A man named Kyle Rohrig knew it might be a risk, but it was worth it. His Shiba Inu, Katana, is eight years old and he wanted to take him on a hike down the Florida Trail. The journey would be 1,100 miles and very challenging but doing it with a dog that was blind was an entirely different situation. He knew he would need plenty of patience and perseverance but he was up for the task. Katana is blind now, but back when she still had her sight she loved to hike with her dad. The pair had hiked the entire Appalachian Trail together, a staggering 2,200 mile trek. The two of them were in the midst of a 2,650 hike on the Pacific Crest Trail when Katana was overtaken by glaucoma in her left eye.
Kyle and Katana stopped their hike so that she could have surgery on her eye and as soon as she recovered the vet gave approval for the pair to return to their journey. Sadly, it was just two years later when Katana lost her sight in her remaining right eye. Kyle noticed that her personality changed once she lost her sight completely. The once adventurous and energetic dog became timid and cautious and just overall very unsure of herself. Kyle knew it was possible for Katana to memorize the layout of his home and could live in comfort, but he didn’t want their adventures to end. He had just the thing to build up her confidence again: another epic hike together.
So, he decided to hike the Florida Trail with Katana on his back. The trail was difficult, wet and buggy and often filled with water that went up to Kyle’s waist. In all, it took 72 days and the journey was grueling at times but they made it through. Katana would hike a few miles each day on her own, then Kyle would put her on his back to rest—and it worked out well. Kyle says that after returning home, Katana is a new dog—more adventurous and happy than ever thanks to her recent journey.