PORTAGE — He’s not going to let two broken hips stand in his way.
Chance Christmas, the 4-month-old puppy who wandered into a Michigan City backyard Christmas evening with two fractured hips and a snout strapped closed with electrical tape — is making a full recovery.
On Jan. 2, Dr. Aaron Jackson, a veterinarian with MedVet Chicago, repaired the puppy’s shattered femoral heads in both hips with a nearly two-hour surgery, said Sherri Christopher, founder of the Guardians of the Green Mile, the Portage-based dog rescue that assumed financial responsibility for the puppy when he presented on Christmas night at North Central Emergency Veterinary Center in Westville.
Christopher said MedVet Chicago was highly recommended by veterinarians at NCEVC, who provided the puppy’s initial emergency care and stitched up his torn muzzle Christmas evening.
Dr. Maggie Sharpe, of NCEVC said the injuries were caused by “abuse of some sort,” which has prompted an investigation by Michigan City police.
Chance Christmas is now healing and being trained by GOTGM volunteer and foster “mom” Laura Bruccoleri in her home. Bruccoleri’s own pit bull, Piper, is a certified therapy dog that visits the schools and teaches local youngsters about proper pet care.
“Due to Chance’s injuries, we must keep his excitement level down,” said Bruccoleri, of Valparaiso. “Because his physical exercise is very limited right now, we want to exercise his little brain to help him drain energy.”
Besides learning manners at mealtime and simple obedience commands, Bruccoleri and Piper are helping Chance “practice calmness.”
“Piper’s calmness helps Chance to practice calmness,” Bruccoleri said. “Helping him practice calmness when seeing Piper is important, and will help him later with appropriate social skills when meeting other dogs.”
Christopher said Chance’s training incorporates important steps to erase any emotional harm caused by his physical abuse.
“She’s doing a mind reset on him,” said Christopher, of Bruccoleri. “Piper is a little guardian mom herself and she watches him. They are going back to basics and giving him calm and peacefulness to teach him how life is supposed to be, because we don’t want him to fall victim to his past — we don’t want it to define him.”
Christopher is hopeful charges will be brought against the person responsible for Chance’s abuse, which is being investigated by detective Jillian Ashley of the Michigan City Police Department.
“We will never give up until the person who did this pays for the crime,” said Christopher.
Dr. Steve Violanti, a veterinarian with McAfee Animal Hospital, is overseeing Chance’s veterinary care and will supervise his hydro- and physical therapy.
Because Chance will be “prone to soreness” his entire life and will need a special home, Christopher said the pup has an adoptive home waiting for him with someone who has previously adopted from GOTGM.
Chance’s sad past is defining his future — in a positive way. Plans are to make Chance a certified therapy dog in the schools.
“We want him to educate kids about animal abuse, and if they see it, tell somebody,” Christopher said. “This little pup is going to make changes.”