|STATUS||Retired soldier & currently a student|
|HOBBIES||Triathlon, training for the Paralympics|
|GUIDE DOG||Night – male black Labrador|
Achiya Klein, a strapping 22-year-old officer in an elite commando unit, led his men into a terrorist tunnel outside of Gaza in November 2013. Their task was to destroy the tunnel. Unfortunately they triggered a booby-trap setting off a massive explosion that killed four terrorists and severely wounding Achiya. Taking the brunt of the blast, Achiya suffered extensive injuries, especially the devastating loss of his eyesight.
“I woke up from the coma and could not see. The doctors hoped to give me back my vision, but after many surgeries, they failed,” said Achiya. “My left eye sees large blobs of colour, and my right eye is gone.”
Born and raised in an orthodox family, Achiya is the fifth of six children. He grew up in a religious kibbutz near Jerusalem.
After being discharged from the hospital, Achiya realized he had to set new goals. “I knew immediately my old life was over and that I had to get on with the task of living.” Achiya said, “Because I am athletic, I got easily frustrated by how slowly I moved using a cane. I knew I needed a dog.”
In April 2015, Achiya was partnered with Night, a very large but sweet black Labrador. “Our first walk together was amazing. It was like gliding on air.” The two became fast friends and the relationship is growing stronger each day.
Achiya plans to go back to school for International Relations, and he has set himself a goal to compete in the triathlon at the Paralympic games. “I train twice a day to prepare,” he reports. “There is a 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run. Training helps me stay focused on the future, instead of sitting alone thinking about the past.”
During the final week of class, Achiya walked unassisted through the busy streets of Rehovot. He moved so quickly that it was hard for our instructor (following at a distance) to keep up. “With Night, I feel ready for anything.”
Our first walk together was amazing. It was like gliding on air.
A full guide dog partnership costs the Israel Guide Dog Centre £45,000 and our clients nothing, as we give them this service free of charge. To help us provide more trained guide dogs for people like Achiya please donate today.