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UPDATE: Former Fighting Dog Helps His Dad Tackle The American Ninja Warrior Course

Written by: Dina Fantegrossi
Dina Fantegrossi is the Assistant Editor and Head Writer for HomeLife Media. Before her career in writing, Dina was a veterinary technician for more than 15 years.Read more
| Published on May 24, 2022

Roo Yori, K9 Ninja and founder of the Wallace the Pitbull Foundation, just completed his seventh straight turn as an American Ninja Warrior with the premier of the show’s 14th season. At age 45, he’s one of the oldest athletes to tackle the obstacle course this season. Luckily, Roo’s dog pal Johnny was there via satellite to help him power through.

Johnny, a 7-year-old Pit Bull mix who was rescued from the dark world of dogfighting, is completely devoted to his dog-rescuing dad, so he was more than happy to lend a helping paw when things got ruff!


RELATED: Ninja Warrior Battles To Save Homeless & Exploited Dogs

The 14th season of American Ninja Warrior features a new challenge. When each competitor reaches the third station of the course, they must decide between one of two obstacles. It’s called the “Split Decision.”

When Roo’s turn came to choose a path, he reached out to Johnny for advice. Sitting back home in his favorite dining room chair, the pooch indicated which way his dad should go by raising his right paw. Roo took on the balance obstacle to his right, and it led him straight to victory!

Thanks to Johnny’s input, Roo will be moving on to the next round of the competition, which means more chances to help dogs in need.

Check out Roo’s triumphant run and Johnny’s assist below.


Johnny the Pit Bull was rescued from a Chicago dogfighting ring. Discovered chained in the basement of a repeat offender with nine other dogs, he was nervous and reserved when he first entered the home of Clara and Andrew “Roo” Yori.

Luckily, the couple is experienced in rehabilitating fighting dogs, having fostered and adopted several before Johnny, including Hector, one of the 51 Pit Bull-type dogs seized from Michael Vick’s property in 2007.


Safe But Scared

The Yoris fostered Johnny through Safe Humane Chicago’s Court Case Dog program. Being in the company of the couple’s other rescue dogs helped Johnny gain confidence, so they decided to adopt him permanently.

But getting him to adjust to life as a beloved companion had its challenges. Although we will never know everything Johnny went through, his early behavior suggests he spent little time outside his basement prison. For example, he was terrified of the household stairs.

A K9 Ninja Warrior Is Born

As with all rescue dogs, positive reinforcement training and clear direction from his humans helped Johnny overcome the trauma of his past. Roo, better known as the K9 Ninja, has appeared on the past six seasons of America Ninja Warrior. While working with Johhny, he decided to create a dog version of the show’s obstacle course.

Luring him with food and toy rewards, Roo taught Johnny to hop from step to step, Army-crawl beneath a cargo net, chomp onto a rope for a ride on the doggy zipline, and even scale the mega-wall before hitting his very own K9 Ninja Warrior buzzer.

Pretty remarkable for a pooch who was once afraid of stairs! Johnny now spends his days napping, burrowing under the covers with his humans, and demanding they throw his toy at every available opportunity. He also loves sitting in dining room chairs like a person, especially on meatloaf night.


Stunts For Pups

As for Roo Yori, he is far more than just an exceptional athlete and dog dad. He uses his status as a ninja warrior to raise awareness (and funds) for other homeless and stigmatized pups like Johnny.

His charity, the Wallace the Pitbull Foundation, helps improve the lives of dogs and the people who care for them. From Roo’s time on American Ninja Warrior, the foundation has raised more than $78,000 for rescue, adoption, and educational initiatives.


RELATED: Dog Set For Euthanasia Becomes International Celeb Instead

With the premiere of American Ninja Warrior Season 14 (Roo’s seventh straight season on the show) just around the corner, he hopes to hit the $100,000 mark for the Wallace the Pitbull Foundation. You can help him reach this goal by making a donation or pledging to his Ninja for Dogs fundraiser.

For every donation/pledge to Ninja for Dogs, Roo will also throw Johnny’s toy. So, help this good boy out and make your contribution to a great cause today!


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