FROM A LANDFILL TO STARDOM
THE WAGS-TO-RICHES STORY OF A MAGNETIC MIXED-BREED NAMED SHELBY, WHO STARTED LIFE IN A TENNESSEE LANDFILL
The inspiring story of Shelby, a rescue who stars in A Dog’s Way Home
While shooting A Dog’s Way Home, Shelby, who plays a rescue pet traveling 400 miles in search of her owner, enjoyed the star treatment. She had a team of minders and two stunt doubles, not to mention plenty of flattery and treats for a job well done. But Shelby is brandnew to Hollywood. The mixed-breed dog was found in a landfill in Tennessee before being taken in by a shelter, where she attracted the attention of the filmmakers. “She’s just the most remarkable dog,” says novelist and coscreenwriter W. Bruce Cameron. “We don’t know that she had any prior human contact. She was dirty and skinny, and yet she immediately warmed up to the people that she met.” Shelby exemplified the “goodness and kindness” that director Charles Martin Smith was looking for in his star for the film, out this weekend. But she needed help for some other traits that the role required. Lookalike Amber performed the high-energy stunts, and male dog Luke stepped in when Bella had to look fierce. A puppy named BB portrayed baby Bella, and she was trouble. “She licked actor Jonah Hauer-king, and these big red welts appeared,” says Smith. “He was allergic. I let her lick my hand, and I got welts too. That little dog was lethal to be around.” Meanwhile Shelby’s talents are being put to good use in another field. “Shelby is a therapy dog now,” says Smith. “She brings comfort to veterans and people in hospitals, like Bella broughtcomforttothecharacters in the movie.”
Bella’s Journey When Bella becomes separated from Lucas (Jonah Hauer-king, right, with Alexandra Shipp), she has an adventure.
Behind the Scenes Dog trainer Teresa Miller (left), director Charles Martin Smith (center) and actor Cesar De Leon prep Shelby for a scene.