Two years ago, life wasn't looking so good for Hector. A former Michael Vick pit bull, the then-4-year-old was safe from the footballer's vicious dogfighting ring, but still in need of a forever home. Luckily for Hector, pit bull lover Roo Yori was in the market for a new pup, and ended up taking the gentle giant home from the BAD RAP shelter in San Francisco.
"I fell in love with him as a dog," Yori tells PEOPLEPets.com. "It was so obvious that he had scars that show what he's been through, but they were completely external. Inside, he was just like any other dog — he impressed me."
We first introduced you to Hector in December, telling the story of his new life with Yori as a certified therapy dog in Minnesota. Now, the perky pup (who just turned 6!) has been recognized for his efforts in his new home of New York, and received a Community Service in Humane Education Award from the Brooklyn Law School Student Animal Legal Defense Fund on Wednesday.
Yori, currently director of care and enrichment for the Animal Farm Foundation, takes Hector around to organizations in the northeast to educate children about pet care. "We use Hector's story to teach children what he went through," Yori says. "It hurt him, he didn't need to go through it, and it was wrong."
He feels their visits have made quite an impact — particularly because of Hector. "He speaks through his actions," Yori shares. "Once people meet him, they see what a good dog he is, and it says more than I ever could." Yori says he intends to continue humane education programs with Hector for as long as he can — awards or no awards.
The Animal Farm Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to restoring the image of the pit bull terrier, and protecting all dogs from discrimination and cruelty. In addition to their on-site shelter in upstate New York, they provide spay/neuter services, educational programs and more.
Read more about former Michael Vick dogs on PEOPLEPets.com:
The Harrowing Tale of Michael Vick’s Dogs Make Cover of Sports Illustrated