Chance My First Golden
By Mary Meyer, 12/2008
I had not been able to even think about getting
another dog after my Beautiful Cocker Spaniel Brandy
passed away from Cancer. She was so brave and fought
so hard. We had a very special bond when I was away
I would instinctively know if she was sick or in
pain. I would call my Mother and tell her to check
on Brandy because I knew something was wrong. After
she passed away, I never imagined ever getting
My brother Fred who lives in northern California had
two Golden’s named T-Bear and Carley. They were very
reddish in color. For me, the first time I met them,
it was love at first sight. They both have since
passed away from cancer.
was eight years before I thought of getting another
dog. The day I got my beautiful Chance I woke up
knowing this was the day. I told my husband Andy, I
was going to look for a dog and had decided to get a
Golden Retriever. Andy said, “No chance you are
getting one today—not a
chance, I know you."
In the local paper there were several ads for Golden
puppies. I made an appointment but could hardly look
at the puppies when we got there for I was feeling
guilty for replacing my Brandy. One of the puppies
kept coming up and nibbling on me and another was
very shy and stayed in the corner away from us and
the other dogs. I was going to take the one who was
nibbling on me, but my mom said the small shy one
was the one she liked best. I agreed and soon we
were on the way home as she rode on my mother’s lap.
My mom’s dog, a Westie named Buddy, was very jealous
and wanted the new puppy off of her. When we got
home I decided to name our new shy puppy Chance
because of what my husband had said “No chance you
are getting one today." Chance now loves to play
with her best friend Buddy.
Chance loves the water and one day when it was
raining very hard I came home and the front of our
house was starting to flood. As I would fill a
bucket of water and throw it out, she would jump up
to try and catch it. To this day, Chance loves it
when I throw water for her to jump at.
As the office manager at a Dental office I started
bringing Chance to work with me when she was about
eight-months-old. At first I put up a baby gate to
keep her from brothering the patients. But the
patients fell in love with her and started
requesting she come into the dental rooms. She is
especially good with children and knows when they
are upset or nervous as she will go into the room
and sit by their side and offer her paw for them to
hold or patiently wait to be petted.
One day a parent let her child that was less then a
year old go to Chance to pet her. At the time I was
in another room talking to a patient when I heard a
baby giggling. I came out to find the baby crawling
all over Chance. As we watched, the baby crawled
under and on top of her. Chance was very gentle and
seemed to understand.
Chance was about 3-years-old when I first thought
she would make a great therapy dog. I had trained
Chance at home, but felt she needed more training if
she was going to pass the therapy dog certification.
I went to a local informational meeting for
potential therapy dog owners. This is where I met
Carol the instructor who teaches the class. It was
with her encouragement I decided to first put Chance
through an obedience class. With a little training,
Chance passed the therapy test and was awarded her
certificate with Therapy Dogs Incorporated.
We now visit rest homes once or twice a week. All I
have to say is “Let’s go visit”. Chance goes up to
the residents and lets them pet her and she puts her
paws up on the beds when requested to. One lady has
been in the rest home since she was twenty-two years
old, Chance gets up on her bed and lets her hold her
paw and gives her kisses. We try to spend about 30
minutes with her. As the lady sits in her wheel
chair, they watch TV together or Chance may take a
nap while being petted.
One gentleman who is there because of severe head
injury has begun to talk to her. At first it was
very difficult to understand him, but as time went
by his speech got much better. Unfortunately, he has
taken a turn for the worse, and lately as we visit,
he just sleeps or stares. Several of the residence
will cry as we visit because Chance reminds them of
their pets. She just lets them talk to her as she
puts her paw up for them to hold.
During one visit a resident was terrified when she
was scheduled for cancer surgery; Chance and I spent
time with her. I told her that Chance also had
surgery to remove a tumor in her throat, and was now
going thru cancer treatments. This seemed to calm
her as they both had something in common.
Chance also visits Antelope Valley Hospital once a
week, when I can get away from work. She has her own
badge and patients love to visit with her. She
visits the children’s ward as well as any special
requests. One time we were asked to visit a young
lady with a mental disorder. She was in a bed that
had a mesh screen around it to keep her in bed,
nurses with her 24 hours a day. One of her nurses
asked if Chance could visit her. Chance and I went
in the room with the nurse, and with the help of
another nurse the screen was opened, and Chance put
her paws up on the bed. The patient was frightened
at first but kept staring at Chance. She eventually
sat up and put her hand out to Chance.
Chance was very good and stayed very quiet while
this young lady touched her. She then started to
cry, the nurse indicating that she did not talk. As
Chance stayed with her, she kept lying down and
getting up to touch Chance. I asked her if she liked
dogs. She initially just stared but then said, "No."
I then asked her if she liked cats. She replied,
"Yes," all the while petting Chance. The nurses said
those were the first words they had ever heard from
her. She then said, "Lay down," over and over again.
We were with her for about 30 minutes. As we left
,she started to cry and said, "Dog."
Chance was diagnosed with cancer this past June,
after the biopsy came back from her throat surgery.
I took her to an oncologist where she was diagnosed
with a peripheral nerve sheath tumor. Chance is now
receiving a cancer vaccine every other week, and
chemo medication every other day. Chance still
visits the rest homes as she receives her cancer
vaccine. She and I will continue her visits until
she lets me know she isn't up to it anymore.