adventures. Artificial Divide is an own-voices story collection that captures the many layers of Blindness and, for once, puts visually impaired protagonists in the driver’s seat, letting us glimpse their lives.

When we think about it, we’re not really divided. Stories by Eunice Cooper-Matchett, Anita Haas, Rebecca Blaevoet, Tessa Soderberg, Laurie Alice Eakes, Melissa Yuan, Innes – Jamieson Wolf, Ben Fulton, Felix Imonti, – Niki White, M.

Leona Godin, Ann Chiappetta, Lawrence Gunther, Heather Meares, and Jameyanne Fuller. Artificial Divide book cover, featuring bold white letters on a black background. A rolling cane tip slashes through the title diagonally, from the top left to the bottom right. Each I has a round cane tip replacing the dot

 

Links for preordering the paperback, eBook and Audio formats

https://tinyurl.com/b8mk6wxb

 

https://tinyurl.com/s2tz367e

 

Acrostic Poem for Guiding Eyes

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem writing

Hello all-

It’s always a pleasure to put my writing and performing skills to good use, like when helping out Guiding Eyes for the Blind www.guidingeyes.org . Here’s  something I wrote to help them out.

Hi my name is Ann Chiappetta and I am a Guiding Eyes graduate.

I’d like to share what Guiding Eyes means to me

In the form of an acrostic poem.

Guide dog mobility instructors who are the best in the business

Unparalleled   and internationally recognized brood and stud program

Increased independence

Doggone bestest puppy program

Excellent follow up services for graduates and their dogs

 

Developing programs for athletes

, active older adults, and people with additional disabilities

Organization who believes in the potential of it’s clients

Graduates like me who

are recipients of

confident, capable  and loving canine partners.

Thanks for listening.

Click here for the audio:

 

 

 

 

A Match in March

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs

 

This post is for my best friend and buddy, Bailey. He’s full of heart and  has cream colored fur. He’s got a big head and beautiful brown eyes. People say his face is puppy like and his big brown nose and ears make him look both regal and goofy depending on the situation. He is a 75 lb. yellow lab from Guiding Eyes for the Blind. His first family and puppy raiser are from Maine. He loves to swim and play.

 

He loves my hubby and daughter and shares our home with another dog, two cats and two guinea pigs. Last night the cat curled up beside him, it’s paw on his back. 🐾

He’s kept me safe and guided me through so much in life and has been there during some of the darkest moments of it.

 

The unconditional regard of a dog for it’s partner is felt and expressed through the ebb and flow of life and I will do my best not to take this for granted because it is a gift to be honored, cherished and earned.

Here’s to 6 years together, Bailey.

This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative. yellow lab Bailey in our livingroom

 

 

Celebrating National Guide Dog Month

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem writing

Hi all,
Below is a link to the ACB Voices blog. My audio and text of the poem titled “Verona” was featured today in celebration of National Guide Dog Month. Please visit and share the post with other guide and service dog handlers, friends, family and dog lovers.
Hi Annie, Thank you so much for submitting this poem, it is beautiful and the audio is such a nice touch. We posted this to the ACB Voices blog, which you can access through this link: Vinterviewveronaacbvoiceseronaacbvoices

Black lab with snow sprinkled on the nose

Black lab Verona with snow on her nose

Home is Where the Bark is

| Filed under Guide dogs Relationships

Sometimes one of the dogs does something that is funny and openly undignified., at least that is how we humans view it. We love them for living in the moment and finding opportunity to fulfill their doggy drive for affection, comfort, and sustenance. Below is a photo of yellow lab Bailey foregoing his training, and his timing is perfect.
PD: Bailey sitting on the bed behind Annie, who is also sitting on the bed eating a yogurt. Bailey’s head is on her shoulder, staring fixedly at the yogurt.
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Over the Rainbow Bridge

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs

Verona Chiappetta

This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative. Verona and I on a bench outside


November 24, 2006 – May 31, 2020
Guiding Eyes 2V406
Beloved pet and retired guide dog, black Labrador retriever, Verona, died today of natural causes and expired peacefully with compassion and care with the assistance of a veterinarian, surrounded by her loved ones.
Known as Happy Pants to the Guiding Eyes staff instructors during training, Verona has forever touched the lives of her puppy raiser family, her handler and family and countless others.

Verona worked as a guide dog and as a therapy dog for trauma patients. After retiring from being a guide dog, she helped children read through a program for the Good Dog Foundation.

Verona’s favorite pastime was watching the waterfowl on Greenwood Lake and walking in the woods. She loved cats and other small animals.

We will miss her soft, velvet ears, gentle kisses, and good nature. Thank-you, sweet girl for being the best canine ambassador, for helping Jerry hunt the turkey and keep him company upstate. Most of all, thank-you for helping me learn to fly.

Over the Rainbow Bridge

There is a place of rainbow dreams, of lush green grass, and silver streams. It brings me comfort to know you’re there, playfully romping without a care. Always happy, the freedom to roam, peaceful, joyful in your new home. You never criticize, you never judge, you were always there for me to love. Though you live on in my heart I know, it’s just so hard to let you go! I know someday we’ll meet again, you’ll run to greet me, my best friend. Together forever we’ll finally be, over the rainbow, just you and me…
Verona's face with snow on her nose

Guide Dog Lifestyle: Is This What You Want?

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Relationships Writing Life

Annie and Bailey outside the HotelWorking with a guide dog brings along perks, like being offered the aisle seat at events, being given the extra leg room seats on trains, and pre-boarding when flying. These, of course, are the obvious advantages.

I would most likely be presented with most of these as a white cane user when traveling without a guide dog, although, perhaps the extra leg room seats would not be part of it. Traveling with a disability can be challenging enough, thank-you.

My dog guides me safely while also assisting in softening the stressors of traveling. A dog also helps with engaging in social events.

A few of the little-known perks are humorous, along with being practical. For instance, my dog, like many other guide dogs, is an expert at finding friends and family during parties and in crowds. Both my current dog and my retired dog have found my husband or other guide dog users countless times. They are creatures of habit and will most likely show the handler familiar locations and individuals. I think of it as, “Hey, is this the door you want? Or Hey, we know this person, maybe you want to talk to them again so I can say hi to their dog?

The most recent time I recall being surprising as well as useful was during a convention. Upon exiting the elevator, Bailey began pulling harder and I knew he was on a mission. He brought me up to my friend and her new dog. The same friend who trained beside us for two weeks when I first got Bailey. It was very smart, for a dog. 😊 I didn’t even think he would remember her, but he did. We also had this sneaking suspicion Bailey and her new dog, (not the one who trained with us) and Bailey knew one another from the kennel, acting like old friends.

Some folks say being a guide dog user is too-time consuming, that it’s all about the dog, and the extra attention is difficult to manage. Personally speaking, I prefer the social and travel advantages my dog provides. It far outweighs the annoyances.
Annie and Bailey outside the Hotel

Are Those French Fries?

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs

Being a guide dog handler is probably the best choice I’ve made since going blind. It gives me much more than just a canine partner and increased safety. Sometimes it even brings comic relief.

A few months ago, I left work and walked around the corner to relieve my guide dog, Bailey. We began the usual routine, and then he started to do something odd, he lay down. I bent to try to make sure he wasn’t eating anything, and, being a Labrador, he sure was munching on something. I pulled him away and made him spit it out but he’d already swallowed it. I needed to know what was all over the sidewalk, so I got out my phone and called AIRA. The agent identified the scattered items through the camera on my mobile phone as French fries, to my relief. If Bailey was going to be corrected for temptation, I needed to know what had done the tempting. The agent’s quick and accurate scan of the area confirmed it was something that would not cause Bailey any harm. This helped me breathe a sigh of relief; it was only a few French fries. We could deal with it.

This is also a reminder that while Bailey has an advanced canine degree as a guide dog, he is still a dog and will give into temptation. The counterbalance to this is knowing that when he does his job, when he pulls us from a driver turning right on red as we try to cross a street, or when he shoves me away from the speeding bicyclist hurtling down the sidewalk, a few French fries is acceptable.

Guide Dogs In Rochester

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem writing Writing Life

Jerry, Bailey and I rode the Amtrak up to Rochester, New York to attend the 2019 American Council of the Blind National Conference and Convention from July 4-12. The train ride was pleasant and allowed Jerry to relax, sparing him from the 7-hour drive. Bailey slept the entire time, except for guiding me to the lavatory. Once we arrived, the walking shoes went on and the convention navigation began. We walked a familiar circuit from one hotel, then on the skyway, and into the convention center and the sister hotel. We also found it quite pleasant to travel on the street level, crossing the streets to go from one location to the other. Bailey was happy to do some street work and did a great job recalling the often turn-heavy and difficult routes to the meeting rooms. Jerry, bless his heart, scoped out the area and made his opinion clear, “don’t go out alone at night,”, due to the higher indigent population. The police presence during the day and evening hours while the convention center was open, while necessary, wasn’t very reassuring.

We had a sleep number bed, a spacious room; our key cards didn’t work for more than a few days at a time. The food was good, but the restaurant choices was sparse, and we got snacks from the multi-dollar store down the street and Jerry walked to Dunkin’ for coffee in the morning. The fridge and microwave helped us save some money on expensive meals.

I was asked to co-host the Friends in Art musical showcase, and I said, “OK”. What was I thinking? But I am, admittedly, a closet performer, and the evening was fun and a confidence-builder.

The exhibit hall also allowed me to meet folks who had read my book and allowed me to connect with new readers as well.

My good friend, Cheryl Lawyer and I received awards from GDUI for being advocates for the guide dog movement. More on that later.
Next year is Illinois and I being not sure I will attend, but I do know we will go home with fond memories and a lot to laugh about and remember.

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