Eight years ago, Trevor Thomas completely lost his eyesight due to an autoimmune disease. He spent the next several years struggling with the reality of being blind but finally learning to live without his vision. Not long after, he adopted Tennille the Black Lab, and his life took a dramatically positive turn.
Tennille is a guide dog. She has joined Trevor on nearly 6,000 miles’ worth of hiking on some of the most challenging and remote trails in the United States.
One of the things that Trevor adores about hiking is that nature doesn’t discriminate. It treats everyone exactly the same.
Watch him talk more about his love of the wild in this video:
Posted by Trevor Thomas aka Zero/Zero on Friday, March 29, 2013
“I’ve been blind for 8 years. I went blind due to a very rare eye condition. I’d say that’s where my luck started.”
Trevor is remarkably accomplished when it comes to these thru-hikes (hiking a trail from beginning to end). Tennille knows when to warn him of debris in the path, when to duck to avoid hitting his head, and she even helps him get around on his own by identifying where trails intersect.
Following the pair’s graduation from Guide Dogs for the Blind, they dove right into the action, hiking trails like the Mountains to Sea Trail in North Carolina, the Long Trail from Vermont to Canada, and the Tahoe Rim Trail in California and Nevada, where they completed the first solo hike by a blind person and his pup!
Have a look at some of the terrain the pair have traversed: (filmed by a fellow hiker)
All I know is, my dog is spooked by the wind and barely knows her way around the neighborhood, let alone the Appalachian Trail. We’ve got four paws way up for Tennille and her trekking skills, and for Trevor for beating the odds in one of the coolest ways possible.
On his overall experience with Tennille, Trevor says:
“Getting Tennille was probably the best decision I’ve made since going blind. She has changed blindness from a negative to a positive, especially in my interaction with people. Now that I have Tennille people want to engage us, they want to find out more about this amazing dog that I have. She is literally the final piece in the puzzle to be able to undertake this trek working as a team, that’s the only way we’re going to be able to get from one end of this to the other. Just the sheer companionship alone is worth its weight in gold. Tennille’s not only a guide, she’s a friend.”
Featured Image via Trevor Thomas