Not long ago, a Malamute named Ichabod was rescued from a truck heading toward a dog meat trade slaughterhouse in Indonesia by No Dogs Left Behind. The organization brought him to the United States to find a forever home. Now living in White Lake, Michigan, the pup is working to make other people’s futures brighter.
Lifelong animal lover Gayle Ellias came across Ichabod on No Dog Left Behind’s adoption page. She was impressed by the dog’s video shortly after his rescue, which showed him moving confidently on his own and getting along with other dogs. After meeting the pup for the first time, Ellias brought him home to her five other canines.
Despite being exposed to the dog meat trade, Ellias was amazed to see how trusting and friendly Ichabod was. She believed he would be an excellent therapy dog. So, even though she had never cared for one before, she signed up for a certification program.
The pair recently received their certification from the Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD). The organization provides registration, testing, certification, and support for members who volunteer with their dogs. Ichabod immediately put his certificate to use by comforting the students affected by the Oxford High School shooting. He also made visits to Friendship Circle, a charity that supports children with special needs.
Ichabod’s past is also critical for many of the people he visits. They feel encouraged after hearing about what he went through and then seeing him play with people when he has all the reasons not to. The effects of his story and presence are so powerful.
Ellias is working to spread Ichabod’s inspiring story. In doing so, she hopes more people would be encouraged to help animals meet their full potential, especially those who have encountered many obstacles. She said dogs can experience the most terrible things but still choose to give back and love unconditionally.
Ellias went on to say that Ichabod has been a big life lesson for her. She considers it an honor to know and adopt and him.