Rescue pup lands gig in 'Merchant of Venice'

Breezy the long-haired miniature Chihuahua is available for adoption at the Blue Mountain Humane Society.

Breezy the Chihuahua is waiting for a home, but for the time being has a job, in "The Merchant of Venice" at Gesa Power House Theatre.

Breezy the Chihuahua is waiting for a home, but for the time being has a job, in "The Merchant of Venice" at Gesa Power House Theatre. Courtesy photo

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WALLA WALLA — The long-haired miniature Chihuahua mix may the perfect purse dog for a modern-day Portia in “The Merchant of Venice.”

But she’s also an example of brilliant product placement.

The 2-pound pup making her stage debut at the Gesa Power House Theatre is also a rescue dog that will be available for adoption from the Blue Mountain Humane Society.

Breezy came to the Humane Society on July 1 after being abandoned in a Dayton neighborhood, said Sara Archer, the animal shelter’s executive director. The pooch had a “cherry eye,” a common congenital eye disorder that has since been fixed. Now 3 months old, she was just large enough to spay about a week ago, Archer said.

When Shakespeare Walla Walla Executive Director Ron Williams called to see if the shelter had a dog that could be in the show, Breezy was the perfect choice, Archer said.

“She is just so sweet,” she said. “She just (lies) there looking adorable. It’s kind of her best trick.”

During this Friday’s performance at the Power House Theatre, Breezy will be joined by a number of other dogs available for adoption. Archer said despite Breezy’s celebrity status, applications will be considered on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The cameo appearances by the mild-mannered dog are just one example of the groundbreaking partnerships established between Shakespeare Walla Walla and local nonprofit organizations throughout the run of the show.

From last Thursday’s Pay-What-You-Will preview through the Aug. 18 finale, Shakespeare Walla Walla is working as a vessel of giving at every performance.

What’s new this show is that ticket-holders can donate $4 of their full-priced ticket to a nonprofit for that performance.

“It all started with the Pouring Profits program at the Gesa Power House Theatre,” Williams said in a prepared statement. “The proceeds from wine sold at the Power House always go to a local nonprofit. When I stepped into this role and started preparing for the run of ‘The Merchant of Venice,’ I asked our team, ‘How can we do more?’”

They set out to get 100 percent of the wines donated to maximize potential income for the nonprofits. When that was accomplished, they instituted the ticket-share piece.

As many as 342 tickets are available for any given performance, which means there’s potential for more than $1,000 to be raised for the nonprofit partners.

For Archer, the role for Breezy helps put rescue dogs in the spotlight.

“They do come in glamorous packages,” Archer said. “They come in every shape and size.”

She said the partnership with Shakespeare Walla Walla is an opportunity to work together in order to accomplish their individual goals.

“The possibilities of that happening in this community and this community being open to that is one of the best things about Walla Walla,” she said.

Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.


Those buying tickets online must use a code to designate the donation from their tickets to the nonprofit of their choosing.

During last week’s debut the wine sales beneficiary was the Lillie Rice Center, with wines provided by Spring Valley Vineyard, Revelry Vintners, Va Piano and College Cellars.

Wine sales Tuesday and Wednesday will benefit Planned Parenthood with wines from Charles Smith Wines and DaMa. Thursday’s sales of wines donated by Mark Ryan Winery will benefit Camp Fire. Friday’s wine sales donated by Sweet Valley Wines will benefit Blue Mountain Humane Society. On Saturday, the wine sales from donations by Three Rivers Winery will benefit Amercain Cancer Society Relay for Life.

Shakespeare Walla Walla will be the beneficiary during the two Sunday matinees when wines will be provided by Forgeron Cellars and Amavi Cellars.

Donations from tickets can be designated using the nonprofit codes during checkout: LILLIE for the Lillie Rice Center; PPGIVE for Planned Parenthood; CAMP for Camp Fire; PETS for the Humane Society; and ACSGIVE for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

For full program details or to buy tickets, click here.

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