We've come a long way, baby!
Most pit bull owners know that in '87, Sports Illustrated went for the worst kind of cheap thrill by running this provocative cover story. The decision to titillate America back then about our still-rare breed set the dogs down a dangerous path. Within months, they were the 'in' dog for the bad guys, and the rest is history. So when SI writer Jim Gorant contacted us in mid-October about a follow up on the Vick dogs, we were skeptical to say the least. Never one to hold back, Jonny Justice's adopter Cris Cohen told him point blank, "You owe us the cover." But the hard-to-read Gorant was non-committal. We really didn't know what they were going to do to our dogs.
It was clear that Jim and his editors were intrigued with this story though, especially when their wonderful photographer Deanne Fitzmaurice kept returning for additional photo sessions. Things started looking good when they asked for family portraits of the dogs in their homes, and then, of Jonny working as a therapy dog in the Paws for Tales reading program.
We're as surprised as anyone to finally see the fruits of their labor: Five pages of in-depth, well written copy, good clean quotes, beautiful family portraits, and the best of all...The cover shot, highlighting Recycled Love's shy little sweetheart, Sweet Jasmine.
Thank you for giving the dogs back to us, Jim. Steeling ourselves against the public disdain heaped against these wonderful animals sure takes its toll, and you just softened us all up for one the happiest Christmases we can remember.
The Sports Illustrated issue about the Vick dogs will be on newsstands starting Christmas Eve and available for two weeks. Grab a few copies for your coffee table and for your files. I tellya...this 'zine is a welcome piece of history for our breed.
Left: Zippy's foster family now includes tiny new brother Francisco Hernandez. Photo credit: Deanne Fitzmaurice for Sports Illustrated.