LEWISTON — Things are looking up for Dash, a six-year-old miniature Doberman.

After living in a shelter in Alabama, he was moved to the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society, where in January he was adopted by Shannon and Paul Deschenes.

Two months later, Dash is about to become a star.

Later this week, he will play Toto in Lewiston High School’s “Wizard of Oz,” a production that involves students in grades two through 12.

He doesn’t look like Toto,” said his stage mother. Dash doesn’t have Toto’s fur. So Shannon made him a furry coat costume. And at 10 pounds, he’s the right size for Toto.

Dash will also double as a poster dog for the humane society. Theater-goers are asked to bring donations of checks, food or supplies for the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society when they attend the play.

Performances are at Lewiston Middle School at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Saturday.

The story of Dash’s path to stardom began after one of the Deschenes’ elderly dogs died. They were heartbroken.

Paul went to the humane society to look for a dog to foster. “But we’re foster failures,” he said. “We foster, then we adopt.”

When he saw Dash, he was between “a bunch of pit bulls. It was loud.” Dash looked at Paul, begging with his eyes to be adopted.

Paul obeyed. He took him home hoping his wife would fall in love with him.

She did. Dash stayed.

Their daughter, Olivia, 11, was attending “Wizard of Oz” rehearsals. Olivia’s a munchkin in the play. Production manager Richard Martin was trying to figure out what to do about Toto, wondering if they should use a stuffed animal.

“We have a dog,” Paul said from his audience chair. “I don’t know if you want him. He doesn’t look like Toto, yet.’”

Martin said to bring him in. After two dozen rehearsals, He’s supposed to follow me. He doesn’t always do it,” said Arissa Shaw, who plays Dorothy.

When the witch jumped out at Dorothy, Dash was a natural, growling at the witch.

When Dorothy pretends to fall asleep in the poppies, Dash sniffs.

When Dorothy meets the professor in Kansas, they’re confident Dash will steal the professor’s hot dog. Dash is a good eater.

For such a recent adoptee, Dash has adjusted well to attention from the munchkins. “The kids all love him. He’s doing great,” Shannon said.

To get used to the real deal, an audience and lots of clapping, this week Paul plans to take the dog to Community Little Theatre’s “9-to-5.” They’ll sit in the back.

The Deschenes hope Dash convinces community members to donate to the humane society to help create other happy endings. The shelter dog adds to the family, the couple said.

When you walk into the house, he does a little dance, stands on his back legs and twirls around,” Paul said. “You can’t help but enjoy seeing him.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.