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.
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.
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.