San Angelo Shelter Dog Poppy Takes the Stage and Finds a Home Forever


SAN ANGELO – Here is the tail of a story about a little rescue dog who was bred and adopted because the role of Toto was needed in a San Angelo play “Wizard of Oz”.

Poppy is an almost three-year-old Yorkie mix, who bounced around two homes before ending up at Cassie’s Place, a local shelter.

Elena Kent, founding artistic director of Be Theater, was looking for a puppy to play Toto in the show “Wizard of Oz”.

She didn’t know Poppy would be her star.

Cassie’s Place kept an eye out for a suitable dog, then Poppy stepped out the door.

Kent got pictures of her, had a date to play, then decided she was the right one.

Poppy sits at a rehearsal of "Wizard of Oz," where she was to play the role of Toto for Be Theater.

The original plan was for Kent to welcome her, have Poppy on the show, and after production, Cassie’s Place would set up apps where people could ask to adopt her, so she could find her home.

“I had every intention of cheering on Poppy,” said Kent. “I never, ever wanted three dogs, I already had two.”

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The 3.9-pound puppy followed with each rep, always being the center of attention.

At the end of March, production was canceled due to the pandemic.

“The minute we canceled this show, I knew I was going to keep it,” Kent said.

She said several cast members are seriously considering adopting Poppy if the Kent family don’t keep her.

“I got a little possessive when people said they wanted her,” Kent said. “The thought of someone else taking her was painful. Plus, she was just getting comfortable with my family.”

Ten months later, Poppy weighs nearly six pounds, happy and healthy.

Poppy with her owner Elena Kent, founding artistic director of Be Theater.

“Once I knew we were going to keep her, we opened our hearts,” Kent said. “I can’t imagine not having it.”

In the Kent house there are two other dogs and Kent’s daughter.

“The senior dog was never phased by Poppy,” Kent said. “The other may get jealous, but they all get along.”

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Kent’s daughter is in her final year at Central High School and is heading to UT Austin University next fall.

“I’m worried about this because it’s a disruption in little Poppy’s life since they’re so close,” Kent said.

As Kent will have an empty nest next year, Poppy will most likely still be at work with her in the theater.

“You can’t leave her alone; she’s not that kind of dog,” Kent said. “She wants to be where the people are, so she’ll probably be a little play dog.”

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Kent said Be Theater isn’t talking about revisiting the “Wizard of Oz” production.

“It was one of those things we needed to cry and cry and end,” she said. “We had a good idea, and now we can’t do it, but it’s okay.”

However, dogs are still a big hit when shown in a production, according to Kent.

“If we did a show that called for a dog, she would be great,” Kent said.

Be Theater is targeting a Shakespeare production in April.

“There could be something in there for Poppy,” Kent said. “Pets were a big part of that time, we could probably work on it.”

Check out more adorable pics of Poppy on her Instagram @poppy_gets_adopted.


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