Stay: the true story of ten dogs is a book about the power of love between humans and dogs.

Luciano Anastasini is from a very, very long line of circus performers. He was an amazing performer until he fell 50 feet breaking so many bones that it took four operations to put him back together. It looked like his performing days were over.

Amazingly, he refused to give up on his life in the circus and instead decided to try something new. He reasoned that the new act would be his second chance so he wanted animals who also needed a second chance.

Luciano adopted his first 5 dogs that no one else had wanted. A dog who couldn’t stop running into things, a thief, a biter, a digger and a stray. Because he loved them, and saw each dog as worthwhile, he came to see their hidden talents and helped them overcome their problems.

Luciano was able to create an act where the dogs were silly and happy because of their wonderful lives with him offstage. He even started taking in more dogs that seemed unlovable.

We are grumpy, scruffy, restless, broken. We have done things we wish we hadn’t. But inside each of us, there waits an infinity of dazzle, color, humor, hope, sadness, joy…an endless parade of clowns.

We just need someone to open the door, to see us. And to believe.

Kate DiCamillo wrote that quote in her introduction to the book. I don’t think she was just talking about dogs.

I’m a big believer of rescuing animals, dogs and cats. And I can’t wait to share this story with my students. I think more than a few might decide rescuing is the way to go as well.

As a side note, I want to say that I love the circus! 

As a little girl, I would happily tell you that I wanted to be a circus clown when I grew up. I still do–although I have realized that in my job I get to perform for happy children every day, making them laugh with my silly antics, and there seem to be more than a few circus monkeys wandering the school’s halls. So maybe I achieved my goal after all.

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