- Late last year, Katana, a Shiba Inu, completely lost her eyesight.
- Her owner, Kyle Rohrig, decided to take her on a 1100-mile-long hike to help restore her self esteem.
- After completing the trail, Katana regained the confidence to be able to navigate on her own.
When you’re used to hiking long-distance trails, you can definitely lose your confidence when life literally blindsides you.
Such was the case for 8-year-old Shiba Inu, Katana. It was three years ago when she and her owner Kyle Rohrig of Navarre were in the midst of a 2,650-mile hike on the west coast on the Pacific Crest Trail when the canine started to go blind in her left eye due to glaucoma. They left the trail and Katana received surgery before returning to complete it. However, less than two years later, she started going blind in the right eye as well.
The dog’s cheerful personality was replaced with a timid and apprehensive one. Rohrig said, “She seemed unsure of herself.”
Rohrig, determined to help her gain back her self-esteem, made the decision to hike a trail from Big Cypress National Preserve near Miami to Fort Pickens together with her. He estimated the 1,100-mile trek across Florida would take about 2 to 3 months. It proved much more difficult than Rohrig thought.
He said he and Katana would sometimes wade through waist-high water, mud or swamp for miles. Katana still managed to hike around 200 miles on her own, but when she and Rohrig hit a block in the road, he’d carry the 21-pound dog on his back. They reached the end of the trail by March.
Rohrig says that Katana loved the freedom to explore during their hike. Also, he was happy to report that the journey had successfully restored her self-confidence. “Katana went from cautious and timid to confident and curious.”
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