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Helping others and living her best life
I Love My Pet
Rayce
Taylor Bray and her chocolate lab, Rayce. - photo by Scott Bryant

Every good dog deserves a home.  And Rayce, a 5-year-old Labrador retriever, found hers after spending some time in the Bulloch County Animal Shelter. 

Rayce’s human is Taylor Bray. She adopted Rayce four years ago. Bray was looking for a chocolate lab, and her best friend suggested she try the animal shelter. That’s where she found Rayce.

“I went and visited Rayce for a whole week before I adopted her. I would see her every day. She was not really too social with humans. I finally adopted her at the end of the week,” she said.

Bray says Rayce wasn’t her first pet. She has also had two dogs and a cat. 

Rayce was already trained when she was adopted.

“I’m pretty sure she was professionally trained. I have taught her new things though,” Bray says. 

But even with the training, it was clear that Rayce had faced some trauma in her previous life.

“Rayce used to pee when I called her name, and she would cringe if I would lift my hand to pet her,” she said. “She never played with any toys. She pretty much stayed in her crate all the time. It took her about six months to a year to come out of her shell.”

Bray says that once her dog did come out of her shell, her personality began to emerge.  Rayce is afraid of loud noises, and she sleeps upside down with her feet in the air. She won’t eat if anyone is looking at her. 

“And she has to use the bathroom in the woods, where no one can see her,” Bray said. 

As for bad habits, Bray said Rayce only has one — she chews on things she’s not supposed to. But she doesn’t do it often.

Bray says she knows her dog loves her, as Rayce follows her everywhere, and barks a loud greeting each day when she comes home. 

Rayce loves hanging out and playing with other dogs and Bray says it’s important for her to do so, since she wants to be sure that Rayce doesn’t become aggressive with other dogs. 

Rayce sleeps in her own bed, and Bray says she’s not much for being in her human’s bed. She gets to be in all the family photos, and even has a sweater and her own pajamas in the winter. She celebrates her birthday each year with new toys and some ice cream. And she gets to go hiking whenever they visit Bray’s sister in North Georgia.

Bray loves to talk with her pup, and says she knows that if Rayce could speak, she would say thank you for being rescued and “giving her the best life she could ask for.”

That best life is also about helping others. Bray says that Rayce isn’t your average lab, as she is so well trained, and she is a certified therapy dog. During the 11-month training period, Rayce received her Canine Good Citizen and Canine Good Citizen Advance titles. She is now a certified therapy dog with Love on a Leash, and she visits nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, as well as schools with Bray. The pair is hoping to get into children’s hospitals soon. 

“That makes Rayce even more special. A beat-down rescue dog that had the ability to become something that can help others when others did not help her,” Bray said. “I believe our relationship is so special because we saved each other. We are a team, and we work together on therapy trips. We have a special bond that she does not share with anyone else. She is something special, and I am so blessed to have her.”