If you are a dog lover or an animal lover of any sort, you must read this book. It will probably rip your heart into pieces, but it is such an important book, needing to be read, passed around and understood. Jim Gorant takes us through the process of investigating football player Michael Vick for his role in a dogfighting operation in Virginia, the subsequent seizing of over fifty dogs, and follows the rehabilitation of almost all of the dogs taken from Vick’s property.
From Vick’s early friendships from his hometown of Newport News, to his years of getting into trouble prior to being drafted into the National Football League, we are able to see the issues brewing long before his involvement in creating one of the biggest dogfighting rings in history. Gorant investigated the case exceptionally well, giving us background on the detectives involved, as well as the rescue workers that took in dog after dog, determined to give them a second chance, no matter how long and challenging the road to rehabilitation, rather than simply euthanize.
The amount of detail is staggering, especially when describing the living conditions of the animals while still owned by Michael Vick and the end some of the dogs met, but also in the manner of which each dog was actually rehabilitated. Extensive research was done into the history of the breed and the current stereotypes surrounding them. It was obvious that Gorant wanted to not only break stereotypes of pit bulls, but also to open the readers’ eyes to the fact that in almost every case, no matter what has happened to a dog, they still have love to give and lessons to learn. In the beginning, these dogs were terrified of absolutely everything, didn’t understand the meaning of play or toys, and often didn’t want to be touched. What they ended up as is amazing family pets, loved by children and adults alike, and full of life. A gracious second chance was all they needed.
By no means an easy read, but an important one.
The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption by Jim Gorant, Gotham Books, Adult