You're probably familiar with "Annie," the musical about an adorable redhead who starts off in an orphanage, and ends up the adopted daughter of the wealthy Daddy Warbucks. In an effort to bring this feel-good story to life, the Broadway production of "Annie" has a tradition of rescuing a shelter dog and training the pup for the part of Annie's trusty pet, Sandy, allowing lucky dogs to go from shelter residents to Broadway stars.
In this spirit, New York City's current production of "Annie" is working with rescue group Bobbi and the Strays in an effort called Sandy's Rescue Pals. At Wednesday matinee performances of "Annie," certain orphan dogs from Bobbi and the Strays are welcomed under the bright lights of Broadway to find owners during intermission. Inspired by this amazing work, we rounded up a group of hard knock dogs that started life in a bad situation but have found their happily ever after homes.
Tiny the Broadway Star
His Story: Tiny is one of the lucky dogs that benefitted from Sandy's Rescue Pals. A family that could no longer take care of the 7-year-old Japanese Chin left him with Bobbi and the Strays. All it took was an afternoon under the spotlights at "Annie" to find him a new home. Tiny now has a family that enjoys road trips, cuddling, playing and spreading the love.
Xena the Warrior Dog
Her Story: Xena was discovered at 4 months old. The Staffordshire terrier mix was under 5 pounds, and collapsed in someone's yard. The dog was rushed to a local emergency vet in Georgia, where she immediately started receiving the love and care she desperately needed. Staff determined that the dog was caged and starved before being dumped. Luckily, Xena's tough times ended there. The dog rebounded and soon was looking for a loving home. She found a place with the Hickeys. Xena's powerful spirit and endless supply of love has helped the Hickey family's autistic son open up and share his feelings and joy with his family. Know what's better than one happy ending? Two! (Today)
Fiona the Blind Video Star
Her Story: Maybe Fiona looks familiar to your animal-loving heart. She was featured in a rescue video that went viral due to its heart-wrenching story. The clip shows Eldad Hagar of California's Hope for Paws saving a mangled, blind and terrified dog from a trash heap in Los Angeles. The first step to making Fiona whole again was to get her washed, trimmed and treated. After a few simple steps, the once matted and grey pooch already looked brighter. After Fiona's initial rescue, she was adopted by a devoted family and given a life-changing optical operation. Today, this formerly down-on-her-luck dog can see again, and is taking in the sights from her forever home with three canine siblings. (Mother Nature Network)
Kabang the Hero Dog
His Story: Unlike our other hard knock hounds, Kabang's troubles came later in life. This dog grew up surrounded by a loving community in the Philippines. In response to this tenderness, Kabang risked his life by running in front of a motorcycle that was about to hit two young girls. The dog survived the accident and saved the children, but suffered serious facial injuries. Unable to receive proper medical care in his country, Kabang lost his snout and had to push through a series of medical complications. Not wanting their local hero to suffer, fans of Kabang began an online effort for the dog so he could fly to the United States for medical treatment. Kabang's story spread, and the funds the canine needed poured in. Kabang recently completed a series of complex facial surgeries at UC Davis and is now back home living out a happy and snoutless life with his family. (Dogster)
Oscar the Paralyzed Dachshund
His Story: Oscar's story looked bleak from the start. The Dachshund was picked up by Animal Care and Control during a routine sweep of the New York City streets. The homeless pup was taken back to an ACC shelter where his chances of being adopted were low, due to previous health issues that left him paralyzed. In a welcome turn of luck, a local rescue group took Oscar in and worked on rehabilitation until he found a home. Oscar can now get around with a little help from a shiny set of wheels. Instead of spending his nights on the street, he is rolling between his new home and different events to advocate the adoption and support of special-needs dogs. (Democratic Underground)
Tuna the Instagram Star
His Story: It's a rag-to-riches story, animal style. Tuna started off as a nameless, 4-month-old puppy abandoned on the side of a San Francisco road. His current owners believe that the Chiweenie was left there by insincere breeders who were unhappy with the dog's facial deformities. Shortly after being discarded, Tuna wandered into Courtney Dasher's line of vision and into her heart. The animal lover knew she needed to take the dog home. Dasher also made Tuna an Instagram star, posting pictures of his distinctive mug and earning him more than 375,000 followers. Tuna also has branched out to merchandise, sharing the proceeds with the ASPCA. (Daily Mail U.K.)
Joey the Pit Bull Puppy
His Story: Joey's path to a loving life started in a bleak place. The Pit Bull puppy was found in a trash bag on the side of the road after being thrown out of a car. The scared pup had a broken neck and bite marks that indicated he was used as a bait dog. The paralyzed canine was taken to an emergency vet and given treatment. Six weeks later, Joey looked like a whole new dog, and was walking again. Joey's therapy and special neck brace were paid for by animal lovers who raised funds to help the mistreated dog. Joey is continuing to heal and grow at his new home with his rescuer Dr. Lynda Loudon, who has taken care of the puppy since he arrived at her vet hospital. (Dog Heirs)
RELATED: Help support Bobbi and the Strays.
Jack the Puppy Mill Rescue
His Story: Jack is the first Pomeranian to give Boo some tough competition for World's Cutest Dog. Before the smiles and the Instagram account, Jack was living a stunted life at a puppy mill in Indiana. Kept in a cramped cage, Jack developed retinal atrophy, which will eventually claim all of his eyesight. Thankfully, Jack was rescued from the mill before more serious damage could occur. After finding his forever home, Jack was diagnosed with cancer, which he fought off bravely. He may be one of the few cases of a dog with nine lives. Today Jack spends his time supporting other animals suffering from cancer, and raising awareness about the unethical practices of puppy mills. (Dogster)
Groby the Two-Wheeled Chihuahua
His Story: Groby was discovered in a filthy, vacated house with 40 other Chihuahuas. Due to reckless breeding, many of the animals suffered from health problems and genetic deformities. Groby was found without his front legs, clinging to life. Once socialized, Groby found a caring home and a set of wheels on which to get around. But the pooch still had one more hurdle before he could fully enjoy his new life. For Groby's wheels to work properly, he needed surgery. Inspired by the little dog's story, the community raised the necessary funds to ensure Groby got whatever he needed, and now he's wheeling around with no problem.
RELATED: Like "Annie" on Facebook.
Ebbie the Beagle
His Story: Many labs use Beagles for tests because the dogs are loyal and forgiving. This leads to countless Beagles spending their entire lives in cages, never seeing nature. The Beagle Freedom Project works to rescue and re-home these dogs, offering them a chance at a true life. Ebbie is one of these cases. He was kept in a cage in a Spanish lab for years, and pumped full of toxins. The tests left him unable to eat, walk or drink. After his rescue, Ebbie still showed little sign of improvement until he met a group of Pit Bull puppies. The interaction raised the dog's spirits and eventually helped him regain his ability to walk and feed himself. Ebbie's foster mom adopted him into her Southern California family, where he is given plenty of love, sunshine and time with other dogs. (Spot Magazine)
Next: Meet Heroic Stray Dogs
Ralph the Street Dog
His Story: Similar to Fiona, Ralph was rescued by Eldad Hagar and Hope for Paws. The group was made aware of the dog's struggle thanks to photos sent in by a worried animal lover. Hagar worked carefully to catch and rehabilitate Ralph. The dog came into their care broken. Ralph was dirty, terrified and sick. Hope for Paws never gave up on Ralph, working with him until he was healthy and able to accept affection not as a threat, but a gift. Because of all this hard work, Ralph is now living with a lucky family and never has to worry about the mean streets again. (MSN)