Meet John and guide dog J.C.

[Click here for the video audio description for our community with vision loss.]

John Merchant & guide dog J.C.

Brooksville, Florida

guide dog, yellow labrador

John sits on a chair with J.C. in front of him.

One of John Merchant’s favorite things to do in life is to spend time with his five granddaughters. But two and a half years ago, his vision started to change. “After I had cataract surgery, my vision began darkening in my eyes, like a curtain closing,” John explains. His doctor diagnosed him with anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, which causes sudden loss of vision due to an interruption of blood flow to the front of the optic nerve.

This former Marine wasn’t about to let the curtains come down on his life, and with the encouragement of his wife of 42 years and his children, he applied for his first guide dog. John says he couldn’t be happier with J.C., a gentle, loving, and intelligent yellow Labrador. “It’s amazing how he stops me at the curb,” John says. Before getting J.C., John never felt comfortable with a cane. “I’ve stepped off sidewalks, I’ve walked into parked cars on my driveway, I’ve fallen in the grass, but now I can go for walks and feel safe.”

J.C. is a huge blessing for John, but he says the camaraderie of his fellow students and the trainers also mean the world to him. “I know that God had His hand in putting me here at Southeastern Guide Dogs, and God never disappoints,” John says.

Sponsored by the Georgia Puppy Raisers, J.C. is named for Jones County, Georgia, a family-friendly county that is full of history. The businesses and residents in the community have welcomed six guide dog puppies-in-training with open arms.

Do you know someone that could use a guide dog? Encourage them to apply today.

Posted on March 14, 2019 | Category: Blog, Graduates, Our Dogs