Blind Hiker’s Guide Dog Takes Early Retirement

<i> Associated Press</i>

Orient, the German shepherd that accompanied the first blind man to walk the entire 2,143-mile length of the Appalachian Trail, will soon be orienting himself to a whole new lifestyle.

The 8-year-old guide dog who sniffed and spied the trail for owner Bill Irwin retired Saturday. He suffers from arthritis in his hip. “He’ll just lie around, eat and sleep,” Irwin said.

The dog was featured in two books: “Blind Courage,” Irwin’s 1992 account of the journey along the mountain range from Georgia to Maine, and “Orient: Hero Dog Guide of the Appalachian Trail,” a children’s book published this year.