From fighters to friends, Vick’s pit bulls learn new life

(AP) — His back resting comfortably against her chest, Hector nestles his massive canine head into Leslie Nuccio’s shoulder, high-fiving pit bull paws against human hands.

The big dog — 52 pounds — is social, people-focused, happy now, it seems, wearing a rhinestone collar in his new home in sunny California.

But as Hector sits up, deep scars stand out on his chest, and his eyes are imploring.

Hector ought to be dead, Nuccio knows — killed in a staged fight, executed for not winning or euthanized by those who see pit bulls seized in busts as “kennel trash,” unsuited to any kind of normal life.

Instead, Hector is learning how to be a pet.

After the hell of a fighting ring, he has reached a heaven of sorts: saved by a series of unlikely breaks, transported thousands of miles, along with other dogs rescued with him, and now nurtured by Nuccio, her roommate, Danielle White, and their three other dogs.
The animals barrel around the house, with 4-year-old Hector leading the puppy-like antics — stealth underwear grabs from the laundry basket, dashes across the living room, food heists from the coffee table — until it’s “love time” and he decelerates and engulfs the women in a hug.

“I wish he could let us know what happened to him,” says Nuccio, the big tan dog’s foster mother.

But what she does know is this: Hector has come a long way since he was trapped in the horrors of Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels.

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