When a dog named Taka was severely burned in a house fire in 2018, veterinarians didn't know if he'd survive his injuries. The flames had ravaged the skin on his face and legs, and the 8-year-old Shiba Inu lived with an unfathomable amount of pain. He faced a long road of recovery, but his community refused to let him down.
After being rescued from the fire, Taka went to Care More Animal Hospital in Martinez, GA for veterinary attention and rehabilitative care. The staff at Care More instantly fell in love with the sweet dog, and they went the extra mile to help him heal.
While the veterinary staff at the hospital had dealt with burns before, Taka's injuries were so severe, they needed help. That's when doctors from the Joseph M. Still Burn Center volunteered their time to help save the dog's life and give him a better future. Through months of treatments and surgeries, they worked on their own time and with help from community donations to slowly pull Taka out of his pain.
With attentive veterinary care, rehabilitative exercises, and lots of love, Taka eventually made a full recovery. He went to live with a family, but when that didn't work out, he found an even better home with an even better future.
Crystal Lesley is one of the vet techs who helped care for Taka during his time at Care More Animal Hospital. She was there for him at his worst times and supported him through every stage of his recovery. She decided that the best place for Taka was in her arms. She told WJBF,
“He’s mine and I just feel like he was meant to be mine and I don’t know. I just can’t explain it.”
The pair are a perfect fit, and now Taka is enjoying his new lifestyle. Not only is the burn survivor comfortable and happy at home, but he has also taken the first steps toward becoming a certified therapy dog. He's undergoing training with Canine Training Project to learn how he can best help people who are also burn victims. Lesley plans to take Taka regularly to the burn center to show people in recovery that it is indeed possible to move forward with a happy, fulfilling life.
The scars Taka received from the fire will be with him forever, but that doesn't stop people from falling in love with him. He loves to be pet and played with, and Lesley is confident he'll bring much-needed support and joy to those who need it most.