A petite young redhead who goes by the nickname "Poppy" may just be the next Tucsonan destined for the big screen.
She recently flew to Los Angeles to film a teaser for the film "Wiener Dog Nationals," which will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival.
"She's making a cameo appearance," said Nancy LaVigne, whose longhaired dachshund is a two-time winner of the regional Wiener National races.
Poppy's family has been put on notice that she will be needed for several days of filming in Southern California this summer.
"Wiener Dog Nationals" is an independent film that has begun casting as it continues its fundraising efforts through a mixture of private equity, product placement and crowd-funding on Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com), which is an online way for arts projects to raise money.
In this film, anyone who donates at least $15 can get their name on the credits.
"You can have your name in credits, or your dog's name," she said.
Wienerschitzel, the hot dog chain, has signed on as a marketing sponsor.
"Wiener Dog Nationals" has been described as a story about a family that unites when the tiny dachshund they've recently adopted from a shelter races for the championship title.
"Only time will tell if little 'Shelly' and her new family are up for the challenges of entering the nation's greatest wiener dog race, Wienerschnitzel's 'Wiener Dog Nationals,' " according to the film's write-up on IMDB. The film is slated for release next year.
"There's more to it than just a race," LaVigne said.
Director Kevan Peterson has begun casting the family and recently signed Austin Anderson (Nickelodeon's "Victorious") to play "Skip," the older brother).
Filmmakers are still searching for the film's top canine star.
Poppy is slated to appear as herself - a two-time regional champion.
"I'm just thrilled she's going to do this appearance," LaVigne said.
The movie could also bring attention to the plight of shelter dogs - especially dachshunds in shelters.
LaVigne and Poppy belong to The Tucson Desert Dachshund Meetup, which does a number of activities throughout the year to benefit rescue organizations.
The biggest event is the Wiener Race at Hi Corbett Field each year during Oktoberfest. Last year, 84 dachshunds took part. Proceeds went to Sahuaro Dachshund Rescue.
"There are a lot of dachshunds in animal rescue," LaVigne said, noting that there are too many disreputable breeders who will take dogs deemed no longer profitable to shelters, or abandon them.
The Tucson Desert Dachshund Meetup has about 231 human members, and some of them have several dogs.
If you go
• What: The Tucson Desert Dachshund Meetup group is collecting bags of unopened dog food for Pets of the Homeless. The group, which welcomes dachshunds and dachshund mixes, meets monthly, but this will be the last meeting for the summer.
Anyone can drop off food, which will be taken to Casa Maria.
• When: 9:30-11 a.m. Saturday.
• Where: Ramada 28 in Reid Park, near Hi Corbett Field.
• Learn more: www.meetup.com/desertwiener