It was a gutsy move to use a real dog as Toto in Aiken Kidney Benefit’s 2012 production of the “Wizard of Oz,” more so, given the director, Bradley Watts, didn’t have a dog to play the part.

The Aiken Kidney Benefit is a local charity for the benefit of patients with kidney failure in our area. Each fall they produce a Broadway musical as a fundraiser. This year’s production had Watts heading out to the Aiken County Shelter to see if there was a dog he could cast as Toto.

“I am going to ask the stupidest question,” he warned the shelter staff before telling them he needed a dog to play Toto. Did they have one?

Of course they did, a dog called Trapper.

Trapper went up on Facebook for others to see if he could be Toto. The dialysis nurse and costume lady, Diane, saw Trapper and immediately fell in love. “He will be my dog,” she said and adopted the star of the show.

Once they had cast Toto, they used him to pick the actress for Dorothy, whom he took to right away. But he also liked the Wicked Witch of the West, who is supposed to be their enemy.

Toto loves his job. He loves acting classes. He is waiting to play Sandy in “Annie.” His trainer at PetSmart says that he is the smartest rescue she has ever seen.

But anyone who has ever found their perfect dog in our profoundly imperfect County Shelter knows that Toto is in good company when it comes to being very special and homeless.

So, in addition to being a star for the next two weekends, Toto is also becoming a celebrity ambassador for the animals he left behind.

“The Wizard of Oz” opens next weekend, and FOTAS hopes you will come out to see one of the eight performances in the two-weekend run.

FOTAS will be there to promote adoptions of the dogs and cats currently at the County Shelter. We are also asking for food donations: dog, cat, puppy and kitten food. And we will be promoting our first-ever Mutt Strut.

The Mutt Strut is a competitive fundraiser to be held in conjunction with the Woofstock Festival of Mutts and Music on Nov. 10. Woofstock celebrates our canine friends. It is a fun family affair featuring food, vendors, competitions, demonstrations and music.

The Mutt Strut will kick off the festival as a grand dog parade where people and their dogs can march, proud of their contribution to a great cause. Raise $300, and you can win a 64G iPad! All of the proceeds go to the new Aiken County Shelter.

Toto and Diane have graciously volunteered to lead the Mutt Strut; and, who knows, we may even see Dorothy, the Wicked Witch and other local celebrities.

These are two important community causes joining up to provide entertainment and a reason to give. For more information about either event, visit or

See you there!FOTAS volunteers work with the Aiken County Animal Shelter, 411 Wire Road. For more information, contact or visit FOTAS online at

Aiken County Animal Shelter: “By the Numbers”

August 20122011Animals Rec’d


6820Euthanized430449Aiken County Animal Shelter “Pets of the Week!” So much LOVE for so little $$!

(See .jpg attachments for photos).

CHANCE – Yellow Lab mix. 1 yr. Go for a run! $70 includes the workout partner!

HOLLY – 3.5yrs. Serene and affectionate, a soothing companion. $35, purr-FREE!

*All adoption fees include: Spay/Neuter, heartworm test, all shots, worming, and microchip.