Some people are born animal lovers, unfortunately, others are not. An estimated 70 million stray animals live in the United States, having been abandoned or born homeless because a previous owner refused to spay/neuter their parents. The dedicated efforts of animal rescuers like Carley Coca are reducing that number one animal at a time.
When Carley, a volunteer at Paw Print Hearts rescue in Florida, saw a Facebook post about three abandoned dogs at a church in her area, she knew she had to do something. Even though it was about 30 minutes from her, she went to rescue the dogs as soon as she had a chance. Two that were later named Zeus and Lily, were very friendly and trusting from the get-go and were eager to go with Carley. The other, however, was beyond timid and barked the entire time before running off. Brokenhearted, Carley knew she needed to see the other two cared for and left that day without the third who she called Chance.
Returning For Chance
After work the next day, Carley prepared to visit Chance. “I would go to McDonald’s and pick up 10 plain cheeseburgers and head out to the church… I would go to the shed where Chance would sleep and announce that I was there — and I’d sit at a distance (chosen by Chance), for up to three hours at a time, and just toss him cheeseburgers,” she explained. Despite her best efforts, he would still run away and keep his distance. He wouldn’t even come to her when she returned with Lily.
Coca would not give up on the poor boy, though, since she knew his behavior was typical for a dog who had been mistreated and neglected. Returning day after day, they finally had a bit of a breakthrough on the sixth day. “Chance would wait for me to get to the church by sitting at the end of the driveway rather than hiding under his shed. However, he still wouldn’t let me go near him.”
Then on the eighth day, Chance greeted Carley when she arrived, “I stuck my hand out the window and he immediately licked it. I was shocked! I got out of my car and he started wagging his tail. I knew today was the day. I placed my hand on top of his head and started to pet him, I was nervous how he would react; I was afraid maybe he’d bite, but he didn’t. He almost looked… relieved. I started to cry — happy tears.”
Nori Gibbs commented on one of Carley’s updates, “You are definitely an angel to these furbabies. Thank you for caring so much. Thank you for being that person who saw a post of 3 dogs in need and who dropped everything and went right to them.”
Extremely skinny with matted fur covered in fleas, ticks, and burrs, Carley knew Chance needed medical attention as soon as possible. Once she was able to get him in her car, she took him to the vet and was relieved to learn that he was Parvo negative.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Although Chance seemed to be trusting Carley more, he was still too apprehensive to willingly get in her car and bit her a couple of times, warranting two rounds of antibiotics. She also fell in the process of rescuing him and an MRI and x-ray determined she had suffered a distal radius fracture in her left arm.
Regardless of her injuries, Carley was already falling in love with Chance and knew that he would not survive the mandatory three-day stray hold at the local shelter in order to qualify for adoption. The alternative was Chance would need to stay with her for a minimum of 90 days while she searched for his owner. The two warmed up quickly to each other at home and Chance received adoption offers before his 90-day fostering period was up.
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