Tank: All Saints
Shoes: Faryl Robin
Bangles: Amrita Singh
While we're (sort of) on the topic of dogs, and pit bulls in particular, I thought I'd discuss the book I just finished reading, The Lost Dogs by Jim Gorant. It tells the story of Michael Vick's dogs, who were seized from his dog fighting operation and subsequently rescued and in most cases rehabilitated. The first part of the book is terribly sad and horrific, covering the brutality and mistreatment that the dogs endured. If you were ever a fan of, or were even indifferent to Michael Vick, you'll thoroughly despise him after reading this book. In my mind there's really no punishment harsh enough for people who are cruel to animals. There's a special place in hell for monsters like Michael Vick.
However, the second half of the book focuses on the dogs, and the multitude of compassionate and committed people who made their rescue possible. This is the part of the book that really restores faith in humankind; I only wish there were more people out there who could see past pit bulls' bad reputation, and who cared about helping these amazing animals. Many of the Vick dogs went on to be successfully adopted by loving families, some became therapy dogs working with hospital patients, and one is used to help children learn how to read. Far from being aggressive, most of the Vick dogs were fearful and withdrawn, but in time they came to trust people and learn the things that come naturally to a pet dog: playing with toys, jumping up on the couch, engaging each other in play. Dogs, and especially pit bulls, are truly resilient creatures.
PBS did a story covering many of the highlights of The Lost Dogs as well as some of the people and dogs involved. Grab a kleenex, and click to watch.
We call Georgie the solar-powered dog; here she is recharging.
Georgie is a pit mix (mixed with what I don't know), and was also a rescue; I got her from a family who had found her as a badly beat up stray and was fostering her. She's the best little companion you can imagine, and Mark and I absolutely adore her. When I first got her she definitely had a lot of fear issues from whatever she endured before she was rescued, but she's a very confident and happy dog now; in fact she probably gets sick of all the affection we heap on her every day. I never get tired of hearing her grunt with satisfaction when she snuggles up with us on the couch, seeing her roll over on her back when she wants her belly rubbed, or feeling her velvety soft face next to mine. I feel truly blessed to have Georgie in my life, and I cherish every single minute I get to spend with her. I can't imagine what sort of a person could be cruel to these sweet, loving dogs.
If you love animals, The Lost Dogs is a tough book to read and one that inspires a lot of tears, but ultimately the outcome is uplifting. It's easy to pretend that things like dog fighting and animal abuse don't exist if you're not exposed to them, so reading this story is a harsh but necessary reminder that the problem is far from being solved. There's still a lot of work to do, from raising funds for rescue organizations to rehabilitating abused dogs, or just giving one animal a much-needed loving home. If you're interested in volunteer work or rescuing a pit bull, please check with the following organizations:
Pit Bull Rescue Central (lists shelters by location)
BAD RAP (this wonderful Bay Area group was one of the key organizations involved in rescuing Vick's dogs)
Out of the Pits
Bull911 (advocacy group)
Pit Bull Lovers (lists rescue organizations)
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (took in many of Vick's dogs and rehabilitated them)
And here are a couple more things you should check out:
- See how your state ranks in animal protection laws
- Support the Patrick's Law campaign (read more about Patrick here)