Vicktory dog Georgia on 'Ellen DeGeneres Show'

Vicktory dog Georgia from Vick fighting ring makes appearance on the 'Ellen DeGeneres Show' and shows that former fighting dogs can be rehabilitated.
By Sandy Miller

There are some perks for a jet-setting dog with a large fan following.

Georgia, former Michael Vick dog, on "Ellen DeGeneres Show"

When Georgia the Vicktory dog and Best Friends Dogtown co-manager John Garcia arrived on the set of the "Ellen DeGeneres Show," they got the star treatment. They even had their own green room right next door to music mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs! And inside their green room was a big, beautiful dog bed especially for Georgia.

Georgia and John, two of the stars of the National Geographic Channel series "DogTown," taped the Ellen DeGeneres Show last week. The show airs December 15. Ellen, a lifelong animal lover, came backstage to meet with Georgia and John before taping the show.

"It was wonderful to meet such a huge celebrity who was so nice to me and to Georgia and so complimentary of our work at Best Friends," John says. "I'm grateful that she is out there being such a voice for animals in need. Thanks, Ellen! We love you!"

Ellen did indeed say some very nice things about Best Friends. "This organization means so, so much to me," Ellen told the studio audience. "I’m so glad I’m going to share this with you."

And when it came time to go on stage, Georgia was an absolute pro, says Elissa Jones, Best Friends’ managing producer of special projects. "Bright lights and applause don’t bother Georgia at all," Elissa says. "In fact, she seems to be getting used to it!"

Rescued fighting dogs

Georgia is one of 22 of the most challenging dogs who came to Best Friends after being rescued from former NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s Virginia property, home to an illegal dog-fighting ring. Vick is now serving a 23-month prison sentence on a federal dog-fighting conspiracy charge.

Georgia was one of four dogs featured on the "DogTown" season two premier, titled "Saving the Michael Vick Dogs."

Rehabilitating pit bull terriers from dog fighting situations

On Ellen’s show, John, who’s celebrating his 10th anniversary with Best Friends this month, dispelled some of the myths about pit bulls and talked about Best Friends’ decision to take the dogs in when some others in the animal welfare world said they couldn’t be rehabilitated and should be euthanized.

"We believe that every dog deserves a second chance, and every dog can be rehabilitated," John told Ellen.

See a video clip from the show on Ellen’s website. Seems there are a lot of "DogTown" fans out there and comments are pouring in to the site.

"I was very excited to see that John Garcia was on the Ellen show," wrote Lisa Richard. "I watched the 'DogTown' episode with the Michael Vick dogs. Immediately after, I enrolled in a course to become a certified dog trainer. I have to say it was John Garcia's role at Best Friends that pushed me to this. I will always have him as a role model. My main wish is to go and volunteer at the sanctuary. I hope that comes true someday."

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi donate to Best Friends

Ellen was so impressed with Georgia and the work that Best Friends does to help animals like her that she and her spouse, Portia de Rossi, are giving a personal donation to Best Friends Animal Society in lieu of holiday gifts for their family and friends. Ellen is encouraging others to do the same this holiday season.

Meanwhile, Georgia is back at Dogtown relaxing in her new bed after her whirlwind trip to Los Angeles. She enjoyed lounging in the bed so much that the Ellen show staffers let her take it back to Dogtown with her.

Georgia has come a long way since arriving at Best Friends last January. Read more about the Vicktory dogs.

Photo by Best Friends staff