High School Student Stars In ‘Wizard Of Oz’ With Service Dog As Toto

Do you remember when we were allowed outside? Yeah, those were the days. So were the days when children actually got to go to school and partake in fun extracurricular activities like sports or theatre.

And who can forget the adorable duo that was one high school student and her service dog, both who had starring roles in their high school’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.” We all would probably love to be over the rainbow right now…

Erin Bischoff was a senior in high school at the Hasbrouck Heights High School in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. While she was just like every other student, she did have one minor difference. She had to use a wheelchair to get around due to her condition, osteogenesis imperfecta – also called brittle bone disease.

Four years prior, Erin had gotten Gauge, her service dog who helped her get around a little bit easier. Gauge was trained in opening doors, blocking people from bumping into her wheelchair, retrieving things, and many more helpful things. The two quickly began a team.

So, when Erin was cast as the lead role of Dorothy in her school’s theatre production, it was a natural assumption that Gauge would be playing the role of Toto. While it wasn’t his first time on stage with Erin, this time he had a character to portray. And with the dedication of her fellow students, Erin made sure that Gauge would be performance ready to deliver a great Toto in the play.

Erin shared with Yahoo!, “I wasn’t used to having him be an actual character, so it was a bit harder to work with since Toto has a lot of different cues and entrances and exits throughout the show. But we worked out how we would get him to understand his cues with time, training, compromise, and modification.”

Besides being into theatre, Erin also would perform in the school’s marching band, as well as work at her local movie theater. Gauge would accompany her everywhere. And when Erin made plans to attend college and study Health Studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University-Metropolitan Campus, there was no question about who would be beside her all the way. Erin planned to enter law school once finishing college.

To add to her impressive list of accomplishments, Erin – alongside Gauge – would often make trips to other high schools in her area in order to lecture about mobility service animals. During these talks she would speak about service dog etiquette, as well as accepting people with disabilities.

But perhaps most fun, was watching the duo perform together in “The Wizard of Oz,” which you can watch below:


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