John Yarina calls Ferndale, Michigan home where he lives with his mom and dad. John is known and loved by his close group of friends and family. Tuesday nights are secured for game night with friends, and when he is not acting as an Awana Cubbie Leader, John can be found playing on his computer or gaming on his PS4. No matter what the season - sports are on TV at the Yarina household. John lives with a muscle disease called mitochondrial disease that can impact almost all parts of the body. Muscle weakness, pain, low muscle tone, exercise intolerance, vision and/or hearing problems may also occur. Specifically, John experienced seizures due to his condition.

Although his support network is strong, something was missing in John’s life. “My friends work Monday through Friday. They are finishing school and getting married and having kids. They are moving on with their lives and I am not.” shares John.

He found what he was searching for at the doors of The Ability Center. Our assistance dog match process is designed to pair dogs with the exact needs of our consumers. Through the interview process, we learned about John's needs and what mattered most to him in a therapy dog companion.

Temple is a black Labrador retriever obtained through French Creek Labradors. She was fostered by Penny Miller and Chris Demecs and was trained at Gus Harrison by Douglas B.

John’s authentic love for dogs is evident in his considerate care for his new companion. “John would pet a dog all day if he could,” shares a close friend. You may notice Temple's dark green leash and collar compliments of John’s admiration for Michigan State.

When Temple joined the family, John struck the perfect balance. During the weekends, he hangs out with friends and family, and during the week, Temple is there to help when needed and bring him comfort always.

John says, “Thank you for raising and caring for Temple. She gives me more confidence to go out in the community.” The newfound relationship will provide more than just physical assistance for John, Temple will be his constant companion and help when he is lonely. “I will give her love, loyalty, and friendship."