Earlier this month, I did a retrospective post about the whole Michael Vick dogfighting thing, which I know is kind of old news to most. But one of the main themes of the piece was the idea that every being – human or animal – deserves another shot. So instead of just euthanizing these fighting dogs, why not give them a second chance… even if an uniformed society deems them hopeless.
Indeed, why not?
This was the perspective Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary had when they agreed to take in 22 of the worst cases from the Michael Vick fall-out. These 22 infamous dogs would become known as the Vicktory Dogs, and their story is inspiring and hopeful. Inspiring because they all would go on to flourish on one level or another, and hopeful because the world is watching, and seeing, that even the “worst case scenario” pit bulls can be rehabbed and given a second chance at a non-violent life.
I bring this up because I was just there at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah this past weekend. But I didn’t get a chance to see any of the Vicktory dogs in person, because most have been adopted into forever homes where they are enjoying some blissful normalcy for a change. A few were court-ordered to stay at the sanctuary, but even they’ve continued to grow and heal from the unspeakable trauma they were subjected to as fighting dogs.
Most recently, it was a Vicktory dog named Lance who was placed into his forever home. A few of the volunteers there at BFAS were just talking about him. Apparently, after all of their training, it turns out there’s a 10-part test that places the dogs in mildly stressful situations to gauge how appropriately they would react in real life scenarios. During a test run, Lance passed, and now he’s out the door and into his new life.
Here’s a BFAS blog post celebrating their progress at the five-year mark. You can meet them all here, too: http://bestfriends.org/News-And-Features/News/Good-Newz/
And, of course, there are hundreds of different stories like this playing out at the sanctuary at any given time. I got a chance to meet a number of “problem” cats, each of whom are receiving the best rehab and training possible so that they, too, can eventually be adopted.
PS. This is blog #19 in my 20-blogs-in-30-days series for June 2014. (Yes, I know it’s July now, but we’re almost home.)