Chance didn’t have a tag or a microchip when he was found lying by the side of Viejas Grade Road near Willows Road in East County, but amid his colossal good fortune, he didn’t need them.
The 40-pound, 18-month-old retriever mix was discovered the morning of Monday, Feb. 20, after having suffered a single gunshot wound through the torso and both lungs, his oxygen depletion and loss of blood resulting in a state of shock—but barely in time, motorist Eladia Espinoza alerted police. One official said the responding officer “probably broke the speed limit getting [Chance] into the veterinary hospital, and I’m not going to fault her for that.”
Personnel at the VCA emergency animal hospital in Mission Valley reacted equally swiftly. The next day, ominous pins and needles gave way to cheers and sighs of relief.
Through a combination of oxygen therapy, skillful medicine and luck, staff vet personnel had saved Chance’s life. By Wednesday, he was eating; on Friday, he was released to the county department of animal services; the next day, the department began accepting applications for his adoption.
The department stopped taking apps on March 3, but Dan DeSousa, a department lieutenant and press representative, said the volume of prospects is another cause for optimism.
“We’ve had people express interest in adopting him since the story broke,” De Sousa said. “We actually got applications before we told people we were accepting them.”
Chance is recuperating at the department’s Carlsbad facility, DeSousa said, “because we can isolate him better from other dogs there. With his lungs healing right now, we don’t want him exposed to a dog that has kennel cough or something like that and have him start to degrade again. Looking at him today, he’s a happy little dog.”
DeSousa said it’s likely Chance had been shot a very short time before Espinoza’s call.
DeSousa added that it will take a week to determine the top three adoption prospects.
“We will contact them and ask them to do an interact with the dog,” he said. “Based upon how those go, we’ll then pick our top choice.
“There are a lot of people who want this dog, but we have to do what’s right by the dog. We need to find him the ideal home.”
Perhaps mere moments, DeSousa said, were the difference between this story and a report of a far different nature. “The dog was an inch away from dying,” he explained. “The bullet went through the lungs and just missed the heart. The lungs were damaged severely. Without the intervention, the dog would have died [Feb. 20].
“It’s amazing. I’m sitting there looking at a dog shot and left for dead, and here he is.”
Luck was with Chance that day. And everything else being equal, that fortune is about to rub off on some worthy area family.
The search is still on for the assailant, who may face felony animal cruelty charges.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Since this article was published in early March, Chance has been in the local spotlight several times. He is sure to find the perfect new home. We want to remind and encourage our readers that for every story of "Chance," there a hundred other pets that have had rough beginning in our local shelters. If you are in a position to bring a new pet into your home (or know someone who is) please consider giving a shelter animal a second chance!)
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