Vick Dogs: At Home


Post-Rescue: The Vick Dogs at Home. So much has happened since this group of ten survivors from M. Vick’s dogfighting operation left their kennels in Virginia in October 2007. This webpage offers a brief update on where they are now and the work they do to remind people that dogs are individuals. An important read: Five Years Later: Has the Cruelty Ended?

Vick dog media and case history: LINK

Sept 2019 Washington Post – Status of the 48 as of Sept 2019 / Image / For print PDF Link

Dec 2019 AKC Family Dog Magazine – A good one: ‘Vick Dogs Continue Their Remarkable Success Stories’ Article Link

Photo Below: From 2012. Seven of the dogs who started their lives in California gathered with their adopters for this photo. Don’t miss this comical VIDEO of photographer Mark Rogers working to bring this group together for the shot.


The Dogs

Audie. Photo Credit: Hany Hosny

AUDIE / RIP 2017

Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Excellent A Preferred Standard Title in Agility. Audie competed in the Nationals – a HUGE accomplishment. Many congrats!

Shy and insecure when he first arrived, Audie had two bad knees and was very timid in strange places and around new people. Adopter Linda Chwistek knew in her gut that he could be an agility star – a skill that would require sound knees as well as a good dose of bravado. But how would they do the impossible?

Five years and a lot of work later, Audie’s knees were rebuilt and he became a true contender in agility circles, finishing his Excellent A Preferred Standard Title in Summer 2012. His story inspired the favorite children’s book “Saving Audie” that describes his life’s journey and lessons of rescue, recovery and second chances. His facebook page was managed by ‘Saving Audie’ author Dorothy Hinshaw Patent.

In 2013, AKC Family Dog Magazine published this wonderful article on Audie’s Agility Career

When he wasn’t adding to his ribbon collection, Audie goofed with his housemate dogs in his home in Vallejo CA, – always enjoying his life as a cherished family companion. You came a long way, baby!

Shortly after retiring from his illustrious career as an agility star in 2017, Audie passed away in his home with his loving family and housemate dogs. Always remembered, forever loved.


Hector with his adopter, Clara Yori


CGC, ATTS, Therapy Dog and Breed PR Maverick

Hector wore his past on his sleeve in the form of terrible scarring, but despite this evidence of obvious abuse, he was one of the most well-adjusted dogs from the case. He was friendly and comfortable with all people and dogs from the moment we met him and was greeting the press and its prying cameras with his classic laissez faire attitude just a few short weeks after his rescue, starting with landmark news stories announcing the dogs’ transition to normal life.

He was adopted to Roo and Clara Yori in Minnesota and was one of the most active Vick dogs in terms of public education about pit bulls and canine victims of cruelty. Here’s Hector doing what he does best: classroom education. This letter from the therapy dog expert who evaluated Hector for therapy dog work says it all: Letter. News of his death in 2014 stirred news stories around the web, including this piece by

From Hector’s own website: “He has since passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test multiple times. He passed the ATTS Temperament Test, and can visit hospitals, nursing homes, and libraries as a Certified Therapy Dog. Hector has also done a lot of work in elementary schools teaching children compassion toward animals and how to safely act around dogs. Hector’s work earned him a humane education award presented through Brooklyn Law School. His story has been highlighted in both local and national media outlets, including but not limited to, CBS Early Show, Good Day NY, People Magazine, E! Entertainment News, Entertainment Weekly and NPR’s Fresh Air.”


Uba (right) at home with his housemate dog, Lulu.

UBA / RIP October 2021

CGC, NW1 (K9 Nosework Title), Mentor for BADRAP’s foster dogs

Originally shy and timid when he arrived from Virginia, Uba continues to blossom thanks to adopter Letti de Little who constantly reminds him that Life is good now. He was first photographed in the New York Time along with an unfortunate headline: ‘Menacing dogs from Vick case await their fate,’ a media bias that quickly faded when his at-home photos finally surfaced. Uba was introduced to the world through photos of him napping with his cats and sister dog Lulu in a photo spread published by the Associated Press. The East Bay Monthly made good use of similar images in a favorite early article. He has since graced numerous news stories, photo essays and television reports with news and updates of his recovery, including this PBS Show ‘The Dogs Are Alright.’

Uba lives a charmed life in Virginia now where he keeps his busy mind occupied with canine nosework trials. His housemate dog is Jamie, a survivor of the large #367 dog fighting case.

GRACE / RIP 2018

CGC, Pet Partners Therapy Dog Title

The tiny sized Grace made an appearance in Sports Illustrated Magazine and later in the book Lost Dogs but for the most part has enjoyed living life with her family as “a normal dog” just one step outside of the limelight. Even so, some people still recognized her on the street during her walks.

She earned her CGC certificate once with her foster dad and then again with her adopter. She later served as a therapy dog through the prestigious Delta Society’s Pet Partners program and paid visits to hospitals where her favorite activity was curling up at the feet of the bed with patients who requested a visit.

Her family shared many of Grace’s adventures for her fans on the Vick Dog Blog. She was much loved by so many! Photo: Mark Rogers Photography


Jonny Justice (right) and his adopted family.


CGC, ATTS, Reading Assistant /Therapy Dog, Media Darling, GUND Doll Model

With his clownish personality, Jonny has shown up in numerous news pieces and photo essays over the years, including the Rachael Ray Show, PBS Show ‘The Dogs Are Alright,’ the CBS Early Morning Show, Carol Guzy’s WA Post photo essay, the Associated Press photo essay, Melissa McDaniel’s Photo Book series (right), and even the cover of Parade Magazine. His adopters Cris Cohen and Jennifer Long described his recovery in detail in Jim Gorant’s book The Lost Dogs, and have always made sure he has a new trick to show off for the cameras during his appearances.

jj_gundJonny earned his Canine Good Citizen certification, then passed his American Temperament Test exam (ATTS) and went on to become a Reading Assistant dog, settling down next to children to encourage them to read out loud. He’s currently bring joy to families at the Family House in San Francisco – a project that houses families whose children are being treated for severe illness at a nearby hospital.

In 2012, Jonny was selected to be the face of a new stuffed toy developed by celebrated toy manufacturer ‘Gund dolls.’ Now children everywhere can have their very own Jonny to cuddle. Photo: Mark Rogers. Purchase from Amazon.

You can keep up with Jonny on his Instagram Page.


Ernie at home.

ERNIE / RIP 2019

Canine Good Citizen

Ernie appeared in several media stories including a photo spread by the Associated Press and with his family in Sports Illustrated Magazine, and again in The Lost Dogs.

After satisfying his fifteen minutes of fame, shining up his leash skills and earning his Canine Good Citizen cert, Ernie road off in the sunset to live a quite off-the-radar life with his favorite person, Sasha Gibbs. He enjoyed a sister dog and all the comforts of home.

Like so many of the Vick dog adopters, Ernie’s person was content to have a “dog” instead of a “Vick dog.” As it should be. Thank you, Ernie, for all you taught us.


Photo Credit: Carol Guzy / Washington Post

ZIPPY / RIP 2020

The Fabulous Family Dog!

Zippy first made herself famous in this Sports Illustrated photo, surrounded by kids in her home. Pre-teens Eliana and Vanessa helped mom take care of Zippy at the time in addition to new arrival baby Francisco. Since then, new sibling Tatiana arrived on the scene and the family grew yet again. What a busy household! She loves every bit of the commotion and fun that the kids bring to the home. Zippy also earned fame by peeing on the shoes of ‘Lost Dogs’ author Jim Gorant when he want to the house to meet the energetic girl for his book, The Lost Dogs. And later, when she entertained Washington Post editor Carol Guzy during a now famous series of at-home photos.

That’s the life of Zippy. Never boring, always full of some kind of excitement including the many voices of the friends and family who come by to celebrate life. She wouldn’t have it any other way.


Teddles Photo credit: Melissa McDaniel


Canine Good Citizen, Mentor for Foster Dogs

Teddles was named by the two year old boy who lived in the foster home that first gave him a safe haven when he landed in CA. He was once so afraid of loud noises including gunfire that he was unable to pass the CGC exam until he learned to ignore the loud trains that rumbled by the training grounds. Once he passed that hurdle, it seemed he was well into his recovery. His progress was noted in several news and media outlets, including Carol Guzy’s celebrated photo spread in the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated,

This sensitive boy lived as a family companion in a home in Livermore, CA with three adults and a dog Lizzy. He enjoyed making guest appearances for educational events and he served as a foster brother and ever-enthusiastic play buddy to BADRAP orphans who come to stay. He finally passed away of natural causes a happy, well loved senior in April 2017. He took a big part of our hearts with him.

Rest in Peace, sweet buddy. Video Tribute

FRODO / RIP 2021

Cherished family companion

Frodo doesn’t wear any fancy titles, but he’s probably one of the most accomplished Vick dogs of all, considering how shut down he was when we first met him in Virginia. He was once so timid that he couldn’t look his caretakers in the eye, much less take treats out of their hands but he has since blossomed into a cheerful dog who prods his favorite humans for attention. He lives with housemate dogs in Fremont, CA and loves all the dog favorite staples: Going for rides in the car, doing fast zoomies in his yard, sneaking up on the bed for cuddles with his adopter, Kim Ramirez.

Frodo showed his tender side in the PBS Show: The Dogs Are Alright. He was photographed for the Sports Illustrated article and again in the Lost Dogs. For such an unassuming little guy, he’s been quite a spokesdog for shy dogs everywhere.


Iggy on the left, with adopter Nicole Rattay

IGGY / RIP 2013

Cherished family companion

Like Frodo, Iggy was utterly terrified when he arrived in California although his progress has not been as encouraging. Despite several years of living a stable environment and receiving gentle coaching and socialization, companionship and the most basic of pleasures, he was unable to approach strangers or leave his home for walks or car rides due to extreme fear issues. Caretaker Nicole showed the media what his fear looked like in local news reports (LINK) back in 2009. His story was recorded in Parade Magazine. Iggy was later euthanized in 2013 when it became clear that coping with daily stressors was impacting his quality of life.

Iggy reminds us of the damage that can come from a life of cruelty and neglect. He also demonstrates that dogs are individuals, whose response to trauma will differ depending on the personality he or she is born with. Finally, Iggy’s story reminds us that despite the ugly side of humankind, there are people like Nicole who are willing to give their all to the most broken of dogs. Thank you for your important lessons, Iggy.

News and updates from some of the other Vick dogs…



GINGER RIP / From shy girl to canine public figure, Ginger’s facebook page is full of good moments from her life.

Jhumpa Jones RIP.
She made an appearance on the Anderson Cooper show (A MUST SEE!) then went on to become a therapy dog. Her facebook page posted regular updates.

Like Ginger, Stella and Red found homes with staff at the SPCA for Montery County. Red died of cancer in 2010 after helping numerous dogs learn play manners. This video shows them both enjoying each other during happy times. The wonderful Stella died in 2018.

One of the most heavily abused dogs from the case – Georgia (RIP) – went home in February 2012, and Oscar (RIP) went home just a few weeks later and started enjoying plays sessions with Mel (RIP) from the same case. Piper (RIP) was adopted and went on to become a therapy dog. So did Leo (RIP) who later died of a seizure disorder in winter 2011. Handsome Dan (RIP) and Sweet Jasmine (RIP) both inspired their adopters to start rescue groups. Jasmine also graces the cover of The Lost Dogs. She died in the summer of 2009. Sweet Pea (RIP) was highlighted in Sports Illustrated with her adopter. Cherry Garcia was adopted to a new family from Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Halle (RIP) found a new family as well as her own facebook page.

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