PAWS Magazine


Issue 47, Fall 2000


All he really needed was a second chance

He was dragging a severely damaged leg, pulling himself up to look at Bob, a longtime PAWS supporter. According to locals, the pup had been dragging the leg for at least two weeks, and had not received any medical care. Bob could not turn his back on the sad puppy, with the big black eyes and the hurt leg.

"Bob called me and asked me if we could help," said Kathy "Kelly" Kelly, PAWS Executive Director. "I told him ‘of course we could.’"

Bob’s veterinarian determined that the pup’s best chance for living a happy life was with the amputation of his injured leg. PAWS agreed to oversee the puppy’s rehabilitation, training, and placement into a loving, permanent home.

It was in the vet’s exam room that Bob came up with the dog’s name. This puppy, thought Bob, had only known heartache and pain. He deserved a second chance. So Bob and PAWS gave Chance a new opportunity to live a happy life.

"Chance is such a great name," says Kelly. "But at first we didn’t know why he had chosen it."

So Kelly asked him. Bob responded with a heartfelt letter that left many PAWS staffers moved to tears (see next page).

"Bob’s letter reminded me of my own PAWS dog, Fred," said PAWS Advocacy and Outreach Director Richard Huffman. Huffman adopted Fred from PAWS 20 years ago, but when Fred turned seven, he was diagnosed with bone cancer.

"It was the hardest day of my life when the doctor told me that the only way to save Fred’s life was to have his leg amputated," said Huffman. "I just didn’t know anything about what the surgery would mean to Fred. Would he be in pain? Would he suffer? Bob’s letter reminded me of how much joy Fred’s life was after the surgery, and how glad I was that we decided to give Fred a second chance."

It was tough during Chance’s first few days of rehabilitation at PAWS. He needed to learn how to walk with his back straight. Chance’s foster parent would have to hold him up with a towel under his rear legs to encourage him to walk upright, and not drag himself around.

But after several weeks of care and love, Chance was a new dog. Scampering with his new big brother dog in his foster family, running at the beach, and playing with every single person who wandered by, Chance was finally living the life that Bob had known he deserved.

Chance’s foster family eventually adopted him and now he is living a happy, healthy life.

Why I named him Chance

Kathy "Kelly" Kelly, PAWS Executive Director, asked Bob, the man who rescued Chance, why he gave the puppy such a unique name. Bob wrote back this heartfelt letter:


When I went to see my vet about Chance, the afternoon of the day I took him in, I was told that I had three options. 1) Try to save the leg. 2) have him killed by injection. 3) Amputate his leg.

Number 1 was very iffy and expensive, the leg probably could not be saved, and Chance might die in the trying.

Number 2 would be cheap, fast, and painless to him.

Number 3 would be costly, and leave him crippled but alive.

I decided that number 1 wasn’t really an option. I told the vet that I wanted to be alone for a few minutes to think it through. It was then that I asked the little guy what he wanted. Do you want to dump this crummy existence you’ve had? We can end it quickly and painlessly. Or, would you accept being crippled all your life? You might be happy, you might not; it’s up to you.

The answer I got from the gutsy little guy was "I’ve never had a chance at having any fun. I’ve known only pain, thirst, hunger. I don’t know what tenderness, comfort, love, or a full tummy is. Please give me a chance to experience these things before I die." Now you know why I named him Chance.

You can help PAWS save the lives of more dogs and cats by making a donation right now! We need your help now more than ever.

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