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.]
John Taylor II and service dog Arla June
When John Taylor retired from the Army with medals, stars, commendations and ribbons he earned serving in the Persian Gulf and Iraq, he also brought home severe symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Disturbing images, physical distress, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping were among his daily struggles, and he became reclusive.
Now Arla June, a “gentle, attentive and sweet” yellow Lab promises to change John’s life for the better. “She communicates with me and knows when to give me space,” he says. “She also isn’t high-spirited or jumpy and knows that I’m not into that.” Arla June will join John’s wife, Jill, their two daughters, ages 10 and 15, and two unruly schnauzers. “The dogs will do great with Arla and I’m hoping she teaches them some manners!” John says with a laugh.
John also looks forward to getting out more in public with Arla June and visiting his old Army buddy in St. Petersburg. Trips to Disney with his girls will be more fun, and he will even bring Arla June along when he volunteers with Southeastern Guide Dogs.
“I tend to be the quiet person in the group,” John says. “I want to come out of my shell and talk to people but it’s hard for me to get started. I just know that Arla June is going to be a great fit for me.”
Arla June is named in memory of Arla June Decker by her community at Fiesta Grove RV Resort with their 2016 Walkathon fundraising efforts. Arla June was full of energy and loved to dance, do fitness, and have fun.