Monday, August 29, 2016

Book Review: The Lost Dogs (the Michael Vick dogs), Part One of Two

­The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption, by Jim Gorant ($26, 2010, 304 pages, Gotham Books)

“Rescue, Reclamation, Redemption”

Where were you in 2007?

What did you think when you heard the news of April 25, 2007, that approximately 50 fighting dogs were confiscated from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Dog Kennel in Virginia?

Vick was a role model, a professional football player, but, perhaps no more - since it was reported that “. . . he participated in the training, fighting and killing of dogs with his own two hands.” p. 67

Were you shocked and skeptical that anyone could engage in such a vile act against Man’s Best Friend?

Or did you simply not believe that a modern-day athletic star could be accused of such atrocities – perhaps he was just guilty of gambling?

Or did you say, “No big deal, they are just dogs”?

The Report 

Author Jim Gorant, who also wrote an 18-month account of the case in the December 29, 2008, cover story of Sports Illustratedspent the following year and a half ferreting out ‘the rest of the story’ - the background of dog fighting, how Vick got into the ‘sport,’ how the case finally sorted itself out, and what happened to the dogs afterward.

The result was The Lost Dogs, a very readable book.

First and foremost, Gorant tells the stories of the dogs themselves and what it is like to have to live as fighting dogs, generally against their nature, often giving up their lives for their owner’s pride and up to $30,000 in bets. “They’re on a collision course with each other in a battle that can only end with teeth and blood and pain.” (p. 18)

Winners and Losers

It was the best of times: it was the worst of times. A horrendous situation that brought out the best in some people (law enforcement officers, veterinarians and behaviorists, lawyers, shelter personnel, dog loving volunteers and the ASPCA) and the worst in others. . . .

The real losers seemed to be some of the dogs themselves. But were they really - in the end?

The Where

Surry County in southeastern Virginia is quiet country with only two practicing attorneys (population: 7,000). A natural place to hide an illegal operation in the countryside – a ‘kennel’ that took advantage of Man’s Best Friend, where dogs were chained up to trees outside – dogs who were meant to jump, play, run, chase, watch, chew, and cuddle. Active dogs meant for active lives, full of energy and power. Dogs who were chained to trees outside, instead.

Now you know who, when and where. 

Read more about it tomorrow:  the what and why, if why can ever be ascertained.

Yesterday: The Champions (DVD)

1 comment:

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