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. I admire your courage and strength. I could not have even talked after losing one of my family members. Thank you for sharing Hector with us. I am very impressed by your paintings, you are very talented. I love Hector and feel I knew him from your posts for him. He was a goofy pitbull like my three, they are all goofy and fun. No meanness in these animals that I can every find. I love pitbulls and I used to be terrified of them, but no more. I rescue too when I can. God bless you.

  2. Thank you for letting me love a dog I never even met. Thank you both for sharing him with the rest of us. Happy he can run free now, but sad for those left behind.

  3. ~I’m not even sure where to start…I have been drawn to dogs at the rescue I volunteer with and since starting there, Pit Bulls are my favorite. There have been two that will always hold a special place in my heart and then there is the one I never met…Hector. Oh my word, I never realized that a dog I never met would have such a grip on my heart.
    ~I was aware of the Vicktory Dogs, through one of the gals at the rescue who goes to Best Friends in Utah twice a year and loves on the Pit Bulls. So, this past year, when we went to Vegas, I was adamant that I wanted to go- even tho it was just for the day- and see this amazing place that helped these amazing animals. Disappointed I was not; however, one day is not nearly enough.
    ~And then…I found Hector the Pit Bull, needless to say that face had me in a minute-as I am sure he has done to thousands of other people. To read what he had gone through and see the love that he had to share with, not only you and Roo, but all that he met truly makes him an ambassador for his “breed”. I am proud to say that I live in the same state (MN, and I agree with Hector the winters I could do without) as one of the AMAZING ambassadors of the Pit Bull breed and AMAZING his family who taught and will continue to teach that “it is NOT the breed that is the problem” it is the human at the other end of the leash.
    ~Thank you for sharing your special boy with us and allowing us to love him with you.

  4. wow! It’s time you took credit for your writing AND your painting. You’re not just a wonderful friend to dogs. Thanks for bringing back the memories of all those times a dog has left me. Bittersweet, yes, but precious all the same.

  5. Excellent….I followed him several times a day every day and I find myself going to his page to see what he’s up to and then it hits me. I thank God that you and Roo were his mommy and daddy and that you gave him a life of happiness. I love the artwork…are you going to make a book ????

  6. Expressing your thoughts about your memories about the amazing Hector brought me to tears immediately. ..sobbing uncontrollably, being usable to read through my tears. I don’t know how to put into words my feelings. But I just want to say Thank you for letting us in to your world and letting us share your journey with Hector. I always looked forward to getting up each day, and reading a post on what Hector was up to. It broke my heart when I read the post about his battle with cancer, and I thought to myself, “oh nooo! Not again!” Thinking to myself that it wasn’t long ago that you had to face this same scenario with your beloved Wallace. I rooted for him everyday that I read all the posts that he was still here with us. Kind of selfish of me… ( it wasn’t fair that he had to leave us this way). But he had the best parents a doggie could hope for, and it was comforting to know that Hector would, and did let you know when it was time to say “good bye until we meet again”. He has been on my mind everyday since his passing….As time passes, and gives you time to renew your spirit, I look forward to seeing more beautiful paintings of your goof ball and reading more beautiful memories of Hector….God bless you!

  7. I am do very sorry for your loss! My heart truly breaks for you and your family. Hector could not have had a better life with anyone else…you were the perfect match. God bless you…for showing everyone that they may be bruised, but they’re NOT broken, that even the most mistreated babies can be saved, and can be warm, loving companions. You are as wonderful as Hector was, and he will be remembered! Your paintings of him are beautiful! Thank you for sharing him with us! You and Roo have hearts of gold! RIP, sweet boy…run free and be happy! Again, God bless you all!

  8. So sad with Hector passing, may he run and play with two of our spca adopts that passed away this summer, im sure they are enjoying their time at Rainbow Bridge, Love from my remaining doggies, one who looks just like Hector did, and us from Canada

  9. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Your paintings of Hector are beautiful. I know you miss Hector terribly and I hope your heart heals a little with each loving memory of him. God bless you for giving him the life he so deserved and for speaking for those who have no voice. You are an angel on Earth. ❤️

  10. Beautiful post and your paintings were amazing as well! Thank you for sharing Hector with all of us, but mostly thank you for showing him there are good people and love in the world! I picture him chasing frogs all day long across the bridge! Rest peacefully Hector, you were, and still are loved by many! ❤

  11. Thanks so much for sharing Hector with all of us…..We had to make an “Appointment” for our beloved Lab Shelby on Thursday of last week……in our last moments with her, I told her to go to the Rainbow Bridge cause Hector was waiting there for her too. Told her to be brave like Hector and we would see her again…..heartfelt thanks and so sorry for your loss, yes the world is a much better place because Shelby and Hector and so many wonderful pets were here!!!

  12. I joined Hector’s story quite late on but in the short time I knew him I got to feel the overwhelming love you surrounded him with. I’m sure you know the expression ‘paw prints on your heart’ well mine is well and truly covered in them from the countless fur babies that have shared their lives with me and I get the feeling that yours is the same. You are an angel here on earth, thank you x

  13. Beautuful sentiment for a beautiful soul. Hector was a shining example of his breed. He also is proof of what the right kind of love and care can do for a broken spirit!! Thank you for giving him an amazing life and sharing him with the world! Your artwork is beautiful and most definitely captures his essence!!

  14. We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare, and love we can spare. And in return dogs give us their all. It is the best deal mankind has ever made.
    -M. Facklam

  15. I only knew about Hector in his last weeks… I read and I read past posts on his FB page and I realize how much he was loved, by you but also by all his followers !! I’m glad I discover his story before he went to the Bridge… Thank you for sharing him with us. Hector, you will never be forgotten ❤

  16. Such a beautiful tribute to a beautiful dog! I lost my precious, Zoe, in August. She too had cancer. We had almost 2 years with her after her diagnosis and subsequent kidney removal. We thought we had it beat but she took a turn for the worse in July. My heart still aches for her. Coming home to the house without her was the hardest moment of my life. It has been over two months now since she passed and I still can’t look at her picture or think of her without bursting into tears. I look forward to the day when I can smile instead of cry.
    Your paintings are amazing! Thank you for sharing Hector’s story with the world! God bless you for loving him! Run free sweet Hector!

  17. SO beautiful. Tears flowing down my face as I read the love in each word you have written and see the love in each picture you have painted. ((((hugs))))

  18. You are an exceptional family , Hector was truly blessed with you .i sincerely hope more people copy your love and unselfishness. There are so many more dogs out there who need people and homes like yours . Thank you for all you did for Hector .

  19. Thank you so much for sharing Hector with all of us. And allowing us to be apart of your extended family. It is an honor….

  20. A beautiful tribute to Hector. I can only imagine how much you miss him. You will always have him in your heart. Everytime you feel that tug… It’s him just saying… I’m still here with you. Just remember… He had you, he had love and that’s more than most. #HectorNation

  21. Sorry, in usual fashion I left my reply in the wrong place. Is under the above last portrait of Hector under comment. Wanted you to see it please Clara.

  22. I so sorry for ur loss this was the most beautiful words an pictures i have ever seen I’m am crying as i read this u are such a angel for not giving up on hector an proving what pitts are really about an he lived the best seven years because of you i know it’s never easy losing a family member but the memories will never fade or go away god bless you for being his mommy cause he knew u were the perfect one to give him his wonderful life he had i know it’s hard but just remember he will always be in ur heart and u are the reason he was the awesome loving caring handsome dog he was ♡♡♡♡

  23. Clara, thank you to you and Roo for sharing hector, and Wallace with us. I have no doubt that he is resting in peace. After living with you for seven years, he certainly knew what peace was. Hopefully, your memories will carry you through this time.

  24. Wonderful words. When my dog passed, I’ve had the sentiment that he’s still here with me for long time. I do remember all the good and the bad, all the little things that made him be what he was and I cherish each one of them. They’ve been 6 difficult months and the passing of Hector reopened my broken heart.

  25. Clara, you are an amazing women and a blessing to the animals in your care. I fell in love with Hector the minute I laid eyes on him through your postings. I, too, am gong through the final days with my Beloved Golden, Benny. I dread the day when I will walk through my home, as you described, and picture where he had been, where he had left his print on my life forever. God Bless you and Roo for making Hector’s life AMAZING until his final moments. His face speaks a thousand words of contentment and love. Hector ❤

  26. God bless you and your family for giving Hector such a wonderful home I know that the joy you feel for him is exactly what he felt for you..he will always be a huge inspiration for all the dogs who are abused and neglected…fly free in heaven Hector, you have earned your wings!!!

  27. I never physically met Hector but I am so grateful to you and your family for sharing him with the rest of the world. I can only hope you can feel the love of everyone you kindly shared him with. Thank you.

  28. Thank you for sharing your family with us. I am so sorry for your loss. My heart breaks for you. May you take comfort in you many happy memories of your beloved boy. God bless you.

  29. Beautifully written. Your painting are amazing. I’m so happy Hector had y’all to show him the love he so deserved. He will be missed but not forgotten.

  30. How can two dogs and two people, all of whom are complete strangers, leave such an imprint on one’s heart? You all have, on mine. As a former pit bull fear-er (not a word,,,), through you, I have come to love them, and advocate for them whenever I can. Your art and kind words were so touching. How wonderful that you and Roo opened your hearts to these special dogs who needed so much, and gave so much. Bless you, and thank you so, so much. ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

  31. Oh My I’m so very sad for you and Hector….I won’t put the thoughts down that I have of his abuse because I get so angry….Hector was beautiful…thank you for giving him a beautiful life…..Rest in Peace sweet Hector….you are loved…❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾🐾

  32. Clara, thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts and allowing us to share in the daily life of Hector. I had only recently learned about Hector from my husband and I just fell in love with him instantly. What an awesome dog! I loved seeing him everyday in your posts! Last week, when I found out that he had passed away, I sobbed as if he was my own. I guess I just felt like I knew him. Thank you for caring and loving him and giving him the awesome life that he had with you two. He will surely be missed but definitely not forgotten. Rest in peace sweet boy.

  33. thank you for sharing your wonderful memories of your special boy. Wallace and Hector’s legacies live on in all the doors they opened for their breed, how they inspired you and Roo to become advocates for their breed, and in all the minds they changed in their short time on the planet. condolences on the loss of your treasured pet. at the end of the day, hector lived and died as a family dog, your dog. all that came before did not define him.

  34. he came into my life late in his, that he came into my life I will always treasure. Nothing takes from the void of the physical Hector, but nothing takes away the spirit of Hector

  35. Such a wonderful tribute. I believe Hector made history and with your continued efforts will pave the way in changing the way these dogs are viewed. For those of us who have lost a beloved pet, we know the feelings you have and you are not alone. Your paintings are beautiful…

  36. Clare and Roo, I have followed Hector’s story (as well as Wallace’s) and was sad to hear about his cancer. My boy Cricket, a red nosed pit mix, was also diagnosed with cancer this summer (prostate , which happens in neutered dogs.. Go figure!) and he left us last night. So I get this: I know there will be physical reminders everywhere for a while and they will slowly disappear like the acute pain. But the memories will always comfort me and warm my heart. I hope you also feel this and know Hector is always within you …

  37. “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love.” ~ Washington Irving

    Hector will live on forever in the hearts of so very many who loved and respected him! ❤

  38. when i opened my facebook account and read that he was gone,i just couldnt explain the feeling that got into me… it was like he was my very own, lived with me was part of my everyday life. i cried and hated vick even more. i know the pain and hurt of losing a beloved pet..it never goes away.. i pray you will always be blessed for everything you do for these poor maltteated and misunderstood breed. same goes to other neglected and abused dogs..may ypur tribe increase. God bless you tremendously…

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