NORMAN — Orson, 7, is looking for a home. He’s a tornado dog, displaced and waiting for a new family. Help is on the way.
A bit of magic will benefit the homeless dogs and cats displaced by the May tornadoes in Cleveland County.
Rob Lake, an accomplished illusionist who performs throughout the world, is bringing his show to Norman to benefit Second Chance Animal Shelter and Friends for Folks.
The 30-year-old Norman native, son of Steve and Susy Calonkey, said he is happy to help agencies that are struggling to keep up with the care of displaced animals.
“My dog, Max, a schnauzer mix, is from Second Chance,” Lake said. “There are hundreds of animals who need permanent homes. Many have been in foster care since the tornadoes and the people who took them on a temporary basis cannot keep them. Orson is the sweetest dog with the best personality.”
Kay Stout, executive director of Second Chance, said dogs and cats are still being rescued.
“This is a long-term challenge,” Stout said. “All the shelters are full, and we work with Little Axe and other outlying areas. My ultimate goal is six months from now, we will have done the best possible job of saving these animals.”
Rescue groups and shelters still are overwhelmed with the number of pets and do not want to see the four-legged storm survivors end up being euthanized.
Hometown boy: “This is the first time in nearly four years I have performed in Norman,” Lake said. “I love the Sooner Theatre, but my show is a mega show now and the Saturday performance will be at the Nancy O’Brian Center for Performing Arts.”
Lake’s large-scale production features some of the world’s greatest illusions including disappearances and mind reading.
His latest big-scale feat occurred in Memphis before an audience of 15,000 and was broadcast on “Good Morning America.”
“I had to make a 20-ton armored truck loaded with a million dollars cash appear out of thin air,” Lake said. “I had just three weeks to plan it and there were many sleepless nights.”
His planning was perfection when everything came together. It seems the planning began at age 10, when Lake and his family visited a Branson show featuring illusionist Kirby VanBurch.
“I can still remember the feeling I had when I saw that show,” Lake said. “I knew without a doubt what my life work would be.”
Kirby, a comedian and close-up magician, became a mentor and one of Lake’s closest friends.
Shortly after the visit to Branson, Lake said another entertainer had a lasting influence on him.
Jim Smithson, a popular Norman magician, came to Lake’s school for a lunchtime performance and, once again, the young student’s love for the craft was solidified.
The two entertainers he met had a role in his journey to success. In 2008, he won the prestigious Merlin Award as International Stage Magician of the Year, a top recognition of his talent by 40,000 members.