We all know how the Michael Vick dog-fighting tragedy turned out. Vick spent time in jail, got back on a team, and got a new dog. His fighting dogs headed to hospitals, rescues, and homes — some even became therapy dogs — and eventually had a reunion. But what about the property? The land where the horrors took place? What happened to Bad Newz Kennels?
Today, the site is home to Dogs Deserve Better and Good Newz Rehab Center, an animal shelter and medical and health center, which is located in the very house where Vick lived. Behind the home are the infamous sheds, dark and foreboding, where the dog fighting took place, still standing as a reminder of the horrors of that happened there. And beyond that, a new grove of dogwoods, recently planted to honor the dogs who were victims.
On Facebook, Stacy Dubuc, one of the people who adopted a Vick dog, posted these photos and words on her Ginger Girl page after she took a tour of the site during a recent tribute, meeting with other owners of Vick dogs and sharing their stories. Ginger is the name of Dubuc’s dog.
It would be so easy to dwell on the black sheds and continue to be sad and angry, but this property has moved on and is now a place where dogs are getting second chance at life. The sheds are now just structures; some are used as storage, some remain as they were found. The area that was once overgrown with trees that hid dogs chained out on tire axles has been cleared [and] is now covered with sweet yellow flowers and 51 freshly planted trees that will be a stunning sight when they come into bloom.
Dubuc writes about planting a tree in honor of Ginger:
All of the trees are dogwoods and we were given the choice of white or pink, I chose pink for my sweet girl and was so excited to see a few very young buds already on the tree. After planting my tree, I went and visited all of the trees. Of course there were the easily recognizable names of the dogs who are on social media, there were the dogs whose families have chosen a more private life, and sadly, there were the dogs who never got to know the love of a rescue or a home. It was beautiful to see that so many dogs were given a second chance and have gotten to know love and compassion.
Yes, I have shared pictures of the black buildings. Look at them and you can feel sadness and anger, but then please move on to the many pictures of the beautiful trees and laugh, smile, and let your heart warm as you think of the dogs who got a second chance and have been living, breathing examples of forgiveness. … As I think back to my time on the property, I do not want to remember the sadness I felt but rather the serenity I felt as I walked amongst the grove of trees and how I smiled when I imagined my sweet Ginger Girl and how she would love to run and play in such a large happy field.
Dubuc also included a photo of the lovely tribute inside Vick’s former home.
See the full gallery of Dubac’s visit on Ginger Girl’s Facebook page.