The Heidi Chronicles, Chapter 33: an entourage of one
This is Heidi. Last 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 achieved by placing a biscuit just out of reach.
Every now and then, I troll the Internet to see whether starlet Heidi has gotten any more Web-famous since I last checked; usually, she hasn't.
But every once in a while, one of the Heidi Chronicles chapters will turn up on various dog-related websites. Several dog health sites picked up on the installment discussing Heidi's occasional acupuncture treatments for hip and elbow dysplasia, typical joint problems for large breed dogs. Another handful of Hollywood websites were interested in our observations on whether the threat of a screen actors' strike might affect dog actors too.
And one plug for a Utah orthodontist -- who apparently treats humans -- ended up in the "comments" section on a "Heidi" chapter about the "snarl device," a little gizmo that can be placed in a dog's mouth to bare the teeth and create the illusion of anger, apparently because I described the thing as looking like a child's retainer. No word as to whether the dog connection resulted in increased business for Dr. Jamey C. Watson.
I particularly enjoyed the acupuncture mention on the website Dog Tails: Dog News From Around the Globe, which gives Heidi a certain showbiz panache by referring to her as the "German Shepherd Celebrity Dog."
Still, the reason I know Heidi is famous, or at least getting there, is that she has an entourage.
Her name is Layla.
I know, an entourage is supposed to be more than one person -- or in this case, dog. But Layla, a bouncy 6-year-old Labrador mix, has enough personality for several professional associates. And since Heidi has had only one professional role -- a walk-on in "Annie" -- an entourage of one seems to fit.
Layla's parents, Jim and Irene Dorsey of Culver City, have been having fun with the concept that Layla is basking in Heidi's spotlight, such as it is. In fact, Jim recently wrote a story for the Christian Science Monitor about how their dog is enjoying contact fame as one of Heidi's "people."
Jim jokes in the article that he is the only writer left in Los Angeles who has not and never plans to write a screenplay. By extension, one would assume he also has no showbiz aspirations for the Dorsey pooch (although you can see from this glam photo that the girl is a natural blond).
Still, it didn't take too much prompting for JIm to offer Layla's impressive resume: She came from a Central L.A. pound, where she was kept in a cage with four pit bulls until discovered on an online site that finds homes for dogs and rescued by the Dorseys.
"She is the only Labrador I know who hates water and does not play catch," Jim offers. "She loves walking on the treadmill, and her favorite pastime is sleeping. She also loves long walks on the beach at sunset and wants world peace."
Forget world peace -- Layla likes the treadmill. Obviously she's Hollywood material.
-- DIane Haithman
Photo: Layla. Credit: James M. Dorsey