Chance's Story
Chance was born in Texas in Nov 2014. He was named Brutus and was sold to a military family at weaning... Seller told them he was a pure bred. Brutus grew fine and was a puppy with 4 boys in the family... All was fine...

Then the family was transferred to SC... Brutus now at 6 months was still fine... But the family had some health issues related to time in Iraq and Afghanistan... and with 4 young boys, Brutus became a little much for them to handle... So, they gave Brutus to another couple who agreed to take him... Brutus' story starts to go down from here... He was simply tolerated at the new home and at 6 months was given minimal attention... Because Malamutes are tough to work with as puppies, the new family got fed up pretty quickly and gave him to another family in rural SC... This family began an abusive relationship with the puppy... Brutus was chained outside 24/7.  He was not always fed or watered... and he was beaten when he acted like a puppy... This went on for about a month and Brutus was so malnourished that he started to become sick... And getting a daily beating or a few, was not good for his mental growth either... Finally somehow, he broke the lead and with chain (literally) in tow, jumped fence and escaped to wild... Now he was on his own and he really didn't know how to live in the wild... With the chain still clanking around his neck he was out there for about 2 weeks before he finally collapsed do to starvation and severe dehydration... Someone saw him and took him for dead... They called the county animal control who found him, alive but critically ill. They took him and provided minimal aid, and put him in a pen... They did give limited food and water... Limited because they were a poor volunteer operation in a rural county... Brutus was caged for a few days, before, by there rules, he was posted for being PTS... Put to Sleep... Euthanized... He had 72 hours to be claimed or he was going down... Time ticked by and nobody came or claimed...
Someone in the rescue network put his picture up to us in the Rescue business... I saw picture and called about him... They said 10 hrs left and the PTS.

Chapter 2 began...
I contacted my cousin who owns a plane and we sometimes fly with Pilots and Paws together... I asked him if we could go get Brutus... He is a vascular surgeon and is on call a lot... But he shuffled his call schedule and we jumped in the the flying machine and went south... Arriving at the little airport we now ran into the shelters administrative blockades... We couldn't take him out of the state and we had to pay a huge fee just to get him out of the PTS line... I paid the fee and he was brought to us... but we needed to get him to a vet for interstate transport... They agreed to that, but we had to return him to shelter... A person from the original family who knew the story got him the health clearance and brought him to us... And the THE MOST AMAZING THING HAPPENED... we lost the directions to the shelter... Without a car and without any way of getting him back there, we were so sad not to return him to the squalor... so we got him tied into the plane and said BYE BYE... We got him to the Rescue in VA... And I began a rehab program for him... Malnourished, dehydrated and infested with parasites, he got immediate treatment... And then we started to work with building some confidence in an animal that was so fear infested, that he wouldn't look at you ever... We worked with him daily... and slowly he came out of his shell... Next we started puppy training and he responded well.  We ran his DNA twice to be sure and he came back Malamute 90 Shepard 10... which by some organizations is defined as a pure bred Alaskan Shepard... Really didn't matter, because he had no clue about his breed standards... We worked everyday and he really responded quickly... Soon he had passed his basic obedience Level 1 training tests and we moved him to Service Training... Level 2 is the stage where all the social behaviors are taught... So we did daily training, twice a day... 7 days a week... His confidence was growing and so was his sociability... I constantly tested him for many things, and he was now up to weight and parasite free... We continued to work on a number of things... As Brutus was now the Rescues, we decided to change his name to Chance (Slim) because he didn't have much of one... So Chance continued to thrive and started to show some signs of being extraordinary... One memorable event - we were at a off leash park and he was playing with the other puppies... In came a woman with her daughter in a wheel chair... Turns out the daughter was non functional autistic. Couldn't speak, could really coordinate moves and so gross motor skills were severely inhibited... Sitting next the girl, Chance saw me and started to run full speed toward me... I was so happy to see him so enthusiastically come to me... At full run he cross the field and came at me... But he wasn't coming at me... He went to the girl in the wheelchair... stopped in front of her and then laid his head on her lap... HOLY ? I couldn't believe what I was seeing... I just sat there and Chance didn't move... just laid his head on her lap... she tried to touch him, but it was tough, so her Mom helped her move her hand on his head... Chance did nothing... This went on for about 10 min... Slowly a smile of sorts came on the girls face... Evidence that she was aware of what was happening... I still just sat still and did nothing... After about 20 min... Chance steps back one step and looks at her eye to eye... He just sat there in front of her and never broke eye contact... Again, I did nothing...

Finally it was time for them to go and they started to gate... Chance walked without lead next to the wheel chair... At the gate he stopped and they exited...

He resumed his puppy play...

Chapter 3

Chance now growing fast... was doing great in Level 2 Service Training... I decided to try him (based on the girl experience) to qualify as an ESA... Emotional Support Animal... hospitals, nursing homes, wounded veteran organizations.... He passed all the tests and was certified as ESA... Still training as Service Dog... Service TBD...

As the months went by, he became a very different animal... Perky, playful, and attentive... he no longer cowered and at the park he would sometimes even spar with others, instead of assuming the submissive position... Good news...

Finally passing his Level 2 tests it was time for him to advance to final stage of Service Training... This is specialization phase and so we had to test to see what he could do...

About this time, I was inundated at the rescue with lost animals (pets), sometimes more than one a day... I also noticed that Chance would not chase squirrels, or deer... He would look, they would look, nobody would make a sound and then pretty soon everybody would go about their business... He never got excited when seeing deer, squirrels, birds or even the occasional wild fox that the rescue was handling... Even a raccoon was  as SO WHAT with Chance...

So that gave me a clue that maybe Search and Rescue should be his thing... Testing began and then tracking training... He learned very fast... Tracking using sardine lines or drips along a path that increased til he was out of sight...

Now wearing a GPS collar, he could be tracked by me or someone while he was out on search...

We now did animal orientation... Alert and track canines and felines, but not ground hogs, fox or chipmunks...

That was a tough distinction... and we still work on that...

But he can track an animal without much distraction...

So, Search and Rescue became his primary service... He got some training in people tracking, but his primary purpose was tracking lost animals...

He has worked at least 15 times on that... not always successfully... He has this thing where he keeps looking back at me and doesn't want me out of sight... if I do, he returns to see me... That is something that will take continued confidence work...

He next was started in agility training... this is an adjunct to his service... and is used for many purposes...

Chance loves kids, animals, and people in that order... He will go up to anyone and kiss them, like he knew them for 20 years...

Chance also received bite inhibition training from me... This is where during his puppy days he is training to bite, but never DOWN hard... he can bite me without ever breaking skin or hurting...

So, tomorrow (Nov 17, 2016) he is 2 years old... Full grown and trained and certified and licensed... He now has another job...

Because he loves animals, as the Rescue has puppies, kittens, transient fosters and wild cats in an out all the time, he is the caretaker... He helped me raise 4 kittens that were accepted at 30 days old, just post weaned... He never figured out (or maybe he did) that they were a different species... He treated them gently and lovingly... They grew and started to bond with him... In the meantime, others were coming and going... All animals were to be guarded by Chance... The kittens (4) 2 males 2 females were doing great and then over the course of 6 days the two males and one female passed suddenly... I could tell that Chance was down about this... these were his playmates... The kittens had a fatal disease that was undectable and untreatable... So, the remaining female was likely to have it too..

We waited... nothing... waited some more... nothing... Sunshine, and Chance really bonded now, because her siblings were gone... Soon Sunshine was going up to Chance and 'asking' him to play... She would go under his head, roll on her back and swat at him until he put his nose on her belly... then he would push her around like a mop on the floor... This continues to this day... Sunshine was going to be an adoptable... but a week ago (Nov 9), I talked to Chance and we decided together to admit her to the family permanently... And she never came down with the disease... :)

So today the Rescue has 3 permanent staff members, Chance, Sunshine and me... and then a lot of volunteers...

That's his story to date


vid_20160819_091004.mp4
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The video above of Chance being protective of his new friend Kola the German Shepard. They went to the dog park and it was all new to Kola. He had a pushy yellow lab and was unsure what to do, Chance to the rescue!
This was Sunrise on Day Chance began Life. — celebrating a birthday with Planet Earth.