From the Editor, Winter 2014-2015

It was 2007 and I was in love. Two Springer Spaniel pups had entered my life and changed it for the better. I was responsible for the feeding and training and safety of these two cute beings, and I wasn’t going to let them down.

That same year, NFL player Michael Vick was arrested for running an illegal dog fighting ring on his property. He had engaged in drowning or hanging dogs who did not perform well. My stomach churned.

I would lie awake at night, those new pups safely snoring next to me, with tears running down my face for all the horror Vick’s dogs were made to endure. My eyes now were open to the injustices of the canine world. I started noticing stray dogs, dogs left in the winter cold, shelter dogs. I read statistics like approximately 2.7 million companion animals in shelters are euthanized each year in the U.S.

In 2008 when I was asked to house a stray Springer overnight because the shelter was full, I didn’t think twice. With the help of English Springer Rescue America, a non-profit rescue devoted to rehoming Springer Spaniels, Cooper became my first foster dog. And I became a rescuer. Since then, my husband and I have fostered more than 80 homeless Springers until they could find adoptive families. And I have been involved in the rescue and transport of several hundred dogs.

One of the 51 dogs rescued from Vick’s property was adopted by Andrew and Clara Yori, of Rochester. In their care, Hector became a certified therapy dog, a canine good citizen, a teacher of children and a media celebrity. He single-handedly debunked several Pit Bull stereotypes.

On October 27, when Hector succumbed to cancer, those 2007 dogfighting stories seemed fresh again. But that pain was overshadowed by the joy of Hector’s triumph and what he represented—for his breed and for underdogs everywhere. And the realization that without him, I wouldn’t have engaged in dog rescue with the same fervor, if at all. Hector’s ripple effect brings me to my emotional knees, and I am grateful for him and for his beautiful life.

We are including a tribute to Hector, written by his brother, Handsome Dan, on p. 24.

Run free, Hector! Your important work here is done.