Kyle Rohrig’s dog Katana may be completely blind but that hasn’t stopped her from completing her long-distance trek across the state of Florida. Katana is a Shiba Inu and as a Japanese hunting breed, traveling for many miles on wild terrain is second nature to her. At the age of five, Katana lost one of her eyes to Glaucoma. The condition took out Katana’s other eye just three years later.
Before she became completely blind, Katana was accustomed to long hikes. In her early years, Rohrig took her for hikes along the Appalachian Trail and she was able to log more than 30 miles a day on her own. When Katana lost her other eye, Rohrig wasn’t sure how his beloved pup would fare on the trail from that point on.
“[With] her recently becoming completely blind, I was really nervous about how she would do. 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,” the 29-year-old Navarre, Florida resident told The Daytona Beach News-Journal.
Indeed, when Rohrig decided to take on the Florida National Scenic Trail, he was surprised that Katana made it through. “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,” Rohrig said.
The Florida National Scenic Trail takes spans more than 1,100 miles from Big Cypress National Preserve near Miami to Fort Pickens near Pensacola. Not only did Rohrig and Katana endure a heat wave during their trek, but they also had to traverse patches of mud and water. For those parts, Rohrig proudly carried 21-pound Katana on his back. He carried Katana for an estimated 800 miles of the trail but for him, it was a labor of love.