Meet John and service dog Arla June
[Video description for our community of people with vision loss: The tree branches and leaves move in the wind as a man and a yellow Labrador walk across the screen. The man (John) and the dog (Arla June) walk together down a sidewalk. John appears on screen, speaking directly to the camera. The camera zooms in on Arla June and her tail is wagging in slow motion. The image changes to John sitting on a bench, petting Arla June. Photos of the team appear. In the first photo, John is bending over and petting Arla June. In the second photo, John is sitting in a chair, and Arla June is laying on his lap. John holds Arla Junes collar, as he rests his forehead on hers. The image fades into a video of John kissing Arla June’s forehead while sitting on a park bench, and Arla June licks John’s face. John smiles. John and Arla June walk together down a sidewalk on Southeastern Guide Dogs’ campus. John appears on the screen, speaking directly to the camera. The Southeastern Guide Dogs logo appears to finish the video.]
Tom Clary and guide dog Jonesy
Since 1989, persistent health problems have meant medical retirement for Tom Clary. Diabetes destroyed his eyesight, kidney, and pancreas functions, necessitating three transplant surgeries. Currently, Tom is on an insulin pump but says “other than that, I am doing darn good. I’m waking up every morning!” With vision loss he’s gained greater awareness and appreciation of “making the best of what is” and the importance of little things, such as eating well.
Tom is a cheerful and easygoing man with a big heart. After a series of different jobs, he’s spent the past 23 years volunteering at a college in Memphis, heading up the laundry services in the athletic department.
As soon as he met Jonesy, the yellow goldador that is his second guide from Southeastern Guide Dogs, Tom felt he was in good hands. Jonesy is “very sensitive and loving” and, Tom points out, a lot like the woman that he dates. His previous dog, Tahoe, retired recently and is now living with his brother’s family. Tahoe has slowed down over the past year or so, but Tom still likes to keep moving. Tom and Jonesy like to talk, play, walk the track together, and just enjoy being with each other.