Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Handsome Dan's Rescue for Pit Bull Type Dogs/Outbound Hounds are Top Dogs

Handsome Dan and Bluegrass Jake
Although today is one of the hardest days within the home of Handsome Dan's Rescue for Pit Bull Type Dogs, it is a day where new strength will be found. A new determination that carries forward love and respect for not just Bluegrass Jake and his memory, and from every other dog that has walked through the doors of the rescue, and those who will be lucky enough to know the patience, love and understanding of the people behind and within this rescue.

I am so fortunate to get to know more about the Vick dog families, and the people behind the dogs. Such a world has opened up for me, where I have met some of the very best of people this world have to offer. One set of parents I have come to admire and respect are Handsome Dan's parents, Heather and Mark. Their ability to reach out to the dogs who need the most help and attention is unmatched by the openness with which they share each dog's journey. Like many who rescue, they truly care about the dogs, and each dog receives his or her spotlight so you truly get to know the dogs. As you are given the opportunity to meet each dog, you find yourself drawn in and cheering them on as they overcome an obstacle or relish in their silly delights. When a dog is taken into HDR, and the circle of well chosen and amazing foster families, they are not merely taken into rescue, they are taken into homes. That everything is shared openly and frankly through Handsome Dan's Facebook page, the opportunity to be a part of this amazing little rescue out of Providence, RI, is one that will change the way you see rescuers and rescuees.

Heather at work
What makes this rescuing super-duo so special is that they are able to offer training. Not just to the dogs they have opened their rescue to, but, to others who also need a little extra guidance and help. Through Outbound Hounds, Heather offers everything from Bringing Home Baby, to Fearful Dogs. You can even sign up for Basic Obedience, Behaviour Modification and a Puppy Package/Newly Adopted training sessions. If this is not enough, OH also offers something for us, the people behind the dogs- Canine Life and Social Skills for Pet Owners.  Worth checking out. There is also a Pet Sitting Service and a Dog Park Trip offered. They offer it all! From my correspondence with Heather, I can tell you that this is the person you would want as a trainer, for she truly cares about the dogs as family members and is kind, open, honest and frank. Very good qualities in a person, even better with a trainer!

HDR has some truly wonderful dogs up for adoption. Heather and Mark choose well, by reaching out to the dogs who may not get the attention from adopters, because they are shy, have seen more abuse or need more capable hands. Betsy was the one who truly grabbed my attention. Such a beautiful girl with the pee stained paws. She did well. Very well. Like all before her, she now lives in a happy, loving home. The best place to see who is available for adoption is through Handsome Dan's Facebook page, And HDR is listed on Through Handsome Dan's Facebook page, you can also see how Heather and Mark reach out to the community, through Kong or Bully Drives and free spay/neuter for at-risk Pit Bull type dogs through their Voucher Program. Donations are always welcome and always needed. 

Mark and Dan
showing Hector love

Yes, there are a lot of people who work in rescue that I have come to respect and admire, probably much like you. There is something very special about what Heather and Mark do, they make some tough choices and allow us all to share their triumphs and pain and they do it and share it all with grace and style. They do right by the dogs they take in and adopt, and they do right by the people who want to adopt. That is not always so common, and it is appreciated. I am so pleased that they have a chance to gain a little recognition for all the work they do, as well as being able to be a group to look upon and learn from. When I heard that The Animal Print was having a voting survey for Top Dog 2011, I knew I wanted to write about HDR and OH, and all that Heather and Mark do. I knew I wanted to help them achieve some recognition for what they do, because in my books, they are top dog. 

If you would like to help more people become aware of their mission, you can. The survey is very simple to fill out, and you only have to answer 15 of the questions. The only info you are asked to give is your email address, and that is only if you would like to enter the draw for an iPad. 

Here is where you vote:
The most important questions to answer are:
#16 Dog Trainer- please write in "Heather Gutshall/Outbound Hounds"
#43 Volunteer/Rescue/Shelter- please write in "Handsome Dan's Rescue for Pit Bull Type Dogs"

You know, Heather and Mark are not only amazing to the dogs they bring in and help adopt out, they are good to each and every one of us for truly opening their world and life with Handsome Dan. I DO hope you take the time to do this fast survey and help them see a little recognition from this. The more people in their area that know who they are and what they do, the more homes that become available to foster and adopt. That means more lives can be saved. And that is awesome!

Thanks for taking the time to read about Handsome Dan's parents.
Yours in rescue,
Nikhi xo


Laurie said...

Nikhi, I'm so appreciative of you writing this post, especially today. Handsome Dan was the first "V dog" I got to "know" via Facebook, and since then I've gotten to know many more. I am in awe of Handsome's parents, for all that they have done and do for so many pit bull type dogs.

From getting to know Handsome Dan, my whole perspective about pit bull type dogs has changed. I used to be ignorant, believing the many myths that are out there. I have 2 pictures of Handsome Dan on the bulletin board in my office at one he's got a serious look on his face and the picture is pawtographed by him. In the other picture Handsome Dan has a fun, silly look on his face, and on the back of the picture is a thank you note from Handsome. Both pictures have prompted comments and questions from many of the people I work with, staff and also the teens and adults with whom I work. From these comments and questions I plant seeds of hope--hope that like me, others will begin to be educated about dogs such as Handsome, and they will want to know more.

For some reason, I feel a connection to Handsome, maybe because he was the first pit bull-type dog I've gotten to know, and perhaps also because he lives less than half an hour from me. Today especially, I want to send strength and healing thoughts to Mark and Heather, their children, Handsome and his four-legged siblings.


Anonymous said...

Nikhi, with each key stroke you manage to out do the previous one. You hit the nail on the head with this one.
The admiration and respect I have for Heather and Mark is beyond words. These two awesome people are responsible for me wanting to help other dogs.
Heather and Mark are models for what every rescue should strive to become. Love that you used a picture of Jake and Dan----
Jake's Guardian Angel

Mona said...

I met Heather and Mark, along with their wonderful son, in Kanab, when they were picking up Handsome Dan from Best Friends. They are truly wonderful people. To see Dan, who was so afraid of the noises and sights of the town, looking up at their son with trust in his eyes was amazing, and to see the whole family rally around Dan with love was priceless. He's come along way!

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