The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption (英語) ペーパーバック – 2011/9/6
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The bestselling story of survival and our powerful bond with man's best friend, in the aftermath of the nation's most notorious animal cruelty case. Featuring a new Afterword with updates on the Vick dogs.
Animal lovers and sports fans were shocked when the story broke about NFL player Michael Vick's brutal dog-fighting operation. But what became of the fifty-one dogs who survived? As acclaimed writer Jim Gorant reveals, their story is the truly newsworthy aspect of this case. The Lost Dogs traces the effort to bring Vick to justice and turns the spotlight on these infamous pit bulls, which were saved from euthanasia by an outpouring of public appeals coupled with a court order that Vick pay nearly a million dollars in "restitution" to the dogs.
As an ASPCA-led team evaluated each one, they found a few hardened fighters, but most were lovable, friendly creatures desperate for compassion. In The Lost Dogs, we meet these amazing animals, many of whom now live in loving homes and work in therapy programs. The Lost Dogs exposes the terrible practice of dog fighting and shows us that even after being subjected to heartbreaking abuse, above all, a dog still wants to be man's best friend.
"Gorant's fine book is a heartwarming tale of how the love and commitment of a community can heal even the deepest and most abhorrent of traumas." — Sports Illustrated
"The Lost Dogs is a page-turning investigation of dog fighting and an implicit indictment of the sport." — The Daily Beast
"The Lost Dogs has the quality of a page-turner as it chronicles the entire story, in all its upsetting detail, of the dogs' rescue and re-entry into the world." — Los Angeles Times
"A well-researched, moving account" — The New Yorker Book Blog
"The Lost Dogs shows us that goodness can be found in the places where we may least expect it." — The Christian Science Monitor
"Packed with vivid characters and dramatic incidents, The Lost Dogs is a sobering reminder that man's best friend isn't always viewed that way. But this deeply affecting portrayal also reflects that fairy-tale endings are within reach when those involved are infused with spirit, confidence and commitment." — The Seattle Kennel Club
"Gorant has crafted an insightful and uplifting tale about the way that nurture can sometimes triumph over nature, and how the remnants of cruelty can be transformed through the power of hope and love." -Allen St. John, author of The Billion Dollar Game: Behind the Scenes at the Super Bowl
"Jim Gorant provides a powerful narrative that is, at times, heartbreaking, but also illuminating and inspirational. You will come away from The Lost Dogs warmed by the knowledge that it wasn't only Vick who got a second chance." — George Dohrmann
"The Lost Dogs should be read by dog lovers." — Temple Grandin, author Animals in Translation
"The Lost Dogs is a gripping story of redemption that uncovers the other side of the Michael Vick story." — Ken Foster, author of The Dogs Who Found Me
"Jim Gorant goes beyond the headlines of Michael Vick and the Bad News Kennels to richly tell the rest of the story: how these amazing dogs, in the wake of such brutality, help bring out the best in the human spirit." — Tom Verducci, author of The Yankee Years
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It was fascinating to learn about the legal hoops that law enforcement officers were forced to jump through in the county of Surry. I was unaware of the local politics which leaned toward letting football players display open sociopathic behavior without any threat of arrest. These investigators risked their careers; they are true heroes, and it is nice to know that these tough guys have such a soft spot for our canine best friends. It was also uplifting to hear of a U.S. attorney that cares about animal cruelty. While Vick's gang was a perfect storm of monsters, the investigators, attorneys, veterinarians, legal representatives and rescue organizations that came together afterward were a perfect storm of the best of mankind.
This book does make me wonder about the NFL in general. Why do we continue to reward criminal behavior with loyal fans? As football season starts, I see college kids walking around with new Vick jerseys. I try to understand that Eagles fans are a loyal breed, but do they have to wear Vick jerseys? I used to think that the Eagles organization should be ashamed of themselves, but now I blame the entire NFL organization. Vick made absolutely no effort to redeem himself following his sentence, and they rewarded him by welcoming him back. That's the negative and it is the part of this story that leads me to sometimes feel anger and disgust...on to the positive...and yes, there is a positive side to this story.
One of the reasons I felt good after reading this book is that I found myself addicted to reading about the progress these dogs made outside the confines of the prison of a monster. I still am unable to think of Jonny Justice or Leo without laughing, and I'm unable to think of Sweet Jasmine without shedding a tear. At the same time I shed a tear for Sweet Jasmine, I'm so content to know that she found kindness and love in this world.
One of the biggest surprises I found after reading this book was the feeling I had this morning. I walked my dogs down to the beach where I live in San Diego as I do every morning, and I thought that I would look down on them as they waited for their treats and think about how lucky they are to have a "sucker" like me as their human. Instead, I thought about how lucky I am to have them. This book left me with a peaceful feeling that there are others like me out there who devote a good chunk of their lives to enriching the lives of this sweet, goofy and loyal breed.
I can't forget to point out that Jim Gorant is another new hero for me. He actually took the time to document this case, and he "gets it". There are portions of the book where he peeks into the mind of what a dog must feel, and it is touching. He also enlightens us on where the money goes with rescue organizations, and he shines a light on organizations that wanted nothing to do with saving these dogs; they just wanted a sound bite on CNN (I'm talking to you PETA!!!). Gorant is just an excellent writer; his descriptions of these dogs and their goofy behavior hit close to home with me. So Bravo Mr. Gorant. Excellent job.
Article of Ron Chimelis on allowing Vick to have dogs in the future: “ If he (Michael Vick) fails, one dog will sadly pay the price, and we will be reminded that not everyone who says they are rehabbed really is. But maybe, just maybe, he won’t fail. Michael Vick can make the case that people can indeed turn themselves around. I think it’s a risk worth taking, not just for Vick, but for us."
Response to the article of Ron Chimelis:
Wow. Really. It scares me that you feel you have thought this through. Please consider again. Think. Don’t be flippant. Consider what you are saying, please.
You come from the place that says “people are too willing to write people off….that we do not give second chances”
But then, the logic fails and you jump to GIVING EVERYONE A SECOND CHANCE by including those who cruelly killed defenseless beings. Sorry, there are some who CANNOT have a second chance. Why? SIMPLY BECAUSE IT IS TOO DANGEROUS TO THOSE WHO CANNOT PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM THEIR KIND.
Where is your Logic in this? Give the person(s) who “made the mistake”’ the person(s) who performed the CRIMINAL and NOT TO MENTION, IMMORAL act….give them a second chance EVEN IF IT MEANS PUTTING ANOTHER LIFE (who did nothing wrong, a total innocent) DIRECTLY IN HARM’S WAY?
Oh, I forgot….to quote you “But maybe, just maybe, the worst won’t happen." YOU willing to step up to this plate??? That’s scary…..SACRIFICIAL DOG/SACRIFICIAL HUMANS.
In fact, you listed nothing that Michael Vick has done that demonstrates his deserving a second chance. No, in fact, because he can throw a ball with accuracy, his life is Unchanged….the money is back, the fame and admiration is back, it’s all back for him.
And You are ready to SACRIFICE yet another dog to these people for the CHANCE that they might NOT KILL IT?? Really? Will you stand by this dog 24 hours a day while it is in the presence of these people….these men who laughed while they hung a dog…..this man who swung a dog to the ground until its head burst……this man and his cronies who held a dog’s head under water until it drowned? All these acts take time….1 second…..5 seconds…..1 minute…….2 minutes….5 minutes…. ….all time for any of their consciences to kick in. But, Nothing. Nada. Just a life that looked to them for approval, for validation, tried to perform for them…..hurting, crying out, yelping, dying a horrible violent death. This man, personally, killed in several very cruel and heartless ways defenseless animals…READ THE TRANSCRIPT. Sure, knowing your written attitude, these were not worthy of your care….they were ”just dogs” that Vick and his unconscionable cronies trained to fight So, rather than say this man actually deserves NOT to be near animals, you would rather throw another dog INTO the RING, so to speak….with this supposed human. I have not added that we should be worried for children in this man’s presence but it carries far more logic than does yours. Because the FACT is that ANYONE with a CONSCIENCE, ANYONE with a SOUL…..no matter how they were ‘brought up’ or in what ‘culture’ (excuse # 561 and 562)…understands that HURTING AND KILLING are wrong. It is WITHIN a person. EVERYTHING ELSE is “I’m a victim’ EXCUSE.
So, while he proclaims to “not be a psychopath”….this is even more illogical…really? You Want to claim that? And JUST BECAUSE HE PLAYS A GAME WELL, JUSTICE IS AND HAS BEEN VERY LIGHTLY APPLIED.
And, now, you feel his chance to show his sanity, to demonstrate his rehabilitation, IS MORE IMPOPTANT than yet another defenseless being's life? You feel that risking the dog’s life will help us be more open to giving people a second chance. WE DO NOT NEED YET ANOTHER DOG’S DEATH TO DO THAT. Anyone who DOES NOT deliberately HURT/KILL defenseless living things CAN HAVE a second chance. A third chance. Anyone who DELIBERATELY HURTS/KILLS defenseless life should be in lockup away from others. Something is WRONG with them. Think. Could YOU KILL a dog? Could you swing it’s head into concrete until it burst? Could you hold its head under water as it fought for life until it suffocated from water filling its lungs? No, it goes against everything inside of you because you do not lack the something that makes you human.
Think about it another way….your LACK of care for this one life, this dog that you intend to hand to this killer, maybe you could not ACTUALLY DO THE KILLING BUT YOU ARE CAPABLE AND WILLING TO HAVE IT DONE FOR YOU. By Michael Vick. Think……does this put you closer to the category which he occupies?
Many people Do deserve a second chance and are willingly given it. Yet IT”S TIME to STOP PUTTING ON BLINDERS……to give the person who performed the CRIMINAL AND IMMORAL act a second chance WHEN it means putting another life directly in harm’s way? Not only is this not “fair play” but it is ILLOGICAL. WE MUST FACE IT. THERE DO EXIST SOME ACTS that deserve NO CHANCE to be REPEATED. NONE
The thing that struck me the most, however, was the resiliance of the dogs. Coming first from a "home" devoid of any form of socialization and stimulation, transferred to shelters where they languished for months in often equally barren environments, many of the dogs went on to earn their Canine Good Citizen and/or therapy dog certificates and a couple even passed the American Temperament Testing Society test. I know from personal experience that this test requires a dog to have a very sound temperament to pass.
I agree 100% that Michael Vick's deeds are dispicable and the National Football League needs to take a long, hard look at its values, but in many ways the very survival and success of the dogs has transcended Michael Vick and make any successes he has on the football field irrelevant and shallow in comparison. By overcoming their fears and learning to live life as loving and well loved dogs, the pitties are the winners in every way.
There is one section of the book that haunts me. Gorant writes: "One experienced law officer estimates that 80 percent of the dogs, even those raised in a professional fighting operation, won't even scratch. That is, they won't even cross the line and engage the other dog." (pg. 19) If this is even remotely true, this makes pit bulls more of a victim that ever. That this breed, profoundly friendly to people, can have a reputation as vicious killers when the vast majority of them want nothing to do with bloodshed is a travesty.