Title: Saving Audie
Author: Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
Photographs: William Munoz
Publisher: Walker Books
May Contain Spoilers
When Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring was discovered, more than forty dogs were rescued. But their struggle was far from over. Most animal advocates believed the former fighting dogs were too damaged to save, but Audie and his kennel mates would prove them wrong when public outcry and the publicity surrounding Michael Vick’s punishment won them a chance at a happy life. Teaming up once again with William Muñoz, photo-essay veteran Dorothy Hinshaw Patent gives an emotional account of one dog’s heartwarming story, showing how Audie, who was only a puppy when he was rescued, was rehabilitated, adopted, and now enjoys the love he deserves.
This was a hard book for me to read, but not because of the writing. The subject matter is very close to my heart, and I still remember the day that the news broke about Michael Vicks’ Bad Newz Kennels. It horrified me, and it made me angry. Why would such a successful and wealthy athlete, a sports ambassador, if you will, do something so cruel? How could anyone do something like this to a bunch of helpless dogs? Dogs are the one animal that will love you conditionally, and accept you for who you are. If you can’t be nice to something as simple as a dog, how can you possible be nice to a fellow human being? I don’t buy the argument that Vick’s upbringing makes killing defenseless animals acceptable, especially not when millions of kids look up to him and try to emulate him. Ugh.
Audie is one lucky pit bull puppy. Most of the Vick dogs are, really. Due to Vick’s notoriety, these dogs were given a second chance at life, one that didn’t involve fighting. Contrary to common practice, these dogs were spared, and after intensive behavioral research, most of them were given the go ahead to be fostered and adopted out instead of being euthanized. Audie is one of those dogs that won the forever home lottery, and this picture book chronicles his new life as a pet.
Audie’s road to happiness wasn’t easy. After being sheltered in a small cage months as the Vick investigation dragged out, he was considered evidence by the government. After Vick’s trial and conviction, all of the Bad Newz dogs were supposed to be put down. A few animal loving organizations stepped in and asked that they be spared, and because of the media coverage, the dogs were allowed to live. They were finally seen as what they were – victims of a violent crime. Audie was placed in a foster home, which turned out to be his forever home. Now Audie is what Michael Vick should have been; an ambassador for other dogs like him, who deserve another chance at happiness.
I loved this book and the photographs, as well as all of the facts about the Michael Vick case. Audie and his fellow canines from Bad Newz Kennels are very lucky dogs. Many of them have found loving homes, and the ones that haven’t are being cared for with money Vick was ordered to pay to care for his former dogs.
Here is my second chance dog – he isn’t a Pit Bull, but his breed gets a bad rap, too. He almost died in the shelter before he was rescued and placed into a foster home. When we adopted him, he was 70 lbs, about 50 lbs underweight. It took him a while to trust us, but now he is a big cuddle bug. I love him dearly, and I’m not so sure if we rescued him or he rescued us.
Review copy provided by publisher