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RIP, Hector: Former Michael Vick Dog Turned Therapy Pup Dies

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Hector’s last days were great ones. And his very last day is a memory his adoptive parents Roo and Clara Yori will hold tight in their hearts forever.

“The sun was shining, the frogs were out for me to chase at the pond, and I had Roo and Clara to carry me off the trail when my legs just couldn’t go any further,” reads a Facebook post about the former Michael Vick dog’s last day on earth, which his owners wrote on his behalf.

“I called shotgun to assume my co-pilot position on the way to the vet, where I passed away surrounded by people who love me. I think my past life caught up with me and caused my time to come a little early. However, I can proudly say that I gave it everything I had all the way until the end.”

Hector’s new beginning began at about 3 years old when he was plucked from football quarterback Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring (Vick served 21 months in prison). Luckily for the pooch the timing was right and the Yoris were in the market for a new pup. They took the gentle giant home from the Bad Rap shelter in San Francisco in 2008.

“I fell in love with him as a dog,” Andrew “Roo” Yori told PEOPLE in 2010. “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.”

Roo wasn’t the only one. Certified as a therapy dog and having passed the AKC Canine Good Citizen test twice, Hector visited nursing homes, hospitals and schools with Clara, where people young and old marveled at his sweet temperament.

Hector savored his last days by taking walks, going to acupuncture appointments, celebrating Pit Bull Awareness Day on Oct. 25 and even dressing like a turtle for Halloween. He passed away on Monday from cancer, but those happy images are how Hector wants to be remembered.

“Try not to be sad,” reads Hector’s last Facebook post. “Instead celebrate my life. While I wish I could have lived a little longer, I passed knowing I won the game that is my life.”

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