great dogs with a bad rap

BAD RAP is an amazing pit-bull rescue, education and advocacy program in the San Francisco area. The people of BAD RAP - which stands for Bay Area Dogowners Responsible About Pitbulls - do fantastic work. Plus their website is great for adorable dog photos! (And I just found out they have a blog.)

Allan and I make a small annual donation to them, which I began because they helped me understand Buster, and which we continue in memory of our deeply troubled, deeply wonderful boy.

I was amazed to learn that BAD RAP has adopted and rehabilitated the dogs that survived torture and abuse by Michael Vick and his cohorts. There were 49 survivors in all. Twenty-two dogs will be housed in sanctuaries, and 25 were able to go to foster care, and eventually to adoption. ...

[Update: When I wrote this post, I thought this was old news, and I had been out of touch with BAD RAP goings-on for too long. But I've just learned that the organization was under a strict gag order; they had to be completely secretive about their deal with federal authorities to take the "V-dogs". The news only came out recently.

This post from BAD RAP's blog explains a bit, and links to some of the media around it. For the first time in anyone's memory, abused pit bulls were portrayed as the victims that they are, rather than the monsters they are usually made out to be.

I highly recommend watching all three videos linked here. The story of bringing the dogs cross-country in an RV is terrific.]

... You can read about them, and see videos of their evaluations and rehabilitation, and how they're doing now. A terrible story with a happy ending - something almost every dog can have.

In one sense, the Michael Vick dogs were lucky: they became celebrities. Thousands of abused animals never get that opportunity. Donna Reynolds, Executive Director of BAD RAP, explains:
The only difference between BAD RAP's 'Vick dogs' and the rest of the dogs in their foster care program is their celebrity. All are now living in volunteer foster homes with other pets and some, with children. Like other BAD RAP dogs, they're receiving basic obedience training and learning house manners. All are neutered and micro-chipped. All have different personalities. We can expect they will be well-mannered, good canine citizens that will blend right in with society. After escaping two certain deaths, they're now destined to be well loved family pets and they'll continue to help break down the stereotypes the breed has suffered.

After our odyssey with Buster, I don't know if Allan and I will ever have the heart (or resources) to adopt another abused pit bull. But then, we didn't adopt Buster. We found him on the street, near death, and rehabilitated him ourselves. It was tremendously hard work, wildly expensive, and ultimately came to control our lives. On the other hand, these dogs are the most wonderful animals you can imagine - intensely loving, extremely intelligent, strong and agile, and loyal to a fault.

My deepest thanks to BAD RAP for their work with the Michael Vick dogs, and on behalf of all the bully boys.


Amy said...

Thank you SO much for posting this. I was so sickened by the Michael Vicks story that I could never bring myself to read the details. Seeing those dogs being loved and comforted just made me smile through tears. Isn't it amazing how much goodness there can be, and then how much evil there is? How can we all be the same species---some doing anything they can to protect animals and others having no respect for any life at all, human or animal? Can we say the same for people as we do for dogs---that there are no bad dogs, just bad owners?

Thanks again for this.

L-girl said...

Amy, you're so welcome.

I tried for a long time not to read the details re Michael Vick. Then one night I stupidly succumbed - before bed. I had a horrible nightmare about our dog Buster that still brings tears to my eyes. I blogged about it here... but it's awful, I will spare you the link. :)