Pet theater performance shines spotlight on shelter pets

NEWARK — When Gregory Popovich found Jerry, he was at an animal shelter waiting for a forever home.

The dog was recovering from being hit by a car. Because of his appearances, most people were passing by without noticing him. But Popovich could tell he was a smart dog with a lot of personality.

“I couldn’t get him out of my mind,” he said. “I decided to take him, and I’ve never worried about that decision.”

Since his adoption, Jerry has become one of the main performers in Popovich’s Comedy Pet Theater. On Sunday, he’ll be one of the 12 dogs and 14 cats that will take the stage at The Midland.

The pets will keep audience members laughing with a variety of stunts and skits, Popovich said.

All of them have been adopted from animal shelters around the country.

“My main message that I try to send is that animals are people too,” he said. “If after my show someone from the audience visits a local animal shelter to adopt a pet, I feel like my mission is complete.”

A Russian native, Popovich is the fourth generation in a family of circus performers.

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