Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Lost Dogs by Jim Gorant

iconiconIt never ceases to amaze me, the selection my library has available in ebooks. One of the last times they added to the collection on OverDrive, I was browsing through the new books when I found this one: The Lost Dogs by Jim Gorant, a book about the Vick dogs, their rescue, rehabilitation, and where they are today.  I was already interested in reading the book, and then I found out a client of mine was reading it and recommended it, so I bumped it up my list.

The book detailed everything you might want to know about the Vick dogs — how they were living before the raid, the rescue, how the case panned out and many of the difficulties law enforcement faced, and finally, the rehabilitation of the dogs.  The book follows a handful or so of the dogs through their time in the shelters and, later, in foster homes.  All but a few of the dogs were rehabilitated, and the majority of them have been placed.  A few have even become therapy dogs.  Many of the dogs were never actually fought, and in general it seems Vick and his buddies failed miserably at breeding fighting dogs, but still  — the fact that so many were successfully rehabilitated is a testament to these dogs' characters!

The author talks a lot about the prejudice against pit bulls and how misplaced it is, which I thought was great — he is using a very high-profile, high-interest story to help debunk some of the myths about pit bulls.  He gives a history of the breed over the last several hundred years, and also gives a history of which dogs have been labeled as "dangerous" over the years.  Did you know that in the 19th century, bloodhounds were feared and discriminated against, just as pit bulls are today?  And around 1900, that prejudice shifted to German shepherds.  During all this time, pit bulls were so trusted as family dogs that they were actually called "nanny dogs" because how they were with children.

It's a very interesting book, sometimes heartwarming and something heartbreaking, but also important because of its message about "breedism" (not a word used in the book).  I am strongly opposed to breed-specific legislation (BSL) and I believe in rehabilitation, so it was very encouraging to read about how successful those efforts were in the most famous dogfighting case in history.

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