Dog Who Survived Fire Becomes Therapy Dog To Help Burn Victims
In October of last year, a nine-year-old dog named Taka was sleeping on his front porch in Georgia when the house caught on fire. As his family ran from the house, they sadly did not have time to stop and save Taka as well.
Thankfully, Taka woke up just in time and was able to run off the porch, but he ended up severely burned in the process. Taka was left with burns on his eyes, mouth, ears, and belly, and the dog was left blind after the fire.
Taka was rushed to Care More Animal Hospital by a neighbor, and when his family came to visit him, they surrendered custody of the dog to the medical facility because they feared they would no longer be able to care for him given his injuries.
Luckily, the vets at Care More Animal Hospital fell in love with Taka. One of the vets, whose name is Emily Martin, even began taking Taka home with her.
“He likes his belly rubs, and he loves food, so he’s a little piggy,” Emily said. “He also likes to cuddle.”
After five weeks of treatment, Taka was finally ready to leave the animal hospital to go to a foster home. Though Emily thought about fostering him herself, she already had five dogs and a baby, so a vet tech named Chrystal Lesley offered to foster him instead.
Though Taka was sweet to people, he behaved aggressively towards Chrystal’s other dogs, so she wasn’t sure if she would be able to keep him. Then, Chrystal heard about the Canine Training Project, a training program that helps dogs of all ages.
“[Older dogs] can be trained just like any other dog,” explained CTP founder Mandy Foster. “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.”
Taka did so well in the program that Chrystal decided to keep him! She also decided to have him trained to become a therapy dog for a burn center, since he’s so good with humans.
“He’s got the right temperament for it,” Mandy said. “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.”
Taka passed his certification test at the end of July, and he has been helping burn victims ever since!
“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,” Chrystal said.
Check out Taka in action in the video below.