I am a Vicktory dog and my name is Little Red. My story is one of enormous sadness rooted in horrific abuse. But I am a survivor and my spirit could not be broken. My life is a triumph of good over evil.
I was rescued from NFL football player Michael Vick’s dog fighting operation, Bad Newz Kennels, in April of 2007. I was malnourished and very frightened, barely able to walk. I spent the first five years of my life at Bad Newz as a “bait” dog and a brood mare. I lived my days chained to a car axle in a small clearing in the woods.
I often heard the sounds of other dogs who were being tortured and killed when they refused to fight or did not win their fights. Those sounds terrified me and made me very, very afraid.
I was taken off my chain and put in the rape rack and forced to breed and have litter after litter of pups. I was never able to keep any of my pups and it broke my heart. But it was even worse when I was removed from the chain and carried up the stairs of the fight building and thrown in the pit, forced to serve as a bait dog for the dogs who were made to fight.
The bad men at this place pulled my teeth and filed them down. My body was covered in scars and I often wished I would die.
But then a miracle happened and I was saved. I wasn’t sure if I could survive much longer but my torture ended when I was rescued and the bad men were no longer able to hurt me.
I became a ward of the court during the criminal proceeding against the bad men. I lived for many months in a small noisy kennel. It was not great, but it was so much better than life at Bad Newz. Once the court proceedings with Vick were concluded and I was no longer considered “evidence” of a crime, I began the next phase of my life.
I was one of the dogs who was rescued by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Southern Utah. In early 2008, Best Friends took me and 21 other Vick dogs to the Sanctuary. We were the dogs who suffered from the most trauma and could not go directly into foster homes.
At Best Friends, I began to flourish. The staff provided me with excellent medical care and the gentle and loving touch of humans that I so desperately needed. They gave me the time to heal: physically, mentally and spiritually and I blossomed.
I was soon a favorite among the staff and I eagerly accepted treats and learned to smile with joy at my new life. I loved the company of other dogs and quickly formed a bond with another Vicktory dog, Handsome Dan. We spent our days playing and lounging in the sun. We learned how to enjoy our lives and we put the days of Bad Newz behind us.
When Handsome Dan was adopted into his forever family, I was very lonely and I missed him very much. I found a new friend, Beefcake who was like me – he came from a fight ring in St. Louis. Beefcake and I were good friends and I loved the big lug who helped to protect me when I was afraid.
When Beefcake was adopted, I wondered if I would ever have a chance to find my forever home. I got a new companion named Google and I loved him very much. We were great friends and he made me feel better about losing Handsome Dan and Beefcake.
By court order, many of the Vicktory dogs were required to pass the Canine Good Citizenship Test prior to being considered for adoption. The test was very difficult for me because I was so shy with strangers. But finally, in August of 2011, I passed my test! I had spent 3½ years at Best Friends and I felt like my life was very good.
Everything changed again when I was adopted in September 2011. I was very afraid to live in a home and I desperately missed my caregivers and my canine friend Google.
I was afraid of so many thing in my new home especially when I heard loud noises or new people visited; I would go to my corner and turn my back to the wall. I was able to go deep inside myself to get away from things that scared me. It was something I learned to do during my long and horrible days at Bad Newz.
It took me several months to feel comfortable in my new home. I had four canine siblings and they were really fun and so gentle with me. But it was my new Mom who made me feel like I lived in a home. She gave me treats and took me for walks. And when I was scared and overwhelmed by all the changes in my life, she held me on her lap and rocked me like a baby.
Slowly, day-by-day, I began to feel at home. I had still had days when I was afraid, but my Mom and my canine siblings would go outside and play with me, and we had lots of really good treats. I began to blossom again and feel like a happy and confident dog. Whenever my Mom came home from work, I would race to the door and great her with my tail wagging and a big smile on my face.
Even today, I still have moments of fear and I will shut down and turn my back to the world. I still go deep inside myself to shut out the things that frighten me. My Mom says that I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and occasionally things in my environment trigger my fears.
Lots of people think that I needed to be rehabilitated during my time at Best friends, but I was never a mean or vicious dog. I just needed time to recover from all of the trauma that I endured at Bad Newz.
Michael Vick and his bad men tried to make me mean; they were not successful. I am and have always been a sweet and gentle dog and I have stayed true to my nature.
I am now 11 years old and I live a quiet life in the country. I love to spend my days playing with my canine pack and I love to snuggle in my bed in front of the fire. I like to go for car rides with my Mom and I love to lay at her side when she works in her garden. I have a swimming pool, lots of places to run really fast, and my Mom makes special treats for me. I know that she loves me with all of her heart and she will always keep me safe.
The bad men can never hurt me again. I am content to spend my remaining days surrounded by the love and comfort of my forever home.
I am Little Red and I triumphed over evil.
p.s. You can visit me on Facebook: Little Red.