The Champions – More Forgiving of Our Species Than We Could Ever Be of Theirs
The Champions is a heartwarming documentary about the pit bulls rescued from Michael Vick’s dog fighting ring. It is an inspiring film about the dogs’ healing and the people willing to provide that opportunity. It covers the dogs’ journey from fighting ring to becoming loved family members.
When the dogs were rescued, both PETA and the Humane Society recommended that fighting dogs be euthanized. However, thanks to Vick’s football fame, this case received extensive media coverage and the public outcry to save the dogs was great. Rather than dismissively ordering euthanasia, the Judge appointed an attorney to act as guardian for the dogs and make recommendations to the Court regarding each dog. Several rescue organizations stepped up and volunteered to take the dogs. Best Friends Animal Society, was one such group, even offering to house the dogs for life, if needed, at their facility in Utah.
The film follows the dogs over time and their new lives in their forever homes. Fear is the enemy as the dogs strive to trust and forgive people who are now helping them. Some will never completely trust — Handsome Dan wears a coat when he goes out, because having that wrapped around him gives him a sense of security. His walks are sometimes getting a ride in a carriage, as he likely will never be comfortable walking through the neighborhood.
When Cherry arrived at Best Friends, he was too scared to even walk, he would fall to floor and try to disappear. After two years of care from Best Friends, they were able to place Cherry in a home where he now thrives with his people, and his dog and cat family as well.
Johnny, a good natured clown and the comic relief in the film, is a therapy dog, providing a must needed distraction to children receiving medical treatment.
I highly recommend this film, as it is a reminder that there are a lot of good people doing good things for animals. It is also a reminder that pit bulls are good family dogs and should not be discriminated against, simply because of their breed.