A holiday happy ending for the Dog Wars: Greg takes a Chance

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Chance didn’t meet any of the Kincaids’ requirements — but just look at that face!

Greg Kincaid is the author of A Dog Named Christmas,
a novel about the power of pet adoption. He has been blogging for
Petfinder about his and his wife Michale Ann’s quest to adopt the perfect dog. Read all his posts here.

We had agreed that after our confusing visit to Wayside Waifs the night before that we would have to think a while longer before continuing on our journey to find me the perfect man-dog.

It started to occur to me that our analysis for picking a dog was missing a layer. We had thought about size, age, breed, coat qualities, color and general personality traits, but when we looked at dogs that had those valued qualities, I just didn’t flip.

Why was it that after thinking about all the things that seemed to matter most, the one dog that met none of our requirements seemed the most attractive? How fitting that his name was Chance. He was four months old, a puppy.
We wanted an older dog. He sure looked like a terrier and I wanted a hound.

When we took Chance into the holding area to look him over, he saw a garden hose hanging on the wall and he didn’t like it. The fur on his back went up and he gave the hose a good barking. The hose didn’t back down, so he gave up and ran over and leaped straight onto my lap like we had known each other for years and not 25 seconds. I wasn’t sure if he was retreating from the vicious hanging wall serpent or just wanted my company. It didn’t matter. He was telling me that this was where he wanted to be, a message the more perfect dogs never delivered.

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Four-month-old Chance at home on the Kincaids’ Kansas farm

We had so much fun playing with Chance that night that it was hard to
take him back to his pen, but we knew it was the right thing to do. “He
doesn’t meet any of our requirements,” we said.

“He sure is cute though.”

is not good enough.”

“I know.”

We drove back that night in my prized
new 1982 F-250 truck and we couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong
with all the dogs that were perfect and what was so
right about the dog
that was anything but. My wife pointed out that we had to use our
heads. In the long run, we would be better off not taking a Chance,
but picking a dog that truly met our needs.

The next night I was at a
Lion King production with one of our adult children and at intermission
I noticed I had a voicemail. It was my wife. I called her back.

“I’m at Wayside
Waifs,” she said.

The shelter is at least an hour drive from our home, and we were just there the night
before. “Again?” I said. “Really? What are you doing?”

“I’ve been thinking.”


“Chance is really a good dog. Maybe we have the wrong

“I think so too.”

“Maybe we should just put a hold on
him, just in case someone else comes along. You know, we would hate to
lose him.”

“I guess it wouldn’t hurt to put a hold on him while we
thought about it some more.”

“Another idea …”


“I guess I could
just bring him home, now, you know.”

“What’s the point of waiting?”

“Chance and I will see you at home.” Click.

The Dog Wars came to an end
that night. Chance seemed completely happy resting on the dashboard of my wife’s VW Beetle as he made his journey home to our Kansas farm. A dog that was
perfect in ways we did not yet know but were looking forward to

I’ve so enjoyed being a guest blogger for Petfinder these
last two months. Next week, I’m going to finish up. I would like to
tell you all about how we took a Chance and I ended up with the most
perfect man-dog ever.