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Meet Scout Wallace, Ann Arbor’s famous basketball-rebounding dog

ANN ARBOR, MI — Scout Wallace is a happy and energetic dog with a particular set of skills that have impressed millions.

The 5-year-old border collie who lives with Meg and Jim Wallace in Ann Arbor’s Burns Park neighborhood expertly rebounds and passes basketballs back to anyone willing to practice their shot at the hoop outside the family’s Wells Street home.

“He brings a lot of joy to people,” Jim Wallace said.

A video of Scout in action, shot by a neighbor in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, went viral when it was shared on the ESPN SportsCenter Facebook page in July 2020. Aptly titled “This Doggo is The Best Rebounder,” the video racked up more than 73 million views and is now making the rounds again.

A copy of it shared on Twitter this week clocked over 170,000 views in one day, continuing to amaze viewers.

In the viral video, Meg and Jim Wallace said Scout is rebounding for their son Jack, who was 20 at the time. They have another son, Fred, and Scout is actually his dog.

“It just went crazy,” Meg Wallace said of the video, noting it came at a time when a lot of sporting events were shut down and people were at home with their dogs, factors she thinks contributed to the video going viral.

“All summer, we would just watch the numbers go up and up, and all the crazy comments,” she said of reaction to the original video. “We’ve had a lot of fun with it.”

Scout Wallace, a 5-year-old border collie, with two of his humans, Meg and Jim Wallace, outside their home in Ann Arbor’s Burns Park neighborhood on June 8, 2022.Ryan Stanton | The Ann Arbor News

Two years later, Scout is still an internet sensation and continues to delight passersby in the neighborhood, bringing smiles to the faces of those who stop to watch.

“This is so cool,” said Kate Waanders as she passed by on a recent walk.

Scout has always liked balls, but it was only when the family had landscaping work done in April 2020 that the basketball hoop was moved from the backyard to along the street.

“So, it was a lot easier to play basketball,” Jim Wallace said, adding Scout naturally picked up his Dennis Rodman-like rebounding skills without any training.

“He has trained us to play basketball,” he said. “I train him to stay out of the road. That’s one thing, he will stay off the road. So, if it goes out of bounds for him, he’ll just wait.”

scout wallace

Scout Wallace, a 5-year-old border collie, gets ready to rebound a basketball outside his home in Ann Arbor’s Burns Park neighborhood on June 8, 2022.Ryan Stanton | The Ann Arbor News

Scout does other tricks, too. On command, he can weave between Jim Wallace’s legs as he walks, make flying leaps to catch frisbees, roll over and more.

“He also plays soccer and tennis and lots of other things as well, but basketball is his most famous attribute,” Jim Wallace said. “Every day is a dog show at our house.”

Scout also teamed up with University of Michigan women’s basketball player Naz Hillmon for a special get-out-the-vote video ahead of the 2020 election, showing off his skills on the court at Burns Park.

The family got Scout from a working sheep farm west of Chelsea and quickly realized he was a talented pup.

“As a breed, they have to be busy, either physically or mentally,” Jim Wallace said. “He’s a really good dog. We spend a lot of time working together. It actually has been great through the pandemic because we’ve been working from home and every break we can just go outside and throw some ball or throw the frisbee or take a walk or something.”

They shoot hoops at least once a day and Scout quickly and excitedly runs to his station under the hoop at the very whisper of the word basketball.

scout wallace

Scout Wallace, a 5-year-old border collie, passes a basketball back to Jim Wallace outside their home in Ann Arbor’s Burns Park neighborhood on June 8, 2022.Ryan Stanton | The Ann Arbor News

“A lot of people worry it hurts his nose, but he never complains about it,” Jim Wallace said, adding the only time Scout overdid it and played too much was at a Pioneer High School summer camp.

“We tried to keep him away from it,” Meg Wallace said. “He just howled and howled, because it’s really his favorite thing to play.”

The Wallaces have no plans to try to capitalize on Scout’s internet fame. They’re just glad he’s making people smile.

“He just makes a lot of people happy,” Jim Wallace said.

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