Spotlight on...Rhodesian Ridgeback

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The Rhodesian Ridgeback

Megan Noes, Spot Magazine

Size:  Large (70 - 80 lb.)

Grooming needs:  Minimal

Exercise:  High

Environment:  Adaptable to hot climates

Temperament: Athletic, Affectionate

Life Expectancy: 10 – 12 yrs.

Interesting Fact

Ridged hunting dogs roamed the land long before colonizers set foot in southern Africa. They were the trusted companion and hunting dog of the African Khoikhoi (Hottentot) people. Later, colonizers brought other dogs that crossed with the Khoikhoi dogs and produced a new kind of ridged hunting dog that was highly prized by big game hunters. By 1922, as big game hunting began to fade, enthusiasts drew from the Dalmatian Standard to develop the breed standard for what is now the 41st most popular dog in the U.S.  

Appearance

The Rhodesian Ridgeback (nicknamed either Rhodie or Ridgie) is a strong, muscular and agile dog. Its frame is balanced and elegant; it’s bred for endurance rather than bulk. The most distinctive feature is, of course, the ridge of hair that grows against the grain. The ridge is clearly defined and symmetrical, starting right behind the shoulders and tapering to the hip. The Ridgeback’s coat color is “wheaten,” which implies the color of a ripe ear of wheat. It ranges from a pale-yellow shade, “fawn,” to a dark chestnut brown, “red wheaten.” The nose is either black or brown and the eye color reflects the color of the nose. Ridgebacks have strong, smooth tails with a gentle curve towards the end.


Personality

Rhodies are intelligent and intense, but also sensitive. Natural hunters and athletes, Rhodies have been known as lion dogs because they were fierce enough to corner a lion and keep him at bay while the hunter approached. At home, however, these performance athletes have a famously affectionate nature, known to be couch hogs who often cuddle with other pets or lean into their human companions. As snuggly and attached as they become with their favorite humans, they can be generally aloof with strangers. Beware of leaving food out as Rhodies are world class counter surfers -- no food is safe!

Common Health Problems

This is a generally healthy breed, but can be prone to elbow dysplasia, canine hip dysplasia, and hypothyroidism. Deafness and dermoid sinus are also occasionally seen in the breed.

Best Match

Rhodies tend to be clean and quiet around the house, lounging while the world revolves around them. This pup needs physical and mental enrichment and is a good match for people who enjoy getting at least an hour of daily exercise. Pet parents can offer running, hiking and other activities like obedience, tracking and agility classes to meet these needs. This breed usually gets along well with household dogs and cats but will likely chase cats outdoors. The best matches are usually experienced dog handlers, especially active single people and families with older children, as Rhodies may accidentally knock over little ones. Either way, once you’ve befriended a Rhodie, you've got a faithful friend for life.



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Megan Noes lives in New York City, with her husband, Jacob, Frenchie Bulldog, Nono, and a revolving door of foster kittens. She works for a major animal welfare organization and loves her former home in the Pacific Northwest.  

K9 Blood Donors are Lifesavers

5/21/2019

Calamity Jane has donated 21 units in 5 years.

Calamity Jane has donated 21 units in 5 years.

Cancer treatment, severe injuries, treatment for autoimmune disorders and viruses like Parvo — these are a handful of the reasons why NW pets might need to receive blood transfusions. Without them, many pets would not survive. And keeping a ready supply is a year-round challenge, but demand peaks in the summer months.

As with human blood supplies, patients in emergency situations rely on hospitals to have a ready supply of the right blood type, in the right amount, at the right location when it’s needed. Human blood is largely collected and distributed by the Red Cross and its countless volunteer donors around the world. But veterinary hospitals rely on supplies from the Portland’s DoveLewis Blood Bank.

That blood bank, in turn, relies on the dogs and their human companions to volunteer for donations. Right now, increased demand at the DoveLewis emergency hospital and at other area clinic has created a critical shortage for several blood types.

The DoveLewis blood bank is putting out a call for new canine blood donors. “We call our donors Superheroes because they are truly saving lives,.” says DoveLewis president and CEO Ron Morgan. “Just one donation can help treat up to four animals.”

Calamity Jane donates blood at DoveLewis.

Calamity Jane donates blood at DoveLewis.

DoveLewis — which throws a yearly celebration of its active and retired blood donors, says Calamity Jane’s recent donations helped save the lives of a 3-year-old Australian shepherd suffering from rat bait poisoning and a 5-year-old pit bull with an autoimmune disorder.

Blood donations need to come from medium-to-large dogs (Greyhounds are revered as excellent donors), but they don’t need to be a particular breed or type. Dogs simply need to be at least 55 pounds, between 1-6 years old, current on vaccines, generally healthy, and good-natured about the donation process.

DoveLewis says the donation process is quick, easy, and painless for both the canine donor and the human companion. The blood bank will ask volunteers to commit to being regular donors for two years, with at least two but no more than six donations each year. In return, donors receive annual blood tests, exams, health screenings, and discounts on some products.

How to Help:

Go to the DoveLewis Blood Bank website for more information.

Foam-Covered Kitten Rescued from Garbage May Return Home

May 16, 2019

The 8-week-old male kitten rescued by a Washington County garbage collector is expected to make a full recovery and may soon return home. For now, he’s receiving care at Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter in Hillsboro, OR. While Washington County Sheriffs investigators continue their investigation, they say at this point the residents at the kitten’s home are not suspects.

"They have said they want the kitten back,” says Deputy Brian van Kleef, who acknowledged his department has received many questions about why the kitten would be returned. The kitten appears to have been born to a feral cat that the family cares for. Deputies collected evidence from the home’s property, but van Kleef says at this time the home’s residents are not suspects in the animal abuse case.

A garbage collector discovered the kitten on May 3 while collecting trash from the home on SW Minter Bridge Road, in an unincorporated area of Washington County south of Hillsboro. According to a WCSO news release, a driver was trying to empty the trash can using a hydraulic arm, when he noticed the contents weren’t emptying. After a closer look, the driver discovered a tiny kitten encased in sticky spray foam and hanging from his back legs inside the trash container. The kitten was making a whining noise, even with his head and face fully covered in the foam.

The driver took the garbage can back to the Hillsboro Garbage Disposal Facility, where workers freed the small gray kitten from the trash can and tried to remove some of the foam before taking the kitten to a nearby veterinarian for care. After treatment, the kitten was transferred to the Washington County Bonnie L. Hays Animal Shelter for care. The kitten remains at the shelter as of today.

The garbage can came from a property with two residences and multiple rented outbuildings. Investigators say that with so many people coming and going from the property, it’s difficult to determine who might be responsible, but they believe the act was intentional. Investigators recovered a can of spray foam from the property and are having it tested for fingerprints.

“We’re just hoping someone has a tip,” says Deputy van Kleef. Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Corporal Brandon Talbott at 503-846-2700.

The kitten receiving care at a veterinary clinic after most of the spray foam was removed.

The kitten receiving care at a veterinary clinic after most of the spray foam was removed.

The kitten’s face and body, covered with spray foam.

The kitten’s face and body, covered with spray foam.

The trash can where the kitten was stuck, suspended from his rear legs.

The trash can where the kitten was stuck, suspended from his rear legs.

Life-Saving Research Animal Rescue Bill becomes Law in Oregon

Update: Governor Kate Brown signed this bill into law on June 13, 2019. You can read the entire bill’s language and see the vote history here.

Layla, a beagle who spent her first 1 1/2 years of life in a research laboratory, appears before a legislative committee.

Layla, a beagle who spent her first 1 1/2 years of life in a research laboratory, appears before a legislative committee.

May 2, 2019

Oregon’s Senate Bill 638-A would require public and private research facilities to offer dogs and cats to shelters and rescue agencies at the end of their research time, rather than euthanizing them, which currently standard practice.

With strong bipartisan support, no anticipated fiscal impact, and no organized opposition, the bill appears destined to find itself on the governor’s desk. Meanwhile, its committee hearings have been an unusually sweet break from the sometimes-contentious and always high-stress atmosphere in Salem’s capitol building.

When Portland-area elementary school students were assigned to research and form an educated position on a social issue, students gravitated to an issue involving pets. When they learned that laboratories commonly euthanize one- or two-year-old animals — most often beagles — when they’re no longer useful in research, they said they wanted to help change the fate of these animals. Learning that other states have bills requiring retired research animals to be placed for adoption, the students approached their state senator.

Appearing in a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on May 2, Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward (D-NW Portland/Beaverton) waved across the hearing room to Layla the beagle. “I’m all about the beagles,” she beamed. Asked whether the state’s shelter and rescue organizations have the capacity to receive and place these retired research animals, the senator said, “Yes. The Humane Society is here and they’ll tell you that the capacity exists.”

The senator described the meeting where the young students initially approached her about introducing the bill. They were so well informed and persuasive that she didn’t hesitate to introduce the legislation.

The bill’s cosponsor, Representative Mitch Greenlick, (D-Portland) spoke of the beagle who once “owned” his family. “If you haven’t had a beagle, you don’t know the pleasure of having a dog who’s smarter than you,” he joked to the committee. “This is a bill we can all feel good about.”

Also in the hearing, Layla’s adopter described her dog’s first year of life. “She was in a cage. She never knew what would happen to her next.” When the dog was released at just 1 1/2 years old and came to live in Linn County with her adopters, “she walked on grass for the first time. She learned to take treats from someone’s hand. She rode in a car for the first time.” Now, at five years old, her life generally resembles that of any other family pet.

Sharon Harmon, CEO of Oregon Humane Society, wrote in testimony to the committee, “These cats and dogs still have the capacity to be companions and we have the skills to match the right people with these special animals. This bill would open the door to partnerships that could save thousands of lives and enrich the lives of those who take them in.”

The bill, which passed the Senate by unanimous vote in March, likely had its final public hearing on March 2 before the House Judiciary Committee. Committee members swooned at 2nd-grade students presenting handwritten testimony and raised their smart phones to snap photos of Layla the beagle.

Representative Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) asked Layla’s adopter whether the 5-year-old dog is always so quiet. The beagle sat silently on her adopter’s lap, exchanging glances with grinning committee members and posing patiently for swarms of smart phones and cameras. “No,” her adopter smiled.

“Well, she’s a very well-behaved dog,” Rep. McLane commented, adding that he intends to vote yes on the bill.

Speaking on behalf of Spot Magazine, managing editor Michelle Blake told the committee, “Senate Bill 638 fits the character of our region. Until we eliminate the use of animals in laboratories, Oregonians do -- and will continue to -- embrace the opportunity to give those animals a second chance at a happy life. Even if they present with emotional or physical challenges, even if they require a special kind of home.”

Elle, a 2nd grade student from Portland, greets Layla in the lobby after testifying in favor of SB 638-A.

Elle, a 2nd grade student from Portland, greets Layla in the lobby after testifying in favor of SB 638-A.

Students testify about why they asked the senator to introduce the bill. Committee members capture the moment on their smart phones.

Students testify about why they asked the senator to introduce the bill. Committee members capture the moment on their smart phones.

SPLASH! Dock Diving

by Christy Doherty

As one of the fastest-growing canine sports in the world, dock diving is making a big splash with dogs and humans alike. Enthusiasts in the Northwest are fortunate that Hillsboro is home to an indoor dock diving facility.

The facility makes year-round practice and competition both possible and fun. “The dream of opening a combination rehab and indoor dock diving facility became real almost four years ago,” explains Diane Kunkle, certified Canine Rehab Practitioner, who co-owns Paws Aquatics Water Sports and Rehab with Julie Thomas.

In dock-diving events, dogs run the length of a dock and leap as far as possible into the water, competing for distance, height, or -- in timed events -- for speed. Human competitors throw a prized toy just out of reach, motivating dogs to keep their momentum and launch into the pool at the best-possible angle.

The sport offers variations on the diving theme. For example, an in-the-air retrieve event, the coveted dog toy is suspended four feet above the water to start, moving higher as dogs complete each level.

With its growing popularity, the sport is drawing a wider variety of breeds. “About 10 years ago, it was pretty much all Labs, but then the other breeds started to try it. Right now Whippets kind of rule the sport,” Kunkle explained.

When Spot Magazine attended a February dock diving event, a Whippet named Sounders jumped so far he touched the back of the pool -- a little over 33.5 feet. The impressive dive matched his world-record jump in December’s National competition.

It’s an equal-opportunity sport. Whether low-slung lap dog or tall Russian Wolfhound, in this game, size really doesn’t matter, and the mix of breeds is endless. The sport’s organizing body, North America Diving Dogs (NADD), divides dogs into two size divisions -- those 16 inches or taller at the withers, and those shorter. There are also divisions like novice, junior, senior, master and elite within each height category.

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Getting their Paws Wet

Dogs benefit from the equalizing effect of water, making the sport accessible to all sizes and ages. “All they need is a strong toy drive and a love for swimming,” Kunkle enthused. “We have two labs who still compete at age 14.”

Kunkle says new dogs get a slow introduction to the sport. “We start them off the side deck, only 8 inches off the water, before moving them to the dock,” she explained.

Jenn Zimmerly-Offinga of Hillsboro competes with Motive, a Boston Terrier whose food drive outpaces her interest in toys. The pair manage a compromise. “For Motive, it’s all about food,” Zimmerly-Offinga laughs. “She doesn’t work for free. Food IS her reward, and there’s no food allowed on the dock. We have to go flying right back to the crate, because she needs a paycheck. Some dogs are volunteers; some need a paycheck. Motive needs an edible paycheck.”

Her first diving dog, Hoodlum, was the 2015 NADD Senior Lapdog National Champion, inspiring many Boston Terriers and other “littles” to follow his example. Hoodlum’s success drew Zimmerly-Offinga’s friend from Canada, Mary Young, into dock diving. She has elite jumpers and announces at events.

Young’s dog, Swindle -- a female Belgian Malinois -- is an elite jumper who jumps far and high.  Swindle is “the best counter surfer around, and likes to sleep under the blankets at night curled in between her humans. She loves everything she does and gives 100% every time,” Young says.

Motive and Swindle went to Nationals last year, where almost 800 dogs competed. “I think there were about 20 dogs from the Pacific Northwest,” Zimmerly-Offinga enthused. The Pacific Northwest offers other diving event locales, including a mobile dock, but the indoor venue is a favorite of some dogs who -- like Motive – hate cold water.  “We call her Sensitive Sally because she doesn’t like to jump into cold water. She likes to jump at PAWS, because the water is warm.”

Zimmerly-Offinga is also training Frantic, a puppy Young gifted her. “Frantic is a Boston Terrier/Whippet/Staffy mix, all legs. He’s very cute, After I lost Hoodlum to GI lymphoma, I said I didn’t need another dog. At diving events, Mary kept saying I did, since Motive doesn’t like cold water. She ended up making a four-hour drive for a puppy I said I didn’t want, and she brought Frantic back.”

That’s what friends are for.

Diving All In

Competing with Quiver, the AKC National Champion Doberman, Teresa Ross of Vancouver, WA was amazed how quickly her dogs mastered diving. “We just started. Neither dog was swimming this summer; they were babies,” Ross explained. “and in August, Avatar was in her first competition.”

Dee Morasco of Amboy, WA was at the competition with her veteran Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Rex, who has been to Nationals in Florida three times. Morasco also brought along a puppy who was adjusting to the excitement. “I’ve been doing dock diving since 2003,” Morasco explained. “It’s a good family sport. Kids as young as 7 can be up there, because two people can be on the dock.”

It’s hard to just get a little bit into the sport. Mary Young confesses, “Oh yes I’m the addicted one. I have three dogs that compete: Swindle and Scandal, my two Belgian Malinois; and Quiz, an Australian Cattle Dog. They are all amazing!”

Immersed in dog sports for over 25 years, including flyball, agility, barn hunt, lure coursing, nose work, urban mushing, obedience, Superdogs and dock diving, Young finds “dock diving seems to be a much more family-friendly event and while people are competitive and want their dogs to do the best they can, the joy of watching all the different dogs and people on the dock is what it’s really all about.”  

Young still competes in agility and flyball, and teaches flyball classes at home in British Columbia, “But the dock diving community is powerful and much more welcoming for all newcomers of all the different size dogs/breeds/mixes – it just doesn’t matter.” 

A tiny jumper’s personal best may be nine feet where the big jumpers sail out 32 feet or farther, but “the human-dog team is what keeps people coming back,” Young asserts. “I live in BC Canada and drive to Oregon for all their events. What I love most about diving is the camaraderie amongst competitors encouraging and helping with each other. We are competitors, but most are friends first,” she said with a smile.

Maybe the sport is wildly popular because, at its heart, it’s all about fun – for people and dogs. “The dogs smile,” Zimmerly-Offinga laughed, “They really do. It’s such fun to see them with smiles on their faces when they’re jumping off the dock!”


Interested in seeing if your pup has a future in the sport? Kunkle offers introductions and assessments at PAWS. A first-time assessment is $65. “After that, dock diving lessons are $45. And on Saturdays from 2-5 there is open dock diving practice, at $25 per dog, no appointment required.” 503-640-4007 www.pawsrehab.net

Diving events require registering with NADD – North American Diving Dogs - $35 for the life of the dog. Each competition has entry fees.

For information on registering your dog with NADD and finding an event, go to NorthAmericaDivingDogs.com.

Photo credit:  Amaya Frutkoff

Photo credit: Amaya Frutkoff

Photo credit: Landon Treanor

Photo credit: Landon Treanor

Roo Yori: The K9 Ninja Warrior

As a young student athlete, Andrew “Roo” Yori had Ninja-level skills both on and off the sports field. Soccer was his favorite high school sport, although he competed in others too. As a college athlete he held the long-jump record at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and still graduated as the outstanding male senior with a degree in Biology. Whatever he takes on, he puts his full self into the effort.

Today, 41-year-old Roo Yori holds an impressively brainy job in the genome sequencing laboratory at Minnesota’s famous Mayo Clinic. But, true to form, he’s matching brains with brawn as a multi-season competitor on TV’s American Ninja Warrior.

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To the uninitiated, the show looks like an otherworldly display of super-human strength and agility. To devotees of high-intensity workout programs like CrossFit – another of Yori’s passions – the show’s competitions are a natural extension of the barrier-busting workouts that have desk jockeys and dedicated athletes jumping, climbing, crawling, and balancing like caped superheroes.

Training for the competition would keep any superhuman fully occupied with workout schedules, travel, and qualifying heats. But Yori is making the most of the exposure, using the spotlight to promote his passion for rescue dogs. He uses each televised competition as a fundraiser, urging fans to pledge a donation for each punishing obstacle he completes.

Photo credit: Josh Feeney

Photo credit: Josh Feeney

Remarkable Rescues

In his 2017 rookie season on American Ninja Warrior, Roo and his cheering section sported matching “Adopt A Dog” t-shirts, as his rescued dog Angus watched from the crowd. The now-departed Angus – a stately black Labrador mix with a graying muzzle and dignified air – served as the representative for the pack of beloved rescue dogs who have called the Yori household home.

It started when he and his wife, Clara, went to adopt a dog from the shelter where she worked. Roo instantly fell for the stately Angus, but his wife, Clara, had her heart set on a dog named Ajax. “We weren’t going to change each other’s minds, so we adopted both,” he remembers. The couple even timed the two dogs’ arrivals in the home to create a harmonious transition. “Ajax was doing well at the shelter, and it was a nice shelter, so he stayed there for about 10 days. Angus came home and got used to the house, and then Ajax came.”

Ajax and Angus soon became best friends, but Roo and Clara have made room in their home and family for other rescues who don’t get along with their dog siblings. With dedication and an abundance of dog smarts, they manage to keep a peaceful and active household no matter what canine characters currently live there.

His most famous rescue is the inspiration behind Yori’s Wallace the Pit Bull Foundation, which has raised more than $100,000 to promote rescue and adoption while tackling breed-related stigma. Wallace was a white and brown Pit Bull who had been slated for euthanasia. Soon after the Yoris adopted him, the muscular and driven dog demonstrated an over-the-top love for catching Frisbees. Under the training and guidance of his athlete dad, Wallace ultimately won the 2006 Cynosport World Games and the 2007 Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge National Championship for flying disc. He also inspired author Jim Gorant to pen a best-selling book, “Wallace – the Underdog who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls – one Flying Disc at a Time.”

The champion dog eventually succumbed to an aggressive cancer, but his image and story still grace the logo of the foundation he inspired and the line of merchandise that raises money for the cause, including “pawtographed” copies of his best-selling book.

It’s a responsibility. He’s my responsibility,” says Yori. “I need to make sure I’m managing him and his situations...

Smarts and Heart

The famous overachieving Wallace never fully overcame some of his pre-rescue quirks. “People assumed he did well with my dogs at home,” Yori remembers. “He didn’t. We had to rotate and manage at home. But he had a great life. I’d take him out on a long line and work with him and the Frisbee. When he was playing, he was focused. Working with him in the evening, in a big field where you can turn on the flood lights, those are some of my best memories.”

The hard-to-place dog thrived in his adoptive home because his training and competition provided structure, outlet, and Wallace-centered quality time.

“It’s a responsibility. He’s my responsibility,” says Yori. “I need to make sure I’m managing him and his situations, so he doesn’t get into something he isn’t ready to handle. It was a lot of management. I hate to say I was a little relieved when he retired, but I got to relax a little more.”

One of Wallace’s canine siblings, Hector, also enjoyed fame and raised money to help other dogs. Hector was one of 51 Pit Bulls rescued from the Michael Vick dog fighting case. The baby-faced brown Pittie overcame his traumatic history to pass the Canine Good Citizen test – TWICE – and become a Certified Therapy Dog. Visiting hospitals, nursing homes, and schools, Hector spent the rest of his life busting stereotypes and winning hearts.

As age and illness closed in on Hector, Yori hung a victorious sign around the dog, who stood gray-faced and peaceful on a picnic table, after seven years of happy life that seemed to have erased his memory of the two he’d spent in the violent world of dog fighting. The sign reads, “Vick, 2. Hector, 7. I win.”

Training for Success

The Yori dogs have since included a rescued Pitties, a three-legged Corgi, and an ever-growing cast of canines with sad histories and sweet dispositions. Nobody in the pack is training for competition like their predecessor Wallace, but Yori continues to find time to nurture each dog’s interests and abilities.

“It’s that quality time,” Yori says. More than accommodation for their disabilities or management for their temperament issues, the dogs need happy, structured play with their favorite humans.

Whether training for competition or just for fun, Yori looks for the games and activities that light up each dog’s disposition. He tries to give his highly driven dogs a playful challenge that approaches the edge of their abilities. Dogs with more physical limitations get less demanding workout sessions, focusing more on mental stimulation and quality bonding time.

“We do whatever the dog enjoys, as long as we remain safe.” The balanced approach keeps dogs injury-free, even while leaning hard into weight-pulling courses or impressive Frisbee acrobatics.

Without canine competitions on their calendar, the Yori dogs’ training time now focuses more on dog/human bonding. Still, they reap all the benefits of more intense training. “They learn self-control, and a tired dog is a good dog. It gives them an outlet and it gives you that time together. That’s exactly it. Those are some of the best memories, the best times.”

One of Roo’s current dogs is a round-faced brown Pittie who slightly resembles his predecessor, Hector. And, like Hector, Johnny is a dog-fighting survivor, with tattered and scarred ears that tell of his abusive past.

On a YouTube video created in his backyard, Yori recreates the American Ninja Warrior obstacle courses with a homemade dog agility course. In the video, a grinning and focused Johnny hops among wooden platforms, scurries under a cargo net, and scales a ramp. In an awesome display of drive and strength, Johnny climbs a platform to grab a knotted robe in his teeth, which he keeps clasped in his muscular jaws while the rope rolls down a trolley line. At the end of the course, Johnny stands victorious on top of the final obstacle and repeatedly pats a big red button with his paw, much like his human’s victorious finishes on the competitive TV show.

The agility video mimics a Ninja episode, down to the gravel-voiced play-by-play that Yori dubbed onto the video. “Aaand he does it! Just like that, Johnny hits the buzzer! To think back to where Johnny came from just a few years ago, found chained in a basement with nine other dogs, rescued, adopted, and now hitting his first buzzer on Canine Ninja Warrior!”

The muscular dog’s tail wags as he pats the red buzzer a few more times. The gravelly narration sums up the story of a Yori canine athlete. “Congratulations, Johnny. You earned it!”


https://www.youtube.com/user/rooyori

https://www.rooyori.com/


Michelle Blake, Managing Editor