Here's the story of one beagle who survived his hellhole:
'Vick dog' now a cherished member of Acredale family
By Sandra J. Pennecke
© July 20, 2008
JR may not have felt like a lucky dog before, but he is now.
The beagle was one of the infamous "Michael Vick dogs" that inhabited the suspended NFL star's Surry County home. Dogs like JR spent their days alone and locked up. Vick is currently serving a 23-month prison sentence in Leavenworth, Kan.
Sixty-five of Vick's dogs were taken from his dog-fighting compound and 12, including nine beagles, two Rottweilers and a Cane Corso, were brought to the Virginia Beach Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals last year.
Ralph and Deborah Miller of Acredale just happened to adopt the last beagle while visiting the SPCA in search of a pet.
"It was dumb luck," Ralph Miller said. "We had been searching for an appropriate dog for our home when my wife and daughter went there one day.
"They called me and told me to come in and when I did they were in a room with JR. We brought him home the next day."
That day, Dec. 28, is when the Millers will celebrate JR's birthday from now on. They are not sure of his birthday or how old he is, but they estimate he's about 8 years old.
The Millers' 10-year-old daughter Glenne knew JR was "the one" from the minute she saw him.
"He was so cute and he looked at me with his big puppy eyes," Glenne said.
Behind the "big puppy eyes" are deep-set issues the Millers must deal with. JR suffers from heartworms, severe gingivitis and has a skin rash because of repeated blood transfusions.
"He was used to provide blood for the dogs that were fighting," Ralph Miller said.
"He was in rough shape and has special needs because he'd never been in a family environment before," he said. JR is afraid of bright lights, doesn't care for water much and had issues being house-trained.
But he's smart, and loves people and taking walks. He even gets along with Max, the family cat. As for what JR's life was like before the Millers adopted him - "I'd rather not know," Miller said.
Sandra J. Pennecke, email@example.com