There are beloved pups romping through the most famous storybooks of childhood, from Clifford of "Clifford the Big Red Dog" to Toto of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" to Buck of "Call of the Wild."
And while each pup is a loyal companion and brimming with pluck, a single character springs to mind when you think of the qualities of concern and care and tenderness and service. It's Nana, from J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan," a dog that tends admirably to her charges.
Much like a fire dog does for those who work for the public and serve the community, day in and day out. It seems quite fitting, and even moving, then, that Wilshire, the LAFD Fire Dog, will step into the famous role with all four paws in a holidaytime Pasadena on-stage treat.
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"Peter Pan and Tinker Bell -- A Pirates Christmas," a Lythgoe Family Production, flies at the Pasadena Playhouse from Dec. 9 through Jan. 3, but Wilshire's much-anticipated walk-on is a one-performance-only deal. The handsome Dalmatian shall play Nana at the Sunday, Dec. 20 show.
This is totally understandable, of course, Wilshire signing on for a single performance. After all, being the Los Angeles Fire Department Fire Dog is a very important and busy calling, and Wilshire's calendar stays fuller than the schedules belonging to most Fidos.
But Wilshire's roster isn't so full that he won't take time before and after the noontime show to meet fans and pose for photos. As for the backdrop to the snapshots? A real fire truck, provided by the Pasadena Fire Department, which will be on hand to talk fire precautions and lead an informative "Stop, Drop, and Roll" post-performance.
"Wilshire is forever committed to saving children's lives through fire safety education," says a rep. The spotted lad is also a symbol of animal adoption and rescue. And with good reason: LAFD adopted Wilshire in 2006, on St. Patrick's Day. Yep, he arrived at the Wilshire Fire Station, and, indeed, he was a rescue, and, for sure, a few squeals here would be most appropriate.
He's joining a fun crew on Dec. 20 in Pasadena, too. The "Lythgoe" in the production's name is indeed the same Lythgoe behind shows like "So You Think You Can Dance," and the cast is brims with top-notch actors, including John O'Hurley as Captain Hook.
Wilshire will likely wag a tail at the chance to walk on stage for a few minutes, as the iconic Nana, and the thespians will definitely want to snap a pic with the pooch, as will everyone in the audience.
Tickets? They'll go as fast as a fleet-footed pup.