Chance’s Welcome Home Story ~Vicky & Jeff Darnell

We have been bursting at the seams waiting to share this exciting news!! The adoption papers were signed June 19th “The only way another dog is coming into this house is if he is a deaf black lab!” My husband attempted to place overwhelming constraints on our next dog. “Okay,” I smirked. “What?! No! You’re kidding me?? I thought deaf dogs had to be white!” he exclaimed.

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Three days later we saw the most adorable head tilt on a deaf black lab named Chance. All Paws Rescue was too helpful in arranging a transport right to our home town. And Laurie Metzger agreed, it would be best for us to foster Chance for awhile. We all wanted to make sure he was a good fit with our two girls, Mac and Zima. Not two weeks later, Chance made the journey from St. Louis, Missouri to Joliet, Illinois.

On May 10, 2014, my husband met a transport team to pick up our baby boy. While Jeff wasn’t convinced this was for certain, Chance knew it had to be right. My husband took Chance out of the kennel and loaded him into the back seat of the truck. For the entire ride home, Chance leaned as far forward as he could to rest his head on Jeff’s shoulder. Chance never moved, he never barked at other vehicles, he just sat so sweet and patient all the way home.

And our girls welcomed him home just like he was meant to be here. I immediately began tether training as outlined on the Deaf Dogs Rock website. I also began training him for his Canine Good Citizen title and Nosework basics. While that sounds like a lot of work, it is part of our daily training with the girls – we just added Chance to the mix. However, Chance had no trouble catching on!! The girls were great teachers.

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Mac and Zima also taught Chance how to play nice. This included not being aggressive over his toys and not biting too hard when playing. We have worked hard to expose Chance to as many different situations as possible. And every time he has been cool and calm. On June 8, 2014, Chance attended Woofapalooza! This is a local fundraiser with lots of activity: food booths, trinket sales, rescue groups, and speakers. Chance was a champ! He was polite to everyone he met, he walked well on a leash, he interacted well with other dogs and he didn’t panic in a crowd.

If there were any doubts between my husband and I whether or not to move forward with adopting Chance, they were all eliminated that day. June 22, 2014: Chance has had a very long weekend. We survived a quick road trip to Michigan for an NW2 trial on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we hiked on over to Indiana for the ORT for both Chance and Zima. Chance missed his Birch, but he did get his Anise ORT! I am not disappointed at all. We covered almost 650 miles in two days and I asked a lot from the dogs in travel and work. The fact that Chance rode so well in the car, waited patiently at a trial and then worked his own ORTs is just amazing!!

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An interesting side note: I have noticed that while Chance is “working” in Nose work, he doesn’t have the nervous energy that tends to surround him. He is much more focused – and working seems to help with his balance and coordination. It almost seems like Nose work occupies a part of his brain that keeps him from doing circles. He also sleeps very well following Nose work training!

We continue to work through some issues like trust and toy aggression. But Chance has made such huge progress in the eight weeks he has been with us. We will continue to learn what Chance needs to be successful and set him up that way!

We are looking forward to sharing more of Chance’s success stories in the near future.

Chance is now a Darnell!!

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