Some people say it is impossible to teach an old dog new tricks. This shelter dog wants to prove you wrong.

Willa Mae was a six-year-old shelter dog when Dr. Kathryn Fega, a Scottsdale-based psychiatrist, saw her at the Arizona Animal Welfare League Shelter in 2016.

“I went to the shelter on Valentine’s Day with a full heart and really wanted to adopt my first dog,” Dr. Fega said. Willa Mae has been in and out of the shelter already and Dr. Fega said “it was very hard for her.”

Michael Morefield from the shelter says even though Willa Mae had been rejected a couple of times, she still strives with her joyous spirit and big heart. “She’s an empathetic dog. As you can see, Willa Mae has her heart on her paw, that is part of her life,” he added.

For Dr. Fega, she said she found traits in Willa Mae that would be perfect for her to become a therapy dog.

“In order to become a therapy dog, they like to have well-mannered, polite, calm and relaxed dogs: And the goal of being a therapy dog is to volunteer your services to be comforting and to be able to provide support and affection towards others,” Dr. Fega said.

She added that people who have severe mental illness oftentimes spend their time in isolation and are socially withdrawn. But with an animal companion like Willa Mae, they may be able to make a connection. They can pet them and show love and receive love and comfort in return.

You might want to read:
– The power of animal companions: Seniors consider pets as their lifesavers
– Dear Booni: A hooman’s love letter to her senior bunny
– Senior dogs are pawsome! Here’s why you should open your heart to an older pooch