Raleigh, N.C. — A pair of Raleigh poodles landed a starring role in a movie about the rescue of the puppy that inspired "Susie's Law," which increased penalties for animal abuse cases in North Carolina.
The movie, "Susie's Hope," tells the story of a pit bull-mix puppy that was beaten, set on fire and left to die in a Greensboro park in 2009. While out for a walk, Donna Lawrence and her German shepherd mix Baby Girl found the tortured animal, rescued it and named it Susie.
"Susie's Hope" producers were looking for a German shepherd to play Baby Girl in the movie, but Raleigh dog trainer Balynda Brown knew her poodles, Ryder and Surf, would be perfect for the role.
"Donna, who the story is about, is a Southern hairdresser," Brown said Sunday. "I said, 'A poodle would be perfect for a Southern hairdresser.'"
But Brown had to convince producers.
"We showed up for the first interview in Winston-Salem, and all we did was get out of the car," she said. "They said, 'Oh no, that's not going to work.'"
The dogs were eventually hired to share the role of Baby Girl after producers saw how special they are, Brown said.
"It's so hard to teach a dog to do nothing, just to be in the moment," she said.
"Susie's Hope" is due to hit theaters this fall.