“Handsome Dan” was compassionately put to sleep after suffering a debilitating stroke two weeks ago. As one of the 66 dogs, including fifty-one pit bull type breeds seized in April 2007 from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz kennels in Surry County, Virginia and taken to six different facilities and held as evidence, the plight of these dogs made national news.
Once evaluated, most of the dogs were never deemed aggressive, but only unsocialized and fearful. One dog had been slated to be humanely euthanized because of health reasons, and a small black female so overbred, had been too aggressive to handle. Twenty-two dogs were assigned to Best Friends Sanctuary in Utah. The next largest group headed to BAD RAP in Oakland, California. The rest of the dogs went to different homes all around the country.
As for Handsome Dan, he was adopted in December 2009 by a family that has been inspired to create a pit bull rescue. On his Facebook page, the sad news about his death was posted early Saturday morning.
“By the time you are reading this, Dan will be gone. He suffered another stroke two weeks ago, this one worse than the last. By last week, he had stopped eating regularly and had lost weight and muscle mass, had no use of his back half of his body. When he was not sedated he was panting from stress, unable to settle. In his final days Dan was no longer responding to his human friends. He was defeated.”
And on Wednesday morning, surrounded by love, Handsome Dan died, but not before he had a perfect day.
“On his last day, Dan was allowed to drag himself around the house and yard (something he had wanted, but had been not allowed to do due to risk of further spinal injury), he went for a car ride, sat in the grass at the park he loved near his wooded trail, he ate three scrambled eggs, and settled softly on his spot on the couch. I sat with him, loving him with every cell in my body and every ounce of emotion in my soul, seeing it was time, sobbing, but knowing the best way to love him is to let him go. Dan left us peacefully on Wednesday afternoon.”
More than 300 dogs have been rescued because of Handsome Dan’s legacy. The farewell to him is included in its entirety below:
To My Dearest One,Handsome, your presence in my life, the gift of your companionship, has been my privilege, my honor, an absolute blessing, every second. You have guided me, kept my heart safe. You have had a profound impact on how I chose to spend my time on this planet. In your name, over 300 dogs with medical/behavioral issues, and survivors of dogfighting, have found their place in this world which previously was a cold and lonely. Your needs guided me. Your spirit inspired me. You gave me purpose.As you know, Handsome, I am not the strongest of humans. I feel things deeply, I break easily, and I generally choose a to spend my time quietly with you in our home. Thank you for being my One. Thank you for letting me snuggle you, for making me smile countless times. Thank you for the silliness that others rarely saw. Thank you for helping me be better for you, making me better for other dogs.I will keep going. I promise. I pondered stepping away from rescue when this time came. Would I ever want to see another homeless dog? But I will, in your name the organization will continue. I will wipe my tears, walk back into shelters, find the most broken-down pathetic ones way in the back, smile, and remember you as I enter their cage. I will take you with me every step. Though I know the steps will be heavy and difficult. I will carry with me for the rest of time.You have helped to change the landscape for dogs who suffered similar trauma. Thank you for the privilege of having been your person, and to sharing you though photos with the world, showing how far you have come from that initial dark place.I hope I have done you justice, My Love. You have been more forgiving of our species than we could have ever been of yours. You trusted us when you had no reason to trust, when all that came before told you to run and hide. But you found courage, even if only inside of our fence, our home, with your small circle of friends.I don’t know how tomorrow will look. I have no idea how to recover from this profound loss. What I know is that this is not about me, it’s about a you. So I will smile, hold you dear, continue to send you love to remind you what you have meant to me and my family.Now I have let you go. You don’t need your body anymore, your work here is done. Be free from pain, and fear, and know I am forever grateful for every moment.All My Love,Mama
More news and updates on the National Pet Rescue Facebook page.
Poachers eaten by lions before they could kill rhinos – read the story here.
Heartwarming rescue of abandoned foal – read more here.
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