Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — Saturday October 27 will mark the five year anniversary that 13 dogs from NFL player Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area to begin new lives with local families. To celebrate the longterm success of the dogs as family pets, non-profit BADRAP will be hosting a reunion at a sold out fundraiser in Oakland, CA this Saturday that will include the dogs, their adopters, noted book authors Ken Foster ('The Dogs Who Found Me' and 'I'm a good dog"), Jim Gorant ('Lost Dogs' and 'Wallace') and over a hundred fans and supporters.
Explains BADRAP director Donna Reynolds, "So much focus has centered on their former abuser when really, the most stunning performance in this saga continues to be the dogs who survived unimaginable hardships. Despite their early neglect and abuse, most of the dogs who came to California have gone on to earn impressive accolades, and all have proven themselves to be cherished family companions."
The California group boasts seven dogs with Canine Good Citizen certificates and three are now serving as therapy dogs in hospitals and children's literacy programs. One of the most surprising come backs came from a shy little black dog named Audie. After enduring surgery to rebuild two faulty knees, Audie is now excelling in American Kennel Club sanctioned agility trials, finishing his Excellent A Preferred Standard Title just this summer. His life story inspired a popular children's book, 'Saving Audie,' which describes his rescue, recovery and climb to fame. Another Bad Newz Kennels survivor, Jonny Justice, was recently chosen to be a model for a new stuffed animal created by 'GUND toys, due to hit store shelves in 2013'
Over the past five years, stories of the dogs' recovery and progress have been meticulously reported in numerous television shows, news pieces and photo essays including the Rachael Ray Show, a PBS sponsored documentary 'The Dogs Are Alright,' Parade Magazine, Pulitzer prize winning photographer Carol Guzy's photo essay in the Washington Post, Sports Illustrated magazine and Jim Gorant's best selling book, 'The Lost Dogs.'
"Dog lovers are understandably curious about how these survivors have faired since their rescue. At this point, we tend to forget that they're so-called 'Vick dogs' since they're just normal family dogs to the people who know and love them. But the five year anniversary gives us an opportunity to celebrate their normalcy as well as their accomplishments. They're all heroes and they have so much to teach us about come backs, resiliency and embracing the joy of the present moment."
One of the adopted dogs (Hector) will be traveling from Minnesota with his adopters to join the event, along with flying disc champion pit bull 'Wallace,' who is the subject of a new book by Jim Gorant.
For more information on where the dogs are today, visit this webpage: Five Years Later
About BADRAP BADRAP formed in 1999 to tackle the difficult issues that had been bringing early death and suffering to San Francisco bay area 'pit bulls.' They soon developed into a nationally recognized resource for both dog owners and shelters, offering desirable pets for adopters, training classes for dog owners, rescue relief to canine cruelty survivors and support and consultations to animal welfare leaders around the country.