Pompeyo performance shares a message about dog adoption and care | News
GOSHEN – Ask me what I did on Tuesday, and probably the first thing I’ll tell you is, “I saw a dog in a Superman cape jump off a ladder into a man’s arms.”
Honestly, it was probably one of the best times of my week so far: covering the Pompeyo family dog show at the Elkhart County Fair.
Imagine me there. I put on my sunglasses, camera at the ready, notepad on my lap, lens stash in effect—total journalist face, you know? I was even able to keep my cool as the Pompeys sent out the crowd to cheer and sing along for one of their star dogs. “Go, Sucre, go! Go, my sugar, go! they cheered as part of the poodle’s grand stunt.
Still, I confess that I barely kept my cool when the show took off. Because, of course, I was tapping a toe while “Cotton-Eyed Joe” played as part of the soundtrack. Of course, I held my breath as the little dog in Superman’s cape climbed a ladder – what? Seven, eight feet tall? I really ask – then I jumped off a small platform into Jorge Pompeyo’s arms.
And sure enough, I was smiling as the show’s dogs walked on their hind legs in their version of a conga line during the climax.
The family – Jorge, his wife Natalya and their daughters Katerina and Isabella – carried out the act with around seven dogs in their Wild West-themed arena at the fairgrounds, near the intersection of Dahlia Lane and Oak Street, right next to the dog. and cat building.
The real hook, for me, was when the Pompeys said early on that the dogs they featured were adopted from animal shelters.
“Every dog can be a star,” Jorge said.
I caught up with him and Natalya after the midday performance, and we chatted in the shade of their RV behind the arena.
The two explained why working with adopted dogs is fundamental to their show.
“Someone has to help them,” Natalya said. “Who else can help them?” We try to send as many positive messages as “Every dog can be trained”. Every dog can be part of the family. You just need a special way to get there.
This is a traveling act, with the family having performed in many states over the past 12 years or so. And on the road, Jorge and Natalya said they adopted dogs while visiting shelters at different stops. There were even times when people brought animals to the venues where they were performing.
“They just bring dogs if the dogs they can’t handle, they think it’s too much energy and they just don’t have time,” Natalya said. “Wherever we go we try to visit shelters and see the logs with those who can’t handle dogs, so we try to help those.”
Now, you might be wondering now how the Pompeys got to this point where they have dogs literally jumping through hoops at the fair. Or, maybe you’re waiting to see if I’m about to reveal what Sugar’s big stunt was. Ohhhhh… Alright, I’ll tell you.
The Pompeys met while working as circus performers. Jorge was a daredevil, he said, doing motorcycle and wire acts, he said. Natalya was a gymnast and acrobat.
Natalya continued to perform during the pregnancy of their first child. But, according to their website, Jorge was involved in an accident during an act. Although he was unharmed, the couple decided to stay grounded for his family. So they found a new niche in training dogs to perform in a show.
“We decided why do we want to risk our lives if we can do something better, and we can do something for the dogs,” Jorge said.
The act was also something the Pompeys could involve their children in as they got older, both helping train dogs and performing in the show.
Their show gained national attention when they appeared on the 12th season of “America’s Got Talent” in 2017 and reached the semi-final. Since then, Jorge said the dog show was featured on the Nickelodeon show “Unleashed” last year, as well as on Spanish-language networks like Telemundo and Univision.
When not on the road, the Pompeyos are based in Bradenton, Fla., where Natalya said the family has 28 dogs, which apparently includes foster dogs. They also have a business there, AAA Pet Resort, which offers dog boarding and grooming services.
This takes us back to this week as Jorge said the family was getting their start in Hoosier State here in Elkhart County.
“We are happy to be here,” said Jorge. “First time doing fairs in Indiana.”
As for Sugar’s grand stunt, well… You can catch it during performances of the Pompeyos throughout this week, with three performances each day at noon, 4 p.m., and 6 p.m.
If you can’t do that, here’s a look at what this dog can do.