There are few things better in the world than the smell of popcorn, cotton candy, and a glittering show, but one circus in Illinois creates a special level of elation – by adding delightful dogs.
A pair of pit bulls named Junebug and Rosie Ray are the stars of the Midnight Circus; an evening production in Chicago’s parks that features clowns, acrobats, aerialists, and rescue dogs.
The Midnight Circus performance is special not just because it raises money for city parks – it also helps to fight negative stereotypes about pit bulls.
The co-founder Jeff Jenkins met Junebug at an anti-dogfighting training event that he was teaching. Jenkins could tell that she was being mistreated, so he convinced the pup’s owner to let Jenkins adopt her.
Rosie Ray, a pit bull from an animal shelter, “was loud, wild, and showed all the signs of a puppy who had not been socialized, trained… She also had huge sweet eyes and that intangible quality that says ‘I’m your next family member.’”
Since Rosie and Junebug joined the circus, the show follows a pattern in which Junebug plays the rowdy actress who steals Jenkin’s hat and playfully runs around while Jenkins tries to catch her. Then, Rosie Ray breaks out and tears through the obstacle courses like a lightning bolt.
The playful pups are naturals at entertaining and serve as the circus’ finale. 100% of the ticket proceeds go to parks in the Windy City, which has raised almost $1,000,000.
The Midnight Circus has also visited correctional facilities where Rosie Ray and Junebug help to “build bridges” among the residents and encourage honest conversations about how to better take care of rescue dogs.
“Dogs are great healers for finding common ground because they’re unbelievably faithful and they love you unconditionally, which is a great lesson for us,” Jenkins told the Chicago Tribune.
(WATCH the circus video below)
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