August 4th 2009 10:31 am
[ Leave A Comment | 1 person already has ]
Handsome Dan, one of the Vicktory dogs, has left the building! And he couldn’t have landed in a better home. Heather and Mark from New England run a kenneling service, doggie day care, animal rescue group, and more. They specialize in rescuing and placing pit bulls, among other breeds.
By law, the screening process is super intense for this group of dogs—way beyond the already detailed adoption process at Best Friends. For any Vicktory dog, there’s a huge checklist to go through, including background checks and everything. Says adoption coordinator Kristi Litrell, "I do have to admire anyone who goes through all this!"
The funny thing is, Mark and Heather are usually on the other end of that process. The rescue group they work with has around 80 dogs in a foster network, and they’re the ones who screen potential homes for the dogs, often pit bulls. These two know all the questions to ask and where to probe and how. It should come as no surprise then, that they passed the process with flying colors. These folks know dogs inside and out. Once they were cleared to foster, all that remained was to find the right Vicktory dog.
They came out to Best Friends with a couple names in mind, but the short list was narrowed down to only one dog as soon as they met Handsome Dan. They could tell he needed them. Like many of the Vicktory dogs, Handsome Dan is still not the most confident in new situations.
All during his time at the sanctuary, Handsome has been working on getting used to new situations. Even so, he still had his comfort zone: going on walks or running in his exercise area—and he was in his element. But a meet and greet over at the Dogtown staff room? The poor guy wasn’t exactly feeling too confident when he first met them. Yet Heather and Mark could see what a sweetheart he was underneath. One sleepover later and they were in love! They knew they could help him.
Best Friends staffer Ann Allums flew out to personally deliver Handsome Dan to Mark and Heather (another requirement for the Vicktory dogs). Everything went smoothly and Handsome Dan’s new chapter in life began. It should come as no surprise though, that Handsome Dan was nervous all over again. After all, if new things haven’t always been his strong point, try this schedule on for size.
Heather and Mark run doggie day trips all around their area. Each day, they take a different group of dogs to a different area. And Handsome Dan has been along every step of the way. Talk about a whole host of new things to take in! Yet a funny thing happened. Before long, Handsome Dan started to enjoy himself. He’s always been great with other dogs, and that’s what made the difference in the end.
After a few days of moping around, Handsome Dan decided it was time to play. A little dog who looks like a mix between a corgi and a golden retriever (try to picture that!) convinced Handsome Dan to run and romp around. Heather says she cried when Handsome finally let go of his fears that first time and had some fun. After all, this is a dog who knows darn well how to have a good time when he’s feeling like himself.
Ever since that first time, Handsome has been getting better and better. He even does a little happy dance when he sees the leash! Those daily adventures are just what the doctor ordered for getting him past his jitters. He’s still cautious around strangers and sometimes tries to hide out of habit, but Heather and Mark gently and consistently encourage and help him past those fears. They know he’ll get there. It’s onward and upward from here on out.
Per the court order, Handsome can’t be considered for adoption until he has lived with them for six months. Make no mistake, though, they are in this for the long haul. They want him to be with them forever. "We just love him," Heather says.
So here’s the nutshell version. Handsome Dan is in a home with a family who loves him unconditionally. He lives with people who know how to help him. He loves other dogs and gets to meet new dogs on a daily basis. He goes on adventures every single day, where he will improve his confidence issues without even realizing it. Um, is there a downside here? Congrats, Handsome Dan! You deserve such a happy ending.
Story by David Dickson
Photo by Molly Wald
Leave A Comment | 1 person already has
That is such great news. Thanks for sharing Shadow!