Michael Vick dog book: 'The Lost Dogs'

Best Friends members have come to know Georgia, Halle, Handsome Dan, Lucas, Squeaker and Little Red.

They’re just a half dozen of 22 dogs who came to Best Friends in January 2008 after being rescued from NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s dog fighting operation in Virginia.

Stories of dogs rescued from Michael Vick's illegal dog fighting operation

Now, people can read more about all 51 dogs rescued from Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, in author Jim Gorant’s book, "The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption."

Gorant takes readers on a journey from the time the dogs were rescued to how they’re doing today. The precedence set by this case is one that has gone down in history books. Before the Vick dogs took center stage it was common practice to euthanize dogs held as evidence in dog fighting cases; they were deemed unfit to be rehabilitated. The monumental decision to give these dogs a chance was groundbreaking. A couple of the book’s chapters take readers to Best Friends where 22 of the most challenged Vick dogs received the special care they needed to help them heal both physically and emotionally.

Saving and rehabilitating former fighting pit bull terriers

In "The Lost Dogs," Gorant, who wrote a December 2008 Sports Illustrated cover story about the Vick dogs, chronicles the full, behind-the-scenes story of the heroic effort to first save and then rehabilitate the 51 pit bull terriers rescued from Vick’s property, according to a news release from publisher Gotham Books. The book begins with a gripping explanation of the case, detailing how Vick and his cohorts were caught, the abysmal treatment of the dogs and the difficulties that came with trying to find homes for dozens of abused dogs.

Gorant’s skill as a journalist is evident as he deftly navigates from courtroom details, government red tape and criticism from Vick supporters to the individual rehabilitation of the dogs themselves, painting a full picture of this fascinating tale.

Changing the fear-driven pit bull terrier stigma

At its core, "The Lost Dogs" is a lesson in the distressing folly of discrimination and fear-driven hype. The unfortunate fact is that some people are afraid of pit bull terriers when in reality, they are some of the most loyal, playful and loving dogs around. Every one of the 51 dogs’ stories features acts of selfless devotion on behalf of the people, boundless perseverance on the part of the dogs, and inspiring hopefulness by all. Many of these dogs have become loving pets, therapy dogs and adored members of their communities, proving that even when exposed to atrocious abuse, a dog still wants to be man’s best friend.

Dog fighting and animal abuse

"The Lost Dogs" sheds a light on the terrible practice of dog fighting and other forms of animal abuse, explains the difficult yet beautifully rewarding task of rehabilitating a "damaged" dog, and gives a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. One need look no further than the Vick dogs to see that dogs rescued from fighting operations can thrive given the right environment.

Read more about "The Lost Dogs" and how you can purchase the book.

Best Friends' work on behalf of pit bull terriers

Best Friends Animal Society is working throughout the country to help pit bull terriers, who are battling everything from a media-driven bad reputation to legislation designed to bring about their very extinction. Best Friends hopes to end discrimination against all dogs. Dogs are individuals and should be treated as individuals. Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dog is one of four Best Friends' campaigns aimed at reaching the goal of No More Homeless Pets.