The magazine’s cover story gives a powerful update on the story that broke every animal lover’s heart.

By Amy Jamieson
Updated December 23, 2008 08:36 PM
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It’s a sight that’s sure to make you do a double take when you see it on newsstands: a pit bull gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. Of course, this isn’t just any pit bull. It’s Jasmine, who will forever be known as one of Michael Vick’s dogs, even though she’s now living a life envied by any shelter dog. Forty-seven of the 51 dogs seized from Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels in 2007 were saved and the magazine’s new report paints a poignant picture of what their lives are like today.

Jasmine, who sat terrified under a blanket in a kennel after she was rescued from Vick’s property many months ago, now enjoys play dates with joyful Sweet Pea, who is believed to be her mother. Jonny, a certified therapy dog, sits and listens to children as they practice reading aloud. Leo, also a therapy dog, visits with cancer patients and troubled teens. Zippy tenderly licks the face of the 9-year-old girl that she now lives with.

Initially, both PETA and the Humane Society recommended that the dogs be euthanized because they were thought to be beyond rehabilitation. Though four were unable to saved, the majority are thriving. S.I.’s Jim Gorant profiles the dog’s long, heart-breaking journey from Virginia (Caution: Tissues needed!) and poses the question: Was it worth the time and effort to save these 47 dogs when millions languish in shelters? After reading about how these dogs have touched the lives of others it’s really hard to say no.

Visit S.I.com for the full story on Michael Vick’s dogs. And, be sure to click here to see photos of ten of the dogs in their new homes now.