Somewhere there's a police department that could really use a good dope-sniffing dog, and it'll soon get its Chance.
Five months after being picked up as a stray in Carlsbad, Chance the pit bull is about to enter a school that trains scenting dogs for law enforcement agencies nationwide.
The brindle-and-white terrier, who is roughly 2 years old, got the job opportunity due to her exceptional energy, alertness and zeal for retrieving balls.
"She just won everybody's hearts here," said Dawn Danielson, director of the San Diego County Department of Animal Services. "She's like a circus performer."
Those qualities, however, emerged only after shelter workers noticed that life in a cage was making Chance seriously miserable.
"She just wasn't a happy dog," Danielson said. "She was depressed, pacing her kennel."
Through a breed-specific adoption program, "It's The Pits," animal control Officer Michelle Knuttila became Chance's foster caretaker, and the highly sociable dog soon was thriving.
Chance's high spirits and intensity -- particularly her tireless focus while playing fetch -- inspired animal-services officials to contact Law Dogs USA, a Washington state-based canine training center.
Last week, the nonprofit agency sent down a representative to meet Chance, who impressed her as a natural for police work.
The canine school, which provides contraband-sniffing dogs, free of charge, to law enforcement departments across the country, will fly Chance to the academy on Sunday.
"It's really nice to have a happy ending like this -- especially with a pit bull," Danielson said. "Oftentimes, when you hear something about a pit bull, it's something negative."
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