The sun comes out for lucky "Annie" dogs - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

The sun comes out for lucky "Annie" dogs

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The Broadway musical "Annie" is about new beginnings, and the animal actors that take center stage as "Sandy" have also been given a brand new start.

"Annie" is playing at the San Diego Civic Theatre through Sunday, and the four-legged stars are Macy, who plays Sandy, and Sunny who's the understudy.

They even have their very own dressing room.

The dogs that play the role of Sandy in the national tour of "Annie," are enjoying a new leash on life.

Sunny was only a day away from death before being discovered by Tony Award winning animal trainer Bill Berloni, who rescued and trained the original Sandy in 1977.

"Sunny was in Texas at a shelter and she was 24 hours away from being put down, and Bill found her ," said Tyler Garstka.

Five-year old Sunny starred on Broadway, and is now getting a break, as the understudy for eight-year-old Macy.

Dog handler Tyler Garstka says Macy's story of survival is similar.

"She was found on the streets, and she was scheduled to be put down three different times, but the people at the shelter kept changing the name on her kennel," said Garstka.

Issie Swickle is the ten-year-old actress from Florida who plays Annie.

While on stage, she must remember her lines, songs, and all of the subtle commands and cues to get the dog playing Sandy to obey.

"I thought this was going to be super easy. It's not as easy as it looks. It's really hard, but it's fun," she said.

She said Sandy is popular with the audience. 

"The audience is like - aww, they're so cute - that you can't really help it but say aww," said Swickle.

Issie says it's difficult to believe, these dogs, now living on Easy Street, were once unwanted.

"It makes me feel sad, first of all, but happy because we rescued her, which makes me feel better. I mean, who would want to put to sleep this cute baby," she said.

Just like little orphan Annie finds her new home in the musical, the hope is these dogs will inspire families to consider adopting shelter animals.

"They're not anything that people specifically go to look for, and it's a shame because these dogs are amazing," said 

It's definitely not a hard knock life for the two pups anymore.

For those seeing "Annie," chances are it will be Macy on stage,, but Sunny will be behind the scenes waiting to step in if needed.

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