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Berkeley Breathed's new book was inspired by one of Michael Vick's former pit bulls

October 16, 2009 |  1:05 pm

Berkeley

Beloved cartoonist Berkeley Breathed had an unusual inspiration for his latest children's book, "Flawed Dogs." No it wasn't one of the Santa Barbaran's many rescued pit bulls, but it was one of Michael Vick's infamous dogs who was set to be put down.

"The book happened because I came across both a picture and a quote at about the same time -- a picture of one of Michael Vick's fight dogs. It was set to be put down, but a shelter in Utah decided to take the dog and a few others at the same time and try to rehabilitate them," Breathed told CNN. "This was the first time the dog had ever received any affection in its life.... It's the most moving picture of a dog I've ever seen, having gone through an impossible transition and fallen back to where dogs naturally go, which is just loving people."

Best known for other animals, most notably the skittish penguin named Opus and utterly bizarre Bill the Cat, the Pulitzer Prize-winner sat down with Hero Complex blogger Geoff Boucher earlier this month and talked about his career so far, his regrets and his plans for the future.

Video of Breathed reading from "Flawed Dogs" after the jump.

Vick23 More Vick: This Sunday, Vick's Philadelphia Eagles venture to Oakland to play the hapless Raiders. They will also be met by a Bay Area animal rights group, In Defense of Animals, which plans on protesting the game. According to the Associated Press, the IDA doesn't believe that the quarterback has been repentant enough for abusing his dogs. IDA president Elliot Katz apparently wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "asking that dogfighting and cockfighting be specifically included in the 'criminal offense' section of the league's Personal Conduct Policy," the AP said.

Even more Vick: The game between the Eagles and the Raiders has sold so few tickets that the game will be blacked out in the Bay Area.

-- Tony Pierce

Top image: Los Angeles Times photo illustrations of Berkeley Breathed shot by Mark Boster, embellished by Breathed.

Bottom photo: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) runs away from Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Rhonde Barber (20) at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday. Credit: Eric Hartline / US Presswire

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