Being a visually impaired teenager is very difficult. Anastasia Pagonis is one teenager that has been able to manage her situation with ease thanks to her buddy/guide dog (Radar). After battling anxiety and depression from losing her sight, Anastasia found joy in competitive swimming.
She said, “It’s my happy place. It’s the place where I feel like I don’t have a disability, and I feel like that’s the only place where I feel free. When I dive in the water, it’s just me in the pool, and I feel such a connection with it.”
A professional hockey team and a nonprofit Guide Dog Foundation contacted Anastasia about partnering with Radar. They trained together for several hours each morning at her home till August 19, when they officially teamed up. She has since become more independent.
Anastasia and Radar are currently in Colorado Springs, U.S.A for the Olympic & Paralympic. The teenager is training with other top athletes for the 2021 Paralympics in Tokyo. After just a week, the smart dog has learned familiar routes to help guide Anastasia around the campus.