I went to Rochester, Minn., to interview Roo Yori. He is an American Ninja Warrior and was a world champion with his rescue dog Wallace in Frisbee dog competitions.
How were you feeling when you were on American Ninja Warrior?
Very excited and nervous. Excited for the opportunity; I had wanted to do it for a long time. Nervous because you only get one shot. The better I do the better the chance that my message of advocating for shelter dogs can be put out there.
How many dogs do you have, and what are their names and breeds?
We have three very old dogs: Angus is black lab mix, Mindy-Lou is a toy Aussie mix and Scooby is a rat terrier mix. Johnny is a 2-year-old pit bull. He is a court case dog, which means that when his owner was arrested, he went to a shelter and was held as evidence in a dog-fighting case. It used to happen in these circumstances that these dogs would be routinely euthanized but Safe Humane Chicago changed that and these days these dogs are mostly able to be adopted.
What made you think that Wallace would make a good Frisbee dog?
It was my wife Clara’s idea. She suggested I give Wallace a try since he liked playing fetch at the shelter. He took to it immediately and was a natural.
Besides a pit bull, what is your best dog breed?
A medium-sized mutt.
When did you create the Wallace the Pit Bull Foundation?
In 2014 after Wallace passed. I wanted to do something to have his memory continue. He had a large Facebook following and I wanted to continue the work we did with pit bulls and shelter dog advocacy.
What does the foundation do?
It raises money for donations to other dog advocacy organizations and programs. Safe Humane Chicago is one. The Pit Bulletin Legal News created the annual Wallace Award for an individual who is a voice for pit bulls. The foundation gives $1,000 to a charity of the winner’s choice. The foundation also focuses on education. I talk to schools and encourage awareness of shelter needs. Social media is also utilized to educate on the needs of shelter dogs.
How can I help you?
Do what you are doing. Encourage people to adopt dogs and cats in your area.
Do you have a tattoo of Wallace?
No. Not yet.
Do your dogs right now compete in tournaments?
No. Scooby used to; he is retired now. Johnny is not a competitive Frisbee dog, we just have fun in the backyard.
What makes a good Frisbee dog?
Dogs that like to play fetch. If a dog likes to play with toys you can sometimes teach them. Some dogs are just natural fetchers.
What was your favorite and least favorite obstacle on “American Ninja Warrior?”
Salmon ladder is my favorite and the rolling log is definitely my least favorite.
Why do you do “American Ninja Warrior?”
I enjoy the physical challenge. I have always loved obstacle courses and to see what’s possible. It is also a great platform to spread a message that I am passionate about: shelter dogs.
By Rob Macmillan of Rob’s Rescues