Superhero Dog Injured In House Fire Becomes Therapy Dog For Burn Victims

by : Lucy Connolly on : 31 Oct 2019 10:02
Superhero Dog Injured In House Fire Becomes Therapy Dog For Burn VictimsSuperhero Dog Injured In House Fire Becomes Therapy Dog For Burn VictimsWRDW

A dog left scarred for life after suffering severe burns in a house fire is now training to be a therapy dog for burn victims.

It was decided Taka, who was injured in a fire in October last year, should be trained after he began instigating fights with other dogs following the accident – and he hasn’t looked back since.


Despite his old age, Taka’s trainers have said he has ‘flown through’ his training and is well on his way to becoming the therapy dog his owners know he can be.

You can watch part of Taka’s training below:

Taka’s vet, Crystal Lesley, adopted the animal after treating him. ‘I’m very proud of him, he’s a very good dog,’ Crystal told WRDW.


It wasn’t the smoothest transition, however, because Taka initially didn’t get on with Crystal’s other dogs. So much so, Crystal said she ‘didn’t know if [she] was going to be able to keep Taka’, something the vet said was ‘breaking [her] heart’.

It was then someone suggested she get the dog trained, which Crystal didn’t previously think was an option because of Taka’s age, but according to Mandy Foster, the founder of the Canine Training Project, dogs are never too old.

taka the dog injured in fire becomes therapy dogtaka the dog injured in fire becomes therapy dogWRDW

Mandy explained:


They can be trained just like any other dog. 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. I knew that there were some problems, some challenges that were happening, and I wanted to get in there and help.

Mandy is currently working on distraction training to ensure Taka is able to listen in a distracted environment. He first has to get his AKC Canine Good Citizen before he’ll be able to qualify as a therapy dog.

dog burned in fire therapy dogdog burned in fire therapy dogWRDW

But Mandy’s hopeful, saying:


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, saying it’s because of her she 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,’ she added.

Hopefully Taka will fly through his training. What a good boy.

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Animals, Dogs, Fire, Life, therapy


  1. WRDW

    Dog injured in fire, now training to help burn victims