As many of you know, ever since the publication of GIMME SHELTER, my humans and I have made a point to provide monetary support for numerous animal rescue charities, including Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. In addition to practical pet advice, Best Friends Magazine offers moving rescue stories, like The Champions (March/April issue), a powerful, upbeat look at Darcy Dennett’s documentary of the same name. The film chronicles the fate of Little Red, Handsome Dan, Cherry, and two other dogs that were rescued from Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation, and how, with the help of Best Friends and a host of dedicated volunteers, these ‘Vicktory’ dogs found love and redemption after being saved from their hellish plight. Their successful outcomes helped change the mistaken beliefs that dogfight survivors needed to be euthanized,and that BDLs – Breed Discriminatory Laws –  were the answer to preventing dog attacks. (download the movie here) But there’s still work to be done – 12 states still demonize dogfight survivors by labeling them ‘dangerous’ and insisting that they be euthanized – but thanks to the work of devoted dog lovers and pit bull advocates, 19 other states have banned breed discrimination. This pit bull, for one, looks forward to the day (and may it be soon) when stories like this will seem like relics of a bygone, less evolved age. 

Handsome Dan doing what pit bulls do best

Cherry with Paul & Melissa at his new home

While most of Vick’s canine fighters beat the odds and survived their nightmare, a few of the most badly damaged dogs had to be put down. As anyone who has ever faced the choice can attest,  deciding whether or when to euthanize a pet can be a truly gut-wrenching situation. In a recent Cesar’s Way newsletter  the famed dog whisperer offered some very helpful and caring tips on how to cope with putting a pet to sleep, like knowing when it’s time, understanding the procedure, and allowing yourself space and time to grieve. His parting advice: Although saying good-bye is the hardest part of our relationships with our dogs, we can console ourselves by remembering that by rescuing that dog we gave it a chance at a happy life in the first place — and left us with many pleasant memories. Once you’re done with the grieving and back in a positive place, the best tribute you can pay to a dog that’s passed is to give another dog a second chance.”

Tanner and his babies


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