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 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.
She told local news station WRDW:
I didn’t know if I was going to be able to keep Taka and it was breaking my heart.
But Taka’s behaviour has turned around since Crystal started him with a new dog trainer.
Mandy Foster, the founder of the Canine Training Project, says dogs are never too old to be re-trained.
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 first has to learn the basics. Mandy is working on distraction training. That’s why they’re in Academy Sports.
Making sure that they are able to listen in a distracted environment.
She’s working to turn Taka into a therapy dog for the burn center. But first, he has to get his AKC Canine Good Citizen.
He’s got the right temperament for it. 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.
Crystal couldn’t be more appreciative of Mandy’s help. She said:
Because of her I can keep Taka. 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.
Crystal and Mandy are now working towards helping Taka get his Canine Good Citizen certification so he can become a therapy dog. Then he’ll start his training for therapy dog status, which they have no doubt he’ll fly through.
Crystal said Taka’s experience will make him the perfect support animal.