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Former Vick dog turned mentor dies of cancer

redRed, a pit bull seized from Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation who went on to become a sweet-tempered mascot at the Monterey County SPCA, died this week while battling cancer.

Red arrived  with scars on his face, chest, legs and torso — one of three pit bulls who came to the Monterey SPCA after federal authorities seized 47 dogs in a 2007 raid of Vick’s dog-fighting compound in Virginia.

He was adopted by SPCA pet behavior specialist Amanda Mouisset.

“He just really blossomed,” Beth Brookhouser, community outreach director for the SPCA for Monterey County, told the Monterey County Herald. “He was like a regular employee, a friend and a fellow staff member.”

Red made the daily rounds with Mouisset and helped her train other dogs by providing a calm example to the shelter’s more hyperactive residents.

Ginger and Bunny, the other Vick dogs that went to the Monterey SPCA, are both doing well, the Herald reported. One was adopted by a SPCA staff member and the other is with a foster family.

Red was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and underwent surgery and chemotherapy, which was paid for by Vick as part of his sentencing. He took a turn for the worse last week and tests showed the cancer, thought to be in remission, had returned. He was euthanized Monday.

Red was 8 years old, which is three years more than he would have lived if those recommending all the Vick dogs be put down had their way.

“Before this case, dogs from the kind of situation were automatically euthanized,” Brookhouser said. “Red is a stunning example why animals should be treated as individuals — not lumped as a breed. He was the best ambassador for that breed any of us have ever seen.”

(Photo: Red with Katie Mouisset, daughter of SPCA pet behavior specialist Amanda Mouisset.)

Comments

Comment from Eighteenpaws
Time April 8, 2010 at 7:28 pm

With tears in my eyes while reading this, I am still grateful that Red was able to re-learn that humans can be trusted, that love and bonding and mutual teaching can be forged anew. I just knpw that Red was such a GOOD DOG! Damn Vick and his ilk forever; bless those dogs who live LIFE again despite him.

Comment from Anne’n'Spencer
Time April 8, 2010 at 11:04 pm

He certainly put those three years to good use. Dogs have a lot to teach us about living each day to the fullest. I know Red lives on in the hearts of those he loved and who loved him.

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