Take a Chance. Find Happiness.


It was Saturday morning and I was relaxing in the backyard after my run.

I decided to check my email on my phone and discovered an urgent message from a member of our local Golden Retriever meet-up group. The retriever mix she and her husband were fostering, and hoping to adopt, needed a new home that day. Apparently he was terrorizing their cat and the situation was pretty dire. They loved the dog, but had to let him go. And, they were fearful if they didn’t find a new home for him that day he might end up in a temporary foster home or worse, back in a shelter.

I was drawn to that email.

Even though we’d had two dogs for the past 12+ years, when we lost Cheyenne back in September, I figured we’d go it alone with Hope. She seemed to be thriving as a solo dog in our home. And I was enjoying all of our one-on-one time. Plus, I’m training her for therapy work, which requires a lot of time and attention.

Still, that email kept tugging at me.

I said to my husband who has been bugging me to get another dog since we lost Cheyenne, “So, do you want to adopt a golden retriever/chow mix named Chance?”

His immediate response was “Email her back. Let’s go meet him.”

I was torn. My heart told me this was no coincidence.

It was exactly one year ago this same weekend I lost my beloved Maverick, who was also a rescue and who we believed was a golden retriever/chow mix.

I really wasn’t in the market for another dog.

But I couldn’t let it go.

So I called.

Turns out Chance was found as a stray in Riverside County, and had been taken in by SoCal Golden Retriever Rescue, and placed with this foster family the week prior. We’d have to jump through a few hoops if we wanted to adopt this little guy. The first step was contacting someone from the rescue organization. The second was scheduling a meet and greet with Chance and our one-year-old golden, Hope.

Upon meeting Chance, I knew almost immediately this little guy was supposed to join our family.

He immediately came up to me and nuzzled his big head into me, seeking love and attention. He and Hope were fine together, even though they seemed a little bit disinterested in each other. After about 45 minutes, they began doing something called “paralleling.” I was told by the foster family and the rescue representative that was a good thing.

I didn’t know what my husband was thinking so after about an hour we left Chance and the foster family and told them we needed to discuss it and get back to them. All the way home in the car I couldn’t help feeling we were supposed to give this little guy a home. We were told he was very well mannered, had some training, and was a true love-bug. The only issue was he suffered severe separation anxiety whenever the foster parents left him. And, he didn’t like the cat. Well, we don’t have a cat, and never will… I’m allergic. And the thought of placing him with another foster family only to possibly be uprooted again just didn’t seem fair.

By the time we got home and I had talked it through with my husband, daughter, and son, we decided we needed to do this. More for Chance than for us.

And that’s the funny thing.

Every dog I’ve adopted in the past has been for me: I’ve wanted a dog. But with Chance, it was different. Yes, I wanted him, but this was more about him needing us. The fact that he looks like an exact mix of the two dogs we lost last year, came to us exactly one year after we lost Maverick, and that his name is Chance (c’mon, Hope and Chance… it’s too perfect!), told me this was meant to be.

There were so many reasons to say no.

To not adopt him. But my heart overruled them all.

The SoCal Golden Retriever Rescue and foster family jumped through hoops that day to get this little guy into our home. And by 5pm that night he was here. He was very anxious the first night and I remember laying in bed that night asking myself, “Did we make a mistake? We’ve just gotten settled into a nice routine with Hope… have we totally upset the apple cart?”

But when I woke up the next morning, albeit after a rather sleepless night, all of my hesitations were squelched when Chance jumped up on the bed and nuzzled up beside me as if to say “Thank you, I’m home.”

It’s been two weeks and Chance has already brought so much love and joy into our home.

Hope loves having another dog to play with. The vet thinks Chance is about five years old, so while not a puppy, he’s still got some play in him. She follows him around and kisses him when he gets anxious. It’s pretty amazing to watch.

Chance has made himself right at home with us. He is so full of love I can’t believe someone let him go. Of course, we’ll never know his full story, or why or how he became separated from his previous owners, but by his behavior (severe separation and car anxiety) we can only assume someone put him in a car and then left him.

We are working with him and he is getting better every day.

I think he’s beginning to realize we always come back when we leave, and when we go for a ride in the car, he always comes back home with us.

No, I wasn’t looking for another dog.

And, there were many reasons not to adopt Chance.

But instead of listening to my head, I chose to listen to my heart and do it anyway.

I chose to follow my mantra of “Let go and trust.”

And once again it has been proven.

I know we adopted Chance for what we could give to him. But he’s already given us so much more than that in return.


About Debbie

After spending 32 years in marketing, Debbie now spends her time blogging, teaching online courses, doing volunteer pet therapy, and encouraging others to follow a more inspired path through life.

2 comments on “Take a Chance. Find Happiness.

  1. Chance is a lucky pup.
    It is funny how, no matter what your plans are, sometimes you have to take a “chance” and follow another path and I truly believe in making the “feels right” decision. I love this post, but I am a sucker for a good dog story with a happy ending. Great one Debbie:)

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