February 28, 2023 3.00 pm This story is over 14 months old

Pumpkin the puppy takes centre stage spot in Wizard of Oz

Pumpkin has become a local celebrity

By Local Democracy Reporter

Pumpkin the paralysed puppy has been cast as Toto in Lincoln New Theatre Royal’s Wizard of Oz production.

The wheelchair-bound dog which captured Lincolnshire hearts back in 2021.

The New Theatre Royal is preparing for its annual Easter production, which will this year be The Wizard of Oz. It runs from April 5 to April 12, with tickets available from the New Theatre Royal website.

Theatre regulars Arran Wilson, Dan Badrick and Camilia O’Grady will return to the stage for this show, joined by none other than Sandi Bogle from Gogglebox, and their four-legged co-star Pumpkin.

The West Highland Terrier captured Lincolnshire’s heart after his well-documented health journey in 2021.

Tammie had been trying to teach Pumpkin to use her front legs for walking by holding her up with a scarf. | Photo: Tammie Fox

The New Theatre Royal’s artistic director Natalie Hayes-Cowley, who is also writing and producing the Wizard of Oz production, couldn’t be more excited.

She said: “We first met Pumpkin when she came to see the cast of our last Christmas Pantomime, Cinderella, and we instantly fell in love with her. So, when we put the casting call out for Toto, we were thrilled that she wanted to try out.

“Leah [who will play the role of Dorothy] instantly had a connection with Pumpkin, who loved every moment of being on stage and was not fazed by anything, so we knew right away that she would be one of our Totos.

“What Pumpkin has already achieved is incredible, through her charity efforts other animals have been able to receive wheelchairs just like hers, and she’s only just getting started. We can’t wait to see her take to our stage. We already know she’s going to steal the show!”

Tammie can’t get enough of Pumpkin, and vows to do all she can to help with her treatment. | Photo: Tammie Fox

Owner Tammie Fox told The Lincolnite that she “can’t believe” Pumpkin will be taking to the stage, calling it an “amazing” opportunity for the inclusivity of disabled animals.

Pumpkin was fostered by Tammie back in October 2021 after being born without the use of her back legs.

A fundraising effort began to help Tammie afford a set of wheels for her to roam around.

The £1,000 target was smashed and Pumpkin soon had her cool set of wheels to help with mobility, and additional funds went towards specialist veterinary care to see if a long-term solution could be found for Pumpkin’s issues.

However, an MRI scan revealed that her spine had been broken and fused back together in a way which left his back legs basically facing backwards.

Looking good Pumpkin! Here she is posing with her cool new wheels. | Photo: Tammie Fox

The results stated that Pumpkin will be paralysed for life and her situation cannot be operated on, but that hasn’t stopped her living her best life.

Tammie regularly arranges charity puppy walks in Lincoln with Pumpkin and the wider community, and now her Westie is taking on another giant leap.

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