PHOENIX - There are thousands of dogs in shelters around the Valley anxiously awaiting a new forever home. Those who have adopted a rescue pet knows they make great companions.
When Tempe native Courtney Daniels adopted 4-year-old Baron from the Arizona Animals Welfare League, she had no idea he would eventually become a movie star.
Four years ago while living in Los Angeles, Daniels received a call from her mother who was fostering a litter of pups through AAWL.
“She called. She was like 'Courtney, I've got your dog. He's one of my fosters and he's going up for adoption.' and I was like 'Mom.' She was like 'No, come tomorrow. I got him,’” said Daniels.
It turned out to be a match made in heaven. Not even Hollywood could write a better script -- or maybe it could.
Daniels, who is an actress and producer in L.A., had been cast as the female lead in ‘Rescue Dogs’ when she got a call from the director.
“About two weeks before filming, the director calls me: 'That lead dog is not going to work out.' I was like, 'Ok,'" Daniels said. "He's like 'Your dog should do it.' Wait, wait what do you mean. He's not an actor.' He's like, 'You got two weeks to get him to speak on command and he's got to open a refrigerator door.'"
Baron plays the lead role of Charger. He helps foil the evil plans of the bad guy who wants to close down the beach restaurant his human co-star owns.
All the animals in the film are real life rescue pets. Daniels said ‘Rescue Dogs’ is a family friendly movie that highlights how great rescue pets can be.
“Rescue dogs know that you saved them,” said Daniels. “I think there’s a misconception that a dog at the shelter or the pound, there’s something wrong with them. They’re there through no fault of their own. Sometimes they’ve had an owner pass away or some family has moved and they’ve not been able to move with them. They still have so much love to give.”
‘Rescue Dogs’ is set to premiere today at Harkins Theaters in the Chandler Fashion Center. Daniels said it’s the perfect place to premiere the film because the Arizona Animal Welfare League has an adoption store right in the mall.
“People will be able to see this movie and how awesome pets are. So you can check out all the amazing animals that are available for adoption, as well,” said Daniels.
Daniels' production company, Busted Buggy Entertainment -- which took over production of the movie -- is also sponsoring the adoption fee of one of the AAWL’s residents, a 1-and-a-half-year-old pup named Hyde.
‘Rescue Dogs’ will be showing at the Harkins Chandler Fashion 20 from April 1 through April 7.
For more information, visit aawl.org.