Man Helps His Best Friend Deal With Blindness

 

Sorry it's been awhile since my last post. It's been a really rough month without Princess. And when I saw this story, I was reminded, once again, of the love and bond that humans and their animals have., and I thought you could do with a sweet story this week.

Kyle Rohrig is a hiker...and not just a normal hiker, he regularly hikes hundreds and thousands of miles, all with his loyal best friend, Katana.

Katana is a shiba inu, and she LOVED these hikes. Until about two years ago

The two were hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. This is a hike that spans 2,650 miles starting in Campo, California, near the U.S. Mexico border, and winding its way through, California, Oregon and Washington state, ending at the U.S. Canada Border. The lowest point of the trail is just 180 miles above sea level, while the highest is 13,153 feet. This is a hike that takes experienced hikers 3-5 months to complete!

Well, Kyle and Katana were about halfway through their hike when Kyle realized something was wrong with Katana's left eye.

They took a break from the hike and returned home so Katana could see the vet, who told Kyle that her eye was clouding over from glaucoma and she needed surgery.

Once she recovered, the two resumed their hike and finished it.

But, two years later, Katana's vision problems got worse, and she ended up blind in both eyes.

Kyle said the blindness put Katana into a severe depression, she had trouble navigating even around the house and he was heartbroken to see how his once confident dog became skittish and timid.

So he decided to do something about it.

He started doing some training at home, teaching Katana to be confident in navigating the world on her own.

He knew that Katana could memorize the layout of the house, but he wanted to help her feel even more confident. So, when he thought she was ready, he decided to take her on another hike, the Florida Trail, which winds 1,100 miles through the swamps and rivers of Florida's Everglades.

They started in January, with Katana perched on Kyle's back. But for a little while each day, when it was safe, Kyle would put Katana down and using their training, he would help her navigate the trail on her own. That's when Kyle said something magical happened.

Every day, Katana gained more confidence in walking on her own, listening carefully to Kyle's commands and instruction.

72 days later, in late March, they finished the trail. Kyle said Katana walked more than 200 miles of the trail on her own telling The Dodo, "I don't know exactly how she did it, but she could lead me down the trail perfectly, without hitting a single obstacle while accounting for every twist and turn in the trail. Katana went from cautious and timid to confident and curious."

He says that now Katana has her confidence back, they'll continue to hike together until Katana makes it clear she doesn't want to do it anymore.

I think the one thing to point out here is that while Katana walked 200 miles of trail on her own, that means Kyle CARRIED her for more than 800 miles.

Now THAT...my friends, is love.

Check out their adventures on Instagram!

 
 
 

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