"A breed of satin and steel. Pit bulls are a mixture of softness and strength, an uncanny canine combination of fun, foolishness, and serious business, all wrapped up in love."

-D. Caroline Coile

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Vick Dogs Make A Comeback

Today at the NFL’s Pro Bowl, Michael Vick’s remarkable comeback season will officially end. Vick returned to professional football after serving nearly a year and a half in prison for financing and participating in a brutal dogfighting ring based out of his house in Virginia.

Vick got his second chance, and made the most of it, leading the Philadelphia Eagles through a thrilling season and into the playoffs. Next year, Vick will likely be offered a huge multimillion dollar contract as a result.

That’s Michael Vick’s story. But what happened to the dogs?

Inspired by Jim Gorant’s book “The Lost Dogs,” Need to Know tells their remarkable story.

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

Since leaving prison, Michael Vick has repeatedly expressed remorse for his actions. He has been working with the Humane Society of the U.S. to teach kids about the horrors of dogfighting.

The Vick case has also had a ripple effect in other ways. As Jim Gorant writes in his book, “the Vick investigation had not only shed light on the disturbing game of dogfighting, it had inspired action and begun to change the public view of pit bulls from perpetrators of violence to victims of it.” In several recent dogfighting busts, the successful approach used in the Vick case was applied to these new cases, and many dogs were spared as a result.

For more information on dogfighting in the U.S., and what’s being done to combat it, check out these organizations:

Bay Area Dog lovers responsible about pit bulls

Best Friends

Humane Society: Dogfighting

Pit Bull Rescue Central

From the moment Lucas arrived at Best Friends, it was obvious he loves people. He not only wants to be around humans, he absolutely has to be around humans. “He was probably one of the happiest of all of them,” says Michelle Logan, a team leader at Dogtown. “He’s just always been happy-go-lucky.”

When Lucas sees a golf cart, car or tour bus coming around the bend, he gets up on his doghouse in the outdoor part of his enclosure so he can get a better view. Lucas loves everyone he meets, and he gets sad if he feels he’s not getting his share of the attention.

Dogtown caregivers know just what to do when Lucas is feeling blue.

“All you have to do is pop him in a golf cart and take him for a spin,” Michelle says.
Just like the other Vicktory dogs, Lucas gets training and spends time at the dog park. But the folks at Best Friends knew Lucas would enjoy even more time with people, so two days a week, Lucas is an office dog, spending the day with executive assistant Brenda Escher and chief executive officer Gregory Castle. Not only does Lucas get lots of attention from them, he also gets plenty of oohs and aahs and pets from everyone who drops by. “Lucas is an absolute love, from the wagging tail you’d best not get behind because it can knock you over, to the sloppy kisses he lavishes on everyone,” says Brenda, who picks up Lucas in the morning and delivers him back to Dogtown on visiting days.

“Everyone should experience picking Lucas up from his run to take him on an outing to the office or just on a walk,” she says. “There’s nothing like that kind of reception — trust me!”

Sponsor Lucas while he's at the Sanctuary.

By Sandy Miller
Photos by Molly Wald

**Check out some other Vicktory Dogs, Handsome Dan and Audie. Audie even has his own book! Pre-order it here.
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