Celebrates People and Pets
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Tips 'n' Tales Newspaper Columnist with Miss Wings
Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"©
Musical production of Annie goes to the dogs! The musical's dog star PeJay, seen on the far right, shines his beautiful smile on stage April 3 - 26 along with Abigail who plays Annie and their co-star dogs; Left to right are: Elle, Isaiah, and Annie holding Zipadeedodah. Jewell, is sitting pretty up front with PeJay for their first photo session together.
As Marcee watched PeJay's obedience skill, she fell in love with him. She wanted him to play "Sandy." Dianne objected, "I don't want my dog in the play. Even though PeJay was born in Cottage Grove, we live in Springfield, and it is a big commitment of time to participate in Annie. PeJay did not come to be auditioned, and it would not be fair to the other dogs and their stage-parents." Dianne suggested that Marcee choose another dog.
Well, with a little divine intervention, and as luck would have it-- no other dogs arrived for the audition! Some people and pets are destined for fame, and PeJay is obviously one of them! And this is how 10 ½-year-old PeJay, became their super-dog-star "Sandy." Proving, once again, that all ages are welcomed to participate in a Cottage Theatre production!
PeJay has spent his life training for this role. He earned a Certificate of Canine Distinction, with titles in Obedience and Agility. He was a therapy dog for Delta Society (www.DeltaSociety.org) and his winning Retriever smile and gentlemanly way was a favorite amongst the ladies.
"On our weekly visits to the nursing home, the residents loved touching and brushing his soft fur. One of the ladies, who was blind, had been deeply involved with Wildlife Safari." Dianne pauses with a tear in her eye and a catch in her breath. "She loved animals and when PeJay came up to her, she would come alive. She would take both of her hands and gently cup his head in them. PeJay's visits meant the world to her! Even though she could not see, she asked us for a photograph of him for her room. After she died, we discovered that another resident, who also loved PeJay, had 'stolen' his photograph and had it in her room!"
PeJay has one unusual trait; his heart's desire is to become a famous search and rescue dog. According to Dianne, "He takes a stuffed toy and hides it under a sheet or blanket. After it is hidden, he 'searches' for it, then wraps it up again. He plays like this for hours."
Last year, PeJay was surprised with a new baby brother, Isaiah, a Sheltie puppy. Now PeJay has his very own puppy to play with instead of a stuffed toy!
"Because Isaiah is from a herding breed he loves practicing on PeJay," laughs Dianne as she fondly looks at her dogs. "Isaiah, hitches a ride with Pejay by jumping up and grabbing ahold of PeJay's tail. He hangs on, as PeJay happily bounds around the park. PeJay is so gentle. He lets Isaiah dangle from his beautiful feathery tail, as he drags him around, swinging from side to side, with all four of Isaiah's feet off the ground. It's so funny, it looks like an America's Funniest Home Video segment."
"PeJay will be a hit in "Annie". Being a senior citizen, 10½ years old, or 'over seventy years old' in dog years, his fame is coming late in his life. The 'ol' guy still has what it takes to be a star!" proudly proclaims Dianne.
In addition to PeJay, there will be a five other canine co-stars appearing in Annie. The lively dog chase scene has Zipadeedodah aka Zippy, (a Papillon), and Kissy Missy, (a Chihuahua), Jewell, (a Border Collile) Elle, (a Border Collie-Aussi rescued mix,) and even PeJay's side kick Isaiah (a Sheltie)! If the chase scene is anything like the photo shoot of the dogs, Annie is going to be a very active and fun musical!
"Actors often joke 'Never perform on stage with kids or dogs, as they always steal the spotlight!'" laughs Susan, Cottage Theatre's Executive Director. "And this show will be no exception!"
PeJay is from a litter of 12 brothers and sisters. His siblings are excited about their brother's recent spotlight of fame. None of PeJay's fur-family are expected to attend the play, or the final performance, and cast's 'After Paw-ty.'
Puppy Scams: Do not fall victim to the Internet or local newspaper puppy scams that ask you for money to send a dog to you. A recent ASPCA newsletter warned its readers about this scam. Subscribe to their informative pet newsletter at: www.ASPCA.org
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