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The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption Hardcover – September 16, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 580 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Expanding on his Sports Illustrated cover story, Gorant (Fanatic) offers a chilling investigation into Michael Vick' s dog-fighting operation and the men and women who brought him to justice and rehabilitated the rescued dogs. Gorant outlines the rise of Bad Newz Kennels, describing in sometimes painful detail the abuse, torture, and execution of the animals--particularly disturbing is an episode in which Vick and a friend swing a failed fighting dog over their heads like a jump rope and kill it by repeatedly slamming it into the ground--and tracing the rescue of dozens of pit bulls seized from Vick' s property. Gorant outlines the efforts to save these animals from euthanasia, challenging the negative public perceptions of pit bulls and reporting back on the status of dogs like Sox (now a certified therapy dog), Zippy (adopted by a family of five), and Iggy (still shy but growing comfortable with his adopted circle of friends). At a time when Vick has returned to professional football and much of the public outcry about Bad Newz Kennels has been forgotten, this book provides a stark reminder about the horror and prevalence of dog fighting.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"The Lost Dogs takes an up close and personal look at society's ultimate underdogs, and the animal lovers who bucked the odds-- and the system--to save them. Gorant has crafted an insightful and uplifting tale about the way that nurture can sometimes triumph over nature, and how the remnants of cruelty can be transformed through the power of hope and love."
-Allen St. John, author of The Billion Dollar Game: Behind the Scenes at the Super Bowl

"Swinging between the sordid actions of Michael Vick and his dog-fighting cohorts and the stories of the animals rescued from their clutches, Jim Gorant provides a powerful narrative that is, at times, heartbreaking, but also illuminating and inspirational. You will come away from The Lost Dogs warmed by the knowledge that it wasn't only Vick who got a second chance."
-George Dohrmann

"[The Lost Dogs] should be read by dog lovers. I was surprised to learn that three-quarter of the dogs could be completely rehabilitated. They were either traumatized and scared or friendly dogs who had spent too much time in a barren kennel."
-Temple Grandin, author Animals in Translation

"Jim Gorant's remarkably even-handed The Lost Dogs is a gripping story of redemption that uncovers the other side of the Michael Vick story. A portrait of dogs as individuals, caught up in events that reveal the best and worst of human nature, The Lost Dogs will validate dog lovers and possibly transform cynics as well."
-Ken Foster, author of The Dogs Who Found Me

"Jim Gorant goes beyond the headlines of Michael Vick and the Bad News Kennels to richly tell the rest of the story: how these amazing dogs, in the wake of such brutality, help bring out the best in the human spirit."
-Tom Verducci, author of The Yankee Years

"Beautifully written and forthright [...] The Lost Dogs should make some news; not just for animal lovers but for anyone pondering the human propensity for violence and goodness."
-Library Journal

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham; First Edition edition (September 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592405509
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592405503
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (580 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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?
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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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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.
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