This is Chance. He is a Golden Retriever and he is two and a half years old.
This was Chance in November of 2016. He was found in someone's backyard with a badly hurt back leg and he was dragging a coyote trap on his front paw. The kind person who found him called the dog warden who then took him to an emergency clinic for animals. Chance was scared, lonely and in a great deal of pain. He had no collar or tags to identify him and no owners to call.
The emergency clinic discovered that Chance had a gunshot wound to his back leg. It had become dangerously infected and was not usable. His front paw where the coyote trap was had become badly infected also. He was also about thirty-five pounds underweight and infested with fleas. The clinic determined that Chance's back leg would have to be amputated and they weren't sure how many toes they would be able to save on his front paw. Lucky for Chance, only one toe on his front paw could not be saved. Chance underwent three surgeries in just 7 weeks and he lived at the clinic until January. During that time, no one came forward to claim him. When he was strong and healthy enough to go home, the clinic started accepting adoption applications from nearly eighty families. After a month-long process of interviewing and visiting families the perfect home was found.
Chance arrived in his new home on January 5, 2016. Although he was healthy enough at that point to leave the clinic, he still had a long road to recovery ahead of him. He lacked muscle tone, was weak on his remaining back leg and had poor balance. Because he is missing a toe on his front paw, Chance relies heavily on his left shoulder for balance. As a result, his spine was slightly crooked and threw his whole body alignment off. Not fixing this misalignment would probably cause major problems for Chance as he gets older.
He also meets Dr. Rachel and begins therapy to work on strengthening his back leg. Because Chance is such a big dog this process has to be done slowly. To much weight on a weak leg could do a lot of damage. Normally dogs who lose a leg adjust very quickly to moving around but Chance's missing toe makes it difficult for him to balance. Chance goes to therapy once a week with Dr. Rachel.
Dr. Rachel is a rehab therapist for dogs. She has a special water treadmill where dogs who are recovering from injury can work on rebuilding their strength without putting extra pressure on their legs. Chance walks on the treadmill for about 30 minutes. The water helps to float his body so that his foot touches the treadmill without the weight of his body. He enjoys going to therapy once a week and feels so much better afterwards. It has really helped to make him strong and agile enough to move around the house and yard like a normal dog.
Chance is now living the life of luxury in his new home. Because he only has three legs he has some special needs that other dogs do not require. One of these needs is a supportive bed. Dogs with three legs have some difficulty getting up from lying down so soft squishy beds are not supportive enough. Chance has a nice big firm bed that he loves to sleep on (he snores too!).
Chance does just fine getting around the house and yard and going up/down steps is no problem either. The only things he cannot do well are walk backwards, turn in tight circles, play fetch and scratch his left ear (for which he has learned to ask for "help" by shaking his head and walking towards the nearest human hand).
There are many benefits to rescuing a dog in need but it is not always easy at first. It is hard to say what kind of life Chance had before he was found and no one really knows for sure how long he roamed around by himself. At some point, someone was not very kind to Chance. He gets scared when he is yelled at and he is still fearful of his people leaving and not coming back. He also gets nervous when going for walks. Things like cars and general neighborhood noise seem to scare him so Chance must be introduced to these things slowly.
Chance likes to watch TV. The first time he saw a dog on TV he looked all around and behind the TV to see where the dog went. The Dog Whisperer is his favorite show and Animal Planet is his favorite channel.
Chance has two siblings in his new home. Lucy is on the left and Eugene is on the right. The love their new big "little brother". Chance has learned that if he lies down on the floor, he can wrestle and play with his little buddies.
Chance has big dog friends too. This is when he met Gabby for the first time. They are now best buddies and Gabby promises to show Chance everything she knows about being a therapy dog.
Chance and his dog friends love to take selfies!
Chance also has many people friends! He has his own Facebook page with about 300 followers from all over the country and he also has his own blog! He has been on the news three times! People who have followed his story from the beginning are constantly sending letters and donating money to The Second Chance Fund, which is a fund that was set up in his name to help stray animals get the medical care they need so they can find forever homes. There was a benefit for Chance back in February that raised over $800 to be added to this fund!
Chance even has two cat siblings! Lilly and Bodie didn't like him at first because he was so big and clumsy. They would get scared and run away and he would chase them but he has learned that if he stays put, the cats will come closer to him.
There are still many more classes to attend, homework to complete, and tests to pass but Chance will soon become a certified therapy dog. He is doing really well in class and gets tired from all the thinking he has to do.