Chances the Dog: A Symbol of Recovery and Second Chances
While living in an apartment building where Chances lived with another family, Patricia quickly noted that her owners were using drugs, and also saw that Chances didn’t look well and needed medical attention. One day Patricia had the opportunity to rescue Chances, and although she immediately had to give Chances back, a few weeks later (after her owner was arrested on other charges), Chances was allowed to stay with Patricia for good.
The vet told Patricia that the previous owner had hit Chances with a bat, breaking all of her legs and her hips. Although Patricia couldn’t afford the medical treatments, her friends banded together to help raise money, and Chances got the medical attention she needed.
Patricia never intended to keep Chances; she wanted to rescue her from her abusive situation and find her a safe, loving home. However, after just a short time with Chances, Patricia knew she could not be separated from her. Caring for Chances mirrored other changes she was making in her life at the time.
Patricia was working at the newly opened Promises Malibu campus, and took Chances with her on weekends. “Everyone just fell in love with Chances,” Patricia said. “She immediately gravitated toward the client who needed her most, which became very special. Clients from several years back will call, and while they may not remember my name, they always ask about Chances.”
Chances has been very helpful for many clients, Patricia explained. For example, one client who suffered terrible panic attacks found that being with Chances calmed her, so she would sit with Chances to help regulate her breathing and calm her down. The client recently celebrated a year of sobriety, and still likes to visit Chances.
Chances has played an integral role in Patricia’s own well-being. About six years ago, Patricia and her fiancé, Scott, were in a car accident with Chances in the car. After the car rolled over and down an embankment, Chances was nowhere to be found. Patricia was badly hurt and was taken to the hospital by ambulance, but her fiancé was well enough to look for Chances. He found her about 15 feet away from the totaled car, with only a piece of glass in her paw. “To me, that was divine intervention,” Patricia said. “I think an angel swept her out of the car.” She says she still can’t believe everyone survived the crash.
About two years later, Scott and Patricia’s father both passed away within a few months of each other. Patricia was grief-stricken and distraught, and had to take a leave of absence from Promises. “I wasn’t sure I would be able to come back, but Richard Rogg (the founder of Promises) told me that no matter how long it took, I would have a job waiting for me at Promises,” she said. “Richard would call and check on me, and one day I told him I felt ready to come back to work part-time. He said, ‘Make sure Chances comes with you.’ Ever since then, she’s come to work with me every day.”
Patricia says she thinks Chances was the reason she got through her grief. “Chances was attuned to my emotions and stayed very close to me. I had to get out of bed and take Chances out for a walk and feed her; she made it okay to slowly get back in the groove of my life.”
“During recovery, there are times when you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster,” Patricia said. “Just because you’re clean and sober doesn’t mean everything is going smoothly. Life shows up.” She added, “One of the great things about my recovery was the decision to keep Chances, which meant a great deal of responsibility. No matter what was going on in my life, Chances had to be a priority. She’s gotten me through some of the darkest times of my life. I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have her.”
Understanding how important pets are in our lives, as well as in the recovery process, the Promises admissions team works with clients to find quality care for their pets during treatment. In the past, Promises has coordinated care with local pet resorts as well as recovery companions who welcome the pet into their home and coordinate visits on Promises’ campus, at a local park or other venue. With a mascot like Chances, Promises goes to great lengths to make comfortable accommodations for clients as well as their beloved pets.
Patricia said farewell to Chances in 2013, but her memory lives on at Promises.