The Perfect Dog

The Perfect Dog

Inspired by the book The Perfect Dog by John O’Hurley

Sam, a twelve-year old perfectionist, searches for a flawless dog to enter in the town’s dog contest. Unable to find a canine that measures up, Sam must resort to training the family dog, Max, who is less than eager to obey commands. In the end, Sam and Max learn that there is no such thing as perfect, but there is such a thing as being perfect for each other.

Twelve-year old Sam is the perfect daughter (much to her parent’s delight, Mr. and Mrs. Brown), the perfect friend and the perfect student – because, according to her hero, Ideal Ida, life should not be lived any other way.  (Perfect As Can Be). Only one thing threatens her perfectly organized world: her unruly family dog, Max. Sam’s friend Charlie is especially impressed with her ability to enhance everything she touches including his school projects.  At school, Sam learns that Ideal Ida will be judging a dog contest in her town.  But Sam doesn’t want to just win the contest, she wants to enter a dog so extraordinary, that Ideal Ida will not only notice her, but want to be her BFF. (When I Meet Ida.) When Sam gets home, she excitedly tells her parents about the contest.  Mr. and Mrs. Brown are thrilled that Sam will finally be spending some quality time with Max.  Sam is incredulous – she would never enter the impetuous Max in a competition.  When her parents ask why, Sam proceeds to document all of Max’s flaws (Doggone Wrong.) Mr. and Mrs. Brown think Sam is overreacting.  When they refuse to get Sam a new dog, she comes up with a perfect solution: with the help of neighborhood dog walker Alex, she will scour the town for the perfect dog and enter him or her in the contest.

Along the way, several dogs – Diesel, Cyclone, Klaus, Carla –  try to convince her of their outstanding characteristics. (One Perfect Dog.) When her search proves unsuccessful, Sam turns to her parents for advice. (One Of A Kind.)  Confused by their conflicting ideas of what the “perfect dog” is, Sam is about to give up hope – until Charlie helps her realize that practice can, in fact, make perfect.  Since she is the perfect coach, she can turn Max into the perfect student and ultimately, the perfect dog. (Possibilities.) Of course, this is easier said than done.  Max is a free spirit and does not respond to Sam’s training techniques, much to the delight of the neighborhood dogs who Sam rejected earlier (Dog Like Max.) Sam takes a short break from Max’s training to attend Charlie’s birthday party.  Of course, Sam brings Charlie the perfect birthday gift – the hottest new video game.  Charlie, Sam and another party kid open it up immediately and begin to play.  Sam quickly beats them both, who rejoin the party.  But Sam stays behind, consumed with getting a perfect score (Snowboard Showdown Six.)   She finally does get a perfect score, but misses the rest of the party.  Charlie is understandably upset, and tells Sam she is far from the perfect friend.

When Sam gets home, she confides in Max.  She doesn’t understand why people will praise her quest for perfection one minute, then criticize her for the same thing the next.  Max decides to take it upon himself to cheer Sam up and make her happy—even if that means not being himself and giving up all the fun things he likes to do in order to help her win the contest. (There’s A Good Boy.) Max becomes the perfect student, but in striving for perfection, Max has forgotten how to be happy.  When Sam realizes that Max was willing to change just to make her happy, she no longer needs a contest or Ideal Ida’s approval to tell her that the perfect dog is the one who has been right by her side all along – Max.  (Finale.)


Music & Lyrics                  Book

       by                           by

      David Abbinanti             Jill Abbinanti

Inspired by the book



John O’Hurley

2 female, 2 male, 3 gender flexible featured roles (with doubling)

5 female, 3 male, 5 gender flexible featured roles (without doubling)

Possible expansion

Character Breakdown:

TYA—Adults performing for children

TOTAL CAST: 7 Actors

SAM BROWN — Female

MAX—Male, The Brown’s Dog

MR. BROWN/YORKIE: Male, Sam’s Father doubling as a dog

MRS. BROWN/MS. HAYES/FRENCH POODLE/ IDEAL IDA/: Female, Sam’s Mother also playing a dog, Sam’s Teacher and Sam’s idol, IDEAL IDA

CHARLIE/BRITISH BULLDOG: Male or Female, Sam’s Best Friend doubling as a dog (Male preferred)

GERMAN SHEPHERD: Male or Female (Male preferred)

ALEX/PARTY KID: Male or Female (Female preferred)

*more actors can be added without doubling and adding more friends and dogs.

Piano-Vocal score

Performance CD