Poodles, generally speaking, are droll dogs, oddly coiffed objects of ridicule. It’s the do, the froufrou do. But looks can deceive. Poodles are smart, funny, athletic—the canine equivalent of Olympic gymnasts. I know, I live with two remarkably talented Poodles who appeared together at the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus and the legendary Cirque Medrano in Paris. Handsome and charismatic, Erni and Lord were professional acrobats. But I’ve never had the pleasure of watching them perform. By the time we met, their careers were history. They were “lost” dogs, Poodles on the loose, in search of someone who cared. I was that someone.

The Six Orellys were European acrobats, cascadeurs. In 1927, they sailed to America and toured the US, their props strapped to the running boards of a big black Packard sedan. The stars of the act rode in the back seat —lithe white…

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