If you’ve ever seen any rendition of the Wizard of Oz, you know that one of the leading roles goes to the dog, Toto. Toto is a crucial part of the storyline, he’s the reason Dorothy ends up in Oz in the first place and he is the one that (spoiler alert) discovers that the Wizard is nothing more than a man behind a curtain.

When High School Senior,  Erin Bischoff  tried out for a role in her school’s rendition of the Wizard of Oz, she figured she’d be cast in a supporting character role, but was shocked when she got the part of Dorothy and her service dog was cast as Toto. 

Erin Bischoff

Erin was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease, which leaves her wheelchair-bound. In 2014 she got her service dog, Gauge, who has been by her side every step of the way since.


Erin and Gauge aren’t new to the stage. The sweet pup has accompanied her in many other school productions, but has always been cast as an “unnamed dog”. This year, the storyline actually included an important role for a dog so the school was thrilled to offer the spot to Erin and Gauge, especially during her Senior year.

According to Erin, there was a “bit of a learning curve” for sweet Gauge. He had to learn how to enter and exit the stage on cue. In fact, during the play he often misstepped, but the audience loved him and his silliness nonetheless (how could you not?!).


The show’s director, Paula Jacobs, was so happy to give Erin the opportunity to show her and Gauge’s bond on stage. Not to mention, she thought Erin was perfect for the role of Dorothy. Paula told a local media outlet, “Her tenacity in the face of adversity is such an important part of who Erin is as a person. It’s something, in combination with her sweetness and innocence, that is extremely important for someone playing the role of Dorothy.”


As school is coming to an end, Erin is preparing to start college in the Fall and plans to study healthcare and law. While the future is bright and holds an abundance of possibilities, one thing is for sure – Gauge (much like Toto) will be there for the whole adventure!

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Source: inspiremore

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