A retired guide dog is set to find fame as the four-legged star of a stage show musical.
Vincent, the 10-year-old golden retriever, is treading the boards in the Blenheim Musical Theatre’s latest production, Annie.
The furry thespian plays the part of the stray dog, Sandy, who becomes firm friends with the famous red-haired orphan.
His proud owners say the kind-hearted dog is enjoying being the “centre of attention”.
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Phil and Sue Binnie have been in Vincent’s life since he was a puppy. He is the fifth guide dog the pair have helped get ready for training.
After mild arthritis forced Vincent into early retirement, Phil and Sue were happy to have him back at his puppy-hood home.
“Even as a puppy he had an old head on his shoulders.
“He still likes being around people and getting lots of attention, it doesn’t phase him at all.
“His main motivations at this point in his life are laying down and food so he’s quite happy,” says Phil.
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Vincent was the third dog to audition for the part of Sandy in the show.
He attends regular rehearsals and has made friends with the girls who play the title role and the two teams of orphans.
Phil says the director, Duncan Whiting, was “fairly strict” when it came to lavishing attention on Vincent.
“He didn’t want Vincent to be overwhelmed. Lots of people want to pat him but its really only the main cast he gets to intermingle with.
“He loves it.”
Vincent’s role only requires one costume change after he makes the transition from a homeless hound with no collar to a much-loved pet in a smart collar and lead.
He will be on stage for all performances but gets to lay down for much of his role.
“Vincent is a very laid back kind of boy so this part really is perfect for him,” says Phil.
Annie will be shown at the ASB Theatre Marlborough between May 11 and 20. Book at Ticket Direct, ASB Theatre Marlborough, 2 Hutcheson St, Blenheim or contact 03 520 8560 or visit ticketdirect.co.nz.