Meet a pit bull rescued from the NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s Virginia property in 2007. Cherry Garcia, the rescued pit bull, was among the 50 pit bulls removed from an illegal dog fighting.
Cherry Garcia went through a lot when he was a part of Vick’s dog fighting events. According to The Washington Post, pit bulls who couldn’t fight were executed by electrocution, hanging and drowning.
“What people don’t understand, [is] that the dogs in fighting rings are no different than any other dog. The proof is in Cherry,” Fiaccone said in the video. “He wants to be happy. He wants to give back. What he wants to do is love.”
The transformation process
When the pit bulls were rescued, organizations like PETA had no faith in rehabilitation. It’s a fact that these dogs went through a lot, but instead of being euthanized, other agencies such as Best Friends Animal Society were willing to give them a second chance.
The Best Friends Animal Society took in 22 of Vick’s former fighting dogs, and Cherry was part of it as well. It was a huge challenge to work with these dogs because they were damaged and traumatized.
“When we would try to walk him, he would flatten his body right to the ground and almost crawl because he was so scared,” Michelle Weaver, Best Friends’ director of animal care.
Cherry was completely transformed before his adoption in 2010. The pit bull was adopted by the Fiaccone family, and never looked back to his fighting days.
“Cherry just loves his kittens, he has two cats now, and he loves to play with them,” Paul Fiaccone, Cherry’s owner told BarkPost. “Every time he’s around kittens, it’s like all the stress goes away. He would definitely love to be a kitty nanny for a day.”
To honor the rescued pit bull, BarkPost produced a video showing Cherry Garcia amazing transformation.
“Watching him with our 2-year-old son and our newborn daughter is something more special than I could ever describe,” Fiaccone told The Huffington Post in 2014. “He is always keeping an eye on them, and he loves them so much. It’s hard to think of my son without having Cherry in the picture.”
He also added:
“We have learned so much from Cherry. This is a dog that had chemicals poured on his back, forced to fight for his life, and flat-out tortured, yet he keeps moving forward, he doesn’t have a rearview mirror. He doesn’t look at himself as a victim; he looks at himself as a survivor.”
Although a pit bull with a fighting past is the hardest to rehabilitate, Garcia is now cuddling with kittens, in his own “happy ever after.”