According to this story, Michael Vick is once again a dog owner.
Believe it or not, this is legal. The terms of his sentencing included 23 months of imprisonment, some served in a federal prison and some served at home. He attended classes on “animal sensitivity” prior to his prison sentence. Since his release, he has returned to being a star on the football field and become a spokesperson for the Humane Society of the United States, speaking to children about why dogfighting is bad.
Intellectually, I understand the concept of serving a debt to society then getting a second chance. Emotionally, I struggle living that when it comes to Michael Vick. My stomach churns every time I see his face and imagine what those poor dogs felt when they saw his face.
And now he has a dog.
In a prepared statement, Vick says this:
“I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family’s decision to care for a pet. As a father, it is important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals. I want to ensure that my children establish a loving bond and treat all of God’s creatures with kindness and respect. Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family. This is an opportunity to break the cycle. To that end, I will continue to honor my commitment to animal welfare and be an instrument of positive change.”
I desperately hope that’s true.
It’s well-documented that children who are able to emotionally connect with an animal are far less likely to become abusers themselves. I believe having a pet is an important part of a child’s development. In the best case scenario, they learn empathy, emotional connection, responsibility, and the value of animals in human life. They become better people because of it. I wouldn’t trade my childhood pets for anything and Vick’s children – innocent themselves – deserve that experience.
I still have so many questions.
Can someone desensitized enough to commit such atrocities really feel love for an animal? Can he really teach his children how to connect with a being of another species? How did someone decide to trust him with an animal? Is anyone keeping an eye on the dog to ensure it never goes through anything like what Vick’s previous dogs suffered?
I hope so. After all, if Michael Vick’s new dog is anything like every dog I’ve ever met, this dog will love him unconditionally. Without knowing or caring about his past. With the loyalty and affection we all crave. I hope the love from his dog will make him finally feel the remorse I haven’t seen.
Michael Vick, if you're reading this, please let this one sentence guide your actions.
It’s a good mental note for Michael Vick as he becomes a dog owner. It’s something to aspire to for the rest of us, too.
Click "like" at the top if you agree.
If you liked this, you may also like:
Gabriel's Angels Harnesses The Power Of A Dog - How an Arizona charity uses therapy dogs to break the cycle of domestic violence.
Review: Jim Goran's "The Lost Dogs" - The book that chronicles the road to recovery for dogs rescued from Vick's Bad Newz Kennelz.
When Dogs Get Payback - What one German Shepherd thinks of Michael Vick.
Photo credit: Wikipedia