Take a Chance: Humane Society hoping well traveled dog finds home

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 6, 2012

By Mark Wineka
SALISBURY — Let’s call her Chance.
For lack of a better description, she’s a red dog, short-haired and of medium build. She looks to have boxer and hound dog as part of her lineage.
Over her two-month romp along some of the busiest highways in Salisbury, Chance dodged cars and capture, keeping people who tried to approach her at distances wide enough to provide a quick escape route.
The terrain she covered was impressive.
Since mid November, she had been seen along Jake Alexander Boulevard, Industrial Avenue and U.S. 29. She often was spotted in the East Innes Street/Interstate 85 area near places such as Bojangles, Swicegood Paper Co., Lone Star and IHOP.
A woman at a convenience store along U.S. 70 — on the other side of town — was the first to call the red dog Chance.
“I’m guessing that has to do with the many chances she took crossing the highway,” says Jane Hartness of the Humane Society of Rowan County.
Animal control officers reported seeing Chance as far south as Peeler Road near the interstate and as far north as Spencer.
She found food regularly. In November, employees at Multi-Wall Packaging on Industrial Avenue told Hartness about a dog they had been feeding in hopes of luring it closer. The dog had been sleeping under bushes on the company’s property and had a badly injured tail, they reported.
But Chance moved on toward places such as Woodleaf Lanes, the Salisbury Mall and Fidelity Bank, where the staff became concerned for her.
When she was on the opposite side of town, Chance found friends that included the manager of Lone Star and employees at Swicegood Paper Co. and IHOP. In fact, they set out a doghouse at Swicegood Paper hoping Chance would use it for shelter.
Hartness says she also knows of “a kind gentleman in a truck,” who would regularly give Chance chicken.
“She knew that some people approached her to give her food,” Hartness says. “I wish we knew who all those good people were so we could thank them.”
Chance would come within 10 to 20 feet of food-bearers, wait for the food to be tossed to her, eat it and retreat.
“If you tried to get close to her,” Hartness said, “she’d start to run away. To chase her would have risked running her into traffic.”
Hartness says the Humane Society received numerous calls about Chance, but when a volunteer would investigate the sightings, she was nowhere to be found, “or she would immediately trot away.”
Hartness saw her a couple of times herself — at the mall and on Jake Alexander Boulevard at U.S. 29.
By early December, the Humane Society and Rowan County Animal Control were setting out cage traps for her in places such as the mall, U.S. 70 and in the East Innes/I-85 area. But she kept her distance from the traps.
Reports of Chance sightings on either side of town dropped off dramatically after Christmas Day, and people began to worry, Hartness says.
Becky Stone had posted flyers around town that included a photograph of Chance to determine whether anyone knew about the dog.
Stone received a call Monday that the dog was roaming near the Wilco/Hess convenience store at U.S. 29 and Airport Road. Stone called Shelly D’lonate, who also had been searching for Chance. Shelly and her husband, Terry, traveled to the convenience store and spotted the dog.
The couple then called Hartness, who with her own husband and the D’lonates, tried to coax the dog to them. After a hour or so, they placed a trap cage beside the store and fixed a trail of hot dog pieces leading into it.
Within two hours, Chance was captured.
She was not doing well. She had a badly injured tail, part of which was cut off. Hartness says 2 to 3 inches of the tail bone were exposed and the area was bright red. Veterinarians feared she would become septic from the injury.
Surgery on the tail is scheduled for today. Hartness hopes it will prevent any further tissue damage.
“While she is under anesthesia, she will be spayed,” Hartness adds. “This will be a risky procedure, as she is heartworm positive, but the risk of septicemia is so great that it must be done.”
Hartness describes Chance as a good-natured dog who gradually has warmed up to the staff at Animal Hospital of Kannapolis, the clinic where she is being treated.
The Humane Society hopes to find a permanent home for Chance as soon as possible. But Hartness says it will have to be a special home — a place where she can be kept quiet while she recuperates from the surgery and the pending heartworm treatment.
Otherwise, Chance probably will have to recuperate in a foster care home.
Hartness says Chance’s care and treatment will be a strain on her organization’s already tight budget. Donations are welcome and tax-deductible, she says, and should be designated “For Chance” and sent to the Humane Society of Rowan County, P.O. Box 295, Salisbury, NC 28145-0295.
People interested in updates on Chance’s condition should contact the Humane Society at 704-636-5700, option 9, or humanesocietyofrowancounty@windstream.net.
Hartness thanks all the people who fed Chance, reported her movements and checked the various trap cages over recent weeks. Once, Hartness says, a police officer even held up traffic for Chance so she could cross a busy highway.
Sorry, cats, but this apparently is a dog with nine lives and 90 or so friends.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.