Trees and power lines were down, trash cans spilled their contents all over the streets, an eerie calm had settled over South Providence and Rescue 1 was assessing the damage. At the outskirts of Roger Williams Park, a lone figure moved through the shadows, sillohetted by the streetlights on one of the streets that still had power.

"Brian, stop the truck," I said, when the creature came closer. He came right over when Brian opened the door, and climbed on his lap. I scratched his ears and he slobbered all over, much to Brian's dismay. He tried to crawl into the cab, but he was big, and wet, and kind of scary.

The city was in chaos, there wasn't much we could do for him but give him a little love and hope he found his way home.

Little did we know, he was home, but needed a little human companionship after what must have been a frightening night alone in the woods, with trees crashing down,and hail the size of golf balls falling on him.

Good luck, Chase, we'll meet again.

He takes a chance on child and a Frisbee

08:17 AM EDT on Wednesday, June 29, 2011

By Donita Naylor

Journal Staff Writer

"Chance," the dog that has been wandering Roger Williams Park since the winter, turns himself in to authorities.


Journal Files / Bob Breidenbach

PROVIDENCE — In the end, it was a Frisbee and a gleeful toddler that drew Chance back into the company of man.

A dog who survived the winter in Roger Williams Park, dining on donated chow and whatever trash he could find and eluding capture by positioning himself in the middle of frozen ponds and by not being fooled when blankets were draped over a Havahart trap baited with a meaty ham bone, finally let himself be caught Tuesday, by a park ranger who spent six months trying to win his trust.

Providence Parks Ranger Erik Lundblad said he kept an eye (mostly through binoculars) on the dog almost every day until he was assigned to first shift about a month ago. “The guys on second shift had seen him as recently as a week ago,” said Lundblad, who recalled how “people came out of the woodwork” after stories about Chance ran in January and February. “It was unbelievable. It became a nuisance. My whole post was trying to catch this dog.”

People donated bags of kibble, cans of dog food, even steaks and stew meat.

“I was microwaving, and giving him hot meals every day,” Lundblad said. When he changed shifts, his replacement, Tony Cappalli, kept up the evening feeding schedule.

Chance was well-fed, but no one, including a professional trapper, could get within 20 feet of him.

That changed early Tuesday afternoon. Lundblad had stopped to watch a man and a 2- or 3-year-old tossing a Frisbee. Chance “just galloped out of the woods, wanting to play.”

The dog, who looks like a pit bull, seemed delighted by the child. The father moved to protect the boy, and Lundblad called the dog away from them.

“He actually listened to me,” Lundblad said. “I said ‘sit’ and he sat. I couldn’t believe it. The dog’s listening to me like I own him.”

The boy’s father had a length of nylon rope. “I made a little noose to keep him until animal control could get there,” Lundblad said. Chance let him slip the loop over his head.

The dog had mange, which Lundblad described as “little, tiny, microscopic biters. I could see how gross he was.”

The dog’s face was bleeding, his head was bald and he had scabs all over. His eyes were swollen and so were his front paws. “He was a real mess.”

Almost as soon as he had been captured, Lundblad said, Chance took the rope in his mouth, “chomped on it four times, and the thing was in half.”

He was loose, but it didn’t seem to matter. “He basically just hung around us, rubbing his face on bushes and the grass and stuff because he was so itchy from mange.”

Another parks ranger, Brian Welch, helped snag the dog and load him into the animal control van, Lundblad said.

Chance was taken to Mass RI Veterinary ER in Swansea, which confirmed that he had been treated and released back to Providence Animal Control.

Lundblad said he and a friend from Almost Home Rescue believe that Chance’s chances, of being rehabilitated and placed in a loving home, are good.

Lundblad said he knew “hundreds of people that want this dog.

“It has to be somebody that has a fenced-in yard. If he gets out again, he’s going to fly the coop.”



  • DJMoore says:

    Reminds me Gaspode, a stray talking dog in some of Terry Pratchett's novels. He's infested with numerous parasites and dog diseases, including, "Licky End, and only sheep get that".
    He saves the city, and as a reward a happy home is found for him. It includes a warm bed, a food bowl with his name on it (except it's not 'Gaspode', it's the cutesy doggy name chosen by the family's children), and of course a bath and treatment for his diseases.
    He runs away, explaining to his friend, a female werewolf cop, that now he would have to start over on the diseases, when he'd almost collected the complete set.
    I wish Chance well, but I hope his new family respects him for the survivor he is, and binds him to them with affection and attention, rather than leashes and fences.

  • Michael Morse says:

    Hi DJ, thanks for that, I haven't read Terry Pratchett yet, something to look forward to! Chase is still on the lamb, the linked article explains the wrong dog was captured. I had no idea we had the elusive critter in our grasp until I read the story yesterday and saw the picture.

  • Tonya Butler says:

    I got to know chance by over hearing a man talking about getting some dog food for a dog in the park.and for the next couple of weeks all I could think about was this dog in the park. As soon as I could I went to the store and brought a bag of food and went to the park hoping I would see the man from the store. I did and then one day I went on my own and brang some blankets and treats and he came to me and licked my I started going to his hidden hide a way near 4:00,because that was the time he would come up to the top. I would periodically take the blankets and wash and dry them.IN the rain,snow,holidays,I would go check on him to see how he was doing and check on his food and water,sometimes it would be frozen and I would always have water tochange the ice water.

  • Tonya Butler says:

    How is he doing????,he is very skittish,like a deer,but he came to me.

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