San Francisco Area 'Vick Dogs' Adopted; March in Pride Parade to Celebrate

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Thousands of San Francisco residents will get a glimpse of Michael Vick's former pit bulls as they gather to march with their new adoptive families during the city's SF Gay Pride Parade on Sunday, June 29.

I haven't been this excited since I tasted my first candy bar.

Pit bulls Jonny Justice, Dutch, Uba, and Hector are the first CA refuges from former NFL player Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels to be adopted into approved homes by pit bull group BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit bulls). To celebrate the placements, these special survivors will march down Market Street with their new owners alongside 25 other ambassador pit bulls in the SF Gay Pride Parade on Sunday, June 29.

The dogs, relocated to the SF bay area from Virginia in November 2007, were deemed suitable for adoption by federal authorities after extensive evaluations by a team of dog behavior experts including two representatives from BAD RAP. Four dogs have been officially adopted and two more are being courted by applicants.

When a six month recuperation period ended in May, waiting families began filling out adoption applications almost immediately. Donna Reynolds, executive director of BAD RAP admitted to being surprised by the fast interest. She explained, "Last summer, we were so focused on getting the dogs to safety that adopting them out was the last thing on our minds. But once they settled into the foster homes, their happy personalities could finally surface and they became such fun, enjoyable animals. The adopters are all lovely people and their participation in the Pride Parade is a great way to thank the bay area for providing support including a safe haven for the dogs."

The adopters are turning out to be as unique as the dogs. One family has celebrity status in dog circles: Andrew 'Roo' Yori and his wife Clara helped their pit bull Wallace achieve fame as a world champion disk dog. Wallace has earned dozens of titles and accolades, including his crowning glory, a first place title in the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge. The Yoris recently adopted BAD RAP's 'Hector', a handsome tan male with warm brown eyes. He is covered in fight scars but otherwise unaffected by his difficult past. Now a resident of Minnesota, Hector is living successfully with the Yori's other pets and will have a new occupation doing important education work with children.

'Dutch' - renamed 'Audie' - was adopted by a north bay dog trainer who is anxious to put a competition obedience title on the little black dog. Linda Chwistek explains, "He has drive and an incredible desire to please. And he makes a great snuggler on the sofa, too." Linda owns two other dogs at home. She's been training dogs for 30 years and has put national agility titles on her female pit bull, Ruby. She's been searching for another performance style dog for over a year. When she met Audie and recognized his talent she said, "I haven't been this excited since I tasted my first candy bar."

San Francisco residents Letti de Little and Jamel Freeman adopted 'Uba,' a tiny black and white dog that looks up to the cats in the household as his new bosses. Life is finally good for Uba. Letti explains,"He does snore a little, not loud enough to shake the windows like Lulu, but kind of quiet and soft. When he first came to us I caught him whining in his sleep, but the other day, he was wagging and woofing in his dreams. I guess his store of memories are getting happier!"

'Jonny Justice' earned fame by gracing the set of the Rachael Ray show in Manhattan. This weekend, he will be officially adopted to his SF foster parents, Cris Cohen and Jennifer Long. Jonny's smiling face and happy-go-lucky swagger made him a poster child for the Vick dogs' ability to overcome neglect and cruelty with optimism intact.

The SF Pride Parade will be held on Sunday, June 29, starting at 10:30 a.m., traveling west along Market Street from Davis to Hyde.

BAD RAP's mission is 'Securing the future of the American Pit Bull Terrier as a cherished family companion.'


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