In October 2018, nine-year-old Taka got badly burned in a house fire. The senior dog was sleeping on his screened-in porch in his home in Georgia when the house caught fire. His family had to run from the house, and they sadly weren’t able to get to Taka.
Taka woke up just in time and ran off the porch, but he got severely burned in the process. He had burns on his eyes, mouth, ears, and belly, and he ended up going blind.
A neighbor rushed Taka to the Care More Animal Hospital, where he received treatment for his injuries. Taka’s family came to see him at the hospital, and they decided to surrender him to the hospital. They were worried they wouldn’t be able to properly care for his injuries.
The vets at Care More Animal Hospital fell in love with Taka. One vet, Emily Martin, started taking Taka home with her at night.
“He likes his belly rubs, and he loves food, so he’s a little piggy,” Martin told The Dodo. “He also likes to cuddle.”
After a few long weeks of treatment, Taka was ready to go to a foster home.
Martin considered fostering Taka herself, but she already had five dogs and a baby at home so it wasn’t possible. Then, a vet tech named Chrystal Lesley offered to foster him.
Chrystal took Taka home. While Taka was very friendly and sweet with people, he was aggressive toward her other dogs. She wanted to keep him, but she wasn’t sure if she could. Then, she 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,” CTP founder, Mandy Foster told WRDW News. “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 well with his training, and Chrystal was able to keep the pup. In the end, she decided to adopt him!
Chrystal also decided to start training Taka to become a therapy dog for a burn center—since he was so good with people, she knew he would be a great fit.
“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 took his Canine Good Citizen test on July 26, 2019, and he passed with flying colors! Now, Taka will be able to start working with patients at the burn center.
“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.
Taka is a brave, resilient pup who is going to make a great therapy dog! We’re so glad that Taka has found such a great place to call home.
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h/t: I Heart Dogs