Maddie & Baileys Mommy, Christine sent this article in to the DP Mag for us all to read.
Utah – There are the perky, high-energy sorts like Lucas, all wagging tails and let’s-go-play vivaciousness.
There are the runners like Curly, who never saw a fence line or dirt trail they couldn’t wear down.
And there are the divas like Georgia, who go on publicity junkets and stay at the Beverly Hilton, wearing rhinestone-studded collars and hot pink tank tops that say “Biscuits are a girl’s best friend.”
They could be your dog, your neighbor’s, even one of those you see in a magazine being doted on by a celebrity owner.
These, though, are Michael Vick’s dogs.
Fourteen months after some experts left them for dead — in fact, said they should die — they are alive and thriving at the Best Friends Animal Society in the rocky red hills of Utah, rewriting the book about what pit bulls really are and what they can be.
Most of these dogs will find homes someday. None of their ilk, however, will be welcomed next week at America’s best-known dog show, Westminster, at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The American Pit Bull Terrier is the country’s iconic and most divisive breed, but it isn’t on the American Kennel Club’s list of accepted breeds. The AKC recognizes a cousin, the American Staffordshire Terrier, instead.
“I don’t really have anything to say about pit bulls because we don’t deal with them at all,” said David Frei, the director of communications at Westminster. “But AmStaffs are great dogs. I make the same blanket statement about them as any breed. There are no bad dogs, only bad owners. If someone gets involved with pit bulls and isn’t bright enough to be the alpha dog in the
relationship, there can be problems.”
American Pit Bull Terriers — a quintessentially American breed once best represented by the dog staring quizzically at an RCA Victor phonograph — are bred to be exceedingly kind and deferential to humans. But that trait has largely been lost among the thousands of stories about pit bull bites, maulings, fights and anti-pit bull legislation. Those stories have helped make the dog Public Enemy No. 1 among the 400-plus breeds, 170 of which are on the AKC registry.
“Often, the media gets it wrong,” says Michelle Besmehn, the dog care manager at Best Friends, who acknowledges that part of the Vick project is to restore the reputation of the American Pit Bull Terrier.
“They’ll say a person was mauled by a pit bull, and it’s not a pit bull, it’s a Mastiff or something else,” she said. “It’s frustrating because they get a bad rap, and it’s based on a general misconception.”
Tim Racer, co-founder of BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pitbulls), puts it more bluntly.
“If an AmStaff bites somebody, it suddenly becomes an American Pit Bull Terrier, because that’s what people want to do, is blame these dogs for all dog bites,” said Racer, whose group also saved 10 of Vick’s dogs.
Thank you Christine for sharing this great article with us!