By Kate Scriven
Intelligence. Endurance. Speed. Accuracy. Leaping ability.
And extreme cuteness.
You’ll see all of these attributes demonstrated by talented, trained dogs during the November 22 show, Stunt Dog Experience at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts. Founder Chris Perondi brings his pack of pooches back to the stage in downtown Olympia where they will delight audiences of all ages.
“We are thrilled to be bringing the much-loved Stunt Dog Experience back for two performances,” shares Anne Larsen Matheson, Director of Marketing for The Washington Center. “This is one of the groups we get the most requests for a return engagement. These dogs are amazing, and the whole family will enjoy their antics and stunts.”
Perondi’s career training dogs began in 1996 as a hobby with his own beloved dog Pepper. He enjoyed the time spent bonding with his pet and began reading up on the field of training to improve his skills. His passion grew quickly and he launched a local club focusing mainly on the skill of catching flying discs or Frisbees.
Naturally, the talented dogs drew attention wherever they went and Perondi was soon giving demonstrations with his dogs at county fairs, school assemblies and community festivals. The media caught wind of his amazing show and soon he was booking shows including the CBS Early Show and half-time shows for the San Francisco 49ers.
His love of his dogs and the close relationships he fostered during training, coupled with the overwhelmingly positive response to his shows, helped Perondi make the decision to turn his hobby into his career. “I quit my job, sold my house, bought an RV, and in 2001 the dogs and I hit the road to launch Stunt Dog Productions full time,” shares Perondi.
He and his dogs have performed all over the nation and in 2011 launched their stage show, Stunt Dog Experience. This high-energy, audience participation show engages young and old alike in the amazing athletic feats of Perondi’s dogs. Audience members participate on stage (don’t worry parents…it’s mostly kids invited up), challenges have the audience cheering for their own team dog, and timed games show the speed and agility of the canines. You’ll love the dancing dogs, big air stunts and the “Stunt Dog Triathlon.” Don’t forget to linger in the lobby after the show for a chance to meet (and pet) the stars of the show.
While the tricks and stunts performed by the dogs are amazing, what’s more important to Perondi is sharing a message promoting pet adoption and rescue. “All of our dogs are rescues from shelters or the pound,” he explains. “Most dogs come to us between 10 months and three years old which is really the sweet spot for training and bonding.” It’s at this age that many dog owners realize they don’t have the time or energy to keep up with the activity needed by a high-energy dog and surrender them to a shelter.
Perondi’s skills are a perfect match for these curious, smart dogs who just need some time and training. “I’ll often get a call from local shelters when a dog comes in that seems like a good fit for our show,” he shares. And, those calls have resulted in the Perondi family currently having 12 dogs in their care.
While the dogs are trained for life on the stage, their place will always be at home with the Perondi family. All the Stunt Dogs live with Perondi and his wife, even after they have retired. “They really are our pets and they are in the house, on the bed, and go everywhere with us,” he says.
The Stunt Dogs and Perondi travel around the country to entertain, but more importantly, to educate audiences on the benefits of pet adoption and rescue along with responsible pet ownership. “We hope that the show inspires people to do more with their dogs and encourages people to try out a bit of training with their pets at home,” he shares. But more than that, he hopes to inspire people to adopt a pet from local shelters and always be sure to have their pets spayed or neutered.
“The importance of rescuing dogs from shelters is a great message to share with our community,” shares Matheson. “The passion that the human performers have for that mission is very evident in their work with the canine performers. These dogs are having fun!”
Don’t let these amazing dogs have all the fun. Join in the experience. Tickets are available now for two Stunt Dog Experience shows, 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., on November 22 at The Washington Center. Prices range from $10 to $28 and can be purchased online here or at The Washington Center box office at 512 Washington Street in downtown Olympia.