Fifteen years ago, I made the decision to rescue a feisty, six-year-old Bichon Frise named Chance who was in need of a quiet, patient, adult-only home. Growing up in New York, I didn’t know many people who had dogs, but I had this vision of training Chance as a “comfort pet” to support residents at the HIV/AIDS facility where I was chaplain. Chance, despite the difficult life he’d had before I adopted him, grew into both my life and his work, offering unfettered love to innumerable people surviving a stigmatizing illness.

“Then I came along,” says my daughter, Madison, and that caveat in the rescue—that Chance was not child-friendly—was tested. When Madison was eight months old, Chance took a bite out of her cheek. A senior citizen by that point, Chance’s journey with us ended when we resettled him on a farm in Vermont, where he lived out his days with other senior…

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