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Bark for a Cause

Posted on September 21, 2012 at 3:00 PM

Over the years, Chewee has had roles in hit Broadway plays such as “Annie” and “Oliver.” He has been on television, traveled overseas to London to appear in shows and is always on the go all around America, what with one appearance or another. But if you ask Chewee for his autograph, he is more likely to lick your face than sign any piece of paper.


Chewee, you see, is a dog. In particular, he is a five-year-old, 140-pound Leonberger, a breed that derives from the city of Leonberg in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. Chewee, who is owned by Morgan Williams-Avila of Lynbrook, will be one of the star models at a fashion show at Oheka Castle in Huntington on September 27.


The fifteen human models in the show will be wearing outfits designed by 11-year-old Brielle Caro of Smithtown, possibly the youngest fashion designer in the U.S. Brielle also designed a fabric that Chewee will wear. “Chewee loves fashion shows” Williams-Avila, a stud breeder, said Wednesday. “This will be his fourth [fashion show] this year.” Williams-Avila, who has two other Leonbergers and a mastiff, got Chewee from a breeder in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Chewee, she said, is a nephew of an original Leonberger she had owned. That Leonberger has since passed away. Williams-Avila stated that Chewee will probably weigh about 150 pounds once he is fully-grown, but he is as sweet as he is big.


“He’s very well-behaved and he loves children and elderly people,” Williams-Avilia said, and his stardom began at an early age. Musicians Williams-Avila knew asked if he could appear with them on stage. He became an attraction. He has been in the Westminster Dog Show, and he played a role in four seasons of the hit “Annie,” and in one season of “Oliver.” He has now been chosen to play a part in the upcoming film “A Christmas Carol,” set for release this holiday season.


Stardom does not get to Chewee. He still likes his bones, his frequent walks on the beach, and his visits with other dogs and friends of the family. He has never been known to show off or talk, much anyway, about his stage success, Williams-Avila said. “We travel a lot, go up and down the East Coast all of the time. We go to cancer wards to visit children. It’s a lot of work and a lot of travel, but it’s fun”.

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