When I was younger I was living with my boyfriend Chris. Chris’s cat had recently passed away due to old age and he was lonely while I was at school during the day. After pestering quite a bit for a kitten I told him he should consider adopting a older pet since they are the most likely to be put to sleep. A few days later we were scouring the local pet shelters for the perfect companion.
The search seemed never ending. Some animals seemed too clingy, some to skittish. The days turned into weeks and soon we seemed to be visiting the same few animals and had a minimal ‘variety’ to choose from. Chris was getting very discouraged and at this point was about to give up. We returned home like always, quiet and praying for the perfect pet.
I went on my lunch hour a few days later to stroll around the kennels of yapping pups. I saw the same faces and about made the decision to give in and bring home a kitten. I was walking past the kennels when I was met with two crystal clear eyes that were begging for attention. I think it was then I knew he was the one.
Chance was a retired sled dog, 10 years old and taller than me. He had been adopted out twice and returned due to ‘behavior’ problems. Having experience as a dog trainer, I thought that he couldn’t have a problem I couldn’t fix. The shelter staff reviewed my application as I called off the rest of the day of work to surprise Chris. They brought Chance out to meet me and play in their yard as the staff shook their heads- I think they thought he would simply be returned again. Our first meeting was great; he seemed like a giant puppy. The staff informed me that he loved to run and would need exercise, as well as had arthritis and a thyroid imbalance that was common and required a simply daily medication for management. The shelter had neutered him and I assumed that would also help with behavior problems.
Trying to squeeze this huge dog in the back of my car comfortably was my first obstacle but was easily overcome. The ride home was short and I was eager to get him inside. This is where I learned he apparently wasn’t potty trained. He did know basic commands, which was great and made my life simpler.
Over the course of the next few weeks I and Chris found that Chance needed more than basic training. This dog had been accustomed to living outdoors for goodness sake. I’d come home to a destroyed house almost every day. I was about at my wits end. One day Chance really went over the line. I found a very precious keepsake chewed apart. In tears, I threw him in the back yard yelling about how horrible he was.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to get out of this house, stop seeing the destruction. It was like having a puppy! Except one who would never learn. I threw on my shoes and decided to go for a run to cool down before I did something stupid and returned Chance to the pound.
My feet hit the pavement as I ran down the sidewalk with my headphones in. It felt like I had been running for hours before a felt something repeatedly hitting my side. I looked back to see Chance right at my side running alongside me. He had obviously jumped our measly fence and chased after me. I turned right around and brought him home, mad that he had ruined yet another thing- my free time.
Opening the door and throwing my house keys down me just sat on the couch and cried. Why couldn’t he be a good dog? I heard the click clack of little paws as Chance came up to lick my face and lay besides me. I got up and started to make dinner.
The night went on uneventful which was a rare occasion at the time. I started to wonder why it was so quiet. That night I spoke with Chris about the day’s events and it really took his outsiders view to make me put two and two together.
I started daily runs with Chance and found that the release of energy helped him immensely with his behavior. Soon he was the best couch dog you could ever have. Though I and Chris ended up splitting up a while latter, I’ll never ever forget Chance and the lessons he taught me.