Luciano Anastasini comes from generations of circus performers. He was an acrobat himself until he fell from a high wire.
His stunt days over, Anastasini sold tickets, put up posters and pondered what to do next. He dreamed of a circus act of his own. For this, he would need partners.
Anastasini went looking for rescue dogs.
Bowser had been a thief who learned to steal bread and butter by opening cupboards. Penny ran into walls. Tyke bit someone. And Cocoa had dug up a yard.
For almost two years, Anastasini found out what each dog liked to do and trained each in that strength—running up ladders, scooting down slides (backward), knocking down and rolling up their owner up in a rug—all at dizzying speeds.
Now the biggest circuses hire Luciano Anastasini and his Pound Puppies, who crisscross the country in two trailers: one for the family and one for 10 dogs.
“There was a time when nearly all dogs had jobs,” he says. “Most were bred to herd, to hunt, to guard. When dogs misbehave, I think it’s just because they’re bored.”
— Adapted from Stay, Michaela Muntean, Scholastic Press.