RICHMOND, VA (WRIC) – A gentle Pit Bull who became a face of the Michael Vick dogfighting case has died. Gracie was pulled from conditions that outraged animal lovers throughout the world back in 2007, but for seven years she had a chance to live in a loving home and learn how to be a family pet.
Gracie, who was about 11-years-old, was part of a pack of other rescue animals at her human mom’s home and was a staple at animal awareness events everywhere.
“We’re definitely broken up about it,” Will Lowrey, spokesperson for the Richmond Animal League’s Gracie’s Guardian’s program, which was named in honor of the little black dog with a big heart.
“If we needed someone to kinda be the testament to all the work that we’re doing, it was her. She was a great role model for us, and she inspired a lot of us,” says Lowrey, explaining that Gracie had some health issues recently. When they took a turn overnight, her human guardian knew it was time.
“She may be gone, but she will continue to do good work even in her passing,” Lowrey adds. “Her legacy will most definitely live on with all the people who remember her and all the folks like us who continue to do work in her name.”
Gracie will continue to pave the way for other dogs rescued from harsh circumstances. She proved that with enough love, even an abused dog can learn to trust again.
“She sat at events, and she’d let anyone touch her and pet her. Kids would come up and you could hold her and she was just a dog, what a dog should be,” Lowrey explains how far Gracie’s once-scared demeanor came once she was pulled off Vick’s Surry County property. “You take a dog off the end of a chain, and you let that dog thrive and flourish with other dogs. This is the life a dog should have. Not suffering in the backyard on the end of a chain, and that’s her message and her legacy and everyone that met her will remember that.”
Lowrey says he knows Pit Bulls have been adopted because of Gracie because she helped to change the community’s perception of the breed.
The Richmond Animal League featured Gracie in its 2014 calendar and asks anyone who has one to drop it off or send it to RAL. Gracie’s foster mom will use the images to get through this tough time.