Vicktory Dog’ Families Are Now Making Hats And Scarves For Syrian Refugees

Written by: Arin Greenwood

January 28, 2016

Just when you thought the people who adopted Michael Vick’s former fighting dogs couldn’t get more inspiring, they’ve gone and done it.

A group of the so-called “Vicktory dog” families are now knitting hats, scarves, socks, and mittens for Syrian refugees.

Susan Weidel, adoptive mom to the beautiful former Vick dog Little Red, tells BarkPost:

I’m not a great knitter but I knew how much the items would mean to kids who had nothing.


Weidel got involved with this effort a couple of months ago through her sister Nancy, who’d been looking for a way to help Syrians fleeing their country’s civil war after seeing the horrifying photo of the young boy who drowned and washed ashore while seeking refuge.

Weidel says:

She did some research on the internet and found that there was a great need for warm clothes as winter approached.

The sisters joined forces with a local knitting group in Wyoming, where they live. Weidel also posted about this project to Little Red’s popular Facebook page.

That’s how Vicktory dog Oscar‘s mom Rachel Johnson caught wind.

Johnson doesn’t knit herself, but sent four skeins of wool yarn to another of the gang, Jacqueline Johnson, mom to Vicktory dog Ray (who died last year, due to an illness related to his previous abuse).

Johnson’s been knitting like crazy — mostly to support Weidel, and also to keep her hands busy while quitting smoking.

Johnson told us:

I am averaging a hat or scarf a day, and I think I’ve made about 40 so far. It is impossible to smoke and knit at the same time. But even more importantly, it was the thought of those children, cold and wet and frightened.

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Paul Fiaccone, Vicktory dog Cherry‘s dad, says he and his wife Melissa joined in — also by donating yarn — after seeing Johnson’s impressive productivity.

He says:

When you see Jacque, who gives so much to her job, family, and friends, taking some of her only down time to knit hats for refugee children, it is hard not to try and help. We just wanted to do our part.

Handsome Dan‘s mom Heather Gutshall delivered some knitted hats in person, meantime, while she and another Vicktory dog family — Traci Madsen and Halle — were visiting with Weidel and Little Red before Christmas. She’s got more yarn coming, donated by one of Handsome Dan’s admirers.

Gutshall says:

Susan is an amazing person so if she is passionate about it I wanted to support her.

Kathy Fields is with the Friends of Salaam Cultural Museum Helping Syrian Refugees — the organization collecting and distributing the donations to Syrian refugees as they arrive on the Greek island of Lesvos and in Jordanian refugee camps.

Fields tells BarkPost she hadn’t realized the particular origin of these knitted goods, but is “most glad more people are helping the refugees.”

The recipients are often dangerously cold and wet, and they’ve had to travel without luggage, without extra clothes to keep them warm.

Fields says that their donations are saving lives.


Weidel has sent off 10 boxes of goods so far. Each item is affixed with a paper heart, bearing the name of the person who made it.

The recipients in all likelihood won’t know that these names are attached to some of the most famous dogs in history — dogs who were saved from unimaginable violence, who have gone on to break down every stereotype about what victims of cruelty are capable of, and what they deserve.

Dogs whose families have dedicated themselves to making the world a kinder, more compassionate place for animals, and for humans.

That’s ok, if they don’t know. Recognition isn’t the goal.

Johnson told us:

We want those kids to know that somewhere out there they are loved.

Weidel added:

They are the victims of war and they are in suffering. That is the tie that binds — wanting to help alleviate that suffering.

TBT – This is one of the pictures that started it all for me and my Mom. She saw this picture on the Best Friends…

Posted by Little Red on Thursday, January 28, 2016

Reach out to Susan Weidel through Little Red’s Facebook page if you’d like to donate to the Syrian refugee knitting project.

And get in touch at [email protected] to share your stories of incredible dogs, and their incredible humans.

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Written by: Arin Greenwood

January 28, 2016

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