Meet Terry and guide dog John

A man pets a black Labrador in a guide dog harness.

Terry praises John as the team successfully stops at a street crossing.

Terry Hemsworth and guide dog John

Bradenton, Florida | Thornbury, Ontario, Canada

A man wearing a blue polo and khaki shorts stands smiling next to a black Labrador in a guide dog harness.

Terry stands with guide dog John at the top of stairs.

Terry Hemsworth’s childhood vision difficulties meant playing at the bottom of the pack in games of inner city fast ball and nighttime bike riding. As an adult, worsening symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa made it more difficult to function as a police officer and detective for the Woodstock City Police Department. He kept his declining vision a secret until age 32, when a talk with a mentor made him re-think the sometimes dangerous job he had loved since becoming a cadet at age 17.

When he began a new career as a successful insurance salesman, Terry relied on his wife, Carol, to drive him around. Then, a chance encounter with a persuasive clerk in a Sarasota grocery reinforced what Carol had said for years: “Terry, you need a guide dog.”

The January class fit perfectly with the Hemsworths’ snowbird schedule in Bradenton, where he lives part of the year to escape Canadian winters. Now, a smart black Labrador named John has shown Terry that he can enjoy greater independence and confidence without relying so heavily on Carol. The father of three and grandfather of eight says that knowing he was losing his sight forced him into life-changing decisions other people don’t have to face. “I realize more and more that John is going to be an important part of my future,” he says.

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

Posted on October 8, 2018 | Category: Blog, Graduates, Our Dogs