After Dog Suffers Life-Threatening Burns, He Becomes a Burn Unit Therapy Dog

Dog inured in fire becomes therapy dog for burn victims
(Facebook/Taka's Journey)

Taka, a 9-Year-old Shiba Inu, is helping burn victims cope with their own injuries in a way that no other therapy dog could. Because unlike other therapy dogs, Taka understands the fear and pain that many burn victims experience. On a fall day in 2018, Taka’s entire life changed when his Georgia home caught fire.

The fire was so massive it quickly destroyed the family’s porch, and tragically, Taka fell through the quickly-deteriorating floor. The terrified dog managed to escape, fleeing to a neighbor’s house – all the while, Taka was still smoking from the fire. The alarmed neighbors jumped into action, contacting a local vet named Crystal Lesley who rushed to meet Taka without hesitation.

At first, it seemed unlikely that the traumatized dog would make it. They sedated him to prevent him from feeling the unbearable pain of his injuries – even with her years of experience, Lesley had never seen burns this severe. Lesley saw Taka’s determination to survive and posted a fundraiser on her clinic’s Facebook page to help get Taka to a specialist.

The community generously stepped up, and before long, Lesley and Taka left to meet the South Carolina specialist.

“He and I lied on the floor in the waiting area crying together,” Lesley told AKC. By this point in time, Taka’s owners had surrendered him to the vet – they were unable to take on the financial burden or the immense amount of care Taka needed.

Taka spent a month and a half at the specialist, with Lesley driving up to visit every weekend. After being released into Lesley’s care, the determined vet spent weeks tending to his wounds around the clock. News of Taka’s story spread, and soon Lesley was contacted by the Joseph M. Still Burn Center who volunteered their services free of charge.

“We were incredibly humbled and awestruck at the magnitude of service they provided for this amazing dog,” Lesley says.

Against all odds, Taka made a full recovery. Lesley had selflessly poured her heart into caring for the injured dog, and unsurprisingly, fell in love with him. When Lesley realized she couldn’t part with the 9-year-old pup, she made the adoption official.

 

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A post shared by Taka (@takajourney)

News of Taka’s recovery spread around the community, and a local nurse realized that Taka could fill a very special role. “I was approached by a nurse at the burn center about Taka coming in to visit burned children, in hopes of giving them something to relate to,” Lesley recalled.

The pair began training together, and soon, Taka passed his certification tests with flying colors. It truly did take a village to get Taka where he is today. From those who supported Taka financially to those who offered monumentally important services free of charge, no role was too small when he came to helping Taka in his time of need. And now, tail-wagging, Taka is happily back to others when they need him most.

Family Takes Turns Sleeping on Couch With Senior Dog Who Can No Longer Use Stairs

Family takes turns sleeping on couch with senior dog
(Instagram/spikethespringer)

The only bad thing about dogs is that they don’t live as long as humans. It’s impossibly hard to reconcile the fact that we used to have to gate off the kitchen so our sneaky pups couldn’t jump up on the counter and steal snacks – it seems like yesterday, but before we know it, they struggle to even climb the steps to the front door.

Nine years ago, Catherine Morris and her family adopted an adorable dog named Spike. Young Spike was nimble and energetic – in fact, he decided early on that he preferred to sleep with his humans. The determined pup jumped the gate every single night until the Morris family stopped trying to prevent him from crawling under the covers with them.

 

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A post shared by Spike Morris (@spikethespringer)

But at 14, Spike has slowed down considerably. In recent months, he suffered two strokes that forced him to re-learn how to walk. His family tended to him, cared for him, and worked with the elderly dog to gain back some of his strength. Though Spike no longer needs to be carried around, he is still unable to climb the stairs.

 

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A post shared by Spike Morris (@spikethespringer)

After nearly a decade of sleeping side-by-side, the adjustment to sleeping downstairs was challenging for Spike. Fortunately, he didn’t have to do it alone.

“We take turns to sleep downstairs with him,” Catherine Morris said on Instagram. “He’s happy because he still gets his cuddles, and we’re happy because we still get our cuddles.”

 

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A post shared by Spike Morris (@spikethespringer)

Morris shared a video on Instagram showing the adorable arrangement. Some days it was her snuggled on the couch with Spike, and other days her dad slept peacefully by his side. Despite two strokes and the typical struggles that come with aging, Spike is still one lucky dog.

UK Man Spent Over $400 To Learn That His Dog Was Limping Out of Sympathy

Man pays for vet visit only to learn his dog copied his limp out of sympathy
(Facebook/Russell Jones)

Dogs are wildly intelligent, but sometimes, they’re too smart for their own good. A video of Russell Jones and his sweet dog Bill has recently gone massively viral, and at first glance, it looks like the pair has seen better days. Both Jones and Bill limp slowly to their front door, Jones on crutches and Bill holding up his front paw as he hobbles alongside him.

Jones and Bill weren’t in some sort of accident. In fact, according to Bill’s vet, nothing is actually wrong. The video has been shared on Facebook over 28,000 times and has popped up on every imaginable social media site in the four days since it was posted by Russell.

“Cost me £300 in vet fees and X-rays, nothing wrong just sympathy. Love him,” Jones captioned the video.


According to Bill’s vet, a slew of tests revealed that there was nothing physically wrong with the empathetic pup. Presumably, Bill saw his human limping, and copied his behavior. While some animal behavior experts claim that limping out of sympathy is unlikely and more tests are needed, others have pointed to studies that do in fact show that dogs imitate the behavior of their pack leaders. In this case, Bill’s pack leader happens to be a human with a limp.

Fortunately, for everyone concerned, the video is something Jones has been holding onto for months. His ankle was broken in June, and he shared an updated video of Bill running around just fine in August. When Jones’s cast was removed and he was no longer on crutches, Bill seemed to realize, “oh ok, we’re not doing that anymore?” and proceeded to walk normally again. We truly do not deserve dogs.

Spoil Your Pup With Ben and Jerry’s Frozen Doggie Desserts

Ben & Jerry Doggie Desserts
(Instagram/benandjerrys)

This is not a good time for many people. You know who IS loving this era, though? Dogs. It has never been a better time to be a man’s best friend. For starters, most of us are home WAY MORE than ever before. On top of that, we’ve had our first dog beer invented so we could take our bro-ship to the next level and Budweiser unveiled their Barkweiser 7-pack that comes with a beer-shaped dog toy for your pup. And now this: Ben and Jerry’s is getting into their game by creating the first line of frozen dog treats.

 

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It’s the first product in the company’s four decades that is specifically created for an animal. The company has always had a pet-friendly approach, both in the founders’ passion for environmental causes, and in their policy to office dogs (there are many four-legged friends roaming the offices). The treats are being sold in individual 4-ounce cups or in packs for four.

Pontch’s Mix, the first treat, has frozen peanut butter, pretzel swirls, and was named after an office French Bulldog.

Rosie’s Batch has creamy pumpkin and mini dog-friendly cookies and is named for a rescue mutt in the corporate headquarters.

The Doggie Desserts are available everywhere now and are even safe for humans to eat (although seems kinda rude tbh). Since dogs don’t do dairy (generally), the treats are made with sunflower butter, so they are perfectly safe and delicious for dogs.

“We know our fans love their dogs and treat them like family,” said a spokesman for Ben and Jerry’s. “We created this line so pups can enjoy something even better than belly rubs.”

There have never been more ways to spoil your dogs, but if you can’t do it during a global pandemic, when can you? The frozen dog treats are available at supermarkets and chain stores everywhere.

Lost 3-Legged Dog Reunites With Owner 10 Months After Disappearing From Backyard

Lost 3-legged dog reunites with owner
(Youtube/FOX 2 St. Louis)

For people around the world, 2020 was a tough year. But for pets, quarantine often meant spending more time than ever with their humans. Regardless of the circumstances, pets were thrilled to spend long days with their people, and we’ve honestly never been more grateful for their company. Dylan Summers’s dog Athena, however, had a genuinely ruff 2020.

It started with an accident. The sweet brindle pup was hit by a car, leaving her with an injury so severe that one of her legs had to be amputated. While recovering from her surgery, Summers let her out in his backyard as he’d done countless times in the past. Sadly, when he went to retrieve her, Athena was nowhere to be found.

“I searched everywhere for her and posted online but no one came forward. I had suspicions that she was stolen but I couldn’t confirm it. I was so worried about her,” Summers told FOX 2.

Summers continued his search, but after 10 months, he had little hope of finding his beloved dog. He began the heartbreaking process of looking for a new dog to adopt, realizing to some degree this meant admitting Athena was gone forever. When Summers visited the website of Gateway Pet Guardians, an animal welfare agency in East St. Louis, IL, he made a startling discovery.

Among the faces of the kind, excited dogs looking for their forever homes was a dog who already had one – just an hour away from Summers’s home, Athena was alive and safe. The rescue had pulled Athena from St. Clair County Animal Control in Illinois, but before then, the pup had been found in an unsuitable home with several other dogs living in poor conditions. Thanks to both animal control and local law enforcement, all dogs were confiscated, and Athena was reunited with her human on New Year’s Day.

“I was so happy to hear that she was safe and doing well and being reunited with her was incredible,” said Summers. “She is already settled back in at home and it’s like she never left. I am so appreciative of Gateway Pet Guardians for getting her back home to me.”

Watch This Dog Get Reunited With Family After Spending 19 Days Lost in the Woods

Lost dog reunited with family 19 days later
(Facebook/Oregon State Police)

On December 2, over three hours away from their home in Eugene, Oregon, the Carmichael family made a rest stop before the final stretch of their road trip. The quick break took a disastrous turn when the family’s beloved dog, Max, took advantage of a briefly-open door and lept from the car. In a horrifying series of events, Max bolted towards the highway and was grazed by a diesel truck. Max survived, but as terrified dogs often do, he continued running.

The Carmichael family attempted to follow their last family member as he darted and dodged more oncoming vehicles. When they finally spotted Max again, he was stopped near a car that had pulled to the side of the road – incredibly, the woman driving the car explained that she had also inadvertently hit the frantic dog.

Injured and afraid, Max opted to run into a wooded area rather than back towards his family. The panicked Carmichaels spent hours searching for their furry family member, but with the setting sun came the dawning realization that they would likely be unable to find him. Shrouded in darkness and overcome with grief, the family made a heartbreaking decision – they had to return home without Max.

After Max’s disappearance, the family continued their search. They created a website filled with information and photos to draw attention to their missing pup, posted photos to pet groups near the area where Max disappeared and made the 3.5-hour drive multiple times to return to the rest stop and search the surrounding area themselves.

On December 21, the family got the Christmas miracle they’d been waiting for. “Our family is on the way up to the Dalles,” the Carmichaels shared on Max’s website. “Max has been located by ODOT [Oregon Department of Transportation]!!!!!! God bless ODOT, Oregon State Police (OSP), Hood River Sheriffs Department, Wasco County Sheriffs Department, and all of the amazing kind people who live in that area, don’t know us, but worked to help to find our MAX. There are no words except for ‘God is Great.’ Kindness still is king.”

The Oregon State Police shared the touching reunion on Facebook, and after 19 days in the Oregon wilderness, Miracle Max (the second) got to spend Christmas exactly where he belonged – warm and safe at home with his family.

Jeff Bridges Shares Health Update: “Feeling Good, Got a Puppy”

Jeff Bridges Update
(Instagram/thejeffbridges)

The Dude officially revealed his cancer diagnosis in the fall, and that he was beginning to undergo treatment. It’s been two months since Bridges revealed he had lymphoma, and he has a new update on his health. It’s basically that he is still a badass.

He shared the update on Instagram and on his website, along with a pic of his freshly shaved head and with a new companion at his side.

 

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A post shared by Jeff Bridges (@thejeffbridges)

“Here’s the latest,” he wrote. “Feeling good, shaved my head, got a puppy, had a birthday, 71, man.” All of those things are good. Great news that he’s feeling well, the new hairstyle looks great, puppies rule and birthdays are not to be taken for granted anymore, so cheers from The Dad to The Dude on all counts.

He then directed people to his website for more info, where he goes a little deeper into music and also the charity No Kid Hungry, who he’s worked with previously.

“The health of our children can serve as a compass, letting us know if we are on course,” he wrote. “We’re OFF COURSE, especially during this COVID deal.”

He also shared a commercial he did for the nonprofit.

So, to recap, Jeff Bridges may be battling cancer, but The Dude is still kicking ass.

Enjoy the New “Barkweiser” 7-Pack With Your Favorite 4-Legged Drinking Pal

Barkweiser 7 Pack
(Twitter/Barkbox)

Listen, with bars shut down in many places, and governments imposing curfews and other restrictions until this pandemic ends, our drinking options are limited. But this just means you have to get innovative in how you enjoy a cold one, and maybe the best development has been the attention given to man’s best friend.

We’ve already seen one company develop a dog-friendly “beer” so your pup can throw one back with you, and now Bud Light and BARK have gone a step further and created the “7-pack” to truly elevate a night with your best bud.

The 7-pack of “Barkweiser” or “Bark Light” includes six beers, plus one crinkly stuffed dog toy bottle for your pup. He’s no longer left out of the hang, as he gets something he’ll like, and you get six of something you’ll like (or maybe you include another human into the equation).

If you’re gonna do the 7-pack thing, you gotta do it right, and few places deliver better quality dog toys than BARK, as many owners can attest to. So when you’re shopping for your true best friend this holiday season, you can always grab the gift that benefits both of you, as they are available for sale at ShopBeerGear.com.

Also, have you joined us over at The Dad Pets, yet?

A Clifford the Big Red Dog Movie Is Coming in 2021 and People Are Divided

Clifford Live Action Movie First Look
(Youtube/Paramount Pictures)

For better or for worse, we’re all aboard a nostalgia train that shows no sign of slowing down. Movies and TV shows from our childhoods are being revived left and right – some beautifully, some, well, less so. The most recent victim, uh – subject of the nostalgia storm is none other than the alarmingly large, fire-engine-red dog that everyone was somehow just OK with, Clifford.

Though a pre-first-look was leaked about a year ago, it wasn’t until recently that Paramount willingly gave us a sample of what’s to come. The movie will be mostly live-action, aside from the title role which will be played by a giant dog-shaped blob of CGI. The movie is set to follow the same premise as the classic books, in that a little girl ends up with an enormous dog (again, that nobody really acknowledges with any sense of urgency).

Stars of the film include Darby Camp, Jack Whitehall, Kenan Thompson, Paul Rodriguez, Rosie Perez, John Cleese, and David Alan Grier. The all-star cast will bring Norman Bridwell’s iconic children’s books to life, and though filming was delayed, the movie is set to premiere on November 5, 2021.

The movie’s Twitter page gave us a sneak peek of what’s to come. The caption read, “It’s here: your very first look at Clifford The Big Red Dog! #CliffordMovie hits theaters next year, but today we’re celebrating the pets who inspire us to #LoveBig.”

The teaser then invited Twitter users to celebrate by sharing pictures of their pets, which a few people actually did. Mostly though, as Twitter so readily invites, people provided their unsolicited feedback. Some thoroughly clowned on Paramount’s newly-announced project, while others defended their depiction of our favorite big red dog.

One user compared the Clifford teaser to the Sonic fiasco, during which Paramount went back and fixed their animation after the public response was less than ideal.

Another user compared the sneak peek to the books themselves, and noted that the movie-version of Clifford didn’t compare to the colossal cutie in the books.

If you remember from the books, Clifford wasn’t always so massive. He was actually the runt of the litter, until something strange happened under the care of his new best friend, Emily Elizabeth. So who knows, maybe CGI Clifford wasn’t fully animated yet.

And then there’s Twitter user Carson, who we could all stand to be more like. Carson approached the teaser with the enthusiasm we all likely would’ve had upon seeing this trailer a couple decades ago.

Though we’ll have to wait almost a year to see the full movie, there will undoubtedly be many more previews (and perhaps some changes?) to come. Regardless of the first slew of feedback, a round of appaws to Paramount for a solid attempt.

Blind 12-Year-Old Golden Retriever Gets His Very Own Guide Dog

12-year-old blind dog gets guide dog
(Instagram/tao_mr_winky)

There comes a time in life when even the most self-sufficient of us have to ask for help. Needing help doesn’t make you weak – in fact, being willing to accept help when you can no longer do something on your own is a sign of maturity and self-awareness. Or, in the case of 12-year-old Tao, it’s a sign of being really freaking cute.

Up until a year ago, Tao was the lone wolf – or, you know, the lone golden retriever. Tao lived a happy, boisterous life until the day his perceptive owner Melanie Jackson realized something wasn’t quite right. Though in the morning he’d been his normal playful self, by the evening he was showing clear signs of pain.

After a visit to the vet, Tao was diagnosed with glaucoma, meaning that high pressure in his eye damaged his optic nerve. His eye had to be removed, and not long after, his second eye deteriorated just as rapidly. Though Tao lost his vision, he maintained his happy demeanor and soon began navigating relatively well on his own. Melanie knew that though Tao was recovering well, losing your vision is isolating. Melanie and Tao were still able to be active together and Tao could do most of the activities he did before, but the loss of so much sensory input was a challenge.

During difficult times, we could all use a friend – and that’s exactly what Melanie got for her beloved old dog. She adopted 8-week old Oko, a golden retriever puppy, and the dogs bonded immediately. Not only did they become best friends, but Oko became Tao’s guide dog. The pair sleeps together, plays together, and Melanie even trained Tao to keep his little brother out of trouble.

 

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A post shared by Tao & Oko (@tao_mr_winky)

“Oko is being trained by me—if not, he would lead Tao into mischief as he is a typical inquisitive puppy,” Melanie told Bored Panda. “Tao is being trained to follow Oko’s scent and Oko to listen and respond to my commands to ‘stop, wait, go right, go left.’”

 

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A post shared by Tao & Oko (@tao_mr_winky)

After the stress of losing his vision, Tao has a new lease on life thanks to his little brother (more like grandpupper). The adorable duo have accumulated over 40,000 followers on Instagram, and it’s easy to see why. Vision or not, these two are living their best life – and it’s all thanks to Melanie.

 

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A post shared by Tao & Oko (@tao_mr_winky)

“Tao is an amazing dog and is loved by everyone we meet,” Melanie said. “He is known locally and people often ask if they can have a selfie with him.”

 

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A post shared by Tao & Oko (@tao_mr_winky)

Florida Man Becomes a Hero After Prying His Puppy From the Jaws of an Alligator

Florida man saves puppy from alligator
(YouTube/Inside Edition)

Buckle up folks, Florida Man is back. This isn’t your typical Florida Man story though – this time, FloridaMan is the superhero we desperately needed. While out walking near his backyard pond as he’s done countless times in the past, 74-year-old Richard Wilbanks had an encounter he won’t soon forget. Wilbanks took his 3-month-old puppy out for a walk, and unfortunately, a hungry alligator was quietly lurking under the pond’s surface.

Typically, when we see videos of alligators, it’s their powerful jaws and mammoth size that makes our blood run cold. Our only saving grace (or so we thought) is that their legs, though clawed and terrifying, are disproportionately small. They don’t seem like they’d be the most coordinated of creatures, let alone the fastest. But as Wilbanks, unfortunately, found out, a nearby snack is enough motivation for these short-legged predators to kick it up a notch.

“We were just out walking by the pond,” Wilbanks told CNN, “and it came out of the water like a missile. I never thought an alligator could be that fast. It was so quick.”

Before Wilbanks’s brain could catch up with his adrenaline-fueled body, the Florida retiree was in the pond with beloved puppy, his hands wrapped around the jaws of the alligator. He managed to keep the young alligator still as he poured all of his effort into prying open its powerful jaws.

After a Herculean struggle that was caught on nearby security cameras, our hero freed his helpless pup from the nearly 4-foot-long alligator’s grip. As if the remarkable save wasn’t impressive enough, this absolutely beast of a man held his cigar in his mouth throughout the entire encounter (which is honestly the most Florida Man thing we can imagine).

Wilbanks’s hands were cut badly from the alligator’s teeth, but after a trip to the doctor and a tetanus shot, he’s healing well. As for his puppy Gunner, incredibly, the dog was less injured than he was. With a single puncture wound on his abdomen, a trip to the vet was all he needed before returning home for some much-needed rest.

As for the alligator, well, he didn’t get his meal. But because of a partnership between the Florida Wildlife Federation and fSTOP, an organization geared towards conservation education through photography, residents of the area value living alongside native wildlife.

Wilbanks told CNN, “They’re part of nature and part of our lives.”

He explained that he didn’t want the alligator removed or hurt in any way, but he will be taking precautions by walking farther from the pond in the future.

“Our pets, they’re just like family to us,” Wilbanks said.

You hear that, alligators? Dogs are friends, not food.

Study Finds Kids Ask for Pets 1,584 Times Before Turning 18

Joel Dog
(Joel Willis)

As the holidays near, there’s one question every parent must be emotionally and spiritually prepared to answer: “Can we get a pet?” It’s the question kids ask relentlessly, usually with their cutest smile and most innocent eyes. They will fill you with vague promises to “do all the work” (spoiler alert: they will not) and “take care of it.” If your kids are too young to ask this, you’re not off the hook, because it’s coming. According to a new study, the average kid will beg their parents for a pet nearly 1,600 times before the age of 18.

Pets are the wildcard for a family. We love pets so much, we have an entire Facebook group just to share stories and cute pics of all of our (your) furry friends. And let’s be honest, the pets aren’t just for the kids either. But before that pet enters your family, you’re going to have to rebuff hundreds and hundreds of requests for it.

The research was based on a survey of 2,000 parents of school-age children and found almost three-quarters of them asked for a pet. They found kids start asking for pets around age 6 and once it starts, it DOES. NOT. STOP. On average, kids keep asking around 11 times per month. The survey was conducted by OnePoll and found most kids want a dog (nearly 80 percent).

This isn’t too surprising, as I think I’ve heard requests for a puppy 1,600 times since Tuesday alone. The parents said the requests come pouring in even more during the holiday season (that’s now!). But, parents also said they’ll remember getting a pet fondly, with nearly 90 percent saying it was one of the best gifts they ever received.

Getting a pet is a major decision, as it will inevitably cost more than you thought. At the same time, it will bring your family immense joy (before terrible sadness, someday, I mean it kinda goes together). So while you prepare to make that leap, in the meantime, make sure you have a way to deflect the same question asked hundreds of times over.

The Election Results Are in, Kentucky Town Votes French Bulldog as Mayor

Dog Mayor
(Facebook/Mayor-Wilbur-of-Rabbit-Hash-KY)

Election season can be contentious, especially when you are extremely dedicated to seeing your candidate on top. But, once the dust settles, we must unite behind the winner. The election results are in for one small Kentucky town; they have a new ‘mayor’, and it’s a French Bulldog.

The ‘votes’ were cast in an annual tradition for the town of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky (a town of less than 500). We have seen the power of voting, and the importance of voting. French Bulldog Wilbur ended up as the biggest winner in Rabbit Hash, becoming the fifth dog mayor in the town’s 200 years.

The contest is a fundraiser for the Rabbit Hash Historical Society and it raised nearly $15,000. Wilbur was leading the pack, having brought home $6,170 of those funds. Yep, this is one election decided by dollars, and Wilbur edged out a competitive field, including the town’s incumbent mayor, a rescue pitbull named Brynneth Pawltro. Wilbur also defeated a fat cat, a rooster, and a donkey.

It was an incredibly diverse field. In fact, it was the most diverse field of the entire electoral season, as it’s the only race that featured candidates from multiple species. Wilbur ran on a campaign platform of being an adorable puppy and a slogan of “Give me liberty or give me milkbones.”

On his Facebook page, Wilbur said he was honored and humbled by his victory. Already talking like a politician. Even other politicians praised Wilbur, including former Florida governor Jeb Bush.

No matter who you wanted to win, it is time for us to unite behind Wilbur and chart a path forward. We would like to start by inviting all pet owners and animal lovers to join our new Facebook group, so we can enjoy our furry friends together.