CALABASAS, Calif. — When 11-year old Adrianna Berlant started playing the piano nine months ago, her dream was to perform in front of an audience one day.
So, she's practiced, and practiced and practiced.
"I like how I can make actual songs," Berlant said.
But before her big performance, she got some bad news. Her teacher's yearly holiday recital was canceled due to the pandemic for the second year in a row.
Berlant's mom Laura Berlant said her daughter was crushed.
"We wanted to give her an opportunity to have a recital this year and we're just looking for ways to make it happen for her," Laura Berlant said.
The opportunity presented itself not long after when Laura Berlant saw an ad for a volunteer piano player for the holidays.
Adrianna would get to finally play all those songs she had been practicing for weeks in front of an audience — though of a slightly different breed.
It all started when Fabienne Origer, the manager at the nearby AGWC Rockin' Rescue, noticed that her dogs were having a "ruff" time.
"Dogs are traumatized when they are surrendered to a rescue or shelter," Origer explained, adding that "animals are so much more adoptable if they are in a good state of mind."
It may seem far-fetched, but some studies have shown that playing music reduces stress in dogs at animal shelters.
As Adrianna began to play, one audience member spun in circles. Another seemed confused. A third was annoyed her nap was being interrupted.
But just a few minutes in, the crowd was captivated.
"Immediately, all the animals were more quiet," Origer said. "It makes me so happy to see that."
As for Adrianna, she got her first-ever standing ovation from 2-month old Roxy, a mutt who kept jumping up and down in her cage at the sound of the music. Although it's possible she just wanted a belly rub.
"I do feel really good," Adrianna said. "I'm proud of myself."
If you're interested in playing the piano or if you'd like to adopt any of the rescues at AGWC Rockin' Rescue, visit the rescue's website.