For 8 years I have been having the same debate with people. Ever since Vick went to jail for financing a heinous dogfighting ring called Bad Newz Kennels, I have been explaining why I hope he rots in hell.
There are people who think he deserved to be re-hired as a glorious QB in the NFL. People who praise his comebacks. Very recently, people who voted him to be in the Virginia Tech Hall of Fame. And just a few weeks ago, he was hired as an intern coach in Kansas City. Each of these events spark fuel on both sides. The group who feels he has redeemed himself and deserves a second chance and the group who thinks he should live his life in prison.
I am and will always be the latter.
Maybe, instead of focusing on Vick to explain why I feel the way I do, it is time to explain myself.
However, before I do that, let me be clear about what Michael Vick was responsible for… At Bad Newz Kennels, they found the dead bodies of hundred of dogs. They know that the dogs were electrocuted, drowned, raped, hung, tortured, starved etc… Vick was a part of all of this for a few years. It was never a one-time incident. It was not an accident. These were conscious decisions made by him daily for years.
Now me… For all of my life that I can remember my heart has seen animals as little souls. I have always saved them. From baby birds to lost dogs, their lives were as important to me as my own.
Let me repeat that – their lives were as important to me as my own.
I think that last sentence differentiates some human beings.
For a myriad of reasons, not everyone feels that way. I am not here to debate which is right- only to use that as the explanation for my pure hatred for Vick.
I have been a very involved animal advocate for the last 15 years. I am beyond passionate about finding homeless dogs and cats homes. I am a walking billboard against puppy mills. I am these things not only because I have been in the trenches, but because my heart, the one I was born with, sees animals as sentient beings who have feelings. I never had a choice about how I would feel towards animals, my love for them is who I am.
For people like me, who see animals this way, life can be painful. There have been times where I felt my love for animals was a curse because my heart can break on a daily basis seeing the cruel acts people do to them.
When I walked into my first Amish dog auction, the pain and heartache I felt was beyond comprehension. However, there are lots of people who could walk into one and maybe not feel anything at all. That pain defines me.
I am not going to make assumptions, but I do believe that many of the Vick haters are people like me, who have been given hearts that love animals on a different level. What he did to them wasn’t just bad, to us, it is beyond horrifying because we believe animals lives are as important as our own. To us, Vick is no different than a serial killer.
How many people would think that Gacy, Bundy or Dahmer should be in the Virgina Tech Hall of Fame or come out of prison and be a NFL QB or end up a NFL coach? I have to think not many.
To those of us with the curse of a huge heart for animals, this is how we see Vick.
I understand that might seem extreme, even bordering mentally ill, to some of you, but I am just being honest about who I am and who I think some of Vick’s other haters are.
I didn’t choose to love animals the way I do – it is just who I am. Knowing what Vick did to those innocent dogs breaks me.
So, I get it – not everyone sees him as the evil monster I do and not everyone would save a mouse from a glue trap like I did.
To understand my hatred, you would have to understand my heart and the passion I have for animals. While there are many days I wish I could look the other way and pretend the animal cruelty doesn’t bother me so deeply, in the end, I am grateful to have my heart and to fight for the voiceless.
I know that my heart is also my gift – my path in life. I trust that I was given it knowing I would never give up. And, I won’t.