Homeless dog brings therapy to family

A few months ago, Jake was living on the streets, scrounging for food and finding shelter wherever he could. Now the dog brings smiles and happiness each day to a disabled 3-year-old girl living in Temecula.

The rambunctious and sometimes over-the-top Labrador mix came to Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center as a thin, 1-year-old pup, dirty and hungry.

After being neutered, microchipped and vaccinated, Jake was made available for adoption.

As luck would have it, Mary Slavik of Big Paws Canine Academy in Mira Loma came to the Pet Adoption Center looking for potential service and therapy dogs. Big Paws provides assistance animals for disabled veterans and former first responders and their families.

Adoption counselor Jack Dehler introduced Mary to the happy-go-lucky pooch.

“Jake really has a bright earnestness about him. Even though he is a high energy Lab, he just has that kind nature about him that makes him different,” Dehler said. After a short evaluation by Big Paws, it was determined that Jake just might have what it takes to be a therapy dog.

For the next three months, Jake underwent training.

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