Wallace: The Pit Bull Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed a Breed—One Flying Disc at a Time

Jim Gorant. Gotham, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-1-592-40731-6
Gorant’s (The Lost Dogs) compelling and surprisingly elegant book tells the story of Wallace, a pit bull with a bad reputation who transforms with the love of a young couple. Rescued as a puppy from an abandoned breeding operation, adopted by a police officer, then reabandoned, Wallace ends up at the Paws & Claws Animal Shelter in Rochester, Minn., where he becomes the black sheep, displaying aggressive behavior toward both dogs and humans. Enter Andrew “Roo” Yori and his wife, Clara, self-professed “dog nerds” who immediately sense that there is “a good dog in there somewhere.” They advocate relentlessly for him, while biases against pit bulls and apprehension about his behavior cause the shelter to consider euthanasia. The Yoris eventually adopt Wallace, and shortly afterward discover his talent for competitive Frisbee. Gorant’s clear prose steers the reader through the little-known world of “disc dogs” and the hours of practice Roo and Wallace log, devising new tricks for the freestyle, where dog and human perform a “choreographed routine set to music.” Gorant never lets the narrative slip into the saccharine, and Wallace’s story will charm even readers who never knew they were interested in pit bulls or disc dogs. Agent: Matthew Carnicelli. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/16/2012
Release date: 08/30/2012
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