Back in October 2018, 9-year-old Taka was asleep on the screened-in porch of his Georgia home when the house caught on fire. At the time his family wasn’t able to get out to the senior Taka, and they, unfortunately, ran out without him.
Taka was able to wake up with enough time to run off the porch himself but got severe burns on his eyes, mouth, ears, and belly in the process. He also went blind as a result.
His neighbor rushed the poor dog to the Care More Animal Hospital to receive treatment for his burns. Taka’s family went to see him in the animal hospital but made the decision to surrender him there, citing concern they couldn’t properly care for him with his injuries.
The vets that worked at Care More, were absolutely smitten by Taka. Emily Martin, one of the vets on site, began to take Taka home with her in the evenings.
“He likes his belly rubs, and he loves food, so he’s a little piggy,” Emily said to The Dodo. “He also likes to cuddle.”
Following several weeks of treatment, Taka was ready for rehoming and could go off to a foster home in the meantime.
Emily considered taking Taka herself to foster, but her house was already filled to capacity with five dogs and a baby, so that wasn’t a possibility. However, one of the vet techs at the clinic, Chrystal Lesley, offered to take him home with her to foster.
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After she took him home, it became clear that while Taka was super friendly and sweet with people, he had aggression issues when dealing with other dogs. Chrystal wanted to him Taka, but because of his behavior issues, she wasn’t sure she could manage. That’s when she heard about the Canine Training Project, which is a training program that helps to train 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 took to his training, and Chrystal managed to keep him, adopting him. That’s when she also made the decision to enroll Taka in training to become a therapy dog at the local burn center since he was so good with people. She knew he’d make 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 passed his Canine Good Citizen test on July 26, 2019. This means that Taka is now able to begin his work 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 such an inspiring little dog that will make a great therapy dog to his patients. We’re so happy that he’s gotten a new lease on life following his tragic accident.
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