Tiny Dog Found Wandering Around L.A. Becomes a Sitcom Superstar After Lucky Chance Encounter (Exclusive)

Noelle the rescue dog went from being alone in the world to being the star of NBC comedy 'Lopez vs Lopez.'

<p>Guin’s Movie Menagerie</p> Noelle the rescue dog performing as Churro in

Guin’s Movie Menagerie

Noelle the rescue dog performing as Churro in 'Lopez vs Lopez'

Noelle is undeniably a star, but the dog took an interesting journey to reach her celebrity status.

Her owner, Jubel Chen, first met Noelle when the dog was a scruffy young pup wandering around Los Angeles.

Around Christmas 2017, Chen, an animal trainer with Guin's Movie Menagerie, was in downtown L.A. working on a shoot with several dogs when "someone handed her" a skittish, scruffy dog they found on the street.

"They asked, 'Is this one of your dogs?' because we were doing a shoot down there, and we said, 'No,' but we'd take her and see if we could find her people," Chen tells PEOPLE.

Chen and her coworkers put up flyers searching for Noelle's owners and took the canine to a vet to have her scanned for a microchip; neither avenue turned up an owner for the tiny dog.

After spending weeks searching for Noelle's family, Chen found that the little pup had "kind of grew on" her, especially with "her little face" and "grandpa eyebrows." Chen decided to adopt Noelle, who she believes was around six or seven months old when she shuffled into her life in 2017.

<p>Guin’s Movie Menagerie</p> Noelle the dog

Guin’s Movie Menagerie

Noelle the dog

Chen thought Noelle's unique appearance was "a great look for Hollywood." But before Chen could make the dog a star, she had to ensure her new pet wanted fame first.

For six months, Chen trained and socialized Noelle to help the dog gain confidence and determine whether she was interested in being a celebrity.

Related: Hallmark Actor Aaron O'Connell Flies Rescue Dog to Her Forever Home Through Pet Charity (Exclusive)

"She took a little bit because she was kind of skittish. She was a little worried about things. She's a little dog, so it's always a little more intimidating for little dogs because everything's bigger than you," Chen says of Noelle's early training.

Eventually, Noelle realized, "She's too cute not to be in the business," and started showing interest in tricks and performing.

"It took her about six months before she was like, okay, I think you can do this," Chen says.

<p>Guin’s Movie Menagerie</p> Noelle the dog with Jubel Chen

Guin’s Movie Menagerie

Noelle the dog with Jubel Chen

Not long after taking the leap and starting auditions, Noelle booked her first job in a commercial for Meijer.

"It was a whole Christmas spot with her in it. She was a little dog named Lily. She runs outside, runs around the neighborhood, gets lost, sees Santa, and finds her way home. It was a commercial all about her, and it was her first job," Chen recalls.

Since then, Noelle has appeared in numerous commercials and TV shows like Modern Family and Reboot. In 2022, Noelle landed her biggest role yet, the canine star of the NBC comedy Lopez vs Lopez.

In the show, Noelle plays the family dog Churro and stars alongside George Lopez and Mayan Lopez. Over the years, Noelle has embraced her star quality, which is on full display in the show, according to Chen.

<p>Debby Wolfe</p> Noelle the dog dressed to impress

Debby Wolfe

Noelle the dog dressed to impress

"When she goes to set, she is a little diva," Noelle's owner says.

"She'll walk onto set and wag her tail like she owns the place, and then people come and pet her, and she acknowledges them without acknowledging them," she adds.

Lopez vs Lopez's human cast adores having Noelle on set. Not only is she a poised and professional scene partner, but she is also a calming presence to anyone looking for a cuddle. Plus, Noelle loves the attention.

Related: Blind, Deaf Dog Named Piglet Meets His 'Top Fan', Who He Helped Out of a 'Very Dark Place' (Exclusive)

"She likes to go there," Chen says of Noelle's reaction to the Lopez vs Lopez set. "We get there, and I take her out of the car, and she's the first one at the stage door; she leads me to the stage door. I think she likes everybody saying hi to her. She gets to be the center of attention."

Before filming begins, Chen works with Noelle to ensure she is comfortable with each episode's events.

<p>Guin’s Movie Menagerie</p> Noelle the dog on set at 'Lopez vs Lopez'

Guin’s Movie Menagerie

Noelle the dog on set at 'Lopez vs Lopez'

"We protect her as much as we can so that she understands that everything is okay because she doesn't know that all of this isn't real. We make sure we rehearse and rehearse," Chen says.

"If someone's going to come running in a room, or scream, or dance around and be silly, we like to be aware of that, so we know it's going to happen, and then we show her that it's going to happen," she adds.

Six years after welcoming Noelle into her life, Chen is amazed by the confidence the dog has developed.

"She's gotten super confident and is not scared of strangers. She'll walk up to people and wag her tail," the trainer says.

<p>Guin’s Movie Menagerie</p> Noelle with her animal trainer owner's other dogs and pet pig

Guin’s Movie Menagerie

Noelle with her animal trainer owner's other dogs and pet pig

Noelle also "rules the roost" at home, where Chen cares for a variety of animals, including dogs, cats, and pigs.

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Chen hopes that Noelle's success story encourages others to give rescue animals a chance. The animal trainer says that about 95 percent of the animals she works with are rescues, and all the animals have been exceptional performers when given the chance to shine.

"All the animals at shelters and rescues need some time and socialization. Have patience with them, and they turn out to be amazing pets. They feel it, and they will give it back to you. I feel that with all of my animals. If you treat them well, they will be super grateful." Chen says.

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