From Desert News…
Hector – One of Michael Vick’s former fighting dot
Rescued pit bull makes successful transition from dogfighting
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010 1:16 a.m. MDT By Steve Fidel, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY A pit bull named Hector that was rescued from NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s illegal dogfighting operation in 2007 is now a certified therapy dog that makes visits to hospitals and nursing homes.
He and owner/trainer Roo Yori also made a visit to Glendale Middle School on Monday to teach kids how to interact safely with animals.
“What do you do if you want to pet a dog?” Yori asked students. “Ask if you can pet it. The most important thing is to ask if you want to pet the dog. Not all dogs are as friendly as Hector, unfortunately.”
Hector, a one-time fighting dog now retrained as a therapy dog, takes a break during a demonstration Monday, Oct. 11, at Glendale Middle School. The “friendly” moniker might be unexpected for a dog rescued from a dogfighting environment.
In the case of the 51 dogs saved from Vick’s illegal fighting operation, Yori said 47 were either sent to rescue sanctuaries or adopted instead of being euthanized.
“Every dog coming out of that situation handled it differently. Hector came out of that situation pretty much like this,” he said, pointing to a docile, friendly dog that gives high-fives, rolls over on command and wears a vest that reads “Ask to pet me I’m friendly.”
Hector needed the usual socializing skills once Yori and his family adopted him he needed to learn not to jump up on the dining-room table or chew on the furniture.
That successful socialization is also part of the work Yori promotes in his role as director of care and enrichment at the Animal Farm Foundation.
“He’s got scars all down his chest (from fighting). He’s got scars down his leg. He’s got a missing notch out of his tongue,” Yori said. But Hector settled down quickly once his environment changed. “We promote the idea that all dogs are individuals,” he said.
Football star Michael Vick was a quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons when he was convicted in 2007 of conspiracy and running a dogfighting ring. He served time in federal prison and remains highly controversial among animal rights activists since being signed with the Philadelphia Eagles one year ago, less than one month after his release from prison.
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