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“The Lost Dogs” Book Review

The Lost DogsIt was the most talked about animal abuse case in history. And Michael Vick, NFL quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, was in the middle of it all, in spite of his repeated denials.

Usually, dogs rescued from dog fighting rings are marked for euthanasia. But this time, something different happened. All 51 dogs would be evaluated individually by a team of experts to help determine their fate. In addition, Vick was to pay close to $1 million to fund the efforts. Not near enough for many people, but it was more than other dogs had gotten.

Rescue groups all over the country jumped at the chance to be a part of the rehabilitation, to give these dogs some semblance of a normal life. Most were pit bulls or pit mixes, but there was some additional breed diversity.

So what happened to these rescued dogs? Where are they now?

Enter Jim Gorant. His new book, entitled “The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption”, comes out on September 16th, 2010, and we were lucky enough to get a review copy last week. 

Quick verdict: Buy this book.

Gorant starts off talking about Vick and the development of the case against him.  These accounts are interwoven with short bursts of exposition from various dogs’ point of view, dogs who are in a terrible situation.  This part combines to make you angry at Vick and break your heart at the same time.

The real focus in the first 3rd of the book, however, is the people who helped orchestrate Vick’s eventual downfall, their thought processes in gathering evidence, their investigations and interviews, and finally their decision in taking the case to the federal level.  It’s a riveting read that goes into detail I hadn’t known before, and brings well deserved attention to people who did some good.

Ultimately though, this book is about the dogs, and the remainder of it is dedicated to their fate.  At the end of the book, you’ll get a paragraph or two detailing the path each dog took and how they spend their days now.  But before that, Gorant gives us the full, detailed stories of six of the dogs and their rescuers, and the struggles and triumphs they shared.

You’ll run through the entire gambit of emotions as you read about Jasmine, Jonny Rotten, and Little Red, from smiling to laughter to tears. At least, if you’re in any way human 😉

This is an important book for dog lovers, and especially pit bull lovers.  It puts the lie to many of the myths out there, and strikes at the heart of the various hate-filled websites against pit bulls.

Out of the 51 dogs rescued, at least 20 were suitable for foster care immediately.  Others were sent to sanctuaries, and after some work, were then sent to foster homes.  Many of the fosters passed the Canine Good Citizen Test and the ATTS behavior test, and some are currently working as therapy dogs.

Only two had to be euthanized.  One for aggression, and one because of a severe health problem that was inoperable and causing the dog pain.

Only two. 

And this was after the president of the Humane Society, Wayne Pacelle, publicly stated that it didn’t make sense to keep any of the dogs alive.

One law enforcement officer experienced with dog fighting is quoted as saying that as many as 80% of the dogs in a typical dog fighting operation never fight, even when coaxed and treated harshly and trained for it. 80% just don’t show the aggression necessary. This is simply astounding.

At the end of the book, Gorant thanks the dogs, simply for being dogs. And I say amen to that.

You can buy the book from Amazon.com today.


Author: Matthias

Hey all! I’m Matthias and I love Pit Bulls (as you probably can guess lol). Until a couple years ago I had Blaze next to me while writing the articles for this blog and he was my inspiration, he still is but - hopefully - from a better life 🙂

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8 thoughts on ““The Lost Dogs” Book Review”

  1. I found this book at my

    I found this book at my college’s book store at the beginning of the semester, and it is a really great book and probably one of my favorite books of all time. It is amazing to read what the dogs went through and that so many of them turned out to be great dogs at the end. 

  2. Just found this site and very

    Just found this site and very impressed with the info avail. We just adopted a Pit puppy and wanted to find the right information and edcucation to properly train our new edtion to the family.  I will  be returning to the site frequently!

  3. This is a wonderful book and

    This is a wonderful book and should be read by all, those who already know how wonderful these animals are, and especially those who fear and distrust this breed.  It will make you feel every emotion you have. A must read.


  4. I ordered this book on my
    I ordered this book on my Nook as soon as it come out. Great book! I cried & laughed, I was happy & sad & angry while reading. It is disgusting what these dogs went through but oh so amazing that they survived & at what many of them are now doing. I think everyone should read this book! It says ALOT about the breed and their personality! For people who believe that pit bulls are aggressive…just wait until you read about these 49 dogs!!! This book is great positive PR for pit bulls and those of us that truly know them & LOVE them!

  5. Can’t wait to read this book.
    Can’t wait to read this book. It is great to know that these poor dogs are being given a chance more so now that this has happened. I would really like to see these cruel individuals get more of what they deserve rather than a fine, and a little jail time. They deserve real jail time, and should never be allowed to own another animal ever agian.

  6. It is great to see what has
    It is great to see what has come of such a horrible situation. So many dogs were rescued not just from this dog fighting ring, but awarness was raised and laws have become more strict to protect these dogs. It was lke a bitter sweet story and I can’t wait to read this book.

  7. It should also be said that,
    It should also be said that, thanks to the results of this case, the Human Society and other organizations have now changed their policies in regards to dogs rescued from dog fighting rings.

    They are now no longer marked immediately for death, but each dog is evaluated individually on its own merits.