In 2008, Chance – a beautiful black lab – was beaten, poisoned and hung by his owner in Dorr, Michigan. Chance survived this devastating torture and became a rallying cry for the protection of animals in Allegan County, Michigan.
A group of people concerned with the health, treatment and quality of life of all pets in West Michigan had formed Wishbone Pet Rescue Alliance in the Saugatuck-Douglas area around the same time that Chance’s story broke in the news media.
When Allegan County Animal Control asked Wishbone to help with Chance’s care and recovery, we emphatically responded YES! And as we cared for Chance and documented his recovery, hundreds of wonderful people flooded us with support.
Wishbone Pet Rescue Alliance grew – and so did our vision.
We became a fully incorporated nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, working to provide shelter and safety for pets within communities where few options exist.
In 2009, the Allegan County Animal Shelter asked Wishbone if we’d manage and operate the shelter. We said YES! and assumed operations in June 2009. At the shelter, located north of downtown Allegan, we care for 3,000-plus animals a year. We often refer to this part of our rescue work as the Animal Shelter Alliance Project (ASAP). Since then, we’ve expanded hours and programs and greatly increased the survival rate for animals who enter the shelter. Our goal is to reach 100 percent survival and rehoming.
In 2011, we opened Wishbone House in Douglas. The facility is a thrift shop (with proceeds going toward Wishbone) and also an adoption site, primarily for cats. Wishbone House even has three cage-free cat-petting rooms! The facility also serves as headquarters for Wishbone Pet Rescue Alliance.
Chance’s story reminds us of an ever present problem: With each passing day, there are more and more animals flooding our county shelters, cast into the streets to fend for themselves, or mercilessly abused or neglected. Chance’s story also reminds us that there is hope – that there are wonderful, amazing people – people like those who ultimately adopted Chance, and who lovingly cared for him.
Our greatest wish is to provide hope and alternatives for abused and abandoned animals, and to greatly reduce the number of future cases. With support from animal lovers like you, we know we can succeed.