Last week we lost our beloved Hector. While thinking about him and trying to commit every little detail to my memory forever, I realized he is my Most Painted Dog, my goofy-faced muse. For those who don’t know of him, his claim to fame was starting his life with NFL player Michael Vick as a fighting dog. Hector quickly proved to be much more than a scarred pit bull with a traumatic past. His sparkling charm and dog-friendly nature brought him to us via BADRAP. No rehabilitation necessary, he sailed through the CGC, therapy dog, and temperament tests and made his way into the spotlight, loving every second of it. But really, he was a regular dog. What was so remarkable about him was how unremarkable he was. That is not a slam on Hector. That is a glowing recommendation of all dogs and their individuality. What seemed so special about Hector was that he could come from a horrible situation and be such a regular amazing dog.

I guess Hector inspired me to give art to organizations that helped dogs like him. And my first painting ever was of him. Pinups for Pit Bulls was having an art auction and I thought, “Oh that’s right. I may have some artistic ability lingering somewhere. I don’t paint, but I am going to donate a painting anyway and it will be Hector.” I don’t know what that was about, but I made up my mind and did it. And along the way it turned into a full time job. Thanks, Hector.


My first painting. Donated to Pinups for Pit Bulls.


Dapper Hector

I loved the goofy grin on his face and had to paint it. Donated to A Rotta Love Plus.



Another dorky face to paint. This one is big and it’s all mine!


Mardi Paws 4

Always up for anything, Hector endured our goofiness, too. This one went to Camp Companion.



This was a little painting donated to A Rotta Love Plus.


The night after he died came the worst feeling ever. We came home after The Appointment and I could still feel him everywhere. I looked at the hallway at the base of the stairs and thought, “He was just sitting right there this morning”, upstairs in the dog bed in my studio, “He was right there this morning curled up with Mindy Lou”, by the front door, “He was wagging his tail here when we left to go to his Appointment”. Those are the kinds of things I think about initially, but gradually the dark thoughts morph into the happy memories…The way he pounced on toys, stole toys from the other dogs, loved sunshine more than anything, tricked us into one part of the yard so he could go eat poop in another part of the yard, remained his constant go-with-the-flow self in any kind of public situation (way more than I ever could), let Mindy gnaw on his face, buddied up with Angus and Scooby, cuddled with me occasionally after he got sick, obsessed over frogs and underwater things, refused to do out-and-back walks (loops only!), went bananas when I put essential oils on him, and ALWAYS backed up the other dogs when they barked at something (I guarantee he was clueless as to what the commotion was about, but he was glad to contribute to it). I know other qualities and memories about him will come back at random times just like when I suddenly remember Ajax pulling at my leg inviting me to play or when it’s feeding time and I think of Wallace wailing like he hasn’t eaten in a decade. I love those moments when a memory unexpectedly floods me. I look forward to smiling at my Hector memories.

It’s hard to put down my feelings in writing after losing a member of my family. Nothing I can say will do them justice or sum up how wonderful they were, but I will say this:

It was an honor to be one of Hector’s people. He made me better. He made the world better.


132 thoughts on “Hector

  1. Thank you so much for sharing Hector with us. He was a great representation of what pits truly are, given the opportunity and shown love and kindness. I thank you for giving him that opportunity. (I have sent you a friend request on FB and hope to enjoy the memories you have posted there)

    • I cannot get on any of Hector’s sites unless I am crying like a baby. He had such a beautiful spirit and love for everyone. He suffered horrible years with Vick and then got cancer. It is so so sad. I am glad he had years of happiness, love, kisses, hugs, and a forever home.He is gone but I will NEVER FORGET HIM as many others won’t. I am so sorry for your family’s loss.

  2. Honestly, that was so very very beautiful/ I am so sorry Hector got sick. I am glad you guys were there to love him during the last years He was Amazing! God Bless you guys.

  3. Yes he did!! Let us not forget that it was your and Roo’s heart and joy in watching him be Hector that allowed him just that. He and Wallace are forever with us and their imprint on this world is undeniable. P.S. LOVE the drawings!!!

  4. You are unbelievably brave. You both are amazing people. I only happened upon Hectors tale last week and I cried and cried watching movies of him and reading the blog on Facebook. Clara, I wish you and Roo so much love. He was an amazingly spirited dog. We have three rescues of varying breeds and size and I cannot imagine life without them. I dread the day our lives change and one of them isn’t here. Sending you much love from the UK. XX hector was a babe. RIP buddy. XxπŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•

  5. I’m so sorry for the loss of your beloved dog, Hector. Even though I only know of him through the Facebook page, he took over a place in my heart as I’m sure he did so many other people as well. He will be missed by many.

  6. Beaitifully written Clara! I loved Hector and enjoyed reading and seeing pictures of him. Thank you and Roo for being there for him. I hope one day people will not be afraid of pit bulls as Hector was proof!! I know Hector is running free of pain and is being his goofy self in heaven with all of God’s creatures! Thank you!

  7. Thank you for allowing us all to know & love Hector.Thank you most of all for sharing his passing & letting him go with the dignity that he deserved.

  8. Blessings…… where others failed ….
    Thank You for picking up and embracing Hector with All the LOVE that could be Shared in the World ! He SO Reflected YOUR LOVE and I appreciated being able to walk the 2nd mile with him, through your thoughtfulness
    I am so very saddened by the void on this earthly plane…but I know He will continue to Fill Your Heart…….daily ….

  9. Beautifully written, Clara. Thank you for sharing your sweet memories-I hope they comfort you when the sense of his loss feels overwhelming at times.

  10. A wonderful story about a great dog. Wonderful memories for the future. I once read that we should try to be the amazing person our dog thinks we are. I think you managed to do that for Hector.
    Best wishes
    Mark Entwistle

  11. Clara, I am in tears. This is absolutely beautiful and the artwork is amazing. As I am reading this Ray is spending the day at the clinic getting rads and xrays. I know he is sick. I am hoping it is something that we can deal with. But if it’s not, I pray that I can have the grace you have shown when it’s time to let him go. Hugs to a wonderful couple who helped change the hearts and minds of people all over the country.

  12. I’ve only been following Hector for a few months and it felt like a life time. I can tell by “his” posts and your words he was definitely one special, loving and lucky dog. Your words remind me of the time I had to bring my dog for her “appointment”, still gives me a lump in my throat but like you, I’ve learned to remember the oh so many wonderful times. Keep up the great work you do for dogs like Hector and Wallace, they love you for it.

  13. Such sweet words and beautiful paintings of our hero, Hector!! (Yes, I’m crying again over the loss of precious Hector…so thankful that you shared your big babies life with us)…God Bless you!! Pam H (Nederland, TX)

  14. What a wonderful tribute you have scribed with both words and pictures! I cried for your loss, but I am SO thankful that you shared this remarkable dog’s story with us all. He had life lessons for all of us.

  15. Only knew about Hector toward the end but am so glad you were able to spend so many happy years with him and he with you. Dogs like Hector will never be forgotten.

  16. A very nice tribute Clara. Hector is proof that no matter what happens to them, they are still unconditionally loving. I am so sorry for your loss as losing a furry family member is never easy. I am grateful that Hector got the wonderful years he had with you and Roo. Hector is at Rainbow Bridge now, he dug a hole and he is looking down on you both. That distant bark you hear, is Hector saying thanks.

  17. Its amazing what a pet family member can do to enrich our lives and those of us who have experienced the same thing understand completely….and no words are even needed. Your love for him shines through your beautiful art. Thank you for sharing him with the world and for appreciating what he had to share with so many. May your heart always smile with the happy memories of Hector knowing he was able to move forward from his own tragedy and enjoy a beautiful rest of his life with you.

  18. Those “after the appointment” moments are some of the most painful because it really is just a short amount of time that separates where they last were and what they were doing right up until “the appointment.” Both of your lives were made so much better by loving each other, and I’m glad that not only do you receive comfort from your family and four-legged companions, but you have so many supporters who know exactly what you’re feeling.

  19. You are angels and saved a precious boy from even more pain..He had one thing he’ll probably treasure forever and that was LOVE.

  20. Beautifully said, Clara. I can’t believe you only started painting that recently – your work is so lovely and so true to H’s nature. So, remember a few years ago at the A Rotta Love art show, when there was a lovely three-part series on wood, one panel of which was Hector on an aqua background? That panel was on the announcement for the show. I had just bought the three pieces when I saw you & found out that you were disappointed because you wanted the Hector panel. I offered it to you, but you said you had other art of him and you’d let me know if you decided to take it. You’ve gone on to do so many lovely paintings of him that you don’t need this one.

    On the top of a sideboard in my dining room, I have a collection of collars and other memorabilia from the dogs I’ve loved and lost. Last week, I put that portrait of Hector there.

  21. Clara:
    I’m so sorry for your loss…… I wish with all that is in me he was still here!!!
    I loved HECTOR like he was my own!! He will forever be in my heart!! Thank you so much for letting me be apart of your memories. I only came to know him in August of 2014, and I checked in throughout the day on all of your adventures with him. I’m not on face book, but I sent you and Roo an email last week. HECTOR really affected my life and outlook in general on how much love one dog can give and receive after what he had been through! HECTOR was the true meaning of COURAGE & HOPE & LOVE. You and HECTOR have made a difference in the way thousands of people look at the PITS breed, HECTOR WON and WON big he did, just know I will forever be indebted to you and HECTOR for all you did and still have to do!! Thank you again for sharing HECTOR with me and the world. You will be in my prayers and I will check in often on HECTORS page.

    All my thoughts & prayers,

  22. Such a beautiful sentiment. Hector was such a handsome boy and loved by many. I lost my first love, my 7 year old female boxer almost 4 months ago suddenly. I know exactly what you mean by seeing him everywhere. It’s definitely the hardest thing I have ever been through, however each day I get a little bit stronger. RIP Hector. Hopefully you can meet my sweet Journey at the Rainbow Bridge.

  23. Tears, your amazing painting are a reflection of your “unremarkable” Hector, a beautiful gift that you and Hector explored and shared together. I believe that we shed a 1000 tears for a lifetime of loved shared, one day your tears will come to rest upon your smiles. Thank you for sharing your family with the world.

  24. The moment I knew Hector was gone from this world, I imagined him kneeling at the throne of God. God reached down and patted Hector on the head, saying “Well done Hector…job well done.”

    Hector rose above adversity, abuse, and pain. He became what he had always been inside his heart and soul; a loving, loyal, goofy boy that thousands of people everywhere grew to love.

    Hector was and always will be a beautiful tribute to his breed. Thank you for sharing him…

  25. Hector was a wonderful dog and so lucky to have you as his mom. I have a pit bull who is wonderful too so I understand how lucky you are to have been his mom ❀

  26. Wonderfully said – I sometimes feel as if the memories of my Freya are slipping away. This just made me feel so much better today. Thank you!

  27. those paintings are beautiful. Hector was an amazing animal. god bless you and your family for giving him a home with so much love. I hope Michael Vick burns in hell. I feel like he was a part of Hectors short life. he is the reason Pitt Bulls get a bad rap. Hector looks like he was full of life and love. i am so sorry for your loss. prayers to you and your family.

  28. Thank you for sharing Hector, as an owner of a rescued pitty, Hector shows the true beauty and resilience of the breed! xoxoxo

  29. Beautifully said. And as blessed as you were to find Hector, he was blessed to find you as well – truly a match made in Heaven. I hope you paint him, for yourself…your art is truly moving and captures the nuances of character so beautifully.

  30. I’ve been a follower of the V dogs for years and Hector was always one of my favorites as well as one of the inspirations behind adopting my own dogs. I actually participated in the auction you guys held a few years ago and while I was desperately hoping for a Hector picture, I actually won a Wallace. (At the time I didn’t know who this famous brother was until after reading the book.)
    While the world mourns the physical loss of both of these amazing dogs, we are fortunate to still have the guardians of their message.

  31. These paintings are gorgeous!! Beautifully written such a great tribute to your sweet boy!! He has forever stamped my heart because you & Roo were so kind to share him with the world!!! Going to start reading Wallace this evening! Thank you!!!🐢🐢

  32. Thank you for sharing this precious boy with us. I tear up every time I read about him. I know that feeling all to well. I have a pitty myself that reminds me so much of Hector.

  33. Beautifully expressed, Clara. Other artists also painted Hector’s image to raise funds for charities- he was an inspiration to many of us animal lovers, and although I never once met him, he will always be in my heart. When I must say goodbye to one of my crew, I write a long list of all my special memories of them. It can take days or weeks before I feel it’s complete, so I often start when I believe their time is coming. I include as many random things about them I can think of (personality, appearance, experiences). Then after they have passed, I often take out the list and read all those memories recorded on it. It makes me smile, and sometimes makes me cry. It reminds me of things that I thought I would never forget about them, but I did simply because time had passed and that is what happens. I’m always glad I have that list.

  34. You have a way with words. They paint a picture I can see clearly! I hope you go back through facebook and copy all the activities you wrote about. I have felt I know Hector and all of his love of his life!. Please know, so many of us love you for the life you shared with Hector. He was one lucky guy. Remember the good times. I have lost my baby too, so I know what you feel, I see him, his face, my Dakota in pieces of wood, in piles of junk, (sounds wierd) and clouds. My Dakota is here with me, as Hector is with you!

  35. Thank you Clara for sharing. You truly had an amazing dog and he had amazing people. I followed Hector’s story from the time he was rescued until the day he went to the rainbow bridge. I was moved by his courage and strength and the amount of Love and Sweetness he possessed. He could have been so angry and non trusting and who could have blamed him, but he choose to be happy and love life in spite of the horrors he endured. He will always be special, and will never be forgotten. Please eep us posted. Your paintings are awesome.

  36. A great example of a great dog. I have one of my own that I was scared of when he wandered to my gate from being dumped on a country highway in the heat of August. Read about his story on his Facebook at “Diego Lake The Pit Bull.” I hope some day I can have a portrait of his exceptionally handsome face. πŸ™‚

  37. Thank you so much for sharing Hector with us. Truly I will never forget him!
    I understand perfectly how the memories snag you unexpectedly and highjack your heart to another time and place and how you are afraid you will forget every little detail about him and how the memories are so painful yet you want to think of him all the time.
    Hector changed many hearts and minds which were hardened against pibbles.
    Partly because of Hector, 2 pibble girls rescued from a high kill shelter share our home.
    Although Hector was a “National Treasure”, he was also the treasure of your heart which is grieving.
    Please accept my deepest condolences for his loss.
    His legacy will live on always.

  38. It was always such a joy to read Hectors posts and see his beautiful face, so calm and loving…Thank you for sharing him with us… xXx

  39. I only know of Hector thru Facebook and Mac the Pit Bull. I have first hand knowledge of losing a family member like Hector. He was strong and refused to be a victim. Thank you for being there for him. He made more people aware of the plight of his breed. Me being one. I always held the stereotype of bullies to be true. Thru him and you always nd others like you I learned differently. Heart is with you.

  40. You just brought tears to my eyes reading this … Just the way you talk about him you can tell how much you loved him and care for him … We need more people in this world like you guys sending prayers sending healing prayers which the hurt and pain of a loved one will never go away

  41. Thank you for sharing this. I can identify with so much of what you wrote and still Hector, Wallace and Ajax were not like every other dog, they were like Hector, Wallace and Ajax. Just as my girls were like TB and Coco, although they could be goofy just like Hector. My only addition would be to wonder what we ever did to deserve them in our lives, even if only for a few years.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s