#1 Sports Illustrated Report on Fate of the Michael Vick's pit bulls12-29-2008, 01:24 PM
A friend on one of my greyhound boards posted this link to this month's Sports Illustrated articles on what happened to the Michael Vick's dogs. Some of it is hard to read, but it is a testimony to the ultimate good in both people and the pit bulls. It's a long read, but well worth it.
Here's an excerpt from the last page of the article. I marvel at the power of dogs to somehow forgive the terrible treatment inflicted by the worst of the human race. I read an article in a greyhound magazine about the greyhounds in Spain who are used for hare coursing. At the end of the hunting season, those despicable humans hang their dogs in the pine trees. I wouldn't even travel to Spain if they gave me the trip because of their total cruelty toward animals. We're bad enough in the US with our treatment of fighting dogs and racing greys. The redeeming factor is the group of dedicated people who try to right these wrongs.
In the end, 47 of the 51 Vick dogs were saved. (Two died while in the shelters; one was destroyed because it was too violent; and another was euthanized for medical reasons.) Twenty-two dogs went to Best Friends, where McMillan and his staff chart their emotional state daily; almost all show steady improvement in categories such as calmness, sociability and happiness. McMillan believes 17 of the dogs will eventually be adopted, and applicants are being screened for the first of those. The other 25 have been spread around the country; the biggest group, 10, went to California with BAD RAP. Fourteen of the 25 have been placed in permanent homes, and the rest are in foster care.
Still, it's Jasmine, lying in her kennel, who embodies the question at the heart of the Vick dogs' story. Was it worth the time and effort to save these 47 dogs when millions languish in shelters? Charmers such as Zippy and Leo and Jonny Justice seem to provide the obvious answer, but even for these dogs any incidence of aggression, provoked or not, will play only one way in the headlines. It's a lifelong sentence to a very short leash. PETA's position is unchanged. "Some [of the dogs] will end up with something resembling a normal life," Shannon says, "but the chances are very slim, and it's not a good risk to take."
Then there are dogs like Lucas, who will never leave sanctuary because of his history as a fighter, and Jasmine and Sweet Pea, who will never leave their Recycled Love families. "There was a lot of discussion about whether to save all of the sanctuary cases," says Reynolds, "but in the end [Best Friends] decided that's what they are there for. There are no regrets."
BAD RAP works out of Oakland Animal Services, where above the main entrance is inscribed a Gandhi quote that dog people cite often: the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
"Vick showed the worst of us, our bloodlust, but this rescue showed the best," Reynolds says. "I don't think any of us thought it was possible to save these dogs -- the government, the rescuers, the regular people -- but we surprised ourselves."
Jasmine doesn't know about any of that as she sits on the back deck of Stirling's house. Stirling kneels next to her, gently stroking the dog's back. "I used to think any dog could be rehabbed if you gave it food, exercise and love," she says, "but I know now it's not totally true. Jasmine's happy, but she'll never be like other dogs."
It's quiet for a moment, and the breeze blows a shower of brown and red leaves off the trees. Then Jasmine turns, looks up, and licks Catalina's face. It is the sweetest of kisses.
12-29-2008, 01:34 PM
- Join Date
- May 2008
- Northern Virginia
Good article; thanks for posting. The ones who are too used to fighting to be "rehabilitated" - perhaps they could be put in a pen with Michael Vick. I'm not a sports fan, but I'd pay to watch that."Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
12-29-2008, 01:36 PM
The woman who cuts my hair has a pit bull. I just go to her house. Initially I was worried about going into her house with that dog. Turns out it's a big baby, wriggles its rear all over when I come, wants to give kisses, and hangs out with her ancient little chihuahua. I believe her now when she says her "pittie" is a goofball. It is, a darling little goofball.
12-29-2008, 01:55 PMI feel that once a black fella has referred to white foks as "honky paleface devil white-trash cracker redneck Caspers," he's abdicated the right to get upset about the "N" word. But that's just me. -- Jim Goad
12-29-2008, 02:08 PM
For more on the Vick Dogs........
12-30-2008, 12:20 AM
- Join Date
- May 2008
- In my own private Alamo on The Mountain in Georgia
Many years ago my Mom and Dad had a restaurant in rural Georgia. Well, this female pit bull shows up one day. She obviously has puppies somewhere. You couldn't get within thirty feet of her. But she was hungry. And she looked terrible. Pitiful.
Anyway, we start feeding her. Leave out food and go away and she would come and eat. This went on for days. We would talk to her while she ate. She still was so skittish we couldn't get near her. Finally, after many days, she allowed my uncle to pet her while she ate. He pulled the ticks out of what was left of her coat. (She had mange.) :(
We kept petting her and talking to her as we fed her. She started staying at the restaurant for longer periods of time and she was getting more gentle.
She would always go back to her puppies after being at the restaurant for a few hours. Then one day, she brought her puppies to us. All 8 of them.
She led them across Highway 441 during the busy summer season. It is a miracle that six of the eight made it across. The other two ran back, and my uncle and i crossed the road later with the pit bull (we had named Bessie) and she led us to her other two puppies.
We got all eight puppies and made a pen for them. When they were weined, we found homes for all of them but we kept Bessie as our own. We had her many years until she died of old age.
For years, she would go to work with us as we went from home to the restaurant (we lived just up the mountain from the restaurant). She would go home when we went home. She slept on the front porch of the restaurant ( a Bar-B-Que restaurant way out in the country) and she would go home when we went home. She never ever bothered anyone when they went by her to go in the front door.
It was like she belonged. I mean, we had a Bar-B-Que restaurant in the rural south so a dog on the porch is just normal, right? :D
We had her for many years. And Bessie never ever growled at anyone. Never bothered anyone. I hear all this stuff about pit bulls and I know it has everything to do with the individual dog and how it is brought into the world.
Thing was, Bessie was an adult who was a few years old when we got her. Her temperament was sweet and gentle. She was such a good dog.Hey careful man! There's a beverage here!
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