4:00pm Friday 8th February 2013
This dog will be bow wowing fans of the musical Annie when he bounds onto stage in Chippenham next month.
Dexter was chosen to play the prime part of Sandy after auditioning for Annie’s four-legged friend on Sunday.
His owner, dog trainer Ali Buck, helped out with the choreography for the top two winning acts on That Dog Can Dance, shown on ITV1 on Boxing Day.
When she read in the Gazette that CLOGS Musical Theatre company were looking for a Sandy, she decided to show off her prize pooch.
Mrs Buck, who has been training dogs for 15 years, also has four other canines but knew Dexter, a five-year-old Australian shepherd/border collie cross, would bask in the limelight.
She said: “He revels being the centre of attention. He knew exactly why he was there on Sunday and he was just awesome.”
Mrs Buck said the organisers chose Dexter because he was incredibly well-trained.
“He could come when called, but also not come when called, which is important because he has to ignore Annie to prove he’s a stray,” she said.
The two Annies – nine-year-old Alice Harding and 12-year-old Annabel Howe – were also at the auditions to make sure there was good chemistry with the diva dog.
Mrs Buck, 46, of Squirrel Crescent, Royal Wootton Bassett, said: “The girls loved him. Annie started singing Tomorrow and Dexter looked up at her with his big brown eyes and licked her. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”
She has been training Dexter since he was nine weeks old. They still have sessions three or four times a week and have won hundreds of rosettes together.
It was the first time CLOGS chairman Anne Holmes had held auditions for a dog.
Mrs Holmes said it was a tough choice to make. She said: “You don’t want to say no to them because they’re like their owners’ children.”
Now Dexter will join just six weeks of rehearsals.
Annie takes place at the Neeld Hall, Chippenham, from March 20 to 24. For tickets, call (01249) 701628/712618.
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