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Bravo Jim Gorant!
on September 19, 2010
Once I started reading this book, I was unable to put it down. The only time I put it down was to walk my two pit bull rescues. I read it in a day, and it sent me through a wide range of emotions. There were parts of the book that were very difficult to get through but necessary to understand the monsters that were eventually prosecuted. I do think the book was fair. Vick is a monster, and sorry...he's going to look like a monster even if you are just telling the story from an unbiased point of view. It shows his clear lack of remorse, not from commentary but from Vick's actions following his guilty plea (specifically his court ordered monetary payment for the rehabilitation of the dogs).
It was fascinating to learn about the legal hoops that law enforcement officers were forced to jump through in the county of Surry. I was unaware of the local politics which leaned toward letting football players display open sociopathic behavior without any threat of arrest. These investigators risked their careers; they are true heroes, and it is nice to know that these tough guys have such a soft spot for our canine best friends. It was also uplifting to hear of a U.S. attorney that cares about animal cruelty. While Vick's gang was a perfect storm of monsters, the investigators, attorneys, veterinarians, legal representatives and rescue organizations that came together afterward were a perfect storm of the best of mankind.
This book does make me wonder about the NFL in general. Why do we continue to reward criminal behavior with loyal fans? As football season starts, I see college kids walking around with new Vick jerseys. I try to understand that Eagles fans are a loyal breed, but do they have to wear Vick jerseys? I used to think that the Eagles organization should be ashamed of themselves, but now I blame the entire NFL organization. Vick made absolutely no effort to redeem himself following his sentence, and they rewarded him by welcoming him back. That's the negative and it is the part of this story that leads me to sometimes feel anger and disgust...on to the positive...and yes, there is a positive side to this story.
One of the reasons I felt good after reading this book is that I found myself addicted to reading about the progress these dogs made outside the confines of the prison of a monster. I still am unable to think of Jonny Justice or Leo without laughing, and I'm unable to think of Sweet Jasmine without shedding a tear. At the same time I shed a tear for Sweet Jasmine, I'm so content to know that she found kindness and love in this world.
One of the biggest surprises I found after reading this book was the feeling I had this morning. I walked my dogs down to the beach where I live in San Diego as I do every morning, and I thought that I would look down on them as they waited for their treats and think about how lucky they are to have a "sucker" like me as their human. Instead, I thought about how lucky I am to have them. This book left me with a peaceful feeling that there are others like me out there who devote a good chunk of their lives to enriching the lives of this sweet, goofy and loyal breed.
I can't forget to point out that Jim Gorant is another new hero for me. He actually took the time to document this case, and he "gets it". There are portions of the book where he peeks into the mind of what a dog must feel, and it is touching. He also enlightens us on where the money goes with rescue organizations, and he shines a light on organizations that wanted nothing to do with saving these dogs; they just wanted a sound bite on CNN (I'm talking to you PETA!!!). Gorant is just an excellent writer; his descriptions of these dogs and their goofy behavior hit close to home with me. So Bravo Mr. Gorant. Excellent job.