Smoke the Therapy Dog

The Salvation Army of Baton Rouge has welcomed a new member to their family. Smoke is a therapy dog to the men and staff in the Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC).

Welcoming a therapy dog into the recovery program was Major Donald Tekautz’s idea. He often took his dog to the ARC during a former appointment in Memphis. He realized that having a dog was beneficial to residents and decided to bring a therapy dog on board in Baton Rouge.

“In other appointments, I have seen the quality of life a dog can bring to our clients. They become the best counselor the men have because dogs keep secrets no matter what you tell them. Though it sounds tripe, dog is the same name as God just backward, so I do believe that they have an innate quality to bring peace and tranquility to our lives. They are messengers of peace, and Smoke certainly has brought that to the property for our guys. Smoke is a great dog, and the guys in the program are benefiting from him greatly,” shared Major Tekautz.

Smoke is two-years-old and was adopted from a local Baton Rouge shelter. He lives at the ARC, and residents are in charge of caring for him. A monthly schedule rotates responsibilities for residents, who take turns feeding, bathing, and walking Smoke as well, making sure he takes his heartworm medication until he heals.

The men in the ARC program spend a lot of time with Smoke. He has a kind heart and continuously wants to be pet and hugged. A lot of the residents enjoy him being around because he signifies comfort.

“It’s been great to have a dog around. It has brought a piece of home to my life and my recovery. Smoke seems to like it here, and I know we enjoy having him here. We’ve all fallen in love with Smoke, and we think he might love us too,” shared Percy, an ARC resident.