On the face of it, The Lost Dogs is a book about the Vick dogs and their road to recovery. But, if you look a little deeper, it is also a tale of every single animal that is meant for a home, a farm or brought into family oriented surroundings. Is it an easy read? No. Is it something you should read? Yes.
My first blog was the how I came to take time from my day to spread the word on these very amazing dogs, and the people who love them. I wanted so desperately to be able to read The Lost Dogs, because I knew it would help me sharing their amazing journey. It took me so long to gather up the strength to face what I knew to be one hell of a hard tale to read. I will admit, I had to "psyche myself out" for it. Knowing the day I set aside to start, I thought of a new approach to the book, read it as I would any of the countless textbooks I have read. I settled on reading it through a student's eyes. In doing so, I do believe that made it easier to face what I knew would be coming up. But, it did not prepare me for everything.
Even as an avid follower of human behaviours and psychology, I have faced reading horrors upon horrors on atrocities man makes on man. I know what man can do. Still, I always find it most unsettling to read about children and animals. In my mind, this is the most disturbed of all crimes, for they are truly the ones who are defenseless. And, if they try, well, no one is likely to listen to children (what do they know?) and an animal can end up meeting its maker. I knew to expect what came of the little red dog. How could I not? It is the most popular passage taken from the book. Still, it was difficult. Such sadistic cruelty. But, it happened and it is in there. As the whole book is written intertwining different stories, the lead up was difficult. Like the Bogeyman, you never know when he will pop up, but you know he will. True to form, you are affected.
I was not prepared for the behind the scenes story of how it all went down, and the continued fight for the dogs. You do get to meet some of the key players, hear their own words. I think I was completely dumbfounded at the amount of legal red tape it took to see the raid, and subsequent charges happen. I laughed at little Jonny Justice, and his dad. I felt a certain kinship with Jasmine's mother, Catalina, and how she went about securing trust and love. I had the biggest smile throughout Leo and Marthina's story. Even a chuckle or two. I marveled at abilities and ideas to save the V Dogs. My heart broke at how they were treated initially (in the shelters). I think this could very well be the root of many issues still faced today. I was fine-ish until I got to the "Where are they now?" Maybe it was my way of unleashing all I had digested. This story is told with power, and respect, so it would stand to reason that one would be affected.
The thing that I was least prepared for, was that this is not just a story about the V Dogs. It is also a story about people. Compassionate and dedicated people who gave up so much of life and themselves to ensure the safety of these beautiful dogs. But, it is not just about saving the V Dogs...it is also about saving every other dog who comes after them, from similar backgrounds and breed. It is about making a valid case FOR dogs. And cats. And rabbits and horses and any other animal who needs someone to fight for them. My eyes opened, in ways I never expected.
In finally reading The Lost Dogs, I have developed a deeper understanding of what reputable rescue and advocation means. I have a deeper understanding of not only the short comings, but also the strength of law enforcement. I have a deeper respect for people who are willing to put themselves out there for animal, and man. I also have a deeper respect for all animals, and what they can teach us.
If I have given anything away (spoilers) to anyone who has not read it, I do so with the best intentions. If we were not all so moved by what is going on with our animal friends, we would not be here. I know we are not all the same, and we are affected differently, but, it is time for our own concerns about how we will be affected and how many tears will be shed, and take the time to read The Lost Dogs.
As I sat cuddling my little Alfie, I thought about who should read this. While the obvious comes to mind for each of us, I also thought about the people who no longer feel the need or want of that pet they once loved. Shelter life is no life. I thought about all the people who have the best intentions, with rescue, and miss the mark. I thought of the people who speak up on behalf of Pit Bulls, and become more fearful than anything the media can put out there. I also thought of law enforcement and anyone who works in shelters. This book is powerful, and it has the ability to open the most narrow of thoughts. The list is longer, but, I think my point is made.
The V Dogs have great power to continue to open doors, with the continued help of people who respect and love them. Simply, they would have no story to tell if not for the people who respect and came to love them.
Find your strength and sit down and read. I promise, you will be better for it. If I can put it in a slightly callous way...we are only reading an account of this part of the journey, most of us have not had to sit through endless days and hours not knowing what was going on. With the dogs, the case or ourselves. Certainly doesn't mean we will not feel for all the people and the dogs.
Be inspired, V Dog friends.