Meet Katie and guide dog Jack
Katie Hearn & Guide Dog Jack
Katie Hearn knew her body was trying to alert her to something, with her frequent headaches and eyes that always felt tired. An eye exam revealed a swelling of her optic nerves because of pseudotumor cerebri, a rare disorder related to high pressure around the brain from too much spinal fluid. Even after surgery, her vision continued to narrow, “Like a kaleidoscope,” Katie says.
But Katie’s optimistic outlook didn’t narrow. Before her vision loss, she had landed her dream job as a digital services coordinator for the Atlanta Braves baseball team. “They’ve been 1,000 percent behind me, and they’ve encouraged me,” she says. They are so tightly knit, in fact, that her coworkers raised funds to sponsor two dogs at Southeastern Guide Dogs.
Katie has been making a Braves fan out of her new guide dog, Jack, a curious and affectionate yellow Labrador. “Jack is fun!” she says. “He’s happy and he’s a good listener. Whenever we’re outside and I say, ‘Jack take a break,’ he wants to keep on helping me. He’s sweet.” Katie writes in her gratitude journal every night and admits that Jack has more than one entry. “Having Jack gives me the confidence I need to get out more,” she says. “Through his eyes and my brain, we can go anywhere and do anything.”
Sponsored by Wayne County High School, Jack was named by students who raised funds to help their fellow student—a Southeastern Guide Dogs graduate—give back to the organization. Jack is named after their school’s mascot, a yellow jacket, and was puppy-raised by a teacher at the school.