Marvelous Mutts Help Rescue Dogs Find Forever Homes With Their Epic Performances.

dog jumping into air to catch frisbee

Move over, pedigreed dogs! The Marvelous Mutts are here to prove that anything purebred dogs can do, they can do better.

The Marvelous Mutts is a high-energy traveling dog show that features some of the world’s most talented, athletic, and exciting rescue dogs. During their shows, dogs of all shapes, sizes, and colors leap into the air, dash through obstacle courses, and get serious distance jumping into swimming pools to catch toys in their mouths — and they make it all look easy!

The Marvelous Mutts travel across the country performing at fairs, concerts, shows, and other events. Their mission is not just to entertain, but to spread the message that rescue dogs have so much to offer that it’s downright silly to only shop for registered animals.

Nadja Palenzuela and Kara Gilmore founded The Marvelous Mutts in 2011 after both retired from their “regular” jobs. They now own and operate a large ranch in the Hudson River Valley in New York where they take in rescues and train them to perform in their shows. Most of these dogs were surrendered to shelters because they had too much energy for the average family, but that’s the exact quality Nadja and Kara are looking for when adding to their pack.

“They need a job to do,” Nadja explained. “So we find out what they do best and train them up; we use their innate drive and desire to please and train them to be amazing athletes and performers that enjoy being in public.”

The Marvelous Mutts show is a family-friendly way to showcase these animals’ incredible athleticism and training. They combine elements of canine sports like dock-diving, agility, and good old frisbee-catching, and the animals appear to have the time of their lives! After each show Kara, Nadja, and the other handlers chat with the public to promote animal rescue.

Nadja and Kara do most of the training and all of the dog selection for The Marvelous Mutts. They have relationships with area shelters, so when a high-energy dog turns up they often get first dibs. They choose animals that have a strong interest in playing with toys and interacting with humans, and they have no qualms about including dogs with three legs or other differences. Dogs are trained using positive reinforcement like toys and treats, and they’re never forced to perform.

When a dog grows old and can no longer perform, they have a home for life on Kara and Nadja’s farm.

“Once we adopt a dog, we are committed to him or her for life, whether or not the dog ends up in the show,” Nadja explained. “We have one dog who has been with us for more than six years, and who still hasn’t made it into a show. Some people who have traveling-dog acts treat their dogs like equipment. Our dogs are family members for life.”

This is family entertainment with a purpose! We’ll be keeping our eyes out for The Marvelous Mutts’ performances this festival and fair season, won’t you?

Share this story to help them promote their message: Adopt, don’t shop!

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