We Must Never Forget the Truth

At the beginning of the month the Dodo did a beautiful piece on Cherry, one of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels.  It was a video montage of Cherry since rescue, showing how frightened and shut-down he was, and the amazing, really amazing job he has done recovering from his abuse.

There were so many players in his journey towards recovery.  The folks that originally assessed him in Virginia.  Best Friends Animal Society trainers and caregivers.  And not least of all Paul, Melissa and their kids.  Cherry has become the dog he was always meant to be.  And it is a wondrous thing to see.

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I remember watching the original video of him at Best Friends.  He was featured on one of the episodes of NatGeo’s Dogtown.  It was physically painful to watch as he would pancake on the ground, too afraid to stand upright.  I cried when the episode showed him crawling to Michelle for some love and comfort; finally conquering his fear enough to accept physical touch voluntarily.

A few years ago I was incredibly honored to meet him in person, spending time with Cherry and his family at a lodge in Utah.  They had come back to the sanctuary for a reunion of the adopted Vicktory Dogs.  I sat on the floor and fed him pieces of dehydrated liver, which he gently accepted from my fingers. The change from the dog who had arrived at Dogtown scared and broken was amazing and thrilling.  It is a tribute to the resilience of dogs in general, and the calm loving care that Paul and Melissa give him.

The Dodo piece was lovely, but in ways somewhat confusing.  Video clips from the past ten years were spliced together to show some of the high points of Cherry’s life.  Some people thought this was a new situation with Michael Vick.  But I think most of the confusion stems from the fact that people are already forgetting the facts about this case and these dogs.

Some of the comments on the Dodo post were stunning in their ignorance.  The more I read the more agitated I became.  There were even people who said there was no proof this dog was one of Vick’s.  That the piece was a lie.

Ree Person Smh ….. I don’t believe this mess . What I do believe is this is attempt to slander Michael Vick.If you wanted to get the message out ,to stop animal fighting , you really could’ve done that in a more tasteful way .We the viewers don’t really know if the dog came from a ring of dog fighting ran by him .
So full of it !

Also among the comments were several references to the documentary that was released about Michael Vick last year.  That piece was an attempt by the NFL to whitewash Vick and his involvement in dog fighting, or as they contend, his lack of involvement.  The piece inferred that Vick only bankrolled the operation, but played no part in the actual abuse of dogs.

Zuriel Kirkwood I respect everything the dodo does, but the Michael Vick mention was unnecessary. Anyone who hasn’t seen the “Vick Documentary” should go watch it. Just like we all make mistakes, Vick made a huge one but now has changed his life. Take the worst thing you’ve ever done and imagine people remembering you by that the rest of your life.

Anyone who has followed this case knows that is a flat out lie.  Vick has admitted to personally killing under-performing dogs.  There is plenty of documentation of that fact.  Read The Lost Dogs.  Watch the Champions on Netflix.  Read the court transcripts.

I think the statement that hurt the worst was the woman who said she wouldn’t allow any of those dogs near her children.  Sheer ignorance when you look at  Jonny Justice and Hector doing certified therapy dog work, or the public events that Cherry or Ray attended and the children they interacted with.  We can’t let those type of statements stand.  If we do not challenge them, we are allowing the spread of hate and bigotry unchecked.

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The biggest thing I take away from those comments is that people are beginning to forget.  The dogs are aging, slowly passing away one by one.  It offends me to think that their story might be forgotten, swept away.

Those of us who know and love these dogs must work to keep the truth in the mind’s eye of the public.  We need to make sure everyone knows that not one of the adopted dogs has had any problems with aggression of any sort.   These dogs are proof that pit bull terrier type dogs are not inherently vicious, and we mustn’t let the world forget that.

I have been remiss myself.  I’ve let this blog slowly fade away.  But no more.  I can’t let Ray’s life and death go unnoticed.  He deserves better.  All dogs deserve better.  And I have a responsibility to speak my truth.

As Darcy Dennett’s documentary showed, these dogs are true Champions.  And they deserve our respect.

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12 thoughts on “We Must Never Forget the Truth

  1. These beautiful creatures are a gift to us by God. We are to care for them. They are like children forever and they look to us superior beings for everything they need. They are simply the innocence of this world. How could any person hurt them?
    They just hand out abundant love playfulness and loyalty in spades. What that stupid guy did to his dogs was premeditated a horrible horrible act of ćruelty. I love all animals and particularly this breed. They have a special quality.
    💖

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  2. I suppose the rape stand that was shown in an article was a “mistake” also. I’m tired of being told he paid his debt. Ah no he didn’t. He should have been regular prison for animal cruelty on numerous counts. The man is a monster. No one will ever forget the atrocities he committed. The sob was given preferential treatment. So he paid no debt.

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  3. I have been following this story from the beginning and saw The Champions. The movie made me cry, but also is a really well made autobiography of some of the dogs that suffered at Vick’s hands. I have read a lot about this and I can say one thing. what Vick did was horrible to say the least and those poor dogs will never be forgotten. Either will he for the terrible person that he was, is, and always will be.

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  4. He tried to bring his comedy show to Shreveport, Louisiana. There was a big protest. One of my sons tried to criticize the protesters, claiming he did his time and to leave it in the past and move on. He paid for his sin. I set him and his fb buddies straight! He did time for not paying taxes on the income from fighting the dogs, not the actual act. He got to plead those charges away! He’s evil.

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  5. I had the honor of meeting Halle at the Salt Lake City premier of The Champions last January. The rest of the pack is completely unknown to me, so why am I obsessed by everything connected to them and their furever families? This case changed the course of history. The dogs were not destroyed when they were no longer needed as evidence. What they suffered through the court trial was horrible. No more; no mas. We will help others remember those individuals and organizations that stood up to protect the innocent. The pictures of the ones who have passed on hang in my office as a reminder to all who enter my space at Snow College in Utah that courage has a name and a face. Blessings to all who stood against the incredible odds and made a difference.

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  6. Micheal Vick is nothing but trash; he doesn’t deserve to be out and playing football after what he did to innocent animals. Cherry, Ray, and the others are wonderful dogs with a world full of love to give.. Best Friends is by far the best sanctuary in the world. I adopyed my Jethro (formally Blinkyn) from them … best service dog ever

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  7. I stopped watching my formerly beloved Steelers when they brought that awful man onto the team and found that I have no interest in going back. What he didn’t was unconscionable and I for one will make sure no one forgets that. Thank you for writing this.

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  8. A “Mistake”?????? A mistake is when you leave the groceries in the car and the meat spoils.
    Dog fighting, killing living breathing things is a conscious decision. That is NOT a mistake.
    IF you want to pretend that the ability to play football is more notable than sniffing out lives for sport, entertainment and money then I am very sad for you.

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  9. I will NEVER forget. What Vick did was more than “making a mistake”. God gave him talent which gave him the ability to make lots of money to acquire “things”. Instead of doing good for others with his abundant wealth, he tortured and killed loving beings that only wanted to please him. Did the dogs get a second chance? Some weren’t even given a first chance. Remember what these dogs went through and how so many of them have overcome tremendous odds to be the perfect dog for the people lucky enough to be owned by a Victory dog.

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