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Fair Lawn Pup With 'X' Carved Into Scalp Finds New Life Helping Vets

Skyla snuggles with mom Tami Pichardo of Fair Lawn in the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs at Berkeley College, where she will soon be the emotional support dog.
Skyla snuggles with mom Tami Pichardo of Fair Lawn in the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs at Berkeley College, where she will soon be the emotional support dog. Photo Credit: Tami Pichardo
Skyla looking very regal in the sun.
Skyla looking very regal in the sun. Photo Credit: Tami Pichardo

FAIR LAWN, N.J. — Judging by the X carved into her dog's head, Tami Pichardo of Fair Lawn knows the pup didn't have it easy.

Pichardo doesn't know exactly what 2-year-old Skyla's story is. But if there's one thing she knows for sure it's that her snuggly rescue pup is going to make a pretty incredible emotional support animal.

Skyla is currently training to be the official service dog at Berkeley College's Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, where her mom works.

If all goes according to plan, Skyla will be officiated into the office in less than two years.

"No dog can judge a person. No dog can talk back," said Pichardo, who adopted Skyla with her husband in December from Cliffside Park's Bergen County Protect and Rescue Foundation.

"All they're looking for is your happiness and satisfaction, and they're happy and satisfied.

"That's what it's about."

Skyla has been accompanying her mom to work and has already been providing assistance. Pichardo recalled one instance in particular when a student came in and was immediately put at ease simply by being in Skyla's presence.

"Over the phone, the student seemed really agitated or upset. He was at his wits end in that particular moment," Pichardo said. "He came into the office and when he turned the corner and saw Skyla, his whole body language changed."

The dog's presence calmed the student down so that Pichardo was able to talk to him calmly — at his own request.

"Just being herself is going to make her work so well with others," Pichardo said. "All she’s looking for is love."

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