Book Review: The Lost Dogs

book cover of The Lost Dogs, featuring a reddish very muscular pit bullMy vacation dog book reading riot included The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and their Tale of Rescue and Redemption. While I can't say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book, mostly because I found the writing style a bit dry and clumsy, the subject matter was very interesting.

Despite the sad beginning of this story, it truly is a happy "tale of rescue and redemption." Most of the dogs turn out to be loving, healthy pets, with quite a few of them passing the Canine Good Citizen test and even becoming therapy dogs. Only a very small percentage are yet unable to overcome their aggression toward other dogs. The majority of the dogs didn't want to fight at all, which was a big problem for Vick and a large part of the reason why he treated them so badly (as punishment for not fighting).

The myth about pit bulls being dangerous is so prevalent today. It's a travesty that these sweet, loving animals continue to be regarded as uncontrollable monsters. Pit bulls want so much to please their humans, and it is this very trait that makes them popular for dog fights. They do it, going against all their own instincts, because a human is MAKING them do it.

my husband leaning over to pet white pit bull francie who is leaning back against his leg, as interesting looking, multicolored mixed breed dog looks onMeanwhile, I have my own pit bull rescue story, playing out at our local animal shelter. Here is pit bull Francie, pictured with my husband and shelter dog Loki, in the shelter play yard. With the exception of while I was in New York, I have been going to the shelter daily to exercise Francie for at least an hour. Some days, we run together, sometimes we walk. I try to vary the route and expose her to as many situations as possible. We have been back to the park for Chuck-It a couple times when it's quiet and we can keep a distance from other people and dogs. We go for car rides (she no longer humps the dog bed in the back seat), walk on busy streets, stroll through quiet neighborhoods, and shop at pet stores.

While I'm out and about town with Francie, I've noticed that she gets a lot of attention. It's probably a combination of factors--that Francie is a striking pure white, the disconnect of seeing a "scary pit bull" being walked by a 5' tall Asian woman, and that she walks SO nicely on leash. Oh yes, Francie has come a long way in her leash manners. She heels beautifully, sits at the stop lights, and when she sees a nice patch of grass, she lays down and rolls over for a delicious tummy rub--she is one affectionate girl.

On busy traffic days, I've had as many as 5 people poke their heads out of their car windows to yell things like, "What a great dog!" I decided to capitalize on this attention by making Francie a little jacket that says "Adopt Me". People probably just think she's my dog, but I want them to know she could be THEIR dog! My ploy is working because yesterday, a guy pulled over, rolled down his window, and handed me his business card, saying, "Give me a call about that dog!"

adorable photo of white pit bull francie hunkered down on the grass, mouth open slightly to show just a touch of her pink tongue, she is wearing a slate blue jacket that says adopt me in black lettering; she has a couple nasty red scratches between her eyesHopefully, someone will adopt Francie soon. She's been at the shelter since November of last year, the poor baby. (She scratched her face yesterday by shoving her head under the chicken wire fencing in the kennels.) It will take the "right" kind of person to be a proper fit for Francie, but that person is out there. We just have to find him/her--soon!

Emily and the Labradors  – (June 14, 2011 at 5:35 PM)  

Francie is so lucky to have you as her guardian angel! It sounds like you have done some fantastic work with her, and I'm betting with the addition of that fantastic vest that she finds her perfect person sooner than later!

Kari in WeHo  – (June 14, 2011 at 5:39 PM)  

I loved the honesty of that book


Becky  – (June 14, 2011 at 9:26 PM)  

Wow. This book sounds hopeful for such a sad ordeal. Thanks for sharing. Oh my you are an angel for Francie - she has a vest saying adopt me, that is simply so sweet and inspiring.

Martha G  – (June 15, 2011 at 2:40 PM)  

I'm so happy to see Francie progress! She has really been in the shelter for a long time. I'm glad no one has given up on her, and you've probably cinched her adoption! Good job!

I don't remember disliking the writing style in Lost Dogs, probably because I was so enthralled by the story, at least the part of the story where the dogs were rescued and went to different rescue groups. I, too, was surprised that the dogs had to be forced to fight.

Tessa99999  – (June 15, 2011 at 7:49 PM)  

I love hearing about your work with the animal shelters. Making a vest for Frankie is a brilliant idea! I hope it works and she finds an amazing, perfect for her, forever home!

Amber-Mae  – (June 16, 2011 at 3:05 AM)  

Francie is a beauty! I am SURE someone will adopt her! I bet she has wonderful personality too.

Susan Campisi  – (July 31, 2011 at 3:59 PM)  

And you found Francie's perfect human so quickly! Can you send some of that magic dust down my way?

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