Therapy dogs come in all shapes and sizes and represent a whole range of backgrounds. Anyone who has faced trauma knows that sometimes you have to live through something horrible to help another through the same thing.
A 9-year-old Shiba Inu from Georgia is doing just that. Though he was severely burned in a house fire in October 2018, the sweet canine is coming out the other side a changed dog.
Thanks to the folks at Care More Animal Hospital in Martinez, Georgia, Taka has a new lease on life. But his recovery hasn’t been easy.
The burned pup was adopted by veterinarian technician Crystal Lesley, according to WJBF. “He’s mine and I just feel like he was meant to be mine and I don’t know. I just can’t explain it,” she told the news outlet in January.
When Lesley took her newfound friend home, however, he had trouble getting along with her other dogs. “I didn’t know if I was going to be able to keep Taka and it was breaking my heart,” she told WRDW in a more recent interview.
That’s when the Canine Training Project came into play. “They can be trained just like any other dog,” Mandy Foster of the Project told WRDW. “Sometimes it takes a little bit longer, but in Taka’s case he’s nine years old and he has flown through his training. He’s brilliant.”
But Foster is taking Taka’s training even further. More than just about getting along with other dogs, Taka’s sessions have taken a turn toward therapy.
“He’s got the right temperament for it,” Foster said, explaining how she’s training the burn victim for a future in helping other victims at the burn unit. “Of course he has the scars to show for it and he can relate to a lot of the people there so I think it’s going to benefit both him and the patients there.”
“He loves to be loved, he loves to be petted, he loves attention,” Lesley shared with WJBF. “People get afraid to touch him but I’m like ‘please touch him’.”
Sounds like Taka is going to give a lot of hope to plenty of people who can relate to what he’s been through. He seems as sweet as his owner says he is!
“Because of her I can keep Taka,” Lesley said of Foster in her interview with WRDW. “To see that he could be an encouragement or at least a light at the end of the tunnel for a child or anybody that has gone through what he’s gone through is what all of this is about.”
This lovable friend has a big mission ahead of him. Do you know someone who might benefit from meeting a dog like Taka?
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