In the heart of Lexington, at Shriners Children’s Hospital, a remarkable dog named Chance is making a profound impact. His journey from a rescue dog with a tragic past to a certified therapy dog is a heartwarming tale of resilience, compassion, and the power of love.
Chance’s story began with adversity, as he was discovered in a dire state, starving and with a bullet lodged in his shoulder. Camp Jean Rescue, a group of dedicated animal lovers, came to his rescue, providing him with much-needed medical care and, more importantly, a second chance at life. Despite their best efforts, Chance’s front leg couldn’t be saved, and veterinarians had to amputate it, along with his collarbone and shoulder, to treat the bullet wound.
Six weeks after his life-saving surgery, Chance found a new home with Andrea White, a former Shriners nurse. Inspired by his kind, clever, and obedient nature, Andrea decided to seek pet therapy certification for Chance. She had a unique mission in mind: to visit patients with limb deficiencies, just like Chance.
Together, Chance and Andrea underwent Love on a Leash therapy pet training, and it wasn’t long before Chance was patrolling the halls of Shriners Children’s Lexington as a certified therapy dog. His primary mission was to bring comfort and smiles to children facing challenges similar to his own.
During their visits, Chance and Andrea often entered clinic exam rooms, where the children’s faces would light up with delight. Many would get down on the floor to be closer to their furry friend. The children and their families were naturally curious about how Chance had lost his leg, but it was his “eager to please” disposition that truly captured their hearts.
For Chance, these hospital visits were a form of “work,” and he eagerly looked forward to them. His enthusiasm was palpable as he arrived at the hospital, ready to assist and provide solace to children living with limb differences.
Every family Chance visited was deeply touched by their time with him. Emily Yost, whose 4-year-old son, Arlo, is a patient at Shriners Children’s Lexington, shared her family’s profound experience. Chance’s relatability and compassion were evident, leaving a lasting impression on the children he met.
The positive energy that Chance brought extended beyond the young patients to the hospital staff. Beth English, a licensed therapeutic recreational therapist at the hospital, noted that Chance’s presence helped alleviate anxiety and stress during long prosthetics clinic visits. The anticipation of seeing Chance’s wagging tail and friendly face brought smiles to both patients and their families.
When Chance is off-duty, he enjoys spending time with his human companion, Andrea, and playing with his rescue dog sibling, Sadie. Andrea hopes that Chance’s heartwarming work will inspire animal lovers to support therapy dog programs in various settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, airports, and libraries. Chance’s story is a testament to the incredible bond between humans and animals and the transformative power of compassion and dedication.