Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls--One Flying Disc at a Time
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The author of the New York Times bestseller The Lost Dogs shares the heartwarming tale of one plucky, unwanted pit bull who achieved international celebrity.
Today, Wallace is a champion. But in the summer of 2005, he was living in a shelter, a refugee from a suspicious pit bull–breeding operation. Then Andrew “Roo” Yori entered the picture. A scientist and shelter volunteer, Roo could tell immediately that Wallace was something special. While on his honeymoon, Roo learned that Wallace was about to be put down. Frantic—and even though they already had two dogs—Roo and his wife fought to keep Wallace alive until they could return home to adopt him.
Once Wallace made it home, Roo knew the dog needed a mission, and serendipity led them to the world of competitive Frisbee dogs. It seemed like a terrible idea. Pit bulls are everything that most Frisbee dogs aren’t: large and heavy with thick muscles that can make them look less than graceful. But that was fine with Roo—because part of his mission was to change people’s minds about pit bulls. After overcoming everything from injuries to prejudice against the breed, the unlikely pair became World Champions.
Movingly told by bestselling author Jim Gorant, Wallace will capture the hearts of animal lovers everywhere—and help rescue this popular breed’s unfairly tarnished reputation.
called the Power Spin. To execute it, Wallace would grab one end of a disc and Roo the other. Roo would spin until Wallace actually lifted off the ground, his body levitating outward like one of the elephants on the Dumbo ride at Disney. Roo would then lift and rotate his arms over his head while Wallace held on. Wallace spun around Roo in the air for one complete revolution, then came in for a four-point landing. It wasn’t the greatest trick in the history of canine disc, but it showed off the
what seemed like forever and promised to see each other as often as possible. It would be easier this year since Roo was spending the summer in Rochester, Minnesota, about forty-five minutes away from Red Wing. In the fall Roo returned for a second year of coaching. And a second year of hanging out with Clara, who was now a senior. Knee surgery had stunted Roo’s run at pro soccer and as he and Clara sat on the couch in his room watching TV, he wondered what else the future might hold.
show, televised on Animal Planet. The finals aired on ABC, ESPN2, and Animal Planet, so at the very least Roo wanted to get some TV exposure. It was part of his goal for the year. His media experience with the local reporter who had covered up Wallace’s breed at the end of 2006 had left a bad taste in his mouth. Roo wanted to use Wallace to get attention and spread a new message about pit bulls, and he wanted to do it in a different way. He’d spent so much time on pit bull forums, where breed
roared. Roo never talked about pit bulls, but he didn’t have to. To these kids Wallace was just a dog, and he differed from other dogs only in that he could do cool tricks. Roo spent the rest of the summer spreading the message. He and Wallace appeared at a few schools, the Minnesota Vikings Fan Fest, a camp, and two minor-league baseball games. The shows gave Roo and Wallace a chance to stay in shape, but in truth the crowds simply liked to see long throws and catches. Roo tried to work in some
stepped into the water and grabbed the binky. He was at a canine rehabilitation center that had opened near Rochester. Other than a trip to defend their IDC title in September, Roo and Wallace didn’t plan to compete in 2008. Roo felt that they had done all they had set out to: They’d justified sparing Wallace, proved they were as good as anyone else at flying disc, and spread a positive pit bull image far and wide. After three years, Wallace’s body needed a break. The travel had become difficult