Monday, July 7, 2008

What we can learn from Michael Vick's dogs

Last year, I became acquainted with a Greenburgh town police officer. I had recently relocated to NY from Utah and she wanted to pick my brain about an upcoming trip that she had planned for a week in Utah. I mentioned all the world famous ski locations, the Southern wilderness, the famous redrock and Bryces' and Zions' National Parks. She dismissed my suggestions and told me that she was going to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab Utah. It seems that this officer had been an animal control officer and was tired of repeatedly seeing the correlation between people who abuse animals who then go on to hurt people. She then decided to become a police officer where she believes (as do I) that she is making a larger difference. She was taking a week of her vacation time to go and take care of - Michael Vick's dogs.

I read this morning an encouraging report in the Washington Post regarding many of the dogs who were removed from Michael Vick's Virginia home last year. Fortunately, the judge in the case was surrounded by forward thinking animal lovers, including an animal rights attorney. It was decided that only those animals (one) who were too sick to survive be put to sleep. The rest would be in the animal sanctuary being loved and cared for with the help of some almost one million dollars that Michael Vick was ordered to pay for the keeping of his animals for the rest of their lives.

Most of the dogs have made remarkable progress. They have been adopted - one is working with cancer patients - another is a couch potato and lives with 4 other dogs and as many cats. Still others have become best friends to other humans.

This story has a happy ending - I am thankful for that, being an animal lover who has rescued one dog from certain death in my lifetime - he ran away and we never found him - God bless Peanut.

I wonder if we could treat our former prisoners with the same level of love, kindness and dignity as these sweet animals have experienced. If they had the love and support of family - and yes - I mean extended family - they return to live in our communities after all - they would not experience such a high recidivism rate.

More to ponder.......

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