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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)

TITLE: "One Lucky Chance"
By Coleene VanTilburg


Our Golden Retriever, Maggie, had been gone from us about fifteen months. We had thought about another dog, but for some reason, had not acted on it yet. It is so hard to lose a family pet. I think I had mourned for Maggie the most. Working nights, I knew she would hear me pull up and faithfully be waiting for me at the door ready to spend our quality time together. Her absence was so "present" when I would come home from work. I really thought I would not love another animal as much as I loved Maggie, or I would not let myself anyways. It was one less thing to worry about, but oh, how I missed that special love and companionship.

One week day afternoon there was this knock at our front door. Several kids had this humongous white dog with a small little rope around its neck trying to hold him. I could tell just one wrong move and all these kids would be down like dominoes. This dog's head was as large as a bear, but on it's face, I know I saw a smile, almost a laugh.

"We found this dog...is this your dog? Someone said it might live here..."

My husband immediately gets up and goes to the door. He sees a massive white dog that looks more like a polar bear, and the bond becomes instantaneous.

"No, he is not ours, but we'll take him...we'll take care of him until we find the owners."

I knew what my husband was thinking. He wanted to keep him. This dog was beautiful and obviously well fed and taken care of. As much as my husband and boys were infatuated, we had to find his owners. We did the right thing. We called the Humane Society, and placed an ad in the local paper: "Found Dog, please describe in detail to identify." We had one call; not the dog they were looking for.

As you can probably predict, this dog "adopted" us. He was huge, handsome, and the most loving dog. When my husband would come home from work, this dog would literally put his two paws on either side of his thighs then nuzzle his head sideways into my husbandís lap. This dog "hugged." We named him "Chance"; it was by chance that he came to us and ended up staying.

Over a year went by, and then there was another knock at our front door. "Hi, we live a few blocks over and someone said you might have our lost dog."

One week later after discussion and debate, "Chance" was returned to his original family. I remember the date, February 14, Valentineís Day. Our home was filled with broken hearts. A lot of advice was given that we should have fought to keep him, but when I looked into that child's eyes who had finally found his lost dog; we had to do what was right.

About five months later one early evening as I was waiting for my husband to pick me up from work, I see our car approaching, but hanging out the backseat window was this "big head and tongue flapping." "Chance?" How can that be?

"Well, my husband says, his owners called and said they had to move quickly and could not take him to their new place. They knew how much we loved him and were so thankful we had given him back...they just asked if we would take him back!"

I remember that old saying...If you love something enough, you would be willing to set it free and if it comes back to you, well, it was yours in the first place. Chance's name was originally "Lucky." When he circled back into our lives, this yellow Labrador Retriever, "Lucky Chance", officially became ours, pedigree papers and all. He was born on St. Patrick's Day. Our "luck" had returned. That was about eleven years ago. His ashes are now in a cedar box next to those of my oldest son on a shelf in our home. They passed within months of each other, reunited once more, set free.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sara Harricharan 05/22/08
I love "Chance"! What a story! Very cute and loveable, especially the little details and how it fit the title. ^_^
Betty Frazer05/25/08
I just love this story. Makes me wonder how I would deal with the death of either or both of my beloved dogs. Chance reminds me of one of them.
Mary McLeary05/25/08
Very nice. You were both lucky.
Joshua Janoski05/29/08
Congratulations on taking 9th place in your level with this piece, Coleene!