BELLEAIR — Twig, the skateboarding shelty, and her trainer Lina Bowers — both of them 9-year-old Belleair residents — performed Friday night on The Late Show with David Letterman.
During the segment, a flaxen-haired Lina, wearing sparkle jeans and a hot pink skate helmet, skateboarded alongside Twig over to a five-step staircase. Then Lina set the skateboard at the top so Twig could ride it to the bottom.
The trick fetched some nice applause from the audience.
"Oh, that was delightful," said Letterman.
Other pets appearing on the show included a golden retriever who used his paws to hand his owner a tennis ball and a pair of dachshunds who jogged together on a treadmill.
The name of the segment was "Stupid Pet Tricks," but please don't call this Shetland sheepdog stupid.
Twig has her own Twitter account, her own Facebook page and likes to chill on the Clearwater Beach promenade, where she is known to sail down steep stairways and carve a turn or two. She surfs along the water's edge on a skimboard as well.
Owner Sandy Clark, an instructor at the Upper Suncoast Dog Training Club and the one who taught Twig to skate, said she sent the show a video of Twig and Lina in May. She received a call two weeks ago asking her if they'd like to make an appearance.
Clark was in the post office at the time and decided to refrain from screaming out loud.
"Twig always enjoys performing, being on stage and receiving applause," Clark said. "She is very happy to work, very happy to practice."
Twig has skated at city events and pet expos. In December 2012, she performed with Chili, another family pet, at the AKC/Eukanuba national dog championships.
In preparation for the national television performance, Clark simulated the studio environment at home, setting up bright lights, playing recordings of loud applause, and having people move about with suitcases slung over shoulders to simulate cameramen.
"We wanted to minimize distractions so they could focus on what they were doing and enjoy each other's company," Clark said.
Clark has been teaching Lina, her next-door neighbor, how to handle dogs for nearly two years. The fourth-grader at Plato Academy trains almost every day before school and sometimes after.
Inspired by Twig's athletic prowess, she received her own skateboard last Christmas.
Apparently, all the training paid off — Lina didn't get nervous.
"It was like surfing down a rainbow," she said. "It went very smoothly and was over so fast."
See the clip at youtu.be/HSFodcfbdJI.
Correspondent Terri Bryce Reeves can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.