From his controversial signing with the Eagles a year ago to his stunning and victorious ascension this week as the team’s new starting quarterback, Michael Vick’s postprison comeback has the sports world abuzz all over again.
But meanwhile, another comeback has been going on much more quietly as the canine victims of Vick’s dogfighting ring – Sweet Jasmine, Handsome Dan, Jonnie Justice, and the dozens of other pit bulls seized from Vick’s Virginia compound in 2007 – travel their own path of redemption.
Sports Illustrated senior editor Jim Gorant tells their story in a new book, The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption (Gotham, $26).
Surprisingly, 47 of the 51 dogs rescued from Vick’s property survived, even though they were initially written off as unsalvageable even by some ardent animal-rights activists. The majority have become family pets, agility champions, and even therapy dogs.
Twenty-two of the dogs, the tougher cases, ended up at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. Some have been adopted, and the sanctuary continues to work with the others on their “people and dog skills” with the goal of finding them good homes.
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