Stay, The True Story of Ten Dogs, by Michaela Muntean (Scholastic, 2012, 40 pages, $16.99, grades 3-5)
"Sometimes a dog will show up when you need one the most. Sometimes a person will show up when a dog needs one most. Sometimes they will find each other at just the right moment. . . .
Luciano, like many of his ancestors before him, was a circus acrobat until one day he had an accident. . . .
But he loved the circus so much he stayed on and, finally, an idea came to him! Luciano needed a second chance and ten dogs needed a second chance. Stay is the photographic story of how their lives and futures intersected.
Luciano found dog after dog – each, unwanted. Each had a behavior that didn’t fit in with their family and so they wound up at the pound. Luciano found a way to channel that behavior into a circus act.
He became a dog trainer over a span of two years by letting the dogs be dogs and observing those problem behaviors which could be turned into circus skills. “Perhaps everything depended on how you looked at it. Where others had seen headaches and problems, Luciano saw hope and possibilities, 'because inside each of us' . . .there awaits an endless parade of clowns.”
Each Dog is Special
Luciano uses only positive reinforcement in training his dogs, along with plenty of praise and treats. He observes his dogs and discovers what they love to do, then channels that into a circus act. With new dogs, Luciano is finding that dogs can learn by imitating other dogs.
If only more dog owners would do the same for their dogs, rather than ‘making’ their dogs do agility or freestyle or obedience.
But life can’t always be a circus either: on their days off, Luciano and the dogs spend time together, just chillin’. They are also bathed and groomed and spend one-on-one time with their best friend! After all, each dog is special.
Told in bright circus colors and real circus photographs, Stay will stay with you and your child.
For a 5-minute clip of Luciano and his pound puppies, click here.
Disclaimer: I checked this book out of my public library.