The Noble Journey of Two Pit Bulls and a K9 Ninja
Wallace the Pit Bull
It is a story that starts out like so many others. A stray dog ends up in an animal shelter. Unfortunately, because of its high energy level and breed (pit bulls or pit bull type dogs) the dog never makes it into a forever home. Far too many end up euthanized.
In 2005, Wallace was one such stray pit bull living in a shelter in Rochester, MN. He was in a kennel much of the day. With no way to burn off his energy, he became anxious. Coupled with a lack of obedience training, his chance of adoption was low. His days were numbered.
Andrew “Roo” Yori was a volunteer at the same shelter and could tell there was something special about Wallace. Roo and his wife, Clara, already had two dogs at home, but they knew Wallace - like many shelter animals - just needed someone to believe in him.
So, Roo and Clara adopted him. From that moment, the story of Wallace the pit bull takes a flying leap in a different direction.
Once he got Wallace home, Roo knew the dog needed an outlet for his high drive. He noticed that Wallace liked to play catch with a flying disc (Frisbee) so he decided to enter dog agility competitions.
In 2006, Wallace the pit bull became the Cynosport World Champion for flying disc and in 2007, he was named Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge National Champion. It wasn’t easy. Often the only pit bull at the competition, he had to overcome injuries and breed prejudice to become World Champion. With Roo and a growing number of supporters cheering him on, Wallace would help change the way people think about pit bulls.
Hector the Pit Bull
In April 2007, 51 pit bulls were rescued from Bad Newz Kennels at the home of a professional football player in Virginia. It was later learned the kennel operated an illegal dog-fighting operation.
One of the dogs rescued was a brown pit bull with noticeable scars on his body. His name was Hector.
The pit bull advocacy group BAD RAP placed Hector with a foster family. Roo and Clara heard about him and once again decided to take a chance. They adopted a dog many would have never considered.
Their love and support would remind others not to judge a book – or a dog – by its cover. Just a year after adopting him, Hector the abused pit bull became a certified therapy dog. He went on to bring smiles to people in hospitals and nursing homes. He loved kids and often visited schools, where he and Roo taught children how to interact with a dog. Perhaps his greatest achievement was his ability to forgive.
Humans had abused, mistreated and forced Hector to fight for the first three years of his life. Rather than stay in that moment, Hector accepted and embraced the love shown to him by his rescuers and new family. The Yori’s knew Hector had so much to give. Like Wallace, he just needed someone to believe in him.
A Loving Legacy
Over the years, Wallace and Roo continued to compete in flying disc competitions. They even had a best-selling book written about them. It was during the book tour Wallace was diagnosed with cancer. In August 2013, he passed over the Rainbow Bridge. Just one year later in October 2014, Hector joined him following his own battle with cancer.
To promote pet adoption and responsible pet ownership, Roo and Clara started the Wallace the Pit Bull Foundation. They later created the Hector Fund. Both efforts help other dogs get the chance they deserve.
Roo Yori the K9 Ninja
Following the loss of Wallace and Hector, Roo remains determined to share the message of kindness to animals.
In April 2016, he was one of 600 people selected to compete in Indianapolis for the television show, American Ninja Warrior. Like Wallace and Hector, Roo had some obstacles, physical and literal, in front of him. At 39 years old, Roo was one of the older competitors in the grueling athletic competition. Wearing an “Adopt a Dog” t-shirt, he competed as the K9 Ninja. He was one of the top competitors in the first stage of competition. His new canine partner, Angus, was always there with Clara to cheer him on.
Roo’s 15th place finish in Indianapolis secured his spot at the national competition in Las Vegas. There he fell victim to the Jumping Spider obstacle and was eliminated. Even though he didn’t make it to the 2016 finals, he plans to audition again for the show. He still has a mission: to tell the world shelter dogs are not flawed or bad. They just need someone to set them up to win.