On April 26th, 2007, law enforcement officials descended on a sprawling white-brick house at 1915 Moonlight Road in Smithfield, Virginia. The home belonged to Michael Vick, who was the starting quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons and one of the highest paid players in the NFL. Although the police were there on a drug search, they quickly found evidence of what appeared to be a large, well-financed dog fighting operation.

Fifty-one pit bulls were seized from the property and they sat in local shelters for six months as the ensuing investigation played out, leading to guilty pleas from Vick and his partners in an operation known as Bad Newz Kennels. In most cases, that would have been it for the dogs. Considered a public hazard, they would have been euthanized. But a tidal wave of public outcry inspired government officials to at least consider the possibility of saving some dogs. 

The startling string of events that followed included a landmark legal decision, a never-before assembled team of expert evaluators, a leap of faith and a selection of rescuers who were willing to do whatever it took to help. At the heart of it all was a group of dogs that wanted desperately to overcome what had until then been a life of violence and deprivation. 

Taken together, these tales showcase a resilience, dedication and commitment that have the power to alter the way society views pit bulls and to reinforce the essential nature of the human-animal bond. The Lost Dogs, for the first time, tells the behind-the-scenes story from the day of that initial raid until today.    

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Hail Cesar

The Dog Whisperer has weighed in. Check out this four-page article about The Lost Dogs from the Sept. issue of Cesar’s Way Magazine.


Mel's I've Known

The name Mel has a few instant associations for me. Foremost is probably the corrupt cop from Scarface, who Tony does in with the 286th most quotable line of the movie, "Manny, choot dat peesh a chit." Then, of course there's the crusty proprietor of Mel's Diner in Alice, played by the late Vic Tayback, who will forever live in my memory angrily telling Vera to, "Stow it." And there's Mel Torme, whom I once had the pleasure of seeing perform at Michael's Pub. 

Now, too, there is Mel the dog. He was one of the group that initially went to Best Friends. He was in pretty bad shape emotionally when he arrived but he progressed well and was eventually adopted. I think this story contains a bit of hyperbole in some of the assertions about Mel's past (the only people who know for sure aren't talking), but all-in-all it's a good piece and it brings us up to date on what's happening with Mel today.

Lullaby of birdland, that's what
I always hear when you sigh
Never in my woodland
Could there be words to reveal
In a phrase how I feel



Welcome to The Lost Dogs website

The book's official publication date is Sept. 16, but you can pre-order online (see the links at left) and you will receive the book on the first day it's available. Meanwhile, events and promotions will start to get serious in August. There's a lot in the works, including TV, radio and various magazine pieces and reviews. I'll post all the details here as they become available.  

As far as the dogs go, I have to say congrats to Roo Yori and Hector. I spent quite a bit of time on the phone with Roo talking about Hector when I was researching first the article and then the book about the dogs. My intention was to include Hector in both, but I could never make it out to their home in southern Minnesota. Well, this spring Roo accepted a job as the director of care and enrichment at the Animal Farm Foundation in Amenia, New York. It's only a few hours away, and Hector is one of the most amazing of all the Vick dogs, so I hope to drive up one day soon and finally meet both of them face to face.