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Once a stray, now a star on Rainbow Stage
During the dog days of summer, one dog is relishing his opportunity to be in the spotlight.
Jake, a crossbreed, secured a role in the current Rainbow Stage production of Annie as Sandy, a stray dog that befriends the young orphan.
Jake has been lighting up the stage since opening night on Aug. 9 and will continue his performances until Aug. 31.
North Kildonan residents Ted and Heather Turk adopted Jake from the city’s animal services in 2006.
Ted, who worked for Animal Services for 31 years, said he never took a dog home until they opened their home to Jake shortly before he retired.
Initially it was their family that approached the couple about allowing Jake to audition for the part.
Ted initially dismissed the idea, but decided to relent following some gentle persuasion from members of his family.
"I thought it was silly, but the family ganged up on me," Ted said, adding that Jake was up against 40 or 50 other dogs for the role.
"We knew it was a big commitment and we were pleased he was chosen. We had rehearsals in July and the show runs six days a week, and twice on Sundays."
Heather said it’s exciting for not only Jake, but for her and Ted as well.
"I wait up at night to hear how things have gone with the show that night," she said.
"It’s like having a three-year-old. It’s changed our lives for the better. I can’t imagine life without him."
Director Donna Fletcher said Jake had everything she was looking for in a dog to play the part.
"I auditioned six or seven final dogs. They have to look mutt like and Jake does," Fletcher said.
"There were some better trained, but they didn’t have that street dog look."
Jake has trained with Hi-Flyers Agility Training, which Ted said helped with his transition to the stage.
The process of becoming a star wasn’t without its challenges, however.
During a dress rehearsal Jake decided it would be a good idea to wander into the crowd to see what was happening, but he was quickly returned to the stage.
Despite that minor hiccup, Ted said Jake has performed well under the big lights, and was ideal for the part considering he was once an orphan himself.
"In the story Annie is orphaned and has no parents," he said.
"Jake is similar, he was wandering on the streets and we adopted him. But both stories have a happy ending."
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(1 of 14 articles for this week)05/15/2013 1:00 AM 0
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