Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Saving Audie: A Pit Bull Puppy Gets a Second Chance

by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent; photographs by William Munoz
Walker & Company, 2011. Unpaged. Nonfiction.

Michael Vick is a great football player. As a dog owner, not so much. When Vick's dogfighting operation was busted up and Vick jailed, lots of dogs needed homes and rehabilitation. Many worried that the dogs had been schooled so thoroughly to be aggressive that they might have to be put down, but as Patent's story of Audie shows, only one could not be saved. Everyone was surprised to discover that most of the dogs responded quickly to kindness and obedience training, though some were shy and skittish around people and other dogs for a long time. Audie, like most pit bulls, is not distinguished for his looks, but knowing where he came from and how far he has come makes him quite a lovely little pup. Ms. Patent also tells the stories of Audie's helpers and how they came to love him and to give him agility training in the hope of entering him in matches and competitions. An ironic endnote details Michael Vick's return to a starting quarterback role in the National Football League, but leaves out any mention of his efforts to redeem himself by speaking out against dogfighting to youth groups.

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