The Lost Dogs book written by Jim Gorant is a powerful cannot put it down page turner. Read with heart held in hands, afraid to breathe, pet lovers cannot help but share the deep sadness and impact of the blood soaked brutality forced upon 51 innocent dogs portrayed on every page and the scars most still bear to this day. It is not an easy task to write a book like this but Gorant does so superbly. The way he interweaves the stories of the little brown dog, the little red dog and other dogs from the dog’s perspective, giving descriptions of the places intertwined with the facts of how the case was built against NFL football player Michael Vick and Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels is just plain riveting.
These dogs faced a triple whammy: they were unsocialized, heavily chained up 24/7, with inhumane contact as their normal. They did not know the basics of being an average house pet. On top of that, they were cruelly traumatized by their vicious training at Bad Newz and bore the pit bull stigma. Considered violent “biting machine menaces” ready to kill at any time, these dogs were truly lost in a nightmarish reality not of their own making. So terrified of people, places and normal things we take for granted, some became catatonic and afraid of everything. They would hunker down and hide. For some reason, a lot of the dogs had issues with doorways and crossing any threshold was nearly impossible. They did not even know what to do with toys. Many were clumsy, uncoordinated puppylike in grown up dog bodies.
Of all of the dogs, only one had to be euthanized due to her being so overbred, forced to bear puppies, that she lost her mind. A couple of others were put down due to illness.
Ginger, Red and Stella were taken in by the Monterey SPCA… Update: Red has since passed from cancer. My original post about my visit to the SPCA to meet the dogs. https://celiasue.wordpress.com/2009/08/22/survivor-dogs/
There was a joke on Twitter recently about Vick being injured and unable to play so now he should be put down. One wonders what kind of a monster could not only order the deaths of dogs by electocution and drowning but also kill dogs with his own bare hands. Dogs were murdered because they would not fight and/or did not pass muster in the fighting ring.
But this book is not about Vick. The Lost Dogs story proves without a shadow of a doubt that pit bulls are not the dogs society has been brainwashed to believe they are. Their heroic survival makes their recovery, redemption and rehabilitation all the more remarkable. Even the animal rights groups and experts expected that maybe 10% of the dogs, five of the dogs would become adoptable. That many of the dogs have not only passed the Basic Obedience course training but several have gone on to become therapy dogs, earned their Canine Good Citizen certificates and are thriving in new homes with children, other dogs and cats, is nothing short of a miracle and a testament to the pit bull’s spirit. Loyal, loving goofballs with seemingly boundless optimism, most adore children and people as they were bred to do. And the patience, compassion and persistence of their caretakers is an utter inspiration. Love truly does conquer all.
Hector, one of the Lost dogs, at the recent No More Homeless Pets conference, from Best Friends…not a great photo but a great dog !!!
LA Times review of the book