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Dog Badly Scorched In Fire Becomes Burn Victim Therapy Dog

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A very good boy has trained to become a therapy dog for the burn center after becoming a burn victim himself.

Taka, a 9-year-old Shiba Inu, was trapped in a house fire last year when his family’s home caught fire and caused the patio floor to collapse, causing Taka to fall through. Taka was able to run to a neighbor’s house, but not without withstanding plenty of painful burns.

The recovery process was tough—Taka could barely be touched without screaming. However, Crystal Lesley, who went from being his vet to his owner, never gave up hope. 

“I’m very proud of him,” Lesley said in an interview with WRDW 12. “He’s a very good dog.”

Lesley first took on Taka when she heard about his case. She later decided to become fully responsible for him and took him to the Care More Animal Hospital in South Carolina, where they helped Taka recover. After weeks of treatment, Taka was able to leave the hospital and subsequently began his training to become a therapy dog.

“He’s got the right temperament for it,” Mandy Foster, Taka’s trainer, said to WRDW 12. “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 the Canine Good Citizen program in July, and in September, he passed the Therapy Dog Certification. Ever since then, he has been helping burn victims and has done such a good job that they have named him the official ambassador for the JMS burn unit.  But Taka’s journey is far from over, and, if you want to follow it, his mom opened a Facebook account so you can.

Alexandra Tirado Oropeza is a Venezuelan journalist covering politics, immigration, entertainment and social justice. She moved to the U.S. in 2014 to pursue a Writing degree at The University of Tampa, and after graduating, she moved to Los Angeles where she works in broadcast and as a freelance writer. She’s passionate about equality, freedom of speech, art and dogs.