The Greatest Show on Earth may be RIP, but the rescue dog circus is still very much alive and licking. And it's coming to town — that town being St. Pete — for a performance to benefit the St. Petersburg Free Clinic.
Mutts Gone Nuts will play the Palladium Theater on Sunday, Feb. 19. At this show, expect to see eight dogs — all adopted from shelters and rescue groups — perform tricks that, frankly, sound shockingly difficult. (Though do not fear; we are assured they've been trained using only positive reinforcement.)
Geronimo, for example, will jump rope and do backflips — he holds a Guinness world record for her skills as a double-dutch jump roper. Feather the greyhound retired from a life on the track, and now earns her bones jumping really high. Charlie is a Jack Russell terrier who walks the tight wire.
There's also a dog named Chuck Taylor, described as the troupe's "resident bad boy." Chuck Taylor's special skill is outsmarting ringmaster Scott Houghton, who created Mutts Gone Nuts with his wife Joan.
"This troublemaker is an audience favorite, especially with the kids," Houghton tells Creative Loafing.
The performance supports a truly excellent local nonprofit, which provides "food, shelter and health care to those in need and are dedicated to giving help and hope to families and individuals in Pinellas County," helping some 100,000 families every year, says St. Petersburg Free Clinic executive director Beth Houghton.
Beth also happens to be Scott's sister. The siblings' mother — St. Petersburgian Barbara Houghton — weighed in by email about how great it is seeing her kids working together in ways that are so perfect for each of them.
"Although Beth was always into helping others, she was a serious student and became very successful in business before she followed her heart and joined the Free Clinic," she says. "Scotty was everybody's friend, the class clown, a guy who would give someone the shirt off his back, but not sure what he wanted to do with his life. He always loved animals, and entertaining people, so it is wonderful to see his and (his wife) Joan's success first with their comedy act Disorderly Conduct, and now with Mutts Gone Nuts. I'm so glad they are all happy, and their Dad would be, too."
You get the idea. This is, for sure, going to be the kind of awesome show that really puts the fun in fundraiser.
We literally cannot think of a single reason why you shouldn't get your ticket right now.