Nearly 10 years after being rescued from a vicious dogfighting operation, this pit bull is having the time of his life.
In celebration of his recovery from NFL quarterback Michael Vick's infamous dog fighting ring, which included years of rehabilitation and an amputation of a hind leg, Cherry Garcia was treated to the best day of his life, thanks to his loving owners and canine-minded site BarkPost.
The loveable pit bull, now living with Paul and Melissa Fiaccone and their two young children, started the day with his favorite activity: Cuddling with kittens.
According to the Fiaccones, Cherry loves getting cozy with the two cats the family has at home, so local animal rescue Friends of Berlin Animal Control decided to send a few his way. Volunteers hopped in an Uber with crates of cats, and unleashed the tiny felines into Cherry's "Kitten Cuddle Fort."
"Everytime he's around kittens it seems like all his stress goes away," Melissa Fiaccone said in an interview with BarkPost. "All these kittens climbing all over him is a dream come true for him."
The three-legged pup was also treated to a dog-friendly ice cream sundae at a local dog treat specialty store, and enjoyed an ice cold doggie beer after playing in the backyard.
Best of all, Cherry spent the day giving back by helping kids understand that rehabilitation is possible, and donating the proceeds from treats created in his name to animal rescue charities.
"If Cherry was a vicious dog, he would not be able to recover," Paul Fiaccone said.
Cherry was one of the 53 pit bulls rescued from quarteback Michael Vick's infamous dog fighting ring in Virginia.
When he was rescued from the Bad Newz Kennels operation, the fate of the dogs was uncertain. Some believed the canines should be euthanized after being exposed to aggressive behavior, the New York Times reported, but the Best Friends Animal Society, along with other rescue organizations, fought to rescue and rehabilitate the pups instead.
Like many other dogs that came from the operation, Melissa Fiaccone said Cherry used to flatten his body to the ground like a pancake to avoid being noticed, or pause during walks because he was scared of moving.
But the rescued pit bull was adopted by the Fiaccones five years ago, and has thrived since.
Vick pleaded guilty to the multi-million dollar operation in 2007 and served 18 months in a federal prison before completing his sentence in 2009.
He returned to the NFL following his release, but is currently an unsigned free agent.