Cherie Howie

Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Schnauzer's silver screen debut

Animal trainer Mark Vette with his star dog Monty at his property in Waimauku, Auckland. Photo / Doug Sherring
Animal trainer Mark Vette with his star dog Monty at his property in Waimauku, Auckland. Photo / Doug Sherring

Driving dog Monty is heading for the big screen.

The once-unwanted giant schnauzer shot to fame last December as one of three SPCA dogs taught to drive a modified Mini. Footage went viral and offers of television and film work poured in from around the globe.

That culminated in Monty's first movie role, which he has just completed, said owner Mark Vette.

Vette, an animal behaviourist who taught Monty to drive before adopting him, said details of Monty's first film role were top secret. He wouldn't confirm if Monty had a starring role, where the movie had been produced or when it would be released.

"You'll hear about it in time ... he's got a lot on this year. If I hadn't signed a contract, I'd tell you."

Fellow driving dog Porter, a bearded collie-cross adopted by Vette's daughter, Jazmin Vette-Dal Bello, had a little further to go before signing his first role, Vette said.

The third driving dog, beardie whippet-cross Ginny, has slipped out of the limelight.

The next big task for Monty and Porter will be the launch of the SPCA's annual appeal at Kohimarama Beach on Tuesday, he said.

The pooches have been trained to dig up food-laced bags of money as the SPCA seeks to raise the $20million it costs to run its centres around the country.

- Herald on Sunday

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