Ladies and gentlemen, meet Gayle Ellias, a 55 year-old woman who was looking to adopt and rescue another dog to add and ultimately complete her pack back at home. Now, meet Ichabod, a dog with a disability that went from zero to hero all because of Gayle.
This cutie pie pup went from being and living in a slaughterhouse to being trained as a therapy dog to help more people just like him.
The story of one dog’s journey from the slaughterhouse to becoming a therapy dog
Here is their story…….
Upon doing her research and watching countless videos and seeing countless pictures of Ichabod, Ellias just knew that there was something special about this dog and she wanted to save a life, but in return this pup ended up unknowlingly changing hers as well.
Ellias works as a Clinical Social Worker who works with kids who are on the autism spectrum, and their parents too of course. She has always wanted to work with a therapy dog. While she already had five other wonderful pooches at home, she knew that all her life, she’s wanted to train a therapy dog and work with one in general.
During her search for the perfect dog, which she originally had set on finding a Golden Retriever, she read about how they were coming to the states from China in an effort to rescue them from the dog meat trade.
She then came across an organization called No Dog Left Behind (NDBL); this is a nonprofit animal rescue based in New York. This particular organization has many sanctuaries in Asia with nearly 500 survivors of such a horrific and scary thing for these dogs to encounter.
Here’s a little bit about No Dog Left Behind’s mission:
"“Our mission extends beyond borders worldwide, advocating for the creation and enforcement of animal welfare laws, and raising awareness for a cruelty-free, sustainable world in which no animal is violated, exploited, tortured or slaughtered for commercial goods or profit.”"
Ellias had officially decided that this would be the place that she looked for her new pup!
She began scrolling through all of the pictures and videos of all of these adoptable dogs until she came across this big 90-pound dog playing so gently and nicely with all of the other dogs surrounding it. She also got a laugh out of Ichabod’s way to get a trainer’s attention by completely tearing apart the paper of their notepad. Ellias just knew that Ichabod was special and was the one.
How did Ichabod get rescued exactly? Being rescued in back out in East Asia, along with 100 other dogs, Ichabod was in the back of the truck on his way to a slaughterhouse. This absolutely breaks my heart reading this just knowing that not all dog’s lives can be saved from this.
After seeing Ichabod, Ellias scrapped the idea of adopting a Golden and said that the breed just simply didn’t matter anymore. It’s about finding the perfect dog with the most perfectly warm heart!
Due to the pandemic, Ichabod had to wait almost a year to fly into America, but rest assured the organization kept Ellias in the loop of his status the whole entire way.
Due to a problem with his back legs that was later diagnosed as having Displaced Patellas, meaning that his knee caps aren’t quite where they need to be. His large size, shedding, and mostly the fact that he had a disability was making it hard for him to find a home…until Ellias came along, of course!
The night before being flown out, Ellias got a call that the government might fail Ichabod because of his back legs disability. Upon landing in the US and waiting just a bit, it was determined that Ichabod was not a surgical candidate as it may have caused him to completely lose his mobility and ultimately his quality of life as well.
20 other dogs had flown out to New York with Ichabod and upon seeing them all arrive safe and free, it put a tear in Ellias’ eyes knowing that she was officially a part of a movement as was all of the other people within the NDLB organization as well.
On February 15, Ichabod finally came home along with his five other dog siblings: Ace, Ixy, Fanny, Zuri, and Hoobly! What cute names, am I right?
Ichabod was now happy and all settled in at home!
Ellias loves taking Ichabod places, including Home Depot even! Ichabod also loves kids and always wants to interact with them whenever he sees them. Ellias also stated that her pup can sense when kids are nervous and will tend to back off but then go right back into engaging with those kids that wanna touch, pet, and interact with him! How sweet is that!
Because of his love for kids, Ellias knew that he was a perfect therapy dog candidate! So what did she do? She went and got him certified through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD). In November, it was officially official! Ichabod was a certified therapy dog!
She then began working with another organization that is called the Friendship Circle that teaches kids how to interact despite how we all look and feel on the outside. Ichabod teaches all that differences and disabilities don’t have to define us, they just make us unique individuals to all!
Ichabod has visited multiple classrooms and gotten multiple letters from both parents, students, and even a few other teachers as well, thanking him for teaching kids that different is beautiful!
Ellias and Ichabod hope to visit more places and teach that traumatic events or disability doesn’t have to define who you are!
What’s your favorite thing about Ichabod’s story? Have you met a therapy or special needs dog that has since changed your life furever? Let’s chat down below! And as always…Woof, Woof!