Throughout my childhood, and into my teenage years, I was convinced that I wanted to grow up and be a professional dancer. Several injuries later I realized that wasn’t going to happen, but I still wanted to work within the field of entertainment. I naturally progressed to choreographing, casting, stage and production management. Little did I know that I could have chosen to work for casting agency that specializes in animals. These animal talent agencies ensure that Broadway shows get the furry and feathered talent they need and that the right trainers ensure the animals cast are ready to perform.
Now I’m not saying by any means that I am the cream of the crop when it comes to training animals. However, I would say I haven’t done that bad of a job with our Australian Shepherd. Coda’s got the whole sit, stay, beg, shake, high five, lay down and play dead thing down but that’s it part to the fact that my fiance is pretty awesome with training her as well. If I had known that the ability to tell if an animal could be taught was as similar to knowing if a performer could be taught then clearly I would have investigated this whole idea.
The NY Times recently had an article about a animal casting agency that’s taken on quite a challenge. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” has been in rehearsal for the opening on Broadway and getting a cat to portray Holly’s furry friend has been a challenge. We all know that movies and stage shows use trained animals. From camels in live Nativity scenes to dogs in movies, we’ve all seen amazingly receptive trained animals. Now picture trying to cast and train an animal that is known for being independent and a “think-for-itself-er.” That’s one heck of a challenge that I’m not sure even I’m up for. That’s like being a young gal who is convinced she can train her boyfriend; it’s an impossible task that defies nature!
I wish the casting agency and animal trainers the best of luck attempting to pull this feat off. I’ll remain happy with just being able to keep our back doors open without having Coda go beyond the threshold and being able to keep her off the furniture. In our household those are accomplishments we’re proud of. Check out the NY Times article if you want to read more about their struggle. While you do that I’ll ponder if I should have looked into the casting and training of our furry friends instead of humans.