RATHER THAN TELL the world his children were eating Milk-Bones - a box of the dog treats were accidentally shown in a photo he sent out on Twitter of his daughter doing her homework - Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has decided to tell the truth about dogs.

This time.

We all remember the time he lied to the law, his teammates, the public, his fans, his coach, about his involvement in a murderous, evil and stomach-turning dogfighting scheme.

This time, after quickly taking down the damning picture and replacing it with an edited, no-Milk-Bone shot, and after ducking questions from the press about a canine in his domicile, Vick 'fessed up.

His family has a dog.

Since I was one of those who led the screams when the Eagles elevated Vick to starting quarterback (and was called racist by some of his moronic fans), what follows may come as news to them and shock my fellow animal advocates.

I'm OK with his family having a dog.

More than OK - it's good, for several reasons.

First, it will acquaint Vick with a dog's many loving and lovable traits. When he sees the devotion and loyalty of the family pet, he will grow to love it. It's almost impossible not to. And when that happens, his conscience may torture him for what he did to other dogs.

That would be good for his soul.

Let me stipulate that because of Vick's past actions, his dog could be in no safer environment. If he so much as looks cross-eyed at the hound, I believe real dog-lover Jeffrey Lurie would fire him on the spot. Vick is under a microscope. That dog will get loving care.

"As a father, it is important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals," Vick said in a statement. "I want to ensure that my children establish a loving bond and treat all of God's creatures with kindness and respect. Our pet is well cared-for and loved as a member of our family."

Key words: "member of our family." Good. That's what a dog is.

Second, his children want and are entitled to a dog, for all the fun and laughs a properly socialized dog brings into a household. Vick made one ignorant, earlier misstatement when he said his kids could have any breed but a pit bull - the breed he tortured.

Like many, Vick believes pit bulls are bad, vicious dogs. They are not, except for the ones "trained" by people like (the former) Vick and his heartless ilk.

Before bad breeders got their filthy hands on pit bulls, do you know what they were nicknamed? The Nanny breed. Their reputation was a family dog, especially protective of children. Yes, they could be vicious - to someone trying to harm a household child.

Third, at some point when they are older, Vick's children will see their father and see their dog and ask how he could have ever harmed such a wonderful animal.

I'm pretty sure Vick hasn't had that conversation yet. It will come and that will be painful for him.

And that will make me happy.

And, despite his contrition, his visits to schools and rec centers to talk about animal abuse, I have not joined Vick's team. It was nice he set up a charitable foundation, but when I went online Thursday night I found no evidence that any money goes to animal welfare.

I still don't root for the Eagles; I still don't wear their logo. I can't.

I won't.

I don't think my personal boycott bothers Vick. But when his children's pet dog touches his heart, that may bother him.

And I like that.

Contact Stu Bykofsky at stubyko@phillynews.com or 215-854-5977. Join Stu on Facebook. For recent columns, go to philly.com/Byko.