JoAnna Lou
Print|Email|Text Size: ||
Canine Nutcracker
Group raises money for therapy work through their holiday performance

If you love the popular holiday classic The Nutcracker, you have to check out the canine version being performed by 29 dogs in the Chicago-area. And these pups don’t just perform for fun, they're all volunteer therapy dogs that use the show to raise money for their work with the PAWSitive Therapy Troupe.

The Nutcracker features Gracie the Sheltie as the Sugar plum Fairy, Bailey the Shih Tzu as the Nutcracker Prince, Sam the Golden Retriever as the Mouse King, and Lily the Pug as Clara. Amazingly 12-year old Gracie is deaf, but you would never know it from her beautiful solo dance. It takes about 1,000 hours to prepare for the big performance where the dogs are clicker trained to follow hand signals in synchronized precision.    

The PAWSitive Therapy Troupe first performed the canine Nutracker back in 2000 to cheer up sick kids living with their families at a Ronald McDonald House. It was so popular that they expanded production to fundraiser shows to raise money for their therapy work. The first year they sold 800 tickets in the first couple of hours and had lines down the street. This year their shows are sold out, but you can support the cause by buying a DVD of the show on their web site.

Actors, therapy dogs... is there anything that these pups don't do?!

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by Penny Brcich.

More From The Bark

JoAnna Lou
JoAnna Lou
JoAnna Lou
More in JoAnna Lou:
Pets Amid the Refugee Crisis
Honoring the Newtown Comfort Dogs
Lost Pup Recognizes Her Family on Television
Hero Dog Ends Up Homeless
A Special Day for an Incredible Pup
Service Dogs for Farmers with Disabilities
Dogs and Kids Bond Over Shared Experiences
Rescue Dog Sniffs Out Incriminating Thumb Drives
Emergency Shelter for Pets
Adopting her Canine Rescuer