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Handsome the Hero Police Dog.

Handsome, Stuffed Hero Police Dog

Field review by the editors.

Cincinnati, Ohio

On a cold night in 1898, patrolman "Big Jim" O'Neill was making his rounds along the Cincinnati waterfront when he found a whimpering, abandoned puppy in a doorway. He put it under his coat, brought it back to his station, and the pup was quickly adopted by the cops.

They named the scruffy mutt "Handsome," and he was soon joining their daily patrols. It was a rough neighborhood of bars and rooming houses, known as "rat row," but Handsome was ready for the challenge. Over the course of his life he assisted in hundreds of arrests, chasing down and cornering thieves and murderers, even though he weighed at most 50 pounds. Handsome was extremely territorial, and didn't even like cops from other stations.

Dog on display.

When Handsome died in 1912, the cops had him stuffed and placed in a glass case. Big Jim O'Neill was killed in the line of duty shortly afterward, and the station was eventually closed. Cincinnati, not wanting to throw out a perfectly good stuffed dog, moved Handsome into a tiny nature museum in an uptown park, where he made an odd display among fossils and Indian arrowheads. In the early 1970s Handsome was moved again, to the local Fraternal Order of Police hall, where he eventually ended up in a closet.

Happily, when the Cincinnati Police Historical Museum opened in 2006, Handsome was retrieved from storage, cleaned up, and once again put on public display, still in his original case.

Also see: Cincinnati Police Museum

Handsome, Stuffed Hero Police Dog

Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society Museum

308 Reading Rd, Cincinnati, OH
At the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society Museum. Northeast side of downtown. From US Hwy 42/E. Central Pkwy turn north at the stoplight onto Lockport Ave. Drive one block. Turn left onto Reading Rd. Drive a half-block to the museum, on the right, #308, second floor.
Tu, Th, Sa (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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