My Story Memory: Angela Jenkins remembers her dog performing in Annie
It was the summer of 1985 Goldie my Golden Retriever had just given birth to 9 beautiful puppies when I read in the Echo paper that 2 dogs were required to play the part of " Sandy" in the musical Annie at the Gaumont Theatre Southampton in October. I thought it would be a lovely treat for us all to go as a family never dreaming at that time it would be my Goldie on stage. Not long before the performance ,there was an urgent request in the news paper for all owners of well behaved dogs to be at St Mary's church hall as one of the dogs was not able to do the part. All Goldie's puppies by this time had gone to their new homes including the one I called Kizzy that I so much wanted to keep. (I did not have Goldie from a puppy but brought her at 9 months old from my very best friend for £50 with all her pedigree & change of ownership papers etc) So off I went with my faithful friend by my side not knowing what to expect; we sat down with the many other dogs at the appointed time & in walked a very forthright gentleman who said " I don't won't any time wasters ,we don't have much time so your dog must be trained to hand & voice commands --those owners please leave your dogs & walk towards me." I stood up immediately doing what I was told and a couple of other owners followed. Ricky Price as I now new him said quite sternly speaking directly to me " I didn't see you give any command, would you go back to your dog give it a command to stay & return please " (which I did )" --- I still didn't see u give or say any command said Ricky " that's because my dog is watching my hands as I have not used my voice " I replied. Right your hired he said & thanked everyone else for coming. Mr Price & I discussed the requirements that he was looking for I showed him all that Goldie could do & in a nut shell he was delighted even to my suggestion for Goldie's "Solo" part which was to have one of the "tramps" wander all over the stage dropping Goldie's favourite treat = tiny pieces of baked liver before Goldie was sent on to find Annie after they were separated in New York with command of " go find Mummy "( which did the trick & she always managed to come straight to the edge of the stage which got a big ARRRR from the audience, but with the tempting smell of liver eventually ended up off stage where she was to go. There wasn't time for rehearsals but I showed Abigail Painter (my Goldie's Annie ) the required sit, stay, wait commands & each time I handed Goldie over to her in her dressing room I just had to say " Go with Annie now ,mummies going shopping " knowing that Goldie would look after her & do what ever was asked of her until I came back, Abigail was a true professional they adored each other. From the outset I sat up in the circle as I had also taught Goldie many useful things like " go find " & didn't want her jumping off stage to find me with her marvellous sense of smell. WELL IT WAS GOLDIES FIRST TIME --- SHE WAS PERFECT-- loving all the attention, being sang to over & over again ,sitting with all the homeless people singing etc UNTILL---- The scene where Annie & Sandy are roaming the streets of New York at night a police man comes on stage "brandishing "a large TRUNCHEON shouting "What are you doing out so late little girl ?" --- well he didn't manage the first word as Goldie had her hackles up, tail down already muttering = ( gently growling) at this threatening voice & instrument from this big man dressed in black --- everything & everyone stopped dead you could hear a pin drop--- Abigail was gently keeping Goldie calm before I could get a message to Ricky Price that the TRUNCHEON would either have to go or put behind his back ,& his tone of voice not quite so aggressive. They tried to run through the scene again (before my message got to Ricky) ---well this time it was the police man who objected loudly " lm not working with that dog it's going to bite me" luckily Ricky Price had faith in my training & said " well you had better get over it as that dog is irreplaceable but YOUR NOT" The "surprise " ending = the stage set is Christmas when Annie now has a family & many presents with Mr Warbucks but desperately wants Sandy --- in comes a big decorated box which she lifts the lid & the end drops down to let Sandy out!!! Yes you guest it !!! my Goldie has her own idea on her last 2 appearances --on hearing Annie's voice then comes the rapturous applause--- as Annie is about to lift the lid Goldie helps by jumping out ---- she absolutely loved every minute. Goldie's name was not printed in the programs as they had all been done weeks before with the other dogs name but I didn't mind --- instead I was given a whole set of photos many of which I gave to close friends who had one of the pups.