Odeon Hall on the second floor of the Cole Building in Bethel, seen in 2022, was used to film the pageant scene of “The 12 Dogs Of Christmas” in 2005.  Rose Lincoln/The Bethel Citizen

BETHEL — The 2005 film “The 12 Dogs of Christmas” was filmed in the Bethel area because there was snow.

The movie “The 12 Dogs of Christmas” was filmed in and around Bethel in 2005.

According to Chamber of Commerce Director Jessie Perkins, the moviemakers were looking for snow and the Portland Film office sent them to Bethel.

“We have a strong brand in that department, ‘you need snow – go to Bethel,'” Perkins said.

“The 12 Dogs of Christmas” needed Chihuahuas, boxers and newborn Saint Bernard puppies. They also needed people, 50 and older, to join the cast.

Filming had started on the second floor of the Bethel Town Office in Odeon Hall, but the Chihuahuas were a no-show.

“They were forced to start in the middle of the pageant song at seven dogs, counting down to ‘a poodle in the doghouse’ which replaces a partridge in the pear tree,” Sun Journal staff writer Terry Karkos said.


The movie, set in 1931, was filmed in Bethel and Woodstock. Many local homes, barns, and public spaces were used to portray fictional Doverville. The train station in North Conway, New Hampshire, was one setting. Lainey Cross of Bethel was there and had to supply her own clothes, but the crew gave her the hat she was wearing in the photograph on the back of the DVD.

Scenes in the movie “The 12 Dogs of Christmas” were filmed in this home on Summer Street in Bethel in 2005. Rose Lincoln/The Bethel Citizen

“I can be seen in the final cut of the movie, too, but don’t blink your eyes,” she said.

Cross auditioned for news reporter, with one line of dialogue. She didn’t get that part but is in the movie as an extra.

Scott Hynek of East Bethel said he and others trucked in all the Mt. Abram snow seen in front of the 1904 Woodstock barn, the home of the adopted dogs.

A house on Summer Street in Bethel Village, now owned by the Southams, was where the beauty parlor and some barn scenes were filmed.  The house had been abandoned and empty for several years in 2005.

The Gehring House at the end of Broad Street, currently under transformation, was the mayor’s house. Cross said she and her cousin, Studie Cross, were filmed there. She can be seen twice walking around in the party scene. Her cousin didn’t make the cut, “but it was great fun to have him there.”


The pageant scenes were filmed in Odeon Hall, above the Town Office and The Bethel Citizen in the Cole Building. Cross said she spent two days there, and while her niece came and “was adorable in her costume,” only Cross made the cut, likely because she was standing behind the mayor.

Cross said her neighbor’s barn was used for a couple scenes. “They set up a lot of dog houses there. My mother was like, ‘What in heck is Alan doing now with all those dog houses?'” Cross said.

Props and dogs

Geoff Gaudreau of Gaudreau’s Repair, along with with Andre Bernier and Bernier’s son, built the memorable dog catcher’s car for the film. A Rokon motorcycle was the base. “We added a sidecar, we had attachments that went over the top, big poles and a net to catch dogs,” Gaudreau said.

Former Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce Director Robin Zinchuk said she remembers hearing herself say “yes” to “things I should not have said ‘yes’ to.” For instance, she said she would help the moviemakers find the many varieties of dogs the director needed.

Zinchuk remembers they specifically asked her to find a cocker spaniel and two poodles. She found them through the help of a friend at Bethel Animal Hospital who knew everyone’s dogs.

“I am surprised people don’t film more Christmas movies here,” Perkins said. “The past couple of years I have been into watching these ridiculous Christmas movies and this is really the place.”

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