This is an article from the Jan. 26, 2009 issue
Your story about the rehabilitation of Michael Vick's pit bulls makes an implicit point that dog adopters have long known: Canines can learn at almost any age. One of the most inaccurate expressions we have is "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." I hope Vick will also prove that saying wrong when he leaves prison.
James Grant, Lawrence, Kans.
I have been blessed to share my life with two great dogs, both pit bulls. I find myself defending the breed on an almost daily basis to people who don't know what loving dogs they can be. Thanks to Jim Gorant's excellent story (Happy New Year, Dec. 29), I hope to be doing less defending.
Heidi Farano, New York City
Most people want cute little puppies; it takes special people to give animals like Jasmine a second chance at happiness.
C.R. Moultry, Redford, Mich.
When I was working at the Connecticut Humane Society, I interacted with thousands of dogs, many of whom were pit bulls trained to fight. In seven years I was bitten twice: once by a poodle and once by a cocker spaniel.
David K. Bowen, Biddeford, Maine
While I enjoyed your article, I was slightly dismayed by the suggestion that the pit bull is a gentle breed with an "image problem." At the age of 12, I was bitten by a pit bull and can tell you firsthand that these dogs can snap without warning. There is a reason that Vick didn't raise puggles, maltipoos or Labradoodles.
Will Kirby, Los Angeles
Six years ago a neighbor's pit bull killed my grandson. Police shot the beast on sight. The breed should be gassed out of existence.
Dale Spencer, Gallup, N.Mex.
The NFL commissioner and every general manager and coach should read this story. If Vick is signed, we'll know who thinks winning is more important than decency and justice.
Jeff Shannon, Antigo, Wis.
Your story made me go find my dog and spend the rest of the night cuddling with her. You ask whether it was worth the time and effort to save these 47 dogs; my answer is yes. It showed that there still is good in the world, and that from even the worst of circumstances, something inspiring and uplifting can come.
Shelby Dixon, Louisville
To think that in your highlighting of this past year's memorable moments (The Best Year Ever, Dec. 29) there wasn't room to mention the Ryder Cup, Sidney Crosby in the Stanley Cup finals, Jimmie Johnson's three-peat, the Redeem Team's gold medal or the inspirational performance of the U.S. men's indoor volleyball team. Indeed, it was a year to remember.
Matthew McEvoy, Stanford, Calif.
How come no mention of Fresno State's upset win in the College World Series?
Mo Montemayor, Bellflower, Calif.
... American gymnasts Nastia Liukin's and Shawn Johnson's one-two finish in the women's all-around?
Joan Thompson, Shaker Heights, Ohio
I was moved by the story of the eight high school runners in Washington State who each in turn passed on her medal to the young woman who had rightfully earned it (Precious Medal, Dec. 29). Barry Bonds should initiate a comparable process, which would ultimately result in Roger Maris's once again holding the single-season home run record.
Paul Agathen, Washington, Mo.
A Stand-up Team
Your story on the turnaround of the Buffalo football program under coach Turner Gill (Buffalo Savior, Dec. 29) states that the 2009 International Bowl was the first bowl bid in school history. Actually, in 1958 the Bulls were invited to play in the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando but declined after being notified that two of their players would be unable to attend or play in the game because they were African-American. That team made a sacrifice to stand up for a cause much greater than football.
Meredith Bielaska, Buffalo
In your homage to sports figures who died in the past year (Farewell, Dec. 29) you failed to mention the passing of UGA VI. In 1997 you named the Georgia mascot as the best in college sports and even had UGA V, his predecessor, on your cover.
Scott Center, Savannah
What about Paul Newman, for his sports roles—from Fast Eddie Felson to Reg Dunlop—and for being a true sportsman in the world of auto racing?
Sean Haughey, Estero, Fla.
... one of the pioneers of mixed martial arts, Evan Tanner? He was a great human being who stood up for everything he believed in.
Alex Clement, Ottawa
EDITOR'S NOTE: L. Jon Wertheim and Ethan Todras-Whitehall wrote a feature on Tanner that can be read at SI.com/tanner.
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