In spring 2018, our team in Romania were working on a field project near Târgoviște, 80 kilometres northwest of Bucharest, when they found six little puppies. Unfortunately, their condition was very serious – all the puppies were dehydrated, emaciated and covered by ticks. Some of them didn't even react – which is a very worrying sign. They were immediately rushed to our veterinary clinic and sadly received the diagnosis the team dreaded: all six puppies were in the late stages of parvovirus and babesiosis, alongside being critically anaemic.
Despite every attempt to save them, one by one each weak puppy slipped away. It was devastating. However, one little puppy kept fighting and fighting, and miraculously survived the most dangerous diseases for puppies. She was called Caju.
Because the first thing she did when she started feeling better was to steel a bag of cashew nuts (‘caju’ in Romanian) from the table, the team decided to name her Caju.
Caju was adopted one of the dog handlers who found Caju and her siblings.
And so she grew up with the Dogs for People team, and soon they discovered she was not only a fighter but also very kind, playful and empathetic.
Her way to becoming a therapy dog
Caju is a quick learner, and it was because of her character that the team began conducting behavioural tests to see her suitability for the Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) programme. She passed all selection tests, and so her training to become a therapy dog began! She started with great success in her very first therapy session with Eric, a child who had a great fear of dogs. With time, sweet Caju won him over with her gentle nature and playfulness – Caju was the only dog who Eric would dare to touch.
Caju grew into a fit and healthy dog, always highly motivated by the interaction with children and elders (and of course, food). She spent one day a week training with her handler, and four days at the Therapy and Research Center working primarily with children with disabilities. Once a week Caju also visited Floare Rosie, a centre caring for the elderly.
The relationship Caju built with patients was beautiful to see, she thrived from the interactions and brought much joy to the people she interacted with. Her training continued to improve, and she worked with two children on a regular basis. She is very playful and enjoyed the interactions with the children very much.
Caju also took part in the #NoStressWithFourPaws programme and enjoyed interacting with students too. Since November 2020, Caju is a retired therapy dog. Read more about our work in Romania.