Best in Show: Broadway Barks Edition with Three-Time Tony Nominee Dee Hoty and Her Sweet Rescue, Sophie

News   Best in Show: Broadway Barks Edition with Three-Time Tony Nominee Dee Hoty and Her Sweet Rescue, Sophie Playbill.com's newest feature, Best in Show — a spotlight on Broadway personalities and their animal companions — continues with three-time Tony nominee Dee Hoty, who adopted her beloved Sophie at Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore's annual Broadway Barks event, which will be held July 11 in Shubert Alley.

How did you find your pet?
Sophie Hoty (alliterative, right?) is a six-(ish)-year-old classic orange Pomeranian, with three legs (missing her right hind leg). She's a small dog, and weighs about 7-8 lbs. 

In 2009, I asked/was asked to participate in Broadway Barks.  I'd been wanting to get a dog for a few years, but I travel so much for work, it seemed impossible. 
 
When I booked the revival of Bye Bye Birdie at the Roundabout for that summer/fall, I knew I'd be in NYC for at least six months, and therefore would have time/inclination to find and train a dog.
 
I went early with my friend, Mark Zimmerman, who agreed this would be a good place to look for a dog.  It was so crowded, we weren't having much luck. This was the summer after Hurricane Katrina, and many pets had been given up for adoption, some had strayed, or been lost in the storm.  
Sophie
Sophie
 
Because of George Dvorsky, I had always liked Pomeranians, but I know you don't go to an event like BB and expect to choose a breed of dog: They choose you!
 
Disheartened, I prepared to go onstage for my presentation of an adoptable dog. Just then, Mark ran over to tell me he'd spotted the cutest Pom, "but you'd better hurry, cuz there's a couple of other people looking at her now!" 
 
I zoomed upstairs and met the dog/puppy, "Linda," and the volunteer caring for her: Fresh from surgery, the dog had had her right hind leg removed due to an unrepairable injury: either from abuse, or abandonment, accident, etc. She was being held by this sweet woman who asked if I'd like to hold the dog.
 
" Would I?" goes the joke...but as I collected her frail little self into my arms, she turned and looked at me....and smiled.  "Oh, you are so my dog!" I said aloud.
 
I have Tom Viola to thank for vouching for me to Charles, of Sean Casey Animal Rescue (the no-kill shelter where she was from), and arrangements were made for me to collect her the next day at their HQ in Brooklyn.
 
Now...It was time for me to go onstage to present another dog for adoption, so I began to put my new "little girl" into safe arms while this was accomplished.
Hoty with Sophie
Hoty with Sophie
 
At BB, you're given both a dog wearing an "Adopt Me" harness and a print-out with all the particulars about said dog, i.e., "This is Godfrey the bulldog.  He is three years old and is great with kids, etc." Like that...only, simultaneously as I'm trying to pass off my new baby, I am being handed the paperwork...that is hers...!!! Coincidence? Serendipity? Fate? Planning? Who cares?
 
I went up onstage, new doggie in my arms, and as I recited her story from the notes given me, I amended the ending from "...so if you're interested in adopting her, go to Sean Casey's truck over there..."  TO "...If you're interested, tough! Because I'm taking her home, and you can get your own damn dog!"
 
Honestly, I thought Bernadette (on stage behind us) was going to plotz...She said quietly to me, "Are you really taking that dog?" And I said, "Yes! She's mine!"
 
And she still is. Sigh. I love my baby.
 
What is your pet's name, and is there a story behind it?
Now, Sophie's shelter name was "Linda," which my Hispanic doormen loved (because "linda" is Spanish for "beautiful," and Sophie is! — see pix below.) About the third night I had her, we were taking our late-night walk. She did something so cute, I leaned down to her and said, "Who's a good girl? Sophie is a good girl — !!" And that dog turned and looked at me as if to say, "How did you know my name?" And that was that — Sophie was named by chance, but 1. "Sophie" is the daughter in Mamma Mia! (I played Donna 2.5 years on the 1st national, then for a year on Broadway) 2. The "Sophie's Choice" connection — rescue, etc. The "chosen one!" 3. Sophia is the Greek goddess of wisdom and knowledge (my Dad was Greek).

What is the one thing your pet has eaten that he/she shouldn't have?
I have pulled a full-on chicken leg/thigh bone from out of her mouth/throat. (She picked it up on the street in Nashville…)

Where does your pet sleep?
Sophie sleeps in her bed on my bed. She has two other beds: one in the living room, another on the bedroom floor.

Is this your first pet? If not, elaborate?
She is my first pet: As children, we had birds and fish — so romantic! (I think my mother knew she'd be stuck with the grunt work of having any pets, and she was probably right!)

Do you use a groomer, no groomer?
Sophie goes to Central Park Pet Spa, on 57th. They love her there, and because Poms can't shake themselves dry, they can catch cold even in the summer. So I let them bathe and dry her. We brush and comb, etc. regularly. She has lots of fur! (see pix.) I have gone through many of those roller/lint things. So much for my all-black New York wardrobe!

http://cdn-gd.playbill.com/images/cache/remote/http_cdn-images.playbill.com/ee_assets/Aiken/hoty1.jpg

Best Halloween costume?
Sophie will not wear costumes, per say, but she does let me "decorate" her: I have a couple of ruffs (no pun intended!--that go around her neck on loose elastic) for Christmas and Halloween. She's so furry, collars don't show, and as a result, she wears a harness for her info and tags. A neck scarf, that sort of thing she's okay with. Her cutest Halloween costume was a baby bumble bee, including an antennae hat on her head. That lasted about 30 seconds. I didn't even get a picture! No head gear for her. Now she has pretty raincoats and tee shirts. That's it. On rainy days, she "assumes the position." Best trip with your pet?
Best trip: Sophie went on the 2009-10 9 to 5 national with me — what a great traveler she is! She was one of a few dogs on that tour — what a Rock Star! She earned the nickname (which I gave her, of course!) "The Amazing Tour Dog." ATD for short.

Does your pet do tricks/commands?
Sophie knows the basics: sit, stay, come, wait....I'm not saying she does these commands....but she knows them!

If you could talk to your pet for five minutes, what would you ask him or her?
If I could ask her anything, I'd want to know how her leg was hurt (if she wanted to talk about it, that is) and also if she knew her own mom, and if she has any psychic or other abilities she wants to share.

Does your pet have a best friend?
Soph's best pal is Munson, a French bulldog whose mom, Elizabeth, works at Curious Incident. Although a year or so younger than she is, and many pounds heavier, little brother Munson is her favorite playmate; they grew up together.

Is there a pet product you swear by that you can't live without?
My favorite dog product: grooming wipes made by Earth Bath! They are brilliant for wiping feet when we come inside, wiping down my low-to-the-ground, long-hair-furry girl every night before bed, and for "accidents." I really couldn't live without them! Mamie Parris introduced them to me.

If your pet was a character in a Broadway show, who would that character be?
If Sophie was in a Broadway show, she'd be Sandy, in Annie. Open-minded casting, people!! Maybe Mrs. Harcourt's Pom in Anything Goes. Mostly, the Artful Dodger in Oliver! suits her! Or someone would write her a show of her own! (Wait —that's me, sorry!)

If there was one thing you would want people to know about your pet, what would it be?
I want people to know that Sophie is the sweetest dog — and such a complete surprise. Let me be clear when it is said that I rescued her: Make no mistake: we rescued each other. I never thought I could love anything or anyone as much as I love her. Also, don't be afraid to adopt any pet — they are so grateful and can become a most important family member. And, there is such a great need.

You and your pet go on a talk show. What is your anecdote about him/her or his/hers about you?
My TV anecdote involves my disrobing to shower, and then bending down to pick up something, and my new dog checking me out. You fill in the blanks. It was hilarious. I still laugh at what that picture could have looked like!

Most embarrassing thing your pet has ever done in public or when guests are over.
In the middle of a dinner party, Sophie got so excited she peed and pooped in the middle of the floor. We weren't that used to company yet..... I must say that everyone was very understanding and feigned coolness, even if they weren't cool about it. She was a puppy. Whatcha gonna do?

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