Born to perform

A state fair presents limitless attractions. From agricultural expos to Ferris wheels and cotton candy to random music and blinking lights, it’s hard to focus on one thing. At stage 3 at 1:30 p.m. Friday, though, a free Extreme Canines Stunt Dog Show excited children and adults alike as dogs rescued from shelters were given center stage to entertain and to inform.

The presentation, while fun, wanted to let the audience know that there are five million dogs taken in by pounds and shelters in the nation every five years.

“Out of those five million dogs, only two and a half million of them come out of those pounds and shelters alive,” said Abby Cline, who, along with Melissa Dragovich, was one of two handlers directing the dogs in the show. “Now we don’t tell you this today to sadden you, but we tell you this in hopes that the next time you guys go out looking for a dog that you check your local pounds and shelters because there are tons and tons of great dogs out there.”

Every dog used in the show, she said, was adopted from a pound or shelter across the state.

A call to the Souris Valley Animal Shelter in Minot revealed that, as of Friday afternoon, there were between 30 and 35 dogs available and that the shelter has “dogs every day coming in and going out,” according to a shelter employee who wished not to be named.

“We don’t euthanize them for space,” the employee said of that particular shelter’s policies. “They would stay here forever if they don’t get adopted.”

A few of the dogs at the show, like Pixie and Jojo, specialized in catching flying discs in the air from low levels or jumping up high.

Rosie, a corgie and cattle dog mix, was a high jumper, obtaining a vertical leap of 48 inches despite being only 17 inches tall at the shoulders when standing on her hind legs. Rosie tried for higher leaps, but, Cline said, she may have been too excited to perform her best.