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TCA Press Tour: Georgia, a sweet old dog

July 9, 2008 |  4:54 pm

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This Georgia is a real peach.

The 6-year-old, 55-pound pitbull that has the tragic distinction of being one of the Michael Vick dogs had TV critics and reporters (present company included) literally on their knees Wednesday afternoon at the Beverly Hilton. After the National Geographic Channel's press conference on its new "Dogtown" season, which includes episodes following the rehabilitation of four of the 22 abused Vick canines, journalists of all ages, shapes and sizes flocked to the front of the room to pet Georgia, rub her belly and photograph her. 

The biggest impression? Georgia sure does like to lick! She was wearing a new pink collar and leash recently bought in a 90210 boutique, and she is staying at the Beverly Hilton while on vacation from her new and very loving home in Utah. Boy, is she good at making friends!

Almost a year to the date of Vick's indictment on dogfighting charges, the 22 dogs are thriving, according to John Garcia, lead trainer for the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, one of the largest no-kill facilities in the United States. The dogs were first treated at a facility in Washington, D.C., and then moved to Best Friends in southern Utah seven months ago. They otherwise would have been euthanized.

Under Vick's care, Georgia's teeth were extracted so that she could be bred repeatedly and not be able to fight back, said Dr. Mike Dix, the medical director of Best Friends. "Double-digit breedings," he noted grimly.

"She was put in a situation where she had to fight for her life and was almost forcibly raped," Garcia said. "I can understand why she had issues toward other dogs. That’s the most emotionally hard thing, is seeing dogs come in in this type of shape. . . . When I first met Georgia, she really couldn't care less about people. You could tell she had a traumatic past and had been burned. There were food guarding issues. And other issues to address right away. In seven months, she’s made so much progress.. Georgia, I assure you, is a complete diva. She’s back in the green room right now asking for blue M&Ms and Evian."

Of course, the TV critics knew Garcia was joking because Georgia was on stage sleeping next to his feet during the session.

"She's now a total California girl," he added.

--Maria Elena Fernandez

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