From death row to stage star

Kym the Staffie
Kym the Staffie

A Staffordshire Bull Terrier who was once on doggy death row is heading for stardom after landing a ‘lead’ part in ‘Oliver Twist’.

Kym, who’s thought to be around three, is to play the villainous Bill Sikes’ dog Bullseye in the production, which runs from March 3-7 at the Kings Theatre, Edinburgh.

She passed her audition with flying colours after being put forward for the role by her owner, Louise Lessels of Freuchie, who adopted her about nine months ago .

Kym had been found abandoned last April and was on the seven-day ‘put to sleep’ list until the rescue charity Staffie Smiles stepped in.

And when Louise and her family – husband Bryan, daughter Emma (11) and son Jake (10) – saw Kym on the website, it was a case of love at first sight.

“We had just lost our old Staffie Dusty and came across Staffie Smiles Rescue online,” said Louise, a practice nurse at Howe of Fife Medical Centre.

“ We travelled from Freuchie to Dumfries to collect her and she was beautiful.

“After only a few weeks, she settled in and her true sweet nature shone through. She is a true ambassador for the breed in her nature – albeit she may not be ‘show’ quality with her wonky brown ear and her severe allergies.

“But she’s ours and we all love her to bits.”

Louise told the Fife Herald she’d seen the advert for the part of Bullseye on the Staffie Smiles adopters’ Facebook page .

The production company staging ‘Oliver Twist’, Southern Lights, was looking for a dog that fitted the profile of Bullseye – and with her distinctive patch, Kym was already halfway there.

Unlike Dickens’ fictional Bullseye – an English bull terrier who terrorises the neighbourhood – Kym has a sweet, biddable nature that helped her land the part.

“ She’s a female and a Staffie but I sent her details anyway and was invited to attend for an audition in Edinburgh,” said Louise.

“She passed with flying colours and got the part. They loved her and are quite willing to work with an amateur!

“Now we’re preparing her for her stage debut by taking her to as many noisy events as possible to get her accustomed to the noise of a theatre.”

Louise continued: “We’re very proud of Kym as she’s a great ambassador for the breed.

“There are hundreds of Staffies unnecessarily being put to sleep every day.

“Once you let a Staffie into your life, you will never look back. They are loyal, loving little dogs that deserve some much-needed good press.

“It breaks my heart to think it was only in April last year that this sweet little dog was picked up as a stray and, as she was unclaimed, was on the ‘put to sleep’ list.

“Now she has a lovely life thanks to Staffie Smiles Rescue, which saves hundreds of dogs a year by relying on donations and fundraising – and the passion of its supporters and volunteers.

“Staffie Smiles Rescue is very thorough with its home checks to make sure they match families with the right dog.

“With Kym, they got our fit perfectly.”

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