Man and his blind dog complete thru-hike of Florida Trail

While Kyle Rohrig’s little canine hiking companion, Katana, recently lost her eyesight, she has kept her spirit of adventure.

The pooch is a Shiba Inu, a Japanese breed of hunting dog. Glaucoma caused her to lose one of her eyes at age 5 and her other eye shortly after she turned 8 late last year.

In earlier years, Katana had joined her owner for long-distance treks on paths such as the Appalachian Trail, on which she was able to walk more than 30 miles per day on her own.

Her total blindness came about two months before Rohrig’s planned hike on the Florida National Scenic Trail, which stretches more than 1,100 miles between Big Cypress National Preserve by Miami and Fort Pickens near Pensacola.

“On this hike, with her recently becoming completely blind, I was really nervous about how she would do,” said Rohrig, 29. “I was worried she would be miserable and I would be miserable, but she rose to the occasion and did a lot better than I thought she would.

“She was happy playing on the trail and she would take the lead sometimes. I don’t know how, but she would stay down the center of the trail. It was really emotional for me to see how well she did in her current circumstances.”

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