Farewell to Lucas!

Today has been a sad, sad day. We had to say farewell to Lucas. This week his health took a sudden turn for the worse. He had not eaten much for weeks. Due to his ongoing battle with Babesia, an incurable condition common in fighting dogs, heart arrhythmia and other issues, getting around on walks was becoming more of a challenge. He couldn’t even lie down comfortably. Lucas’ quality of life had clearly deteriorated to the point where his primary caregivers here and our veterinarians reluctantly made the difficult decision to end his suffering. Lucas, one of the Vicktory Dogs, was a prominent, positive and very public personality. Our John Garcia calls him ‘The King’. He was the subject of articles and blogs by writers from all sorts of publications on many topics, from animal welfare to sports. The response to the first news of Lucas’ passing has been stunning—more than 800,000 Facebook newsfeeds (double the previous amount for any Best Friends Facebook item) since we first posted the news. We remember Lucas as an unforgettable, wonderful dog, who, through no fault of his own, was caught up in the horror of dog fighting. He came to us in 2008, along with 22 other dogs rescued from the Vick case, under a court ruling (along with Meryl) that he would have to stay with us for life. The law enforcement policy at the time was that dogs taken from fighting rings must be killed, a policy supported by leading animal welfare organizations other than Best Friends. But Lucas became a celebrity who, along with the other Vicktory Dogs, has helped us effect change. Best Friends has led the way in convincing other major animal welfare organizations that all dogs—even those from fighting backgrounds—deserve a fair, individual evaluation and a second chance at life. It’s ironic that one of the Vicktory Dogs the court feared most would become one of the greatest-ever canine ambassadors for change? The dog with the scarred face of a fighter was, despite ongoing health issues, a happy-go-lucky Best Friends resident who made a lasting impression on everyone who met him. I’ll always remember fondly the days when Lucas was in my office. We all loved having him around. Numerous visitors came to enjoy his friendly greetings. With his tail wagging and a happy grin on his face, he singlehandedly changed hearts and minds when it came to people’s views of pit bulls and, in particular, former fighters. He was bigger than the many obstacles placed in his life. He was stronger than his past abusers. Despite all his life challenges, Lucas was always an unerringly sweet, affectionate buddy to us all. The grief we feel is very real but John Garcia might have given us the best advice of all: “I think it’s time not be sad, but to celebrate his life. He lived a happy life at Best Friends and Lucas helped saved thousands of other dogs’ lives just by being who he was.” http://blogs.bestfriends.org/index.php/2013/06/20/vicktory-dog-lucas/ Goodbye Lucas … till we meet again. Gregory Gregory Castle CEO Best Friends Animal Society