Based in Georgia, the Atlanta Lyric Theatre was in need of a small dog to play a leading role. For the part of “Bruisier” in the musical adaptation, the theatre group looked to Furkids for help.
“Furkids is a charitable, non-profit organization that provides a cage-free, no-kill shelter for rescued animals where they can experience the best care in a loving environment until they are adopted.”
As the main character, Elle Woods, goes off to Harvard Law School, her small and peppy dog goes along with her.
“The dog has to be charming, affectionate and smart enough to act during his scenes and stay quiet when the action of the play wasn’t on him,” said Brandt Blocker, Artistic Director and General Manager of Atlanta Lyric Theatre, who was also the Stage Director.
While some organizations go for a fully trained dog, the Atlanta Lyrics Theatre crew decided to use a homeless dog to fill the role. Not only would it be a good fit for the role of Bruisier, it would also shine some light on Furkids and the homeless animals in their shelters.
The manager of the Furkids dog shelter, Lauren Miller, had the perfect fit in mind for the role. Immediately she knew that Buster, a 7 pound Chihuahua would be perfect.
Buster had been rescued from the side of the road. He was found and delivered to Furkids, where he got his shots, treatment for heartworms and was placed up for adoption.
To help him along, Furkids made little Buster the featured pet of the day on Good Day Atlanta. Unfortunately, no interested families called to adopt him. As fate would have it, Buster’s luck turned around when the call from the Atlanta Lyric Theatre called.
Although Miller knew Buster wasn’t trained for the stage, she knew his spunky personality would let him shine. It was her hope that after starring in the play, someone would bring him to a loving home. Lucky for Buster, he was adopted before the play opened!
The Atlanta Lyric Theatre crew decided it would be best if their lead actress, Alison Wilhoit, who plays Elle Woods, brought Buster home with her. They figured this time together would allow the pair to bond and have better chemistry on stage. That bond really took hold with Wilhoit and her whole family, including her three other dogs. The family decided to keep him.
Onstage, Buster stole the show.
“On opening night, Buster was so happy on stage with me and the cast, and the audience loved him!” said Wilhoit. “At the end of the show, when the cast went out for bows, I turned and looked to the side of the stage, and “Bruiser” came running, right on cue. He jumped into my arms and covered my face with dog kisses! The crowd went wild, cheering and clapping!. It warms my heart every time he runs to me at the end of the show,” she said.
Despite his new celebrity status, Buster hasn’t forgot where he came from or the organization that helped him out in his time of need. Buster reminds his fans that Furkids has many dogs and cats looking to find their forever home too.
source: Marietta.Patch.com and furkids.org