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California woman has her eye on a one-eyed dog

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This is the story of an aging, one-eyed dog named Chicken, who today will get a new home – in California.

By Lisa King

He only has one eye and goes by the name of “Chicken,” and not only has he stolen the hearts of all those at an animal rescue facility in Shelby County but also that of a woman 3,000 miles away.

“He’s just the most amazing little guy you ever saw, and this woman is driving all the way out here from California to pick him up,” said Ashley Shelburne, founder of Tyson’s Chance, an animal rescue organization.

Shelburne, owner of Shelburne’s Pet Center in Shelbyville who established the rescue center on Kentucky Street in February, said the woman, Laura Carson, saw Chicken’s photo on her organization’s Facebook page and immediately fell in love with this bedraggled little Shih-Tzu.

“She said it just touched her heart how much he reminded her of her little dog she had to put down at age 19,” she said. “Chicken is an older dog also, and he has a number of health problems, including the fact that he is totally missing his left eye, and he has limited vision in his right.”

Shelburne said it means a lot to her and her staff that someone is willing to adopt such a dog.

Carson said that she couldn’t help but respond to the dog’s obvious plight, and she will arrive in Shelby County today to pick him up.

“Everybody wants puppies, so older dogs often get overlooked,” she said. “And also, older dogs usually have some health issues, and need loving care more than pups.

“When I saw his picture, it was like he was saying to me, ‘Hey, mom, come and get me.’”

Carson, who has two other Shih-Tzus at home, said her dogs have been wonderful companions to her and have helped her through some rough times.

“I came out of a horribly abusive marriage, and they have helped me heal,” she said. “So anything I can do for them, I will.”

Carson is originally from Illinois, but her mother and brother moved to the Elizabethtown area, and it was through her mother that she found Shelburne’s facility, where her mother had adopted a dog.

Shelburne laughed when recalling how the dog acquired his name.

“The lady that brought him to us said she found him wandering around her neighborhood, and she kept talking about how he smelled like he had been in a chicken coup, and I don’t know if you’ve ever smelled one of those, but it has a very distinctive smell,” she said.

“And she was right, he did smell like a chicken.

“So we started calling him The Colonel, because it sounded more dignified. But he was so cute, my staff started calling him ‘little chicky man,’ and it just stuck.”

Shelburne said she usually has about 20 dogs, and a few cats, at Tyson’s Chance Animal Foundation, a facility she founded with a mission to rescue, rehabilitate and provide care for dogs, especially those with special needs, prior to finding them good homes.

“About fifty percent of our animals are special needs,” she said, adding that she is partial to pit bulls personally, because that breed is often abused and neglected.

“I’m a pit bull owner, because I have a soft spot for them,” she said. “They are often owned by the wrong people, who mistreat them, and that’s how they’ve gotten the reputation they have. I had an East Middle School class came visit here recently, and my pit bulls gave all the kids lots of kisses.”