For many pet owners, their furry friends are not only part of the family but also their best travel companions, and when they take ill they need to make changes to ensure that they can still enjoy a quality lifestyle.
When his dog lost both of her eyes to glaucoma, Kyle Rohrig did just that. According to ABC Action News, Rohrig, an avid hiker, decided to take his Shiba Inu, Katana, on a 1 800km hike after her eye surgery, just like they’ve always done before she lost her sight.
The eight-year-old dog had been coping with fewer senses for a while, having lost one of her eyes at age five.
Katana has been Rohrig’s hiking buddy for years, walking around 50 kms a day on some trails. When she went blind, Rohrig feared he wouldn’t be able to take her on trails anymore. After two months of rehabilitationt, Rohrig had some concerns as it would sometimes take her minutes to find the courage to hop up or down from the couch or even to cross a threshold from indoors to outdoors and she always needed verbal encouragement to do it.
Rohrig was determined that the best way to ensure her quality of life was to try to help her adapt to her blindness by continuing their hikes together.
Rohrig, one of his friends, and Katana set out on the trail in January, beginning in Big Cypress near Miami and finishing in April at Fort Pickens near Pensacola. Often times, Katana would take the lead and managed to stay directly on the trail.
Luckily, once they embarked on the trail, Katana didn’t seem phased by the new environment and was able to hold her own, using her other senses to guide her.
In areas that were a little too rough or dangerous for the small, 9.5kg dog, Rohrig would carry Katana in his backpack.
Rohrig posted photos and video on his Facebook page showing Katana trekking along the trail. He was even able to guide her with his voice during some difficult portions.