Anastasia Pagonis was only 14 when she began to lose her vision completely out of the blue. It was not known what was causing it. Besides being a pretty scary time, this vision loss came as an extra blow to the young girl because she’d always been so active. As her father, Peter Pagonis, stated in an interview, she had always been fond of sports and had been known for playing both soccer and lacrosse. But with the vision loss came a bunch of new changes, one of them being that she was now taking up swimming.
Peter noted that when Anastasia began having vision problems, they started taking her to the pool. He also pointed out that they quickly noticed she seemed to possess a natural talent for swimming. Anastasia started to swim and was enjoying it. But then she fully lost her sight and that plunged her into a depression. She didn’t want to return to the pool. However, that didn’t last long. She eventually made her way through her depression thanks to her guide dog, Radar.
Anastasia was introduced to her guide dog through the guide dog group, Puppy with a Purpose, who provides people with service dogs. It was Radar who helped to make her feel more confident. As the guide dog trainers who work with both the guide dogs and the people they get paired with noted, the two made an instantly good pairing. The news video perfectly captured how well Anastasia and Radar work together.
While watching the video below, you can tell that the two have a lot of love and a lot of trust for one another. Everyone interviewed only has praise for the two of them. Anastasia’s father, Peter, could only describe Radar as “the best dog ever” – a sentiment that his daughter very much agrees with. Anastasia had also mentioned that her guide dog has given her a new-found confidence in order to take on the challenges of life. This also helped to prompt her back into the pool, a move that resulted in her going on to be a paralympic swimmer in the upcoming 2021 Olympics.
Watch the video below: