It’s lights, camera, action for Freya as she walks on set, side by side with one of the most famous names in Hollywood. This Staffie starlet began life feeling ruff, but every dog has her day and now she’s reached the stars.
But even though Freya was destined for the big screen, she wasn’t born famous. In fact, back in 2010, when she was just a puppy, someone found her wandering the streets and took her to England’s Freshfields Animal Rescue. Of course, everyone there expected she would be adopted right away.
Sadly that wasn’t the case, though it should have been an easy process. After all, how could an adorable puppy like Freya not get chosen to be someone’s new furbaby? It was a question that Freshfields may have been asking, given how often she became passed up in favor of other pets.
Indeed, as time went on, more and more people ignored the chance to adopt the affectionate dog that Freya had become. Months then turned into years and, despite her loving temperament, still no one came to adopt her – an injustice that may be due to misconceptions about her breed.
Staffordshire bull terriers are muscular and easy to train; this makes them appealing to owners who want them purely to look or act aggressive. But the breed itself isn’t to blame, nor are individual dogs – especially given that many are actually incredibly docile. “If people think that Staffies have problems, they’re looking at the wrong end of the dog lead!” Mark Evans, chief vet of the British Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, has asserted.
But Staffies’ reputation precedes them and, as a result, they are often abandoned or left homeless. For example, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, the biggest rehoming shelter in the U.K., rescues more thoroughbred or mixed-breed Staffordshire bull terriers than any other type of dog. It seemed, then, that Freya had the stats stacked against her.
Regardless of first impressions and reputations, the fact that Freya continued to get passed up for adoption both saddened and baffled Freshfields staff. “She has been here many years now and is constantly overlooked, which breaks our hearts as we adore her,” the shelter’s deputy kennel manager Kate Jones told Metro in May 2016.
“We do not understand why she has been overlooked for so long. Every year we update her age on the website and it absolutely breaks our hearts to see [she’s] getting older and has never had a home. She is a beautiful girl, so loving and friendly. She is our big baby,” Jones added.
Indeed, from the time Freya arrived at Freshfields, she reportedly had over 18,000 people give her the cold shoulder over a six-year period. And worse luck was to come for the beleaguered Staffie when she was diagnosed with epilepsy, which meant a trip to the vets every three months for medicine and blood tests.
Then in late May 2016 the UK media covered Freya’s story, upon which she received the heartbreaking title of “the world’s loneliest dog.” However, the coverage did have an upside: the Staffie was getting noticed by people all over the world.
Soon, she even made friends in high places. For it was Hollywood filmmaker Michael Bay, director of Bad Boys and Armageddon, who spread the word of Freya’s story around Tinseltown.
What’s more, the director wanted to cast Freya in one of his latest blockbuster movies. “It was a bit of a surprise, to say the least, as we were just focusing on finding her a home,” a Freshfields spokesperson told The Dodo in June 2016.
“Michael Bay’s office contacted us directly, and after lengthy communications we’re happy for her to be part of the cast,” the spokesperson added. Bay was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to announce the news on his Twitter account, making Freya’s rise to stardom official as a result.
His social media update also revealed that the canine celebrity was going to make her debut in a very high-profile movie franchise. “Found this in the news last week in the UK,” Bay tweeted in June 2016 about Freya’s media coverage. “We gave the Loneliest Dog a role in Transformers.”
“Freya has epilepsy and has been in a shelter her whole six-year life. We are also going to find her a home,” he added. “If not, she will come to my house. Welcome to the cast, Freya!” Finally, she wasn’t going to be alone anymore.
Freya’s new role will be in Transformers: The Last Knight – the fifth film in the series. And already a featurette has been released praising her performance, and in which she can be seen acting alongside award-winning veteran star Sir Anthony Hopkins.
“She’s working with Sir Anthony Hopkins – her very first movie – and she’s done a great job,” Bay was quoted as saying in a September 2016 article by the Daily Express. Hopkins himself, meanwhile, was similarly full of praise for his canine co-star, labeling her as “such a good actor.”
Since her rise to fame, meanwhile, she’s gained a new fan base. “We have people currently getting to know her with a view to offering a permanent home, which has always been our main priority,” Freshfields has told The Dodo. And like all good Hollywood fairytales, Freya’s wish finally did come true.
“I’m so happy to tell you all that it’s official,” Freshfields wrote on Facebook on Freya’s behalf. “I have now been adopted and have a family of my own. I have a mum and dad, a big brother in Teddy and a little sister in Joanie and I love them all so much already.”
“I spent over six years at Freshfields waiting patiently for a home and the staff there never gave up on me. There’s a home out there for every dog and I’m living proof… I just want to say thank you to everyone who made this happen for me. Love and licks, Freya.”