Special dog gets adopted after almost a year of humane society existence

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Chance, a mixed-breed dog of a variety of possibilities, was recently adopted at Pratt Area Humane Society after a long, heart-breaking stay there for almost 12 months.

Chance, a nondescript, brown, mixed-breed dog with a heart of gold (according to Pratt Area Humane Society manager April Hemphill) has finally been adopted, and many of his Facebook and society-volunteer fans are cheering mightily for the "second chance" he has been given at a happy life.

"Chance has always been one of the most playful, most lovable dogs here and we were all very attached to him," Hemphill said. "I admit, he was one of my favorites, but I couldn't be happier that he can finally leave here and go home to a forever family that will love and appreciate, and play, with him."

Hemphill said that all indications were favorable that this "second chance" at happiness for Chance, would be a forever match.

"Chance was adopted August 25, just a few weeks shy of almost spending a year here," she said. "He came in as a stray; friendly, but he quickly developed what we call 'kennel crazy' from being kept in a small cage with limited play time."

Hemphill said that she spent a lot of time with Chance through the ensuing months, working on a behavior regiment that included obedience and clicker training.

"We just had to come up with things for him to learn and do to keep his mind busy in order to get him to calm down when visitors came in to look for pet adoption possibilities," she said. "He wanted so badly to be adopted and taken home that he was loud and obnoxious, and he climbed fences. People just don't gravitate to that kind of an animal."

Despite those problems, Hemphill said she and volunteers who come to the facility to work with the animals at 10233 Bluestem Blvd. on the northeast side of Pratt realized quickly just how lovable and loyal Chance was.

"He knew all the tricks," she said. "We have so many pictures of him playing, chasing balls, walking in parades, interacting with people. He just wanted to please everyone."

Hemphill said that there over the past 11 months, there have been many applications filed to request adoption for Chance, but for one reason or another, people would change their minds or just not show up again to pick him up when plans for adoption were made.

"It was heartbreaking for him, and for us, when there just didn't seem to be anyone willing to take him on," she said.

Chance was brought in as a stray from rural Sawyer in the southern part of Pratt County late last summer. He was listed as a boxer/black-mouth cur dog, likely between the ages of one or two years.

"Probably one of the hardest parts of my job is feeling the devastation of the many stray dogs that are brought in and their owners never show up to claim them," Hemphill said. "We try to be very lenient as far as fees go and will work with anyone to get them their dog back, but very few people seem to want to come in and claim their dogs when they have been picked up as strays."

Hemphill said that PAHS takes in an average 20 stray dogs per month.

"Some do get picked up," she said. "But there is about a 90-percent average of animals that never get reclaimed."

PAHS places 300 animal adoptions per year, advertising available animals through Facebook posts and videos.

"I constantly run promotions to get attention and help people find their pets," she said.

It just so happened that Maleah Hatch, Chance's new owner, who came from out-of-county, saw a Facebook post that had been shared by a friend of a friend of a friend, Hemphill said. After going through the normal application process, she was very happy to be selected to be Chance's new owner, and showed up on the arranged day to pick up her new dog.

"Chance was so happy. You could just tell he was smiling all over," Hemphill said. "It made us all very happy."

Hemphill said that many Pratt animal adoptions go to people from other counties, even other states.

"They come from all over when they see our shared posts," she said. "We even travel to meet people to pick up pets. We even flew a cat to Nebraska once. We will do whatever it takes to place an animal with someone who wants them."

Hemphill said August 2021 has been the best month for pet adoptions that PAHS has seen for some time, with more than 20 animals adopted. There are still eight dogs and 7 cats available, however. All are listed on the PAUS website at http://www.prattareahs.org/.

The Pratt Area Humane Society is owned by the City of Pratt, overseen by a local board of directors, and supported by fund-raisers, donations and grants.