just who is papi the famous chihuahua and how did this fabulous canine warrior come to steal the spotlight?
the star of disney’s beverly hills chihuahua didn’t always live the glamorous life. this part chihuahua, part mutt, whose off-screen name is rusco, was actually rescued from ‘doggy death row’ in a los angeles animal shelter only months before landing the role of papi in the disney film.
after countless unsuccessful auditions with canine breeders and veteran movie pet stars, hollywood animal trainer mike alexander discovered rusco’s picture on the internet while searching animal directories online.
rusco was scheduled to be put down after he was found wandering the streets of moreno valley and no one came to claim him, but alexander saw him and decided he was perfect for the role of papi in the film.
alexander then raced to save little rusco from a lethal injection. he rushed down to the shelter, but it was so far away and he had traffic to deal with. when he got there, they were just closing the doors.
alexander returned the next day and was thrilled to discover rusco was still alive. after spending a little time with him, he knew that rusco was the perfect papi. it was rusco’s big ears, great expression and bouncy personality that made him stand out.
with no previous experience, rusco was given six months of training for his role as papi, the street-wise chihuahua of a gardener who falls head over heels for a pampered, diamond-clad beverly hills chihuahua named chloe.
the film has a cast of more than 200 dogs, including dobermans, poodles, german shepherds, pugs, a labrador and a dachshund, but papi is the real star.
“he’s a little bigger than most chihuahuas. when he runs, he hops. i don’t think i’ve seen a chihuahua hop like a bunny before. he’s a romantic dog, but he’s got a little bit of street in him,” says actor george lopez, who is the voice of Papi and who also has three chihuahuas of his own.
we are happy to report that rusco now has a permanent home with alexander at his ranch outside los angeles. the message is simple, if you love chihuahuas, adopt one.
reuters.com – chihuahua’s rags-to-riches road to hollywood