HANCOCK COUNTY — If there was ever a dog who deserved another opportunity at finding a loving, forever home, Chance would fit the bill.
After spending 100 days in the Greenfield Hancock Animal Shelter where officials tried in vain to get him adopted, Chance’s luck turned for the better when a few kind souls from the Indiana Department of Corrections Pendleton Correctional Facility walked through the shelter’s door and said they needed an energetic pup.
Chance is now the new wellness dog for the staff at the Pendleton Correctional Facility where he gets an opportunity every day to strut his stuff with his fellow co-workers. As the newest member of the official work staff, Chance is tasked with one major job — making his co-workers happy.
Annie Goeller, chief communications officer for the Indiana Department of Correction, said working in a correction facility can be a stressful job, and they are constantly looking for new ways to support their staff. She noted people working at the Pendleton facility already have experience working with animals there thanks to their cat sanctuary and work they do with the Indiana Canine Assistant Network, and they know the interaction between people and animals is normally a good one.
“We’ve seen the positive impact on the staff involved in those programs, so we decided to look for a dog that would be dedicated to the wellness of all our staff,” Goeller said.
Greenfield Hancock Animal Management Kennel manager Megan Manship said Chance, a 2-year-old hound/pointer mix, is a sweet, good dog who was having a tough time finding a forever home after getting picked up as a stray this past winter.
“No one ever came in to claim him,” Manship said.
During his time at the local shelter, Chance was adopted once but was returned because the man who took him said Chance had too much energy.
As the days passed by and winter turned into spring then into summer, people continued to pass on Chance. Then, there was a spark of good luck on June 1. That’s the day his new owners walked in the door and Chances’ life changed for the better, forever.
“The folks from Pendleton just came in and told us they were looking for a dog to help the staff there because it’s a stressful place at times and they wanted a dog who could lift the employees’ spirits, and we immediately thought of Chance,” Manship said.
The office at the reformatory is always staffed, day and night. Officials from GHAM said they liked the idea of Chance being around people all the time and so did officials with the facility.
“Chance is already a great addition to the facility,” Goeller said. “He spends his days and nights visiting staff throughout, just brightening their day.”
Chance lives inside the facility, has a best friend from the prison’s K-9 unit and sleeps inside the shift office where facility staff work 24/7, so someone is always with him to make sure his needs are met.
As a new staff member, Chance is still going through some training to learn all his duties as the wellness dog, and Goeller said he is doing a fantastic job.
“He has a sweet and curious personality, and our staff already love him,” she said. “You can see their faces immediately brighten up when he comes around.”
Chance does not work with inmates but is instead asked to just be a good co-worker in the office space for the employees to hug on and cherish.
“His main job is going to be making the staff happy and we’re all about that,” Manship said. “It’s really neat because he’s going to get so much affection.”