Best Friends Blog

Georgia, until we meet again

I am so very sad to have to pass along this news. Georgia, one of the dogs from the Michael Vick dogfighting case, has passed over the Rainbow Bridge. Her age was taking its toll, and her kidneys could just no longer keep up.

All of the Vicktory dogs captured our hearts, but maybe none more than Georgia. From her time on the National Geographic show “DogTown,” she was an instant star. That wonderful smile and loving personality won everyone over – whether she met someone in real life or through a television screen.

She became quite a celebrity over the years. Along with Dogtown trainer John Garcia, she snuggled her way across the national stage. From the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” to “Larry King Live,” she helped rewrite the story for pit-bull-terrier-type dogs everywhere.

We’re thankful for everyone who played a part in her redeeming life story – from the investigators who put an end to the Bad Newz Kennels, to every shelter worker who aided in the rescue, to every Best Friends staff member, volunteer, donor and supporter who helped give her a new lease on life. We’re especially thankful for her adopter, Amy. Amy was the perfect person for Georgia. It’s been almost two years that Georgia has been exactly where she should have always been: in a warm bed in a home, snuggled by people who love her dearly for the wonderful dog she was.

As I said, she touched so many people around the world, but maybe none more than some of the Best Friends staff who worked with her so closely. I wanted to pass along some of their thoughts.

John Garcia, trainer: Knowing that Georgia isn’t with us anymore is something that is very emotional for me. I worked closely with Georgia for the years that she lived at Best Friends, and she was, to say the least, a very special girl to me. Knowing she was with Amy, in a loving adopted home for the last part of her life is a great comfort since I know she finally was treated the way she deserved, not only with the love and respect that we gave her, but she finally had a couch and a bed and all of the “princess” things that she loved so much.

Georgia taught me so much more than I could have ever given her, not from her reputation or history, but simply because she was who she was and the world got to see it.

Michelle Besmehn, Dogtown manager: I guess what I would say I loved most about Georgia is that although it was apparent by looking at her when she arrived that her life had not been easy, she was still exuberant, confident and full of life. It was hard not to fall in love with her goofy grin and gigantic personality. She seemed to quickly settle in to her life here at Best Friends, surrounded by caregivers who loved her and an ever-growing fan club. She didn’t miss a beat when it was time to do a little traveling with John Garcia or make an appearance on television. She was intelligent, silly and knew how to work a crowd.

With the help of her caregivers, she was able to achieve her Canine Good Citizen certification, which made her eligible for adoption. I am so grateful that Georgia was able to experience having her own home and family. She was truly loved and spoiled rotten (as it should be)! One of the more recent updates was about Georgia taking a vacation to the beach. There was an incredible picture of her walking towards the ocean. She looked peaceful and content. These are the updates that make me feel lucky that I have been a part of the journey for each of the Vicktory dogs. Georgia was an incredible soul and she will be missed.

Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative attorney, pit bull initiatives: Georgia was a little game-bred dog who truly was a game changer for all dogs seized in fight busts. Despite the horrible abuse she endured, she loved folks, charmed her way onto the set of ‘Ellen,’ and rubbed shoulders with Hollywood elite. Through her, we learned that all dogs are individuals and deserve a chance – even ex-fighting dogs. God speed, Georgia – you were one of a kind.

I’ll always remember her pink collar and her beautiful smile. As with all the Vicktory dogs, she exuded a bright light and love that was very special. I am heartbroken today to know that light is gone from the Earth. However, I’m forever thankful for Georgia’s contributions to the future for pit-bull-terrier-type dogs. She has truly left a mark on the world.

Georgia, please say hi to Lucas for us. We’ll see you again.


Gregory Castle
Best Friends Animal Society

  • Rebecca Donley

    Sherry, I read this and my heart broke most for you and others who will have to relive a nightmare forever. I just want you to know that there are so many of us out here, countless numbers, who get hope and a little peace from knowing there are heroes in this world like you, willing to have there hearts broken to bring love to others. You are true courage and I could never express how much I admire and am grateful for you.

  • Ann Mitchell

    Rest in Peace sweet Georgia. The world is a better place for having you in it. God Bless

  • JamieKay

    Thank you for all you’ve done for Georgia and all the other Vicktory dogs. She will be missed.

  • catdag

    RIP, beautiful Georgia. Your time on this earth has made it a better place for all of us, but especially for those misunderstood dogs who deserve a second chance. You touched my heart from the second I saw you on Dogtown, and I will never forget you or any of the other Vicktory dogs. Sleep well, Angel.

  • murly

    I’m sad that Georgia is no longer with us, but I’m happy that when her end came, it was after several years of being loved and cared for. The real tragedies are the animals who die alone and abused, which would have been Georgia’s fate if she hadn’t been rescued. With the help of organizations like Best Friends, I look forward to a day when every animal feels the warmth of love no matter how long or short their lives might be.

  • jackie

    Thank you for showing the world the love of these dogs that were treated so horrifically at the hands of humans… Thank you for showing these dogs the love they deserved and as each one reaches the end of their lives here they will know they were loved… and we will cry with each other for each one… God Bless you all for all the hard work you do… THANK YOU!

  • dogmother53

    I’m reading this with a big lump in my throat right now. Thank you Best Friends for giving Georgia a normal life. And Amy, she was so lucky to have you, and you were lucky to have her.

  • TWiKi Woman

    I know I’m not the only one who wanted to take Georgia home and love on her. Thank you Amy and Best Friends for loving on her for all of us!

  • pgcov

    Run free sweet Georgia. You were the best ambassador your breed could have asked for. You were a bright and shining example of how truly wonderful and forgiving you Pitties are. I know you and Lucas must be having a wonderful time on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

    I want to thank each and every one of you who helped Georgia and the other dogs. I can only imagine how difficult her passing is for you. I’m so happy you gave her and all the others the love, understanding and respect they deserved. I believe Georgia somehow knew she was on a mission for her breed and all of you allowed her to shine. You’re the best!

  • Pilar

    God’s speed Georgia, God’s speed…

  • KrisCVTG8r

    I’m so grateful to Best Friends and all those involved in the Bad Newz raid. Through all of you, we have been come to know the spirits of Georgia and the other Vicktory dogs. Through them, we have been educated and have been able to educate others. Her legacy will live on forever in the lives of other animals saved because she was saved.

  • Mary

    Bless her heart, may she rest in peace.

  • Richard and Kalli

    My tears are for me, missing you in this world! not you Georgia! you are at the rainbow bridge and enjoying forever as you should be. Someday I know we will meet, for I love you. You did more for the pittie world than can be said. Thank you. Kalli and I will always be thankfull for your forgiveness in this world! K & R.

  • Margie Mortimer

    I am so sorry Georgia has passed-on, but I am joyful that she had Trainer John Garcia and Adoptive Caregiver, Amy her last two plus years with Best Friend Loving Care. I feel privileged to have learned about and became a monthly financial contributing member for Best Friends, through the incredible and heroic dog rescue efforts that Best Friends made with all the Michael Vick’s abused dogs. Georgia and Cherry captured my heart immediately. Thank you for rescuing our sweet girl Georgia. She was a Blessing to all who knew her at Best Friends staff, members and supporters. Margie Mortimer from Cincinnati Ohio.

  • yellorowz

    Deep condolences to Amy, Best Friend staffers, volunteers, rescuers … All angels and heroes in my world. Sweet sweet Georgia. Today you play with others in the most amazing place I can only begin to imagine! Until those of us left missing you who have gone ahead can join you, know you are remembered and missed always. Memories grow sweeter, and quiet peace warms our hearts. Until we meet at The Bridge…Cash, Woodrow, Hank, Teeter – we miss you so much!

  • roz

    So glad you found your forever home. You sounded like a wonderful citizen of the Earth.. Rest in peace knowing how many hearts you touched. I just wish M. Vick was never let back into football!! he should of stayed in prison.

  • Marcia Flaherty Barnes

    I just cried when I read the news! I have followed sweet Georgia’s story & was so elated when she was adopted. Thank goodness she died in the arms of someone so precious as Amy! She will be forever in our hearts!

  • Teri Wilson

    Tears are rolling down my eyes right now hearing of the passing of Georgia. I also feel great gratitude to the family at Best Friends. You gave Georgia what she and every animal in this world deserves… Warmth, love and compassion. Georgia has passed over the rainbow bridge but she has left a very special place in so many of our hearts all across America. Amy, you ROCK!!! Georgia’s life was horrific but she got to spend the last part of her life sleeping on a couch and being loved and cared for. Thank you Best Friends for all that you did for Georgia.
    Rest in peace sweet Georgia.

  • gypsy rose

    the Creator has called home another of the Angels that were sent to teach an important lesson. Run free Ms Georgia….you done good! my heart aches with our loss of such a good ambassador… and i KNOW the size of the hole in Amy’s life. i will hold a little spark of Georgia in my heart for courage, in the battles to come for the rights of the fur children. aint nothing like the perseverance of a pittie with their mind set on a goal…give Lucas a kiss at the bridge….and to all my pack there….will see you again Ms Georgia….

  • Left Hand Dog

    What a legacy that sweet girl left. Think how many pitties have gotten homes due to her story of love and courage. She definitely converted many people to being lovers of the breed. She showed us how love conquers all. What a sweet, wonderful girl. Thank you Best Friends and Georgia for teaching us so much about love and forgiveness.

  • Diddi

    To say that I cried like a baby when I read this story about our sweet Georgia is an understatement. God bless you Amy for giving her two beautiful and loving years…..more than she ever got from being with a devil demon like Vick. And of course, to John and Michelle and ALL of the amazing people at Best Friends who cared so deeply about Georgia, and brought her to all of US…..I cannot thank you enough. Georgia, may you find nothing but peace and love and may you romp the green grass with all of the other dogs who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge! Godspeed to you, gorgeous girl!!

  • DL

    Not every Angel is given wings, some have four paws and a heart as big as the universe. Georgia taught us about forgiveness and love. That is her legacy. My sympathies to her “Mom” Amy and her family and to her trainer John. These people gave Georgia love and a wonderful quality of Life and for that I am grateful. You are my heroes. Run free and smell the flowers baby girl. You are remembered and You are loved.

  • Kathy Scott

    RIP Georgia. Your story showed the indomitable courage of your breed. Thank you to all at Best Friends who helped you and loved you and many thanks to Amy for loving you and making you part of her family. You will be missed.

  • georgia konstantakos

    I am deeply sadden by the passing of Georgia too !!! From the start we watched her grow into a wonderful dog. And from where she was coming from it was amazing to see !!! Will always hold a special place in my heart , one reason is we share the same name. But you are right John, you got to love that goofy grin of hers!! Very , very special dog !!! So sorry for everyones loss. She was placed on this earth, so we all my grow and learn from her. And all the victory dogs as well!!!!

  • Renee Martino

    Such sad news about Georgia! I have followed her story from the start & have been touched by her and all of the Viktory Dogs. I use their stories all of the time when people talk poorly of pit bulls. Something great ultimately came from something so horrible. They proved all of the haters WRONG!
    They are not the monsters that people and the media portray them as!
    Georgia at least you finally knew what TRUE LOVE was before passing!
    God bless you, you will NEVER be forgotten! RIP

  • Mary Ann

    What a beautiful tribute to a special dog. Thank you for all that you do for all the animals.

  • PamelaJ

    See that and more photos on Handsome Dan’s fb page–he and his family went out to visit her to day good-bye.

  • Bear’s mom

    I am so sad to hear that very special Georgia has passed over the rainbow bridge. Best Friends and their staff are my heroes for rescuing amazing Georgia and other dogs from that horrible situation. Hope Georgia will meet added my fur babies that have passed over. Can’t stop my tears, RIP lovely Georgia ,

  • Shelva J Wood

    Georgia is one more precious puppy. loved her on the National GEO show, Ellen, & so many more..So devasted to learn of her death. She will certainly brighten over the rainbow bridge!! Yes, he has another dog with the help of Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS.!!

  • bittybell

    I watched her from the first time she came on to Dogtown, and the love grow between her and John Garcia. Hearing all of her updates, how she was changing the perception of these dogs, one talk show at a time! She did have a beautiful smile, perhaps because she knew she was rescued and would then experience love, as she always should have. So glad she spent her final years with Amy being a beautiful, spoiled baby! RIP Georgia. Say hello to those who went before you, such as Lucas, and the others, and all the humans who loved you will see you again someday at the bridge. Until then, keep that big, goofy smile on your face!

  • Cassie and Spots

    Perhaps someone should suggest to Michael Vicks that he make a donation to Best Friends in Georgia’s memory. He can certainly afford it.

  • Deborah Dillman

    RIP Georgia. I’m glad you finally found a loving home that you so deserved. I hope you meet my Jodi and little Pierre over the Rainbow Bridge………………

  • cameron

    I cannot figure out how to comment on other dogs but wanted to say that my Rocky dog from Best Friends passed away last Thursday. I have had him for 11 years from Best Friends and wanted to let you know and say that he was my best friend! He was my best friend always and he had a great life. Thank you for bringing him into my life.

  • Mark G.

    Rest easy sweet girl…

  • Tao San

    For the first time today, I watched NatGeo Dogtown, and became aware of the suffering caused on the Vicktory dogs by that infamous monster Michael Vick. That was this morning. It’s almost 8:00 PM and I can’t let go of the subject, and can’t stop crying either. Through Richard Hunter’s (Mel’s owner) Facebook page, I became aware Georgia died on December 4. How sad I am, even though I never met her. Thanks to the marvelous job of the wonderful human beings that make up Best Friends Animal Society, we have been able to know this story and follow up on all the heroes, both human and canine. My condolences to Amy, her last owner, for the blessing she had in giving Georgia a true home before she was called to the Eternal Garden. Also, to the Best Friends Animal Society, for it was their humanity that gave us Georgia, Mel, and all the others. I have to also thank NatGeo for such a wonderful documentary, without which I wouldn’t be writing this comment. So long Georgia, God willing you will meet my beloved Cho, become great friends, and play along for eternity.

    Tao San