Dear Michael Vick,
My name is Andrew Yori, but most people call me Roo. I think it's important to start out by letting you know that I was not one of the people opposed to you getting a second chance. I was also not one of the people who called for a boycott of the NFL.
My wife and I did adopt one of the dogs that was rescued from your Virginia property back in 2007 though. The rescuers named him Hector, and he was featured in media across the country. I did my best not to talk out against you throughout the process because I was hoping that you would learn that what you did was wrong, why it was wrong, and become one of the best advocates for the cause.
Photo: Printz Photography
I knew it was going to be a media circus at first, and figured you would do what you needed to do in order to get your life back. In the meantime, I felt it was very important for at least one of the dogs to succeed to help others in the future. Fortunately, many were given that chance and went on to do amazing things.
I'm thankful to have been a part of that success by adopting Hector, who became a Certified Therapy Dog within a year of coming to live with us. He brought smiles to people staying in hospitals and nursing homes. He loved kids, and was a great friendly demo dog for when we would visit schools and talk to the children about dog bite prevention. He was always a trooper with people putting cameras in his face, even though he had no clue what any of it was about.
Despite the scars from his previous life, Hector lived happily integrated in our multi-dog household, and had many other canine friends as well. He was truly an amazing dog and I feel grateful to all the people involved in his rescue for giving us the chance to have him as part of our family.
Photo: Joshua Grenell
You did your time, and got your second chance. I recognize that you've done some good things since getting out of prison, and according to your first interview after your release you now feel horrible about the situation. However, unanswered questions still remain that I feel deserve to be resolved. Why have you not reached out to the people who stepped up to clean up your mess in the first place?
The organizations who initially fought for the dogs to get a chance at a better life, and the people like me and my wife who took the dogs into our homes to make sure they never had to go through that again? Why did you refuse the opportunity to meet with some of your former dogs when it was offered to you in a controlled environment that would have satisfied all the legal issues at the time? You used the legal issues as an excuse, but those don't apply anymore, and you still have yet to show any interest in reconciliation.
Also, when you were legally allowed to own a dog again, why did you want to buy a Malinois instead of rescue a pit bull to help undo the horrific acts that you took part in and others continue to do today? The fact that these questions have legitimacy and remain unanswered is why a lot of people still don't like or respect you. It's not because they don't want you to play football anymore, or because they're all a bunch of crazy people who are out to get you. It's because these people know that for one reason or another you haven't found the courage to reconcile with the actual situation that caused all of this in the first place.
I have no doubt that Hector would have walked up to you with his tail wagging, but that can't happen anymore. After approximately two years on your property and seven years of a better life, he passed away last October. At the end of his life, he battled health issues we believe were brought on by his time with you.
A number of the other dogs have recently passed away from similar issues as well. But maybe this is what you're waiting for. For all the dogs to pass away in hopes that everything will start to fade away. I hope not, and I don't really see that happening anyway. The Internet will keep their stories alive and well long after their bodies are gone.
Regardless, the dogs deserve your respect, and you have yet to show it. They are the victims that overcame this situation, not you. They were the ones who truly had no choice, not you. You can continue to spin things and brush it all under the rug with a well-paid PR firm, but until you face those involved with the actual situation, you'll continue to be a coward who's simply running away from his victims.
Andrew "Roo" Yori