Compassion Hold Program

In honor of #367 Survivor Tillie, the Handsome Dan’s Rescue Compassion Hold program provides a safe and loving home for whatever time an animal has left, right up until the very end.

Tillie came to us for what we thought to be hospice care. She quickly showed us that she had no plans to leave us until she had shown the world that survivors of dogfighting can lobby at the RI State House to change laws, work outreach in countless classrooms, attend her coming out party, become a cherished member of our family, and capture hearts from around the world. After 18 months of freedom, and valiantly battling numerous medical issues, Tillie went to sleep on November 5, 2015 — 18 months after having been released from the HSUS temporary shelter housing victims of the second largest dogfighting case in US History. Many of us worked hard to make sure our Tillie felt enough love to make up for her past – enough love to last for her lifetime. While we likely won’t be able to do that for all dogs in our compassion hold program, we promise to fill their last days with as much love, kindness, compassion, junk food, and snuggles as we are able. This is part of Tillie’s legacy. Long live #TeamTillie.



Compassion Holds – Medical

A soft couch, kind hand, good food, and all of our love is what we give to dogs in our medical compassion hold program. For dogs who have medical conditions making them not adoptable, seniors with not much time left, or dogs who are suffering from trauma or congenital issue making euthanasia the most humane option, we will ensure their final days are filled with love and will be with them right up until then end, helping them leave this world wrapped in love.

Compassion Holds – Behavioral

Equally as important, behavioral compassion holds are not often discussed in the rescue community. This type of placement can be controversial when best practices include No Kill. Here at Handsome Dan’s Rescue, we strongly believe in No Kill. No healthy adoptable animal should be euthanized. That said, our mission is rooted in behavioral and mental health which we believe to be equally as important as physical health. We see the dogs whose lives are ended due to unhealthy and unsafe behavioral and/or mental issues. Our behavioral compassion holds provide a pre-determined amount of time in a home being loved and spoiled to a dog scheduled to be euthanized at one of our local partner shelters.

This is maybe the most selfless and difficult type of rescue. No animal deserves to die alone. We are proud to provide a limited number of compassion holds where we spend the final weeks or days with an animal as they prepare to end their journey. We walk with them as they leave, hold them in our arms, and tell them they matter, and that they are loved.

Handsome Dan’s Rescue does not make the decisions on which dogs will live or die at our local partner shelters. The dogs in this program are those that will be humanely euthanized, the decision has been made, whether they enter our compassion program or not. It is not our place to judge decisions made by the shelters trusted with their care, but to support the animal.