One winter afternoon in Brooklyn, Cathryn Long peered at a grooming table inside an abandoned warehouse. Long, the vice president of All Creatures Great and Small, a New York-based animal talent agency, was inspecting the scenery where her client, a large black poodle named Daisy, was set to make her acting debut.
Nearby, Mark Severs, a square-faced financial assistant, furiously combed Daisy’s coat. Squinting, he walked around a table examining his pet’s continental trim, unsparingly using a blow-dryer, scissors, and a can of hairspray to stiffen the individual pom-poms on Daisy’s legs and tail.
A bearded man in a plaid shirt and skinny jeans signaled Severs. “We’ll be ready for the dog in five minutes,” he said.
Severs kept toiling, his lower lip curled in a bulldog pout as sweat varnished his temples. Like his wife Delana, a poodle breeder who trains their dogs, he was looking forward to Daisy’s first gig.
That afternoon, their 11-month-old pup, was to play a supporting part in a cell phone commercial, alongside Dax Shepard, an actor in the NBC series Parenthood, and two young comedians named Streeter Seidell and Amir Blumenfeld, the stars of MTV’s Pranked. Her scenes featured a loud motorcycle, blinding strobe lights, and other distractions that threatened to instigate the rampages that had earned her the nickname “Crazy Daisy” back home.
Severs clipped a tiny speck of Daisy’s hair. Shrugging, he wondered how the pup would react to the different environment. Long stepped in, glanced at Severs, and then turned towards her furry client.
“All’s going well,” Long said. “I think they will call for Daisy soon.” She approached the dog, petting her lightly in order not to disrupt the blooming hairdo. “Are you ready, girl?”