Gracie, one of the 50 Pit Bulls rescued in 2007 from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels in Virginia, crossed the Rainbow Bridge today.
“This morning, little, old, bow-legged Gracie passed away and got her angel wings,” according to the Gracie’s Guardians Facebook page.
“Any words we write here could never begin to express the profound, positive and lasting impact that this little, black Pit Bull had on so many people who encountered her or heard the story of her suffering and triumph. We are and will be forever grateful for this little, broken black dog and everything she personified.”
According to the Gracie’s Guardians website, Gracie was chosen as its namesake “in tribute to her perseverance and that of countless other Pit Bulls who have suffered or continue to suffer at the hands of people, yet whose spirits and love for humans remains untarnished.”
Gracie was adopted by Sharon Cornett, who told CBS 6 news in April 2014 that of all the dogs she’d ever had, Gracie was probably the most docile. “Honestly, I think her legacy is to show that the public has absolutely nothing to fear,” Cornett said.
Will Lowery, co-founder of Gracie’s Guardians, agrees. He told CBS 6 that the successful rehabilitation of the Vick dogs has led to more adoptions of abused dogs.
“I think everybody involved would probably admit that there’s a lot learned about these dogs, and how to handle them, and what their future might hold,” Lowry said.
Prior to 2007, most dogs rescued from fighting operations were euthanized. Even Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said back then that the rescued Vick dogs would never be suitable as pets, and should all be destroyed.
But dog experts at animal welfare organizations like the Richmond Animal League, Best Friends Animal Society and BAD RAP knew better. They took in the Vick survivors, rehabilitated them and found loving forever homes in which many of these “unadoptable” survivors thrived.
Along with Gracie, another of those lucky dogs was Jonny Justice, who was awarded the prestigious ASPCA Dog of the Year award last year. Yet another was Hector, a Vick dog who became a therapy dog. Hector died three months ago.
The CBS 6 news report below from April 2014 features Gracie and more Vicktory dogs who defied the odds. It also shows the horrors inside the Bad Newz Kennels, including the trees from which Vick himself hanged dogs who weren’t good fighters.
The property has been transformed into the Good Newz Rehab Center, which treats abused dogs who have been kept in chains or pens.
Rest in peace, Gracie. To make a donation to Gracie’s Guardians, click here.
Photos via Facebook