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Five Years Later!
Five Years Post-Rescue - The Vick Dogs at Home
So much has happened since this group of ten left their kennels in Virginia in October 2007. This webpage offers a brief update on where they are now and the work they do to remind people that dogs are individuals who deserve to be treated with compassion. Updated November, 2012.
An important read: Five Years Later: Has the Cruelty Ended?
Photo: Seven of the dogs who started their lives in California gathered with their adopters for this photo. Don't miss this humorous VIDEO of the photographer working to bring this group together for the shot.
Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Excellent A Preferred Standard Title in Agility
Shy and insecure when he first arrived, Audie had two bad knees and was very timid in strange places and around new people. Adopter Linda Chwistek knew in her gut that he could be an agility star - a skill that would require sound knees as well as a good dose of bravado. But how would they do the impossible?
Five years and a lot of work later, Audie's knees have been rebuilt and he's so well-practiced that he's now a true contender in agility circles, finishing his Excellent A Preferred Standard Title in Summer 2012. His story inspired the favorite children's book "Saving Audie" that describes his life's journey and lessons of rescue, recovery and second chances. This facebook page, managed by Saving Audie author Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, posts up to date photos of Audie's life today.
When he's not adding to his ribbon collection, Audie is goofing with his housemate dogs Aldo and Ruby in his home in Vallejo CA, and always enjoying his life as a cherished family companion. You've come a long way, baby!
CGC, ATTS, Therapy Dog and Breed PR Maverick
Hector wears his past on his sleeve in the form of terrible scarring, but despite this evidence of obvious abuse, he's been one of the most well-adjusted dogs from the case. He was friendly and comfortable with all people and dogs from the moment we met him and was greeting the press and its prying cameras with his classic laissez faire attitude just a few short weeks after his rescue, starting with this landmark news story in the Associated Press. (Right: Hector was photographed for Melissa McDaniel's Photo Book series.)
He was adopted to Roo and Clara Yori in Minnesota and has been one of the most active Vick dogs in terms of public education about pit bulls and canine victims of cruelty. Here's Hector doing what he does best: classroom education.
From Hector's own website: "He has since passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test multiple times. He passed the ATTS Temperament Test, and can visit hospitals, nursing homes, and libraries as a Certified Therapy Dog. Hector has also done a lot of work in elementary schools teaching children compassion toward animals and how to safely act around dogs. Hector's work earned him a humane education award presented through Brooklyn Law School. His story has been highlighted in both local and national media outlets, including but not limited to, CBS Early Show, Good Day NY, People Magazine, E! Entertainment News, Entertainment Weekly and NPR's Fresh Air."
CGC, NW1 (K9 Nosework Title), Mentor for BADRAP's foster dogs
Originally shy and timid when he arrived from Virginia, Uba continues to blossom thanks to adopter Letti de Little who constantly reminds him that Life is good now. He was first photographed in the New York Time along with an unfortunate headline: 'Menacing dogs from Vick case await their fate,' a media bias that quickly faded when his at-home photos finally surfaced. Uba was introduced to the world through photos of him napping with his cats and sister dog Lulu in a photo spread published by the Associated Press. The East Bay Monthly made good use of similar images in a favorite early article. He has since graced numerous news stories, photo essays and television reports with news and updates of his recovery, including this PBS Show 'The Dogs Are Alright.' He's a regular contributor to the Vick Dog Blog.
Uba lives a charmed life in Oakland, CA where he keeps his busy mind occupied with canine nosework trials and play sessions with a rotating crew of BADRAP foster dogs. He was recently photographed for Melissa McDaniel's Photo Book series (photo, right)
CGC, Pet Partners Therapy Dog Title
The tiny sized Grace made an appearance in Sports Illustrated Magazine and later in the book Lost Dogs but for the most part has enjoyed living life with her family as "a normal dog" just one step outside of the limelight. Even so, some people still recognize her on the street during her walks.
She earned her CGC certificate once with her foster dad and then again with her adopter. She's now serving as a therapy dog through the pretigious Delta Society's Pet Partners program and visits hospitals where her favorite activity is curling up at the feet of the bed with patients who request a visit.
Her family updates Grace's adventures for her fans on the Vick Dog Blog. Photo: Mark Rogers Photography
CGC, ATTS, Reading Assistant /Therapy Dog, Media Darling, GUND Doll Model
With his clownish personality, Jonny has shown up in numerous news pieces and photo essays over the years, including the Rachael Ray Show, PBS Show 'The Dogs Are Alright,' the CBS Early Morning Show, Carol Guzy's WA Post photo essay, the Associated Press photo essay, Melissa McDaniel's Photo Book series (right), and even the cover of Parade Magazine. His adopters Cris Cohen and Jennifer Long described his recovery in detail in Jim Gorant's book The Lost Dogs, and have always made sure he has a new trick to show off for the cameras during his appearances.
Jonny earned his Canine Good Citizen certification, then passed his American Temperament Test exam (ATTS) and went on to become a Reading Assistant dog, settling down next to children to encourage them to read out loud. He's currently bring joy to families at the Family House in San Francisco - a project that houses families whose children are being treated for severe illness at a nearby hospital.
Coming Soon! This San Francisco resident was recently selected to be the face of a new stuffed toy developed by celebrated toy manufacturer 'GUND Toys.' It's expected to be out in 2013, and promises to give children everywhere their very own Jonny to cuddle.
Canine Good Citizen
After satisfying his fifteen minutes of fame, shining up his leash skills and earning his Canine Good Citizen certification, Ernie road off in the sunset to live a quite off-the-radar life with his favorite person, Sasha Gibbs. He enjoys a sister dog and all the comforts of home.
Like so many of the Vick dog adopters, Ernie's person is content to have a "dog" instead of a "Vick dog." We can relate!
The Fabulous Family Dog!
Zippy first made herself famous in this Sports Illustrated photo, surrounded by kids in her home. Pre-teens Eliana and Vanessa helped mom take care of Zippy at the time in addition to new arrival baby Francisco. Since then, new sibling Tatiana arrived on the scene and the family grew yet again. What a busy household! She loves every bit of the commotion and fun that the kids bring to the home. Zippy also earned fame by peeing on the shoes of 'Lost Dogs' author Jim Gorant when he want to the house to meet the energetic girl for his book, The Lost Dogs. And later, when she entertained Washington Post editor Carol Guzy during a now famous series of at-home photos.
That's the life of Zippy. Never boring, always full of some kind of excitement including the many voices of the friends and family who come by to celebrate life. She wouldn't have it any other way.
Canine Good Citizen, Foster dog mentor
Teddles was named by the two year old boy who lived in the foster home that first gave him a safe haven when he landed in CA. He was once so afraid of loud noises including gunfire that he was unable to pass the CGC exam until he learned to ignore the loud trains that rumbled by the training grounds. Best Friends reported his progress. Once he passed that hurdle, it seemed he was well into his recovery. His progress was noted in several news and media outlets, including Carol Guzy's celebrated photo spread in the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated,
This sensitive boy now lives as a family companion in a home in Livermore, CA with three adults and a dog Lizzy. He was recently photographed for Melissa MacDaniel's Photo Book (photo, right). He still enjoys making guest appearances for educational events and he serves as a foster brother and ever-enthusiastic play buddy to BADRAP orphans who come to stay. We all love the Ted Man.
Cherished family companion
Frodo doesn't wear any fancy titles, but he's probably one of the most accomplished Vick dogs of all, considering how shut down he was when we first met him in Virginia. He was once so timid that he couldn't look his caretakers in the eye, much less take treats out of their hands but he has since blossomed into a cheerful dog who prods his favorite humans for attention. He lives with a sister dog in Fremont, CA and loves all the dog favorite staples: Going for rides in the car, doing fast zoomies in his yard, sneaking up on the bed for cuddles with his adopter, Kim Ramirez.
Frodo showed his tender side in the PBS Show: The Dogs Are Alright. He was photographed for the Sports Illustrated article and again in the Lost Dogs. For such an unassuming little guy, he's been quite a spokesdog for shy dogs everywhere.
Cherished family companion
Like Frodo, Iggy was utterly terrified when he arrived in California although his progress has not been as encouraging. To this day, despite several years of living a stable environment and receiving gentle coaching and socialization, he is unable to approach strangers or leave his home for walks or car rides due to extreme fear issues. Caretaker Nicole showed the media what his fear looked like in local news reports (LINK) back in 2009. His story was recorded in Parade Magazine.
Despite his traumas, he's been able to enjoy a simple life in San Diego that embraces routine, companionship and the most basic of pleasures. Iggy reminds us of the damage that can come from a life of cruelty and neglect. He also demonstrates that dogs are individuals, whose response to trauma will differ depending on the personality he or she is born with. Finally, Iggy's story reminds us that despite the ugly side of humankind, there are people like Nicole who refuse to give up on even the most broken of dogs.
News and updates from some of the other Vick dogs...
From shy girl to canine public figure, Ginger's facebook page tells all.
Like Ginger, Stella and Red found homes with staff at the SPCA for Montery County. Red died of cancer in 2010 after helping numerous dogs learn play manners. This video shows them both enjoying each other during happy times.
One of the most heavily abused dogs from the case - Georgia - went home in February 2012, and Oscar went home just a few weeks later and started enjoying plays sessions with now-adopted Mel, from the same case. Piper was adopted and went on to become a therapy dog. So did Leo, who later died of a seizure disorder in winter 2011. Handsome Dan and Sweet Jasmine both inspired their adopters to start rescue groups. Jasmine also graces the cover of The Lost Dogs. She died after being struck by a car in the summer of 2009. Sweet Pea was highlighted in Sports Illustrated with her adopter. Cherry Garcia was adopted to a new family from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Halle has a new family as well as her own facebook page.