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Animal lovers and sports fans were shocked when the story broke about NFL player Michael Vick’s brutal dogfighting operation. But what became of the dozens of dogs who survived? As acclaimed writer Jim Gorant discovered, their story is the truly newsworthy aspect of this case. Expanding on Gorant’s Sports Illustrated cover story, The Lost Dogs traces the effort to bring Vick to justice and turns the spotlight on these infamous pit bulls, who were saved from euthanasia by an outpouring of public appeals coupled with a court order that Vick pay nearly one million dollars in “restitution” to the dogs.
As an ASPCA-led team evaluated each one. They found a few hardened fighters, but many more lovable, friendly creatures desperate for compassion. In The Lost Dogs, we meet these amazing animals, a number of which are now living in loving homes, while some even work in therapy programs. Johnny Justice participates in Paws for Tales, which lets kids get comfortable with reading aloud by reading to dogs; Leo spends three hours a week with cancer patients and troubled teens.
At the heart of the stories are the rescue workers who transformed the pups from victims of animal cruelty into healing caregivers themselves, unleashing priceless hope.
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By Gillian on 01-30-14
Such an Important Book I'm Rounding Up
This would be a 3.5-star review because of textual flaws (and almost painful narration), but it's so important it really needs to be heard.
If you're an animal lover, don't worry: while brutal, it's not too terribly graphic, and... well, get a grip. This is what happens. This is why you love them and want to do something for their well-being. This is why you never want to buy a Michael Vick jersey. Seriously, I saw a documentary on him after this was all over, and he seemed so genuinely contrite that I thought, gee, maybe he really got it and regrets his actions (and I'm almost militant when it comes to holding grudges!)
But after listening to his actions prior to his court appearances? The many, many protestations of innocence? The rearranging of funds? The purchases he made while others were caring for the animals he brutalized? I'm not feeling that warm and fuzzy about him right now.
But let's go back to the book. The flaws. If you can get past the first part, you're golden. Because it does some plodding. And really. We don't need to have the "thoughts," the "feelings," stated for us. I believe that animals think and feel, but to have an author point out exactly what's going on in their heads is unrealistic and annoying. Go by their actions, their responses. Those are suggestive enough of the trauma they've suffered, what they must've endured. Those will haunt you and make you damned near cry because you'll be able to fill in the blanks very well on your own. The necropsy report on how one dog in particular died will appall and enrage you (if you have even one sensitive bone in your body).
The second flaw is the narration. Garcia isn't wretched, not the worst by any stretch of the imagination, but he delivers the text with such silences between sentences, such pregnant pauses, it's hard not to doze off if you listen after work, and you're kind of tired. (Fortunately, anger will rear it's head, and you'll wake up because of the story.) Also, it's not until the end that he slips in emotion or emphasis to what he's reading. And that's startling because really, it's unexpected at that point since he's spent most of your listening hours in something short of a monotone.
But, BOY! What a story! This is about justice. It's about fear. It's about overcoming fear and learning to trust, to love, to live and breathe. And it'll make you want to hug your dog (or cat, or hamster) and watch them as they enjoy the lives you've given them. Because some animals have never been able to run and play. Some have never known the excitement of a new smell. Some have never known the comfort of a soft hand or a kind word. And bravo to the rescue groups who step in here, most of them smaller and not so well-funded or well-known. Bravo to the foster people who really take their time and put their hearts and souls into doing whatever it takes, for however long it takes, to bring peace and joy into the lives of the abused.
Michael Vick flunked a drug test during his time before sentencing: said he smoked the marijuana because all of the stress "the ordeal" put him through. Too bad his dogs didn't have anything like pot... for what he put them through.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
By gaillardia on 06-30-11
I was afraid of hearing graphic descriptions of the treatment of Vick's fighting dogs, but was able to get through the short sections (chapter 2 and some short mentions in other chapters). The chapters on the investigation, were enlightening and very interesting, but the majority of the book is about the rescue and rehabilitation of the dogs. The tales are informative, heart-warming, and really highlight that, above all of the hoopla and media attention, the real victims of the actions of Vick and his crew, were these loving, furry souls. The book has changed my view on the American Pit Bull Terrier, and I would happily adopt one when the time is right for my family. A must read for anyone who has an interest in the welfare of dogs.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful