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Jasper: Flea Juggler

Selecting a flea to play Jasper is one of the more difficult tasks.  This is due in large part to the fact that there is no current test to tell those fleas which will juggle from those that will not.

The only "test" is to train a group of fleas first to be well mannered, and then to toss each of them a Styrofoam ball.

After this is done, Jasper will receive his collar, and must AGAIN be tested as many performers refuse to juggle if they are fitted with a collar they find uncomfortable.

After this long process is complete, fleas to fill Jasper's role can then be tested for the height of flea ball handling skill:  An ability to play "soccer" or "football" by passing a ball back and forth among them.

Many trainers have treated the small flea sized balls with odiferous substances to encourage the fleas to kick the balls away, but I find that simply repeatedly placing the ball in their little arms is the best training.

Among the other fleas, Jasper is always highly regarded.  After all, he's "his own flea" in many ways, and one of the few performers who really gets to call his own shots in the circus.

There is considerable rivalry between fleas who master the art of kicking the ball, and as a trainer, this must be always looked for and considered.

Fleas performing as Jasper often make the best fleas to keep as pets after their days in the circus.  Their natural pride and playfulness make them a joy to own.  They usually feel that they are a "breed apart" after the lengthy selection process, and if their small egos can be dealt with, they will provide a lifetime of fun.

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All images (C) John Norris & Walt Noon 2005