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Stray dog transformed into pet therapist

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It is hard to imagine 3-year-old Taj, a golden Akita mix with soft, dark eyes and a mouth that almost seems to grin, roamed the streets near Kennedy Airport for two years before she became a pet therapy dog in Forest Hills.

Her thick mane carries a healthy sheen. Her paws, broad and sturdy, are gentle and playful.

And rather than digging trenches in the dirt to protect her litter from the cold and other stray dogs, her paws are used now to greet and amuse the residents at the Forest Hills Senior Quarters, the assisted-living center where she visits once a week for her scheduled sessions of pet therapy.

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