Taka was seriously burned around three and a half years ago when he narrowly escaped a home fire while trapped inside. His life was rescued by the staff at Care More Animal Hospital in Martinez, Georgia. Due to the severity of his wounds, his family chose to turn him over to the veterinary clinic so they could assist him in adjusting to his new existence.
“After he was burned, he had a very long recovery,” Crystal Lesley, a staff member at Care More Animal Hospital and Taka’s mom, told The Dodo. “It was in stages. The first part took about 4 to 6 weeks. After that, he still had two places that wouldn’t heal, so the JMS Burn Center reached out to me and asked to help him.”
Taka’s life has changed drastically from how it was before the fire. He has absolutely no depth awareness and very poor vision, making movement challenging for him. His burns have healed, but since they were so serious, the fur never came back in certain areas. Change may be frightening for him after everything he’s gone through, so his family adheres to a rigorous pattern to keep him feeling safe and at ease.
But none of it has made him stop moving.
“[He] is the strongest, bravest little fighter you will ever meet,” Lesley said. “He is an extremely feisty dog and nothing gets him down. He loves life!”
Lesley decided that people should meet Taka and hear his story once he recovered. She started taking him to a nearby burn center to visit and console all of the patients after having him trained as a therapy dog. He really adored it, as did every patient he saw who understood precisely what he had gone through.
The staff at the Burn unit adores Taka, according to Lesley. They want to pet him, take his photo, and learn everything there is to know about him. He undoubtedly makes their day happier. Taka got to walk around and help [give] them out to the kids since he is the protagonist of a new coloring book that was created and distributed by the burn center.
Since the pandemic started, Taka hasn’t been able to do as much therapy dog work as he used to. He’s also getting older and tires more quickly now, so his mom doesn’t want to commit him to too many things. Still, he continues to inspire people through occasional visits and his online presence, and even gets to help comfort other dogs at the vet hospital where his mom works who have also been injured.
Taka has endured a great deal, yet he never lets it get to him. His family continues to be in awe of him every day.
“When you have a bad day or start feeling bad about your life, look at Taka,” Lesley said. “He is the epitome of strength … He has changed my life greatly. He is my inspiration.”