Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Michael Vick's Dogs

People are constantly posing the question, "what separates humans from other animals?" I think one of the answers has to be "torture".

But I'm not here to dwell on Michael Vick.

The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption by Jim Gorant tells the stories of the 51 dogs seized from Vick's dog fighting ring.

Like, "Jonny Rotten" a litle black-and-white dog who couldn't navigate stairs, couldn't climb onto a couch, and ran from any sudden noise. He had been locked up, away from people and other dogs, all his life, and had no socialization skills. Other dogs had been so traumatized that they flattened themselves on the ground and trembled whenever people approached them.

Thanks to US District Court Judge henry E. Hudson, Vick was ordered to pay for the rescue and rehabilitation of as many of the dogs as possible. The results show the intelligence of the dogs, as well as the benefits of proper socialization of an animal. Also fortunately for the dogs, the rescuers knew that each dog should be individually assessed and treated according to his individual needs.

Each animal is indeed an individual, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

The results are spectacular. Jonny Rotten now wears a vest that says "Therapy Dog" and works in a program that helps children improve their reading. And he's not the only one that is now a therapy dog.

And there are many other success stories, of dogs that can now live happy lives in normal families, with other dogs and cats.

You can read some of their stories on the Parade Magazine web site (if you can deal with all the ads).

The Pit Bull breed has such a horrible reputation, due to horrible treatment, that it is wonderful to know that people are willing to approach such dogs, even ones with serious problems, as the individuals that they are.

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