Best Friends Animal Society in Utah suffered a significant lost last week. Lucas, who was at one time Michael Vick’s grand champion fighting dog, has lived the past five years at Best Friends. Due to declining health, last Wednesday night he had to be put down.
As the prized fighting dog of Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, the courts ordered that Lucas could never be adopted; instead he would spend the remainder of his life being cared for at Best Friends. Lucas, along with 21 other dogs from Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels that were labeled “most challenging,” arrived at Best Friends Animal Society in January 2008. The Vicktory dogs, as they became known, proved to the world that even the most damaged of them could be rehabilitated.
Lucas, even though he could never be adopted, ended up being the most social and well-behaved out of all of them. Although he never could go home to a family, Best Friends became his family. Lucas’ friendly nature made him a great fit as a greeter at Best Friends.
“He made everyone feel special just by being himself,” said Gregory Castle, co-founder and CEO of Best Friends. “Lucas loved his ambassadorial role and had the next best life to a permanent home with a loving family.”
Lucas was estimated to be around 13 years old when his health began to take a turn for the worse. Lucas suffered from Babesia, a common disease in fighting dogs, as it is carried by a blood parasite and spread through bite wounds. There is no cure for Babesia, though it is treatable. Lucas would occasionally suffer flare ups that would cause anemia and weaken him. Combined with his old age, it was time to say goodbye.
Lucas was an inspiration to so many. He changed the perception of fighting dogs and what they could become. He loved everyone he met and had a huge impact on their lives. He is greatly missed by everyone at Best Friends Animal Society and everyone who got a chance to know him.
“Lucas was indeed a champion,” wrote Castle. “But his greatest victories were outside the ring. He won our hearts and taught the world about the integrity and depth of character that is a dog.”