Customer Reviews: UC_The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption
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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.
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on September 18, 2010
This book was a great read. Thorough, smart journalism combined with true crime and a beautiful story of salvation. No dog lover should miss this, but it's quite compelling reading for anyone. Well researched, well reported and well written, it moves along at a good clip, carrying you with it. Even non-dog lovers will be engrossed and moved, at parts hiding their eyes, at others cheering out loud. I love books like this.
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on September 17, 2010
I haven't felt this way about a dog story since I was a 9 year old reading Shiloh. The only difference is this story actually happened, and reality really kicks you in the butt. While the ugliness of the story is hard to digest at times, Gorant gives acknowledgement to the heroics of the protagonists, as they relentlessly shuffle through legal proceedings and irritable sports fans. The dedication of the investigative team was astounding, as they spent every last hour of their days and every penny from their own pockets in order to save these awesome dogs. I see a movie in the future.

Gorant made it clear that the only reason why dog fighting still exists is because apathetic government officials want an easy job. This book, and the Vick case in general, exposes all the behind-the-scenes nastiness of not only dog fighting, but bureaucracy. It's about time that these macho phonies got more than a slap on the wrist, and my hope is this book will capture enough publicity to pressure local and federal governments to grow a pair and treat dog fighters like the murderers and rapists that they truely are.
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on September 25, 2010
Jim Gorant has written a brilliant tribute to the courageous Vick dogs and the kind and generous people who helped them. At all times even handed, Jim Gorant's skill as a writer and journalist shines throughout the text. He shows us which people did their best to prevent justice for the dogs and which fought to make it happen. The dedication of the dogs' advocates is inspiring and will, hopefully, motivate more people to take up the gauntlet to defend other pit bulls rescued from dog fighting kennels.

The thing that struck me the most, however, was the resiliance of the dogs. Coming first from a "home" devoid of any form of socialization and stimulation, transferred to shelters where they languished for months in often equally barren environments, many of the dogs went on to earn their Canine Good Citizen and/or therapy dog certificates and a couple even passed the American Temperament Testing Society test. I know from personal experience that this test requires a dog to have a very sound temperament to pass.

I agree 100% that Michael Vick's deeds are dispicable and the National Football League needs to take a long, hard look at its values, but in many ways the very survival and success of the dogs has transcended Michael Vick and make any successes he has on the football field irrelevant and shallow in comparison. By overcoming their fears and learning to live life as loving and well loved dogs, the pitties are the winners in every way.

There is one section of the book that haunts me. Gorant writes: "One experienced law officer estimates that 80 percent of the dogs, even those raised in a professional fighting operation, won't even scratch. That is, they won't even cross the line and engage the other dog." (pg. 19) If this is even remotely true, this makes pit bulls more of a victim that ever. That this breed, profoundly friendly to people, can have a reputation as vicious killers when the vast majority of them want nothing to do with bloodshed is a travesty.
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on September 18, 2010
This book shows how some people's acts of cruelty can be overcome by acts of love and hope for these innocent souls who rely on humans to care for, love and protect them. Although some of the details are very difficult to read, I think it's important to inform the public about all of the details surrounding the Vick case. The author puts you right there in the mind and broken spirit of these innocent, helpless dogs. It's beautifully written and I highly recommend it.
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on September 20, 2010
I felt so many emotions while reading this book.Anger,Tears,Laughing at
the antics of Jonny and Leo.It beautifuly written.Thank you Jim Gorant
for bringing this book to us.I don't keep many of the books I read.I will
keep this one.As for Vick he should had served a longer sentence than he
did.He should never been allowed back on a football field again.Vick
you rememember what you did to that little dog? You deserve the same.
What goes around comes around.
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on September 23, 2010
I finished reading this book last night & I must say it was a wonderful book but very hard to read. I read the book in 3 nights & cried every night after putting it down. It is very well written & you feel like you know these dogs by the end of the book. It was very heart wrenching but at the same time it gave you inspiration to know that there are such fantastic people out there who give up so much to help rehabilitate these dogs. I truly believe there is a special place in heaven for these people. I highly recommend this book & want to applaud Jim Gorant for an outstanding job.

This is my favorite quote from Senator Robert Byrd, who passed away at age 92.

From a stirring speech in 2007 where he condemned dog fighting:

"The immortal Dante tells us that Divine Justice reserves special places in hell for certain categories of sinners. I am confident that the hottest places in hell are reserved for ...the souls of sick and brutal people who hold God's creatures in such brutal and cruel contempt."

As sickened as I am to see Michael Vick back playing football in the NFL, I know that he and other people who treat animals with such hatred will one day get what they deserve. Our God is a fair and just God and I feel very confident that Vick will come face to face with what he has done.

God Bless all of those who help rescue & shine light on the innocent animals that cannot stand up for themselves.
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on September 18, 2010
...good being relative here...

Surprisingly insightful--especially the parts from the dog's viewpoint. I felt it.

I wish I could say it will change a lot of minds about Pit Bulls, but likely those who read it are already drinking that kool-aid. I hope Mr Gorant considers a follow-up book on Pit Bulls in general; he writes with subtle-but-great empathy for the breed, and they need all the help they can get these days.

Highly recommended!
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on September 17, 2010
I haven't read the book yet because it's not released, but have read all the advance reviews (which are all raves) and viewed the related videos. I've followed this case closely from the outset, and am grateful to Jim Gorant for his insightful Sports Illustrated article and now this book that shares with us the ongoing recovering of these wonderful dogs. I have two pit bull mix dogs myself and they are great companions, wonderful with kids and other dogs, and just plain fun to have around.

As for Michael Vick, well I think we all know, even if he doesn't, that there's a special circle in hell reserved just for him and other animal fighters/abusers. I watched the Vick "rehab" interviews when he got out of jail, and saw not one shred of genuine regret for what he did. Just regret that he "upset people" and "had to go to jail." Keep your eye on him, he's going to screw up again, I think we can count on it.

Shame on the NFL for permitting him back in the league. I'm boycotting football until that sports organization can get their act back together with some baisc moral standards -- like not fighting dogs, not running interstate gambling rings, not beating up women... you know, the basics! What a lously example they set for kids with how they handled the Vick case, shame on them.
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on September 23, 2010
I bought this book thinking it would be about the dogs and how they were doing right now. I soon realized how short-sided my thinking was. You have to know in full sordid detail where the dogs came from to fully appreciate where they are now. I cried through the entire first half of the book. I stopped there and had to share the horrors I read about with fellow dog lovers. When I picked it up again, I cried some more, mostly happy tears but tears the same. The book is so well written, fair, and factual. I learned a lot more about what happened and the wonderful people who helped make things happen for these dogs. Pit lover or not, I challenge anyone to read this book and not have their heartbroken by the unspeakable cruelties these dogs and many more like them have endured.
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