Georgia, perhaps the most well known of the 22 “Vicktory” dogs from Michael Vick’s dog-fighting operation who were saved and rehabilitated by Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS), has crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
“All of the Vicktory dogs captured our hearts, but maybe none more than Georgia. From her time on the National Geographic show ‘DogTown,’ she was an instant star. That wonderful smile and loving personality won everyone over – whether she met someone in real life or through a television screen.”
When the dogs were first rescued, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) recommended they be euthanized because their brutal past had made them unsuitable for adoption. A PETA spokeswoman told the Associated Press, “These dogs are a ticking time bomb. Rehabilitating fighting dogs is not in the cards.”
But BFAS, Bad Rap and other rescue organizations – along with Georgia and the Vicktory dogs – certainly proved them wrong.
Georgia, who eventually became an ambassador for dog-fighting awareness, may actually have suffered the most abuse of all the dogs, most of whom were Pit Bulls, seized from Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels in Virginia.
“Georgia has no teeth. All 42 of them were pried from her mouth, most likely to make certain she could not harm male dogs during forced breeding,” wrote Juliet Macur in a February 2008 New York Times article.
“I’m worried most about Georgia,” BFAS veterinarian and animal emotional health expert Dr. Frank McMillan told Macur. “You don’t have the luxury of asking her, or any of these animals: ‘What happened to you in your past life? How can we stop you from hurting?’”
That same year, dog trainer John Garcia of BFAS began working with Georgia at the organization’s no-kill sanctuary in Utah. A few years later, Georgia passed a Canine Good Citizen test, and was adopted by a woman named Amy in August 2012.
The most abused of Vick’s seized dogs was finally able to experience what living in a loving home was like.
“My favorite thing about Georgia is that she is such a lovie and loves to snuggle!” Amy said in an interview with BFAS nine months ago.
“She sleeps very close to me on my/her bed, and when she first arrived, she kept giving me kisses during the night like she was thanking me for bringing her home. I knew right away how very lucky I was to have adopted this very special girl.”
Although Garcia had been saddened to say goodbye to the dog he had spent years rehabilitating, he was extremely happy that Georgia had a real home.
“Knowing she was with Amy in a loving, adopted home for the last part of her life is a great comfort,” he said on the BFAS website yesterday, “since I know she finally was treated the way she deserved, not only with the love and respect that we gave her, but she finally had a couch and a bed and all of the ‘princess’ things that she loved so much.”
“I still can’t believe that I was the lucky one who got to adopt her, and it has been such a privilege to have her by my side and to take care of her,” Amy told BFAS in March. “I’ll always remember when one of her initial evaluators said he admired her because she made the best of what she had. She continues to inspire me every day.”
The Handsome Dan Facebook page (Handsome Dan, also a Vicktory dog, is believed to be a son of Georgia’s) has provided addresses where condolence cards can be sent to Amy. You can also make a donation to the Best Friends Animal Society or your favorite charity in memory of Georgia.