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29th Jul 2019

Dog who was injured in house fire becomes therapy animal for burn victims

Nine-year-old Taka has turned his life around.

Anna O'Rourke

A dog who was badly burned in a house fire is in training to become a therapy dog for human burn victims.

Taka, a nine-year-old Shiba Inu, was injured when a blaze broke out at his home in Georgia in the US in October 2018.

Though he survived, he was permanently disfigured, losing much of the fur on his face.

He also suffered emotional trauma in the accident.

Taka was adopted by his vet Crystal Lesley but she admits that she wasn’t sure he’d be a permanent addition to her home as he started to fight with her other dogs when she brought him home.

“I didn’t know if I was going to be able to keep Taka and it was breaking my heart,” she told local news station WRDW.

But Taka’s behaviour has turned around since Crystal started him with a new dog trainer.

Mandy Foster from the Canine Training Project said that a dog is never too old to be retrained.

“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. I knew that there were some problems, some challenges that were happening, and I wanted to get in there and help.”

Crystal and Mandy are now working towards helping Taka get his Canine Good Citizen certification so he can become a therapy dog.

His experience will make him the perfect support animal, said Crystal.

“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.”