By TAMMY SEREBRIN
Lakeland Community Theatre, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Pilots n Paws, and DogSense Obedience have all had a hand in creating the dog actor to play Toto in Lakeland Community Theatre’s upcoming musical “The Wizard of Oz.”
The local SPCA, which provided the dog to play Sandy in the 2010 Lakeland Community Theatre production of “Annie,” was contacted again to help find a Toto. Director of Operations Pat Glynn put a “casting call” out to humane societies around the country.
A two-year-old cairn terrier living at the Humane Society of Central Louisiana, whose name coincidentally is Ozzie, fit the bill. He was flown to Lakeland by a pilot through Pilots n Paws, a non-profit message board that allows animal shelters and pet rescue groups to post their transport needs. Pilots willing to fly an animal then provide the means at no charge.
According to the “Wizard of Oz” director, Debi Morgan, Ozzie is easily getting used to being called Toto by the cast and production staff and is adjusting very nicely as an actor. Debbi Snyder of Dog Sense Obedience helped train Ozzie to follow instructions so he can “play his part” properly.
When “The Wizard of Oz” ends July 31, Ozzie/Toto does not have to fear he will have no place to call home. A number of families involved with the show reportedly are more than willing to have him call their house his home.
[ To learn more: www.lovemyspca.com, pilotsnpaws.org, dogsenseobedience.com. ]
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