« Liveblogging HSUS town hall with Wayne Pacelle | Main | Pet homelessness and the landlord issue: Study says landlord fears baseless »

30 October 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Great post, I really enjoyed reading it and plan on sharing it with others!

Kevin R.

I agree, Vick's dogs can teach more than Vick. Good point.


mary frances

Christie Keith, Marthina and Leo - thank-you - and like Tracy writes my hopes have been raised and the spirit is alive!!


Wonderful post. Amazing what one dog in 20 minutes can do to change a roomful of minds and attitudes. How many people can claim as much? If we ever want to have peace in the world, we need to offer kids more opportunities to meet real heroes like Leo. Thanks for telling this story.


Wow, that brought a tear to my eye. Thank you for figuring out how to SHOW people what so many of us have bee *thinking*.

Vick might raise $$$, but those dogs will raise hope and spirit!!!

Our Pack

Thanks Nadine!! I agree, an ongoing column would be helpful. You're right the word does need to get out three much faster. I don't there is engough education in humanities at this time, especially compared to how it used to be.



While Caesar and Cleo both have far less famous previous owners, the reaction is ALWAYS the same. Caesar is blessed with not totally looking pittie. While my weekly visits to petco are actually under the guise of rescue fundraising, I do far more educationally with the pups. An ex fighter, a would be fighter and the bulldog bait dog. Who ever gets the chance to meet them gets a change in perspective.



Mary Campbell

The exciting thing about this article is Leo is not the exception. We have so many other success stories from less well known busts but ALL of them are thriving in their new homes as part of a family, some with kids, all with other dogs and other Therapy dogs too! Marthina really is da BOMB!!



brilliant. Marthina is da BOMB


Wonderful piece, thank you for writing about Leo and all the good work he does. Leo and his former kennel mates can do far more with a look and a wag than Vick can ever hope to with his well-scripted BS. Looking forward to the full article this week.

Nadine L

Marthina's beautiful Leo story and her deeply touching comments merit another impactful SFGate piece!

And...so many other incredible successful adoption stories would be enough to create an ongoing column that could educate and inspire. These kids in the story had no idea, so one would surmise that the word isn't getting out there far enough or fast enough.

Suzi S.

Thank you for this post! Marthina and Our Pack are heroes, just like so many rescue organizations that are committed to putting the dogs first and doing what is best for them. Leo and other bust dogs that are now doing therapy or service work are incredible educators and, as Gale said, are very powerful tools in educating the public and changing minds.


BRAVO.. as an owner and breeder of a "bull breed" I know that NOTHING can be better than a face to lick encounter with a "pit bull". Lovely piece with a terrific ending.. let's hope for LOTS more like this one..Go Leo ..

Bett Sundermeyer

Absolutely Brilliant idea!

Our Pack

Thanks so much for all the kudos to Leo. He really has made such a difference in the world of Pit Bulls. I'm so proud of him and better yet he's proud of himself!

Mary is right Leo isn't the exception to the rule, he IS the rule. We've taken many other bust dogs from around the country and have had wonderful success with adoptions and with the dogs becoming therapy dogs. I think these dogs are just cut out for that work. Love'em!



What a wonderful and inspiring piece. The author is correct, Leo can change minds as Vick will never have the "feelings" to make a difference. Seeing, touching, talking to Leo, a survivor is very powerful tool to change the minds of the youth.


What a great article and so important to communicate. Leo is my forever companion as well living in our home. He is such a joy and inspiration to everyone who meets him. He has a big responsibility, but measures up to it continously. Michael Vick, I hope you are paying attention, your ex-associate has something to teach you and without an "I told you so" or any since of guilt, just pure love, which Leo is. Thank you so for your wonderful expression of this heart warming story.



I'm choking up. That was beautiful :)

Gina Spadafori

Christie, thanks for sharing this. It so true that our pets communicate more without words than we do with them.

If only the HSUS had the good sense to have shunned Sick Vick like the unrepentant psychopath he is and instead taken his VICK-tims around to "speak" to at-risk youth ... well, I'm glad someone gets it, even if it wasn't the HSUS. (Which is still defending its phenomenally bad decision.)

Leo, I love you. Vick, rot in hell.

Erica Saunders

Thank you Christie. That was beautiful & I'm so glad of the outcome for Leo


Although I think it's great that Vick's ex- dogs are breeding education. (which I have experienced FIRST hand... as my rescue had RESCUED Gracie-- a Vick dog) it is totally irresponsible to state that Vick is a paid spokesperson for HSUS. It is disgusting that you are bringing a big name like HSUS into your article for more recognition. Congrats on your work with Pit Bulls. This speaks for iteself. Please do not dirty other's hands. Most caqn dirty themselves.

Gina Spadafori

cOUTRE ... in no place does the word "paid spokesperson for the HSUS" appear. I have no idea what arrangements financial or otherwise Michael Vick made with the HSUS, but he is, in fact, speaking to at-risk youth on their behalf.

If anything, he should have paid THEM for making his return to the NFL possible.


Sorry, but Michael Vick does not speak on behalf of HSUS about anything. Total fabrication.


Oh wait, maybe I should've proof read... my rescue took in 4 Michael Vick dogs... Google Gracie or Alf. Michael Vick in no way speaks on "behalf of HSUS." Once again, a great article when it comes to Leo, but to dirty the hands of HSUS is idiotic.

Gina Spadafori


Gina Spadafori

Try using Teh Googles before posting. It'll go a long way towards keeping you from appearing to be a complete idiot.

Too late for this blog, by the way.


Courtre, did you even read Gina's link?

HSUS cut a deal with Michael Vick. It has nothing to do with your rescue. HSUS is their own organization and they do not run any rescues or any shelters.

I think you're confused . . . . . . . . . . .


Another fabrication: In reply that disgraces this article further:

"Are you supporting Vick's return to the NFL?

We did not take a position on Vick's reinstatement to the NFL, and we did not lobby the NFL or any team to hire him."




HSUS has never authorized Vick to speak on their behalf.

Christie Keith

cOURTRE, I have no clue who you are, but I sat with Wayne Pacelle two nights ago and listened to him discuss why he decided to let Michael Vick work with HSUS to address at risk youth about dog fighting. If you want to parse words with me about what "speaking on behalf" means, you're going to lose that game.

If you're more of an authority on what HSUS does and doesn't do than its CEO, by all means, uncloak yourself.


Christie thank you so much for such a wonderful and inspiring piece. We definitely need more of these so please keep them coming!

It comes as no surprise to me that Leo could change more minds about these dogs in the span of 20 minutes than Vick could ever possibly do in his lifetime.

There's just no comparison. When I look into Leo's eyes and I see love and kindness and warmth and appreciation. When I look into Vick's eyes, I see nothing...no soul, no remorse...just an empty shell of a person acting as a puppet for the HSUS and going through the motions simply as part of a PR move. It's really that obvious...

Our Pack

I would just like to thank Christie again for talking about Leo and what he does while at the same time not forgetting what MV has done.

It's easy to get off onto other things and this just lets us forget the real crime and the people who really are to blame in these horrible situations.

Thanks so much for the extremely well written article! Leo thanks you too!

I also want to thank Leo for making at all better.:)


A few years ago, I visited the "Youth Treatment Center" in my city. It was housing for non-adults who had committed felonies. Most of those kids' exposure to dogs have been human-aggressive dogs and yes, many of those dogs were ill-bred, scared or poorly-socialized pits or other muscular, short-haired breeds (rotties for ex.) kept as guard dogs or for show. After seeing the kids' reactions to my big, goofy, friendly retriever, I would love to be able to bring them a "Leo". My retriever showed them what most dogs are like. I think a "Leo" dog would go a step further and give them hope of a better life.

Kudos to Leo's rescuers, Leo's owner, and to Christie for bringing us this story.

And, cOURTRE, ?????? WTH???


According to Bad Rap, Gracie was taken in by Richmond Animal League. Looks to me like RAL needs to get better (ie; coherent) spokespeople.

Then again, it's quite likely that RAL never 'authorized' Courtre to 'speak on their behalf', either.

On a side note, why does any blog post even tangentially mentioning HSUS cause the crazies to come out of the woodwork?


What a Gorgeous dog Leo is!!!!

And look at the faces of those "street hard" boys, they look like lil kids again as they look into Leo's eyes. Isn't it amazing what one friendly little dog can do for a persons' outlook on things...

As for the HSUS and this controversial MV stuff, I can see their point concerning Vick SOMEWHAT...I just don't agree with it. But I also can't attack the HSUS for such a mistake when they still do so much for animals in need of help and care. We still need to support the HSUS and ALL responsible rescue organizations in our communities.

Thanx to Christie for this story, and a HUGE THANX to all of you who make a difference in an animals' life (ANY animal)!

Snoopys Friend

Time has a news article about the "rehab" of fighting dogs and the success rates...."


The comments to this entry are closed.