Handsome Dan is one of the 22 dogs who came to Best Friends Animal Society from the estate of NFL quarterback Michael Vick after he was arrested and charged with “Conspiracy to Engage in Dog Fighting in Violation of the Animal Welfare Act.”
For the first time in history, these dogs were allowed to be evaluated as individuals! They were the victims of cruelty, and deserved to be treated as such! While Dan was extremely fearful of people, he was great with other dogs and not dangerous at all. He would be given a second chance at life.
Handsome Dan was among the bottom third of the group when evaluated by Tim Racer, Founder of Bad Rap, and Rebecca Huss, court appointed guardian to the dogs. During the initial evaluations Tim granted him his name, thinking Dan needed a confidence-boost, so Handsome Dan it was.
After some long months in quarantine in Virginia, Nicole Rattay, Founder of Just A Dog rescue, was able to get Dan comfortably outside into the shelter’s exercise area to loosen up. He was still not running and playing as some of the others in the group were, but he would do his famous “fly-bys”, where he would trot just close enough for her to pet his side.
After a year and a half of love and care at Best Friends, Dan was the second dog to be adopted, making his way home to Rhode Island. His learning curve was going to be steep, but both Dan and his family were up for the challenge.
Dan settled into his new home and instantly became friends with his 14 year old human brother, and two dog siblings, Story, an older Golden Retriever and Ocean, a Cattle dog. He seemed to be experiencing his lost puppyhood and loving every minute. On January 1, 2010, Handsome was officially adopted into his family.
In April 2010, Dan helped his family welcome their new daughter to the family. Handsome became fast friends with her and was never far from her side. He even slept next to her crib while she napped. No wonder pitties are known as Nanny Dogs in the UK.
Handsome Dan will likely always be a fearful dog, but has come so far since he was rescued from the Vick compound. The amazing people he has met along the way have shown him that humankind can offer love and care.
While Handsome Dan’s confidence continues to grow, he will likely never be as outgoing at public appearances like other Vicktory Dogs. He generally greets the outside world with extreme caution. Dan is happiest being with his group of friends, family, and familiar settings. Be sure to follow Handsome Dan and his daily adventures on his Facebook page!