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Pup who survived house fire is now a therapy dog comforting burn victims

A Shiba Inu’s life almost came to an end when he was trapped inside a burning house. But thanks to the amazing team at this animal care veterinary hospital he has a second chance in life.

On October 23, 2018, 8-year-old Taka’s home was caught in a fire while he was inside a screened-in porch. As much as his family tried, they weren’t able to save him before their home was engulfed in flames, and they had to run out of the house.

But Taka was a survivor. He miraculously escaped from the burning house, and ran down the street. A kind neighbor eventually found him and rushed him to animal care veterinary hospital called Care More Animal Hospital in Martinez, Georgia to get him treated.

The dog was in the worst condition when he arrived at the clinic. Emily Martin, a vet at Care More Animal Hospital, told The Dodo:

“He had burns around his eyes, his mouth, his ears, his belly. We really didn’t know how severe his injuries were initially, just because we had to worry about inhalation burns.”

When Taka began having trouble breathing, he was transferred to the clinic at the University of Georgia, where he was hooked up to an oxygen machine.

The injured pup stayed there for two days before he was brought back to Care More, where the entire team had been doing everything they can to comfort the ailing dog.

Emily, who tries her best to treat her patients equally, inevitably developed a soft spot for Taka.

“I try to treat my patients all the same, but his case pulled at my heartstrings a bit more. When he came in, he was screaming from pain … but he calmed down the moment you sat with him and started singing to him.”

Emily Martin with Taka | Facebook.

She spoke with Taka’s family shortly after he arrived in the clinic, but they decided to surrender him under their care so his health would be properly monitored.

Eventually, Taka got help from the doctors in VCA Veterinary Specialists in Columbia, South Carolina, where he stayed for over a month. The team there nursed the pooch back to health, and he was returned to Care More once again when he became strong enough.

Taka’s story resonated with many people in the community. He began receiving endless amounts of support from different groups who want to speed up his recovery. One of them is the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital.

The burn unit reached out to Care More and offered to help out with Taka’s skin grafts and severe eyelid damage so the pup can blink again.

On December 2018, a team of experts and surgeons operated on Taka’s eyelids and helped him with the remaining issues he got from the burns.

After months of intensive care, Taka was able to recover and blink again! As the days went on, he became more like himself. He started eating on his own and even began playing outside.

Though Emily has been extremely attached to Taka, she couldn’t adopt him because she already has five other dogs and a 7-month-old baby. Luckily, one of the nurses from the burn unit, Tish Myers, decided to adopt him.

However, after a few days, Taka was returned to Care More because it didn’t work out with Tish’s other dog. Fortunately, another person who was involved in his care since day one stepped up and adopted Taka as her own.

This woman is Crystal Lesley, a technician at Care More. She has been involved in Taka’s care since day one, and she feels confident that she will be able to give him exactly what he needs.

Thankfully, Taka was able to get along with Crystal’s other dogs, and he fit well in her home as well!

Taka has really come a long way after a long stay at the animal care veterinary hospital. From being a burn victim, he became a burn survivor, and it can all be attributed to his incredible resilience and the tremendous amount of support he got from the people who truly loved him.

Just look at him smiling!

Crystal taking into consideration what Taka has gone through and he’s ability to make people smile thought it would be a great idea to make him a therapy dog at the local burn center. 

He’s got the right temperament for it because making people smile comes easy for Taka. She knew it’s a perfect fit!

“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.”

So on the 26th of July, Taka received his Canine Good Citizen certification. Patients at the burn center will start reaping the benefits of being comforted by Taka.

Check out the video below showcasing Taka’s amazing story.

Crystal decided to create an exclusive page for Taka so she can document his progress and share it with his supporters from all over the country. You may follow Taka’s Journey on Facebook to get updates on the latest about this survivor!

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