How old is Chance?
He’s between 2-3 years old. However, he has physical characteristics of an older dog. He favors one hip some times and has a few gray hairs on his back from the hard stressful life he’s had to endure. Scars and broken teeth are other factors that age him older than he really is.
I read he was rescued by the Forgotten Dogs of the Fifth Ward, was he a puppy when he was rescued?
No. He was 1 1/2-2 years old then. He was found at a busy gas station trying to drink some water from an old rusted oil laced bowl that was in the parking lot.
Do they have any idea how long he had be used as a bait dog?
No, but is pretty safe to assume it was his entire life. He is not a fighter and appears he was shot in the face, probably due to poor performance by the animals that did this to him.
What was he shy/timid when you adopted him?
Yes. But he would open up when he was outside. He felt more comfortable outside and would wag his tail on walks or just being with him in the yard. Inside, he would pace non stop until I introduced him to the bed.
Did he understand love, kindness and how to play when he first came to you?
Not really. He would chew on a toy but playing with someone and his toy at the same time had to be taught. I believe his first interaction of love and kindness was given to him from FGO5W.
Does he have any fursibilings he lives with?
He has a stray cat that made our farm her home last month. They have worked on their relationship since the day she got here. Kitty tries harder at being friends than Chance does. She wants to take a nap with him and he’s not sure if she’s going to “get him.” They do touch in passing and have laid on the couch and in the bed together. I’m sure after the long winters we have, they’ll be cuddle buddies.
How has behavior changed since he came to you?
He’s not even the same dog. He has his quirks, likes to go outside, lay in the pasture, play with toys, and he’s comfortable with me holding him or placing him in a certain position when it’s time for bed. He no longer ducks and runs in to the house when I throw a toy (ball, etc..). He knows I’m playing with him now so he gets excited at times and like to run. He always brings the toy back, even if it’s just to lay and chew on it.
What would you like to tell people who are afraid of adopting a bait dog?
The first thing I would let them know is the pay off is beyond any monetary value they will ever receive. I remember the first time I saw Chance smile. It’s something I will never forget. Saving Chance and watching him grow in to the dog he is has been tremendous for me and my soul beams with pride and happiness. You may have an older dog but they have to remember the dog was never even allowed to be a puppy and play. You’ll know your dog is doing better when their nightmares start to be less and less. Some of Chance’s dreams were horrific for me to hear. To hear him scream for his life while in a dead sleep just broke my heart. There is no getting used to it, just let them become less and less until they’re a faded memory. Chance hasn’t had a bad dream in over a month.As your bait dog gets used to their new home life, they become happier at an accelerated pace once they know you’re not going to hurt them. They just want to be loved. Chance is the most non-confrontational dog I have ever seen. We’ve had friends visit with their little yapper Chihuahua types and when they go to Chance’s bowl to eat, Chance lets them. He doesn’t want any issue. He’s a tenderhearted little guy.
Has he had any training (Canine Good Citizen, etc)?
No. I’m not even at the point of teaching him to sit or shake. However, he comes when he’s called (unless he’s in the bed and then I physically have to tell him to come down stairs). He likes his area to roam and doesn’t leave his yard. He did do a DARE project with Knox County Humane Society in Galesberg IL where he met some 5th graders at their school along with another pitbull that only has 3 legs. Her name is Diva and Chance really likes her! In fact, I discovered KCHS from Diva. She was already adopted but they showed me a picture of Chance and I was going to do whatever I could to get him even though he was out of state.Chance will sometimes get in to things he doesn’t need to be in. For example, he loves to play in the fire pit the next day after we’ve burned trash and wood. He’ll try to drag something out and I’ll tell him to “NO!” He always wags his tail and comes to me to be petted after I tell him “no.” Knowing he’s not afraid and comes to me for reassurance is just the best possible reaction one could hope for. He knows there’s no reason to be afraid. “No” simply means don’t do that. It doesn’t mean “you’re in trouble.” I guess that’s why he smiles every time he comes towards me.
What can people do to help other dogs that are in Chance’s position?
1. Get involved! Find a local rescue in your area and help them. It could be something as little as donate food. You can ease in to help rescuing dogs and please, open your home to foster. Foster homes are desperately needed.
2. If you see animal cruelty, report it to the authorities AND a rescue organization. State authorities many times won’t respond due to lack of funding or over crowding of facilities. Houston police will drive right by an injured animal and rescuers will be approached by local residence asking if they want to buy a puppy — while they’re trying to trap a stray dog. They are the problem. 3. Never buy a pet from a store, Craigslist, newspaper add or flyer hanging on a corner.
4. If you’ve ever said “someone should do something about that,” be that someone! Do something. Help those that can’t help themselves. You’d be amazed how your soul is cleansed. Somehow, you’re life has more purpose than it did the day before. You’re making a difference, saving a life, and even saving the life of the dog that takes the place of the one you took in.
5. Email or call your state legislator. Those folks only want votes. If they know puppy mills and animal abuse matters to their voters, it will matter to them and you can get things rolling for tougher legislation. If you’ve ever seen a puppy mill and how the animals are treated, you would do these 5 things I’ve listed and you’d get every one you knew involved.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
The only people who talk bad about Pit Bulls and Bully breeds are those who haven’t owned one. These dogs are extremely loyal to their family. It’s how they’re raised, just like children, that produce the end results. The media regurgitates information that’s completely inaccurate. If the producer of the show owned a Bully breed, they wouldn’t even let the story air.
Author’s Note: Many thanks to Chance’s family for letting me ask about him and sharing his story. The photos were used with permission and belong to Chance’s parents. You can follow Chance’s progress on his Facebook page Meet Chance.
I am a huge advocate to end dog fighting and BSL, so please if you see animal abuse report it. If you want to get involved please contact your local shelter to help socialize some of the dogs there, they need love, playtime, pets and assurance that they will one day get the chance to be with a furever family who loves them, like Chance has now.
For more pet happy endings, please go to Happy Tales. Or you can visit Forgotten Dogs of the 5th Ward’s Website or Facebook page.