In 2017, FOUR PAWS signed an agreement with the Municipality of Sofia and became the first organisation to launch an Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) programme with former stray dogs in Bulgaria.
Before Shoko was rescued, he was roaming on a building site in Bulgaria working as a guard dog. Sadly, one day he was horrendously injured when a chain excavator crushed two of his legs. Upon examination at the clinic no one had hope for him, so he was due to be euthanised when thankfully, FOUR PAWS stepped in to save him.
With the right treatment, care and dedication Shoko recovered from his injuries, he found a loving foster family and the team discovered his great potential to be trained as a therapy dog. Less than a year later, Shoko became part of our Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) programme. And since late 2017, Shoko was trained weekly to become Bulgaria's second therapy dog.
George and Shoko: An extraordinary friendship between an autistic child and a dog
Shoko’s foster family loves to see how lively and happy he is after each therapy session. He loves young children – especially one boy in particular – 5-year-old George, with autism. At first, George wasn’t paying much attention to Shoko and preferred to finish his therapy activities alone. But after some time, he started imitating Shoko as well as petting him. Within a few months, a strong connection was built between the two. Nowadays, they are full of joy when they are together and play a lot while George develops new skills during therapy exercises. At the start of each session, they always run enthusiastically at each other. This story shows us how both humans and animals can perfectly benefit from each other.