Mel the Vicktory dog

Adopted: March 23, 2010

More about Mel from adopter Richard:

What has surprised you most about him?

What surprises me most about Mel is his resilience. As fearful as Mel still is of new people, he always gives everyone a chance. I know many humans who would never trust anyone again if they had gone through what he has, and who would blame them? Mel has made amazing strides, and compared with when he was first adopted, it takes him a lot less time to adjust to a new face in the room. He also has never met a dog he doesn't like. Big or small. Calm or hyper. If you're a dog, Mel is cool with you. It's actually easier for him to meet a new person if they have a dog with them.

What is your favorite thing about him?

My favorite thing about Mel is having him sleeping next to me every night. I'm not talking about a spot at the foot of the bed, here. This is his head on the pillow, under the covers, and snoring loudly in my ear. A lot of people might find that distracting, but to me, it's soothing because I know he's happy and content.

What is his favorite thing to do?

Mel loves a car ride. Whether it's a quick run to PetSmart or a trip across the country, you don't have to ask him twice! I always take Mel with me anytime I travel, and while I'm always happy to get there, it always seems like he is wishing that the drive would've taken a little longer.

What has adopting him meant to you?

Mel has changed my life. Because I was covering the Michael Vick case from the beginning on my radio show, by the time I found out that Mel would be available for adoption, I was already very emotionally invested in his story. Much to my dismay, in both covering the Vick case and the subsequent reaction of the public who largely welcomed him back into the NFL, I found myself frequently asking myself, "What is wrong with people?" By coming to Best Friends to adopt Mel and seeing the amazing job that his caregivers had done with him, I was able to see what is right about people as well. Every day, Mel serves as an example of what happens when the best of human behavior overcomes the worst.

What do you think people can learn from Mel?

On the one hand, they can learn that any dog, no matter how horrific of a situation they come from, can have the opportunity to rebound and thrive. On the other, I do think it's important for people to understand that dogs like Mel will always have challenges that they would not have otherwise had if they had not been abused. Their abusers are without empathy, and the dog's abuser of today is the human's abuser of tomorrow. This sociopathic behavior must be taken seriously, and it must be treated. It is not a temporary condition, but rather, a permanent disorder. Mistaking it for a mere "momentary lapse in judgment" is a recipe for disaster and recidivism. Sadly, that is the mistake that has been made by anyone who believes that Vick has somehow been autonomously redeemed. If anyone thinks that everyone has moved on, I can show you a little black dog who still has to gather up his courage every day to overcome mental obstacles that other dogs don't even consider. Let's use that lesson as a cautionary tale to stop future abusers, and thus avoid the lingering effects of cruelty.

Photo courtesy of Richard

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