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The Heidi Chronicles, Part 15: Heidi continues her lessons

October 27, 2008 |  7:39 am

Heidi This is Heidi. Earlier this year, she was "discovered" in the park by a pet talent agency; since then, she has embarked on a one-dog quest to break into the business. This is her Hollywood story as chronicled by Times staff writer Diane Haithman. And this is her “head shot”: That longing look was the result of seeing a biscuit just out of reach.

For those who have followed Heidi’s futile attempts to take a meeting with Rusco, the chihuahua who plays Papi in "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," this just in from "BHC" Central: The deal is off. The schedule, we’re told, "is too tight on Rusco’s end" because he is in the show at Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre and is doing three or four shows a day for the next couple of weeks.

Although it would have been easier for Heidi to fit a small dog into her busy schedule than a big one, we admit to being relieved. Heidi actually doesn’t "do lunch" anyway — just breakfast, dinner and treats when she’s super-good.

It’s unfortunate, however, that Rusco will miss the opportunity to connect with Heidi’s extended fan base, which includes the staff at Maxwell Dog boutique, the Biscuit Lady (we refrain from using her real name because then everybody will want a biscuit) and Theary Thai (see photo after the jump), proprietor of the K’s Donut Emporium in Studio City.

OK, time for the truth -– I’m not dropping the Biscuit Lady’s name because I don’t know what it is. Dog owners know what I’m talking about: When your dog meets another canine while out on a walk, you always say: "What’s your dog’s name?" not "What’s your name?" After a few years, it becomes too embarrassing to ask, which is why I will forever think of the family around the corner only as the Dobermans.

Heidi_and_a_fan Heidi, however, is a serious actress, more interested in the process than in hanging around with celebrities. So we move on from dog star Rusco to return to Heidi’s unglamorous home schooling with Sue DiSesso.  Only a training session or two and we are already involved in a power struggle, because alpha-dog Heidi has decided she really wants to direct.

We continue with one of Heidi’s first lessons, learning to hold a leash in her mouth for a certain number of seconds before dropping it on command, the basis for eventually being able to take objects from one place to another on a movie or TV set.

That would be easier, of course, if I could get Heidi to unclench her jaws. Right now, the "acting process" involves sticking my fingers between her wolf-like teeth and prying her mouth open in order to insert the leash, then holding her snout shut to keep her from spitting it out.

After a few rounds of "hold it, hold it, hold it," the leash is on the ground, I’ve got German Shepherd saliva up to my elbows, and the baleful look in Heidi’s eyes suggests that it’s a good thing that this dog has not yet learned to "speak."

Photo: Diane Haithman / Los Angeles Times

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