Sunday, April 24, 2011

Book Review: The Lost Dogs, by Jim Gorant

Though I do not personally own a pit bull, Dobermans get lumped into the same "vicious dogs" list as pits, and so I'm sympathetic to the prejudices against them.  "Blame the deed, not the breed" is a good slogan, and one must behave rationally around every dog, regardless of breed.

So, I read The Lost Dogs, by Jim Gorant, because I'd heard about Michael Vick in a satellite sort of way, that he was a Bad Man and dogs had been hurt.  I wanted to read the story for myself, and the circumstances involved with the case, because it's easy to jump on a bandwagon if you feel strongly enough about the topic.

And this is where it gets tricky.

 The Lost Dogs really doesn't discuss Vick much at all, or does in very removed and factual terms.  Gorant writes mostly about the dogs, and in a manner that is not entirely neutral in a journalistic kind of way, but still manages to be sympathetic to the dogs without sounding completely skewed.  He discusses the circumstances in which they were kept on the property.  He discusses the circumstances under which some of them died.

51 dogs were taken from the Vick property. Only one was euthanized for being too aggressive towards humans and, really, the whole world. Many of the dogs have been adopted, and passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test.  Many of the dogs are therapy dogs, and go to hospitals and schools to spread goodwill.  Some of them are too aggressive to be around dogs, but for the most part, the majority seem to have been able to integrate into society just like any normal dog. 

This book made me respect pit bulls a good deal, and my own chosen breed, the Doberman is even discussed briefly, when Gorant goes over the breeds who received spikes in population and publicized incidents of aggression. He said, paraphrased, that to the Doberman's credit, other than a few noted incidents, they did not have an incident spike proportional with their population spike.  Overall, I felt the book to be well-written and the story to be heartbroken.  I appreciate that Michael Vick received the sentence that he did, which was somewhat unprecedented.  I wish he'd been required to shell out more cash than he has, and I wish that he wasn't right back in the football limelight, where people will forget. Do I wish him physical harm, the way some do? No.  I'm just sad.  And I wish that he was never responsible for a dog again.

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