Play Group Profile: Chance

Chance came into the Multnomah County Animal Shelter smelling of cigarettes, yeast and urine. She had an itchy, inflamed skin condition that had caused patchy hair loss. Her previous owner had been incarcerated for some time and family members didn’t want her.

Her first few days with shelter staff and volunteers involved growling, cowering, moving away from people and lots of submissive urination. When she did finally allow a staff member to pet her chest a little, the pain of her inflamed skin caused her to yip, move away and pee.

Over the next couple of weeks Chance was given health exams, special baths and medical treatment for her skin condition and yeast infection in her ears. She often licked the faces of her caregivers and enjoyed several tummy rubs. However, she was still a bit shy and doing a lot of submissive urination. Both things that tend to keep a dog from being adopted.

Since Chance was obviously friendly, a behavioral retest was conducted as is required before putting her onto the adoption floor. During that retest, Chance came right up to the evaluator and solicited attention. She still urinated upon receiving that attention. The evaluator knew that I was conducting shelter play groups at that time and came to ask if we could give Chance a try at group play. Of course we could!

We introduced her to Spike (the cutie pie who is pictured in my previous play group blog and is still available for adoption) with both dogs on leash. She seemed very interested to meet him. We did a few walk-bys, he offered a play bow and they were off! The evaluator’s elation at that moment was almost as great as seeing Chance explode with happy exuberance.

We brought June in next. June is a female Pit Bull who is very mild mannered and a bit shy. Chance picked up on June’s shyness immediately, greeted her calmly and left her alone. Great social skills! By the time we finished the play group Chance was one of five Pit Bulls playing happily in the yard.

As we watched them play, a new volunteer (male) came into the play yard. We were just about to let him know that Chance is shy around people and to go slow. Before we could say anything, Chance ran right up to him, whole body wagging (like only a Pit Bull can do!) and there was no submissive peeing!

From that day on Chance was a different dog. She became part of our core play group, meaning she always got to play and was used to evaluate new dogs. The submissive urination stopped completely and she was coming to the front of her kennel to give every human visitor a big body wag.

The luckiest dogs at the shelter get to be transferred to a unique rescue called Family Dogs New Life. There are no kennels at Family Dogs. Instead, dogs are housed in groups of 8 – 20 dogs who are free to play and hang out with each other all day. They are crate trained so that they can sleep in their own crate at night. What I really love about Family Dogs is that they do a thorough job of finding the right owner to match each of their dogs.

Because of Chance’s opportunity to play and her success in the shelter play groups, she was transferred to Family Dogs New Life. They love her there as much as we loved her at the shelter. At the time I’m writing this, Chance is still up for adoption.

You must see the awesome "Piteo" that Family Dogs made for Chance.