A nine-year-old Shiba Inu named Taka has a distinctive appearance. At first glance, one would think the dog is wearing a speckled mask.
However, those marks are actually scars left by a traumatic experience. In October 2018, he was trapped on the back porch of his house, fire raging all around. Taka’s family tried to help him, but eventually, they were forced to flee.
Luckily, Taka was able to escape on his own and then run to a neighbor’s house. The neighbor brought him to Care More Animal Hospital in Georgia, where he received emergency treatment.
Taka’s family had to give him up most probably due to financial reasons. However, the Shiba Inu was in good hands. The community rallied around him, raising enough funds to cover his medical bills.
After being in the care of specialists in Columbia for six weeks, Taka returned to Care More Hospital. Joseph M. Still Burn Center then reached out and offered to perform skin grafts on the dog, as well as attach a new set of eyelids so he could blink again.
The hospital workers were amazed at how friendly and gentle the Shiba Inu was despite the suffering he was going through. He didn’t even try to bite the vets and the nurses; instead, he demanded pets and cuddles from them.
A few months later, Taka found his forever home with Care More veterinary technician Crystal Lesley after his first adoption didn’t work out.
But Crystal had problems with the Shiba Inu at first. While Taka was affectionate with humans, he was always starting fights with his fur mom’s other dogs.
Crystal was worried that she was going to have to find yet another home for Taka. However, someone suggested that she have the canine trained so he could redirect his energy to a worthwhile endeavor.
That idea never occurred to Crystal before as she thought Taka was already too old. Mandy Foster, the Shiba Inu’s trainer and the founder of the Canine Training Project, disagrees.
The trainer says older dogs might need a little more time to learn, but they’re very much teachable. Indeed, Taka is a fast learner. Crystal and Mandy are hoping to get him certified as an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen so he can proceed to therapy dog training.
Mandy shares that Taka’s scars will help him build rapport with burn victims once he begins working. And if his sweetness with the Care More staff is any indication, the Shiba Inu will make an excellent support dog.
Watch Taka with his fur mom and his trainer here: