Muttcrackers: Fort Wayne Nutcracker Ballet Features Shelter Dogs

The Nutcracker Ballet

I love The Nutcracker ballet. As a child, I think I got to see it twice: once with my family and once with a friend. I loved the music (who could be alive and not thrill to Tchaikovsky’s soaring strains?), the dancing, the costumes, the sets … ahhhhhh.

As an adult, I loved taking my own girls to The Nutcracker. In recent years, their enthusiasm has waned, but I’ve continued to attend. I love to slip into a seat near the front but off to the side. The lights dim, and the magic begins. It’s pure bliss (well, almost. That bit at the end where the sugar plum fairy and the prince alternate dances on and on and on … could use a bit of a trimming, but now I’m just being picky).

muttcrackers Fort Wayne ballet Nutcracker dogs

Teaming Up with Shelter Dogs

Our ballet has made The Nutcracker even better: they’ve paired up with the local animal shelter to feature muttcrackers — err, shelter dogs available for adoption — in each Nutcracker performance.

The dogs are on stage in the first act — prancing across the stage to the party, and then behaving well during the party scene. It’s so cute to watch how they’ll act: after all, this is live! Often, as the dogs are walked across the stage at the beginning, they’ll pause to look out into the audience. What is going on here? At intermission, they’re out in the lobby to interact with kids and adults, and hopefully form a bond that could lead to a forever home. This is the third year for the program, and Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control spokesman Allison Miller says that all the dogs who have appeared in Nutcracker performances during the years have been adopted! I’m not surprised — how cool would it be to adopt a dog who’d been part of The Nutcracker?

Other ballets have noted the ballet’s collaboration with the shelter, and this year ten other ballets in the US are teaming up with shelters to include dogs in their performances. I think this is wonderful. Is yours? If not — what a great idea to suggest to them!

I got to visit three sweet dogs during intermission the night I attended. Here they are, so you can enjoy them too:

Muttcrackers Fort Wayne Ballet Nutcracker dogs

They had the dogs in tutus … too cute!

Fort Wayne Ballet Nutcracker Muttcrackers dogs

I guess this poor guy was the alternate for the night … he/she didn’t get to go onstage. Still sweet, though!

Fort Wayne Ballet Muttcrackers Nutcracker dogs

Angelina — how cute is she?

Here’s to many more years of collaboration between the ballet and the dogs. The dogs made the performance even more enjoyable for me, and from the “awww”s I heard, I’m assuming that was true for most others in the audience as well.


More fun animal shelter news … if you have a young reader, maybe 6-11, and they have a Kindle (or the free Kindle app for computers, tablets, or smartphones), I bet they’d love my Christian children’s book, A Dog Called Naaman. Its cover features not only my adorable daughter, but also Ruby, a sweet dog who spent some time at the shelter. Just $2.99, and you can even send it as a Christmas gift (see on the right side of the Amazon page, “give as gift.” Very cool option!).

A Dog Called Naaman Braun

5 thoughts on “Muttcrackers: Fort Wayne Nutcracker Ballet Features Shelter Dogs

  1. I hope you’ll continue to go to The Nutcracker for as long as your two legs will carry you! There’s a lot of gold out there but sometimes we have to bring our own shovel to find it. Never quit digging!

  2. We loved the Nutcracker, too, on Sat. evening. Different doggies that night! It’s interesting to see them debut part of the new staging this year. Next year it will have an entirely refreshed staging!

  3. I just went to see the Anderson Young Ballet Theater’s performance of the Nutcracker Ballet yesterday with my class of third graders. They loved the performance – it is magical, and I can only imagine their excitment if there had been animals in the first scene!!!

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