Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

Fire Survivor Is Training To Become A Therapy Dog For Other Burn Victims

Written by: Dina Fantegrossi
Dina Fantegrossi is the Assistant Editor and Head Writer for HomeLife Media. Before her career in writing, Dina was a veterinary technician for more than 15 years.Read more
| Published on July 26, 2019

9-year-old Taka was severely injured in a house fire in October 2018. With deep burns to his head, face, back, and extremities, he needed round-the-clock care. He found it at Care More Animal Hospital in Martinez, Georgia.

One staff member in particular took a shine to Taka. Veterinary technician, Crystal Lesley became his foster mom. There was just one problem: Taka was aggressive towards her other dogs.

Although the thought of giving him up broke her heart, Lesley could not keep a dog with serious behavior problems.

That’s when someone recommended the Canine Training Project. Despite his age and lack of prior training, Taka immediately rose to the challenge.

“[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’s performance not only means he can stay with Lesley, it also gave her an idea. Maybe something good could come from his suffering. She decided to begin training Taka as a therapy dog for the local burn center.

“He’s got the right temperament for it,” Foster 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 goes for his Canine Good Citizen certification this week. After that, he’ll begin specialized therapy dog training. Lesley cannot wait to see what he’s capable of.

 “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,” she said.


H/T to WRDW News

Featured Image via Facebook/The Canine Training Project

Recent Articles

Interested in learning even more about all things dogs? Get your paws on more great content from iHeartDogs!

Read the Blog