Vick dog adoption stories: A cuddle fiend finds a new vocation

Dog: Hector
Humans: Andrew (“Roo”) and Clara Yori
Fellow pets: Five other dogs
Town: Rochester, Minnesota

Andrew Yori didn’t exactly need another dog–he already shared his home with a motley group of five rescued dogs, all different breeds and mixes–but when he heard some of the Vick dogs would be up for adoption, he started thinking about expanding his pack.

“I’m out there to give people a different image of the pit bull than what they typically see in the media,” says Yori. So far, he’s done that with the help of Wallace, a pit bull he rescued from a shelter and trained to be a disc dog. The two went on to compete, and win, at disc dog competitions across the country. Last year, Wallace was named the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge Freestyle Flying Disc National Champion.

But this time, Andrew wasn’t looking for athletic potential; he was looking for a mellow sort who would get along with the resident canines and would make a good therapy dog–“to round out the spectrum,” as he puts it. So he contacted BAD RAP and said that if one of the Vick dogs matched that description, he was interested.

Hector fit the bill. Although he’s the only one of the BAD RAP’s Vick rescues who carries a visual reminder of his past–a network of scars on his chest–Hector’s friendly with other dogs as well as people. And he seemed like a snuggler; when picked up and held like a (very large and muscular) baby, he would turn into a blissed-out rag doll. “He’s a really solid dog, temperament-wise,” says Andrew.

Hector arrived on Friday the 13th of June, but despite the unlucky date, Andrew says he settled in fine. “He’s a go-with-the-flow kinda dog,” says Andrew. “I don’t think he would need a whole lot of adjustment wherever he went.” Hector was a bit intimidated by the canine queen of the household, a small Aussie mix named Mindy Lou, and spent his first night in his new home carefully avoiding the 15-pound diva.

As Hector settles in, Andrew plans to get him certified to start therapy work and to share his successes with the public. The goal: Make Hector a living example of how a pit bull, even one raised in the worst conditions, deserves the chance to be judged on his own merit, not the stereotype of the breed.

So far, slating Hector for a public service career rather than athletics seems like a good call. “I took him out and threw some Frisbees for him, and he caught a few,” says Andrew. “But he likes to chew on them more than he likes to catch them.”

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