Hi! My name is Handsome Dan. I was found living tethered by chain to a half-buried car axle in some Virginia woods. Apparently, I was part of Bad Newz Kennels owned by this famous NFL football player named Michael Vick.
The people who found me weren’t sure why I was chained for a long time there. They think it was because I was too young to fight or used as bait for other fighting dogs. I had ground down my teeth trying to chew free of that chain.
There were 51 of us when the people came to the place and took us away but only 47 were saved in the end. I was scared a lot. I was one of the 22 dogs considered the most victimized. The people who took us away said that we had emotional or physical scars that need months of special care. So I underwent months of treatment at, Best Friends Animal Society, an animal sanctuaries in Utah before anyone was allowed to adopt me. We were called the Vicktory Dogs.
I didn’t know what would happen to me next.
Then, I was on a plane with a trainer from the sanctuary. We were going to this place called Providence. I was introduced to this human family and their dogs. I guess they were trying to see if we all get along. Apparently these humans really wanted to know me because they had gone through an intense six-month review process that included background and reference checks, followed by another long probationary period, just to be able to be with me!
After that visit, the human family and their dogs flew to my place in Utah to spend more time with me. This time, I got to spend a night with them in a hotel. I didn’t know what to do. This is all so new to me. I spent most of that time cowering under the bathroom sink. I had to be carried outside by the humans to go to the bathroom but I was never aggressive.
I guess I passed the test and before I knew, the human family from Providence became my family!
At first I was still a little nervous of strangers, but once I settled down, I got along well with people, dogs, and cats. I love my family! And I got to relive the puppyhood I never had — getting into things, jumping on the couch, etc.
Well, my parents have a list of things that are not chew toys:
– mom’s left slipper
– remote control #1
– remote control #2
– hanging plant
– dog beds
– seat belts
I was just letting my guard down to play and explore! You can say I’ve since settled into a comfortable new life. Oh, and I LOVE scrambled eggs! I will actually try to climb over my mom to get to the eggs if they are still warm.
And then my parents got a new addition: a human baby. I wasn’t sure at first about this human baby. But then I got to know her: She’s my little sister, Josephine, and I love her so much. Whenever Josephine takes a nap, I will insist on curling up in my bed next to her crib. I won’t budge until her nap is over. I guess I’m just the nanny dog to my new kid sister and I love cuddling with her on the floor, even when she decides to tug my ears to show her affection.
My parents say some people think they are crazy for letting my baby sister roll around on the floor with me because I’m “one of those dogs.” Even my human grandmother thought that. My parents just brushed it off because they know how much I love her. I’m the first Vicktory Dog to be placed in a home with an infant. If the public perception of pit bulls is to change, the Vicktory Dogs will have to behave. My parents know there’s a lot riding on our shoulders so I have to be on my best behavior and be a breed ambassador.
I’m starting my own rescue — Handsome Dan’s Rescue — to help dogs of extreme abuse and/or neglect, including victims of dog fighting, like me. So if you are considering adopting a pit bull type dog, please look at the adoptable dogs or if you want to donate or find out more about my rescue group. My parents will be happy to guide you through the process, help you find your match at a local shelter or rescue group and set you up with training support.
My parents continue to take me on regular adventure outings, both for fun and with their rescue efforts. I meet new dog friends, new people friends, and even gets to stay in touch with an old friend, Cherry the Vicktory dog. Cherry and I were the closest of pals back at the Sanctuary, and we connected again not too long ago when our two families wanted to let us continue the friendship.
I still keep in contact with my old pals back at the Sanctuary, especially my buddy Little Red, another Vicktory dog. I send her care packages all the time, most often consisting of stylish clothing to help her stay warm. I need to wear shirts and sweaters to keep cozy especially in chilly New England (that’s where my parents say Providence is), and I knows Little Red is the same way. I guess you can say we have quite the long distance relationship brewing.
People definitely think we, pit bulls, are such mean vicious dogs, when we are so sweet.
These days my life are filled with laughter, love, play time and a family I can call my own. This is my happy ending.
Parents: Heather & Mark
Photos courtesy of Alexandra (Love and a Six-Foot Leash). Photos are used with permission. Reproduction is prohibited.