Rockton dog Qi’ra cuts her acting chops in murder mystery movie


Qi'ra and owner/trainer Kim Salem

Mike and Kim Salem are really into dogs. Currently, eight dogs make their home at the Salem residence in Rockton. These days the star of their dog clan is a border collie named Qi’ra (pronounced Kyra.) She recently appeared in a British film, "Invitation to a Murder," a whodunit movie released by Lionsgate in April 2023. The plot is reminiscent of an Agatha Christie mystery, set in 1934 at a mysterious wealthy man's remote island mansion, where each guest is a murder suspect. The 90-minute movie can be seen on DVD or Amazon Prime Video

Qi’ra plays a grieving dog named Blunder in the movie. “She is seen sniffing around the dead body and laying her head on his chest.”

Qi'ra lying on dead body in the movie "Invitation to a Murder." Photo courtesy of Lionsgate.

Kim was on the movie set giving Qi’ra commands throughout the filming. “Qi’ra is very food oriented. She knows about 50 different tricks, and loves the camera.”

It all started two years ago when Kim reached out to Amazing Animals, a talent agency for animals. She got a call back from the casting department. They were looking for a dog to play “Blunder” in the movie, “Invitation to a Murder.”

Qi’ra made her acting debut when filming began in Nov. 2021. The movie was shot in Stone Manor, a mansion overlooking the water in Lake Geneva, WI.

Qi’ra has other talents, as well. She and several other Salem dogs are dock divers. Dock diving is an aquatic competition open to dogs of every size and breed. Kim and Mike’s canines are registered with NADD (North American Diving Dogs). NADD provides training and sponsors dog diving events throughout the United States.

Dock diver dog. Photo: Kim Salem

The animals run from a stationary dock into the water in pursuit of a favorite toy tossed into the air by their owners. The animals are judged on how high and how far they can jump. NAAD competitions are held at swimming pools, not lakes or rivers, around the country.

Dock diving is sanctioned by the American Kennel Club.

Most of Mike and Kim’s eight fur babies are border collies, with the exception of a lab, a Dutch shepherd and a whippet.

They adopted their first border collie about 10 years ago. “I was impressed by the breed’s agility and versatility,” Kim said.

Another popular member of the Salem’s dog family is Newt. A few months ago, our reporter Harold Bone wrote a story about meeting the gentle, lovable well-behaved whippet at the Rockton River Market. Newt was disguised as a cheetah for the occasion, spots and all.

Newt the cheetah dog at Dairy Haus. He loves ice cream.

Newt is a therapy dog at Caledonia Elementary School. The school’s mascot is a cheetah. On special occasions and with a little washable, non-toxic paint, Newt can be transformed into a realistic-looking cheetah.

In addition to training dogs, Mike and Kim are professional animal photographers. Mike's business is Mandalorian Captures Canine Event Photography. Kim concentrates on dog photos at Pics By Kim and can be reached at

Qi'ra running
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