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 for caring sharing n loving this beautiful boy with us around the world…. Was devastated to read of his passing but then through the tears knew he had been loved n allowed to live unconditionally and that turned my tears to a smile . God Bless you m I believe he will be ready n waiting for us all on the otherside xx

  2. I wept each time I saw hector on FB and I still weep for him now, I only have to see his beautiful face. Sadly missed by all of us who looked for news of him each day. I have loved all my dogs even the ones who came into my rescue and were rehomed and like all mine I hope to meet hector on rainbow bridge.

  3. I have four cremation boxes that hold the ashes of my beloved rescues and six living rescue dogs. I dread the day that I add one more box. Rescue dogs all seem to be amazing. It is though they know you saved them and gave them a life that they didn’t have before. I happened upon Hector’s page when someone sent me his picture when he was first diagnosed with cancer., I looked at his page every day and marveled at how a dog who had been so hurt could be so sweet and wonderful. I am so glad he got the chance to be the dog he always wanted to be. Thanks for loving him.

  4. Pingback: Hector | thereisnosanityclause

  5. Thank you for sharing your grief, your memories and your incredible creative talent. Reading this post was cathartic in a way that only the grief of another dog lover’s loss can be. 6 mths ago we lost our precious Kohle, a 12lb Cairn Poodle cross who didn’t know she was a dog. She came to us, my 2 young daughters and I, and she was just one of the girls.
    Hector was blessed to be loved so well!!!

  6. You are much braver than most. To read your words, it is heartbreakingly beautiful.
    Hector is loved by so many people and he will live on forever, and you are loved and I am so happy that Hector had a beautiful life after what he saw and what was done to him.
    Hector will never be gone. He will always be here because he will always be loved

  7. Between your writing and your paintings you truly honored Hector…. You are a blessing for adopting him!! We all think we rescue them….. when in fact they truly rescue us!!

  8. You have been love-led Clara. Love comes back to us ten-fold. You rescued Hector with no thought of any gain for yourself except the indescribable joy of loving this beautiful soul. But how much has Hector taught you about life and yourself; how much has he guided you to realise your talents and full potential?!! Because you had such a big, loving heart Clara, Hector came in and showed you the way. Dogs are wise and wonderful. God bless Clara.

  9. thank you for sharing, what a wonderful dog he was and you both so wonderful for adopting him. I love my pitties, and look forward to many more in the future. Your stories reaffirm what great dogs they are….

  10. I came late to the Hector party. I’ve heard wonderful stories. Your paintings are beautiful. Thank you for giving him such a wonderful life. He won’t be forgotten. I hope you and Roo are at peace knowing you gave him a wonderful life.

  11. You helped make his life matter…every animals life matters and thanks to you he had a life well lived in spite of its beginning…..your love for him inspires all of us to rescue a “Hector” of our own…bless you

  12. My soul feels your pain….my tears fall with empathy in your great loss. I awake and purposely enjoy my time however short or long with my Zero. I have always, since I was a child, loved dogs…but after owning a pitbull/boxer mix at the age of 8, I knew then what a beautiful breed and so loving and loyal her soul was. I still have her ashes and pictures….and think of her often. Now, with my Zero I have poured my heart into his soul. He has poured, pawed, woofed, licked, smiled and cuddled his soul into my heart. How great God or whatever Great entity there is that brought Hector into your lives…You were lovingly chosen by whatever forces that be for Hector to love, live, and demonstrate all that his beautiful soul encompassed. What an honor….it must be…to have loved and cared for his Great Soul. All ‘our’ blessings and loving prayers in your time of greiving…. Zero and I are here for you. woof.

  13. I am so glad that you found each other. I know that Hector was an amazing and wonderful dog and I know that he was loved. Your paintings are a beautiful representation of a beautiful breed. God bless you and I know that Hector will always live on in all of our hearts.

  14. My heart is sad…and I cry with you. Hector is a beautiful soul…so full of love. Thank you so much for sharing Hector with us…and Rainbow Bridge has welcomed him home. Your paintings are absolutely precious…just like your baby. Be blessed…and know that you’re loved.

  15. And, as Hector and Wallace made the world better, they did it with your loving care and guidance, and you make the world better! Bless you.

  16. Thanks for sharing Hector!! I know it’s very difficult letting him go but it’s good to know he’s not suffering anymore!!!
    Thanks for opening your home and hearts to such a special friend!!!
    Gone but never forgotten!!!

  17. Thank you so much for sharing Hector with us through the FB posts and photos and the wonderful narrative updates that brought him to life beyond the screen, in deeply touching ways I can’t quite articulate or understand, and for this beautiful tribute and your paintings. He touched so many lives, showing through his exquisite ordinariness the beauty and awe of life and love. May your many wonderful memories, large and small, be a source of solace and joy!

  18. Clara – your paintings of Hector captured his fun loving, goofy self. In other words, they are spectacular! Thank you for sharing Hector with all of us. I can only begin to imagine the pain and grief you are experiencing now. Hector left indelible paw prints in your heart. My deepest condolences to you and your family -))

  19. Thank you for sharing your “Hector” portraits & memories. What a special creature he was & how lucky he was to end up as your family member.

  20. 1000 gifts is a book about being thankful everday for even the smallest things and writing them in a journal. I bet you have way more than 1000 gifts from Hector. It would be a good way to remember and honor him.

  21. Gosh, that made me cry. Again. So beautifully written. Brings back my own flood of my beloved boy. Thank you so much for sharing his story and journey with all of us. It means so much to so many, as Hector did, for all of his doggie friends. Wishing you peace during this difficult time.

  22. Clara, what a wonderful tribute to an amazing pup. What a story; what a legacy. I’m glad we got to “know” each other over the past year, although I wish it were under better circumstances. Hector was very lucky to have you and Roo – and you were equally fortunate to have him. Thank you.

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