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Arts
South Slave

Dog from NWT shelter has movie career you dreamed of


She may have one of the finest filmographies of any NWT actor. Her career spans the TV show Supernatural to a line of Hallmark movies, and now she’s appearing alongside Academy Award-winners.

She is Lexi, a dog who started out as an unwanted puppy at Hay River’s animal shelter. After being adopted by a dog-training family from British Columbia, her life has been transformed.

Lexi is now working on a top-secret, feature-length film. All we know is Lexi’s co-stars have won Oscars.

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At the Hay River shelter, Kori Bourne remembers Lexi before she was famous.

“She was surrendered with a litter of seven puppies and so we took them all in,” Bourne told Cabin Radio.

“All the other puppies got adopted out fairly quick – and Lexi was still with us for about a month or so.

“We actually thought she was going to be kind-of difficult to adopt out because she was a bit of a hyper puppy and had the terrier in her.”

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Bourne worried that rambunctious Lexi could be too destructive for families to want.

Two applications eventually came in: one from the NWT and another from the Woodleys in BC. The shelter chose the Woodleys for the four-month-old as they had experience training dogs and seemed a good fit.

“They were super happy to get her and we were super happy to have them adopt her, because we knew it would be the best home for her,” said Bourne.

The Hay River shelter knew Lexi might one day be in a movie when staff picked the Woodleys, and so people at the shelter have followed her career on Instagram. That’s how they learned about Lexi’s recent appearance in two episodes of Supernatural, where she acted as Miracle.

“We were both in shock,” said Bourne, describing her reaction and that of co-worker Heather Tybring.

“This dog is going so far – going on shows that we’re fans of, as well – and we actually get to see her on TV.

“I just find it really cool to see her on the big screen and we can continue to follow her. We’re really happy for her. It makes us really proud, too.”

Lexi on the set of Millionaire Matchmaker. Photo: Woodley family

Steve and Darcy Woodley weren’t originally looking for a dog like Lexi. They wanted an Alaskan Malamute and thought northern animal shelters would be a good place to start their search.

Instead, they found Lexi and knew instantly she was perfect.

“She is absolutely a number-one Hallmark dog, a family dog. She just had the cutest look, with one ear up and one ear down,” said Darcy.

“She’s so adorable and everybody loves her.”

Lexi, the Woodleys said, is stubborn but smart.

“She’s very, very sharp. And she’ll trick you,” said Darcy. “She knows what you want her to do almost from the very get-go, but sometimes she’ll just challenge you and be like, ‘You know what, I really don’t feel like doing it today … maybe I’m just going to lay down and look really cute.’

“The more time we’ve spent with her and the more behaviour she’s learned, she just loves to work. This morning, we were leaving and we were loading the goats to go to work. [Lexi’s] been doing a feature film and today is the first day that she hasn’t gone to work … and she was put out. She was running in and out of the front door, jumping around like, ‘You’re forgetting about me.’”

Lexi’s first roles were in Hallmark movies as the family pet – she has appeared in four to date. The Woodleys say that’s where they start their animals because the shows aren’t challenging.

You can find her in movies like If I Only Had Christmas and Millionaire Matchmaker.

“Everything on a Hallmark show is very uplifting,” said Darcy. If a dog is shown outside a home, it is invariably on a leash.

“It’s a really good starting ground because it’s always a very positive environment.”

From there, Lexi got the Supernatural role because the show needed a dog that “would break your heart to think that this dog was left behind.”

“She’s just gone from street dog to Hollywood diva,” Darcy said.

“I bet you it won’t be long until she’s going to be one of those dogs that people just recognize.”

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