Kyle Rohrig and his fearless dog Katana are true hikers at heart. Used to the rugged trails, they've completed the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail together, and were in the middle of a 2,650-mile hike of the Pacific Crest Trail when glaucoma clouded Katana's left eye.
By, 10 May 2019
Kyle returned home to get his beloved pet the urgent surgery she needed, but soon enough, Katana also lost sight in her right eye, making her completely blind.
A deep dive into darkness
Of course, losing one of her most important senses changed Katana’s life quite drastically. “She was very jerky in her movements and would second guess herself at every turn,” said Kyle.
“All of this seemed pretty normal given her new circumstances, but due to her personality and past accomplishments, this was heart-breaking to witness.”
Though Kyle was in despair at his best friend’s loss of confidence, he didn’t want to give up on her. On the contrary, he wanted to do everything in his power to give her the joy in life she used to have. And there was only one way to do that: get her back on the trails.
Last-ditch effort to save her spirit
Kyle decided he would take Katana with him on a 1,100-mile hike on the Florida Trail. And his plan worked. With every passing day, Katana regained the courage she used to have. She even hiked 200 miles of the trail herself, though Kyle carried her for most of the way.
But this hike certainly changed the pair’s lives: “Before the hike, when she made a mistake or bumped into something, she would clam up and abandon whatever it was she was doing. Now when she makes a mistake or bumps into something while playing, she just takes it in stride and doesn’t even seem to register it.”
“She’s back to her old self and old shenanigans – I couldn’t be more happy or proud.”
What an inspiring tail!