I sat down to write this article after watching the captivating closing ceremonies for the Olympics. That’s when it struck – the dreaded writer’s block! Maybe Olympic fever was to blame. I felt like a figure skater about to attempt a triple Salchow for that elusive gold medal.
Suddenly, it dawned on me. I was over-complicating things for a charmingly uncomplicated dog. Sure, if poodles were people, Teddy would have a great comeback story to tell at the next Olympic Games (if he made the cut). The world would be mesmerized by his triumphant return following such a tragic accident – and don’t forget the sacrifices made by his family to get him there.
But poodles aren’t people. Even if he were human, Teddy is missing the one ingredient every athlete must possess. X-rays don’t lie. Our little curly-top doesn’t have a single competitive bone in his body, including the ones in the casts.
Teddy doesn’t care if he’s the best at anything. He just loves to perform for his favourite person, which is basically every person he meets. As long as he can execute a half-decent play-bow for the ones he loves, he’s a happy pup.
No pressure on poodle, no pressure on me! It’s like that song by Billy Joel. Forget clever conversation or, in my case, a bunch of fancy words. Teddy wouldn’t want me to work that hard. So let’s skate through this Ode to Teddy without fear of failure and have a little uncomplicated fun while we’re at it!
Whether it’s prudent in his present condition or not, Teddy is a ridiculously happy six month-old puppy. Maybe he’ll feel differently once he grows into his poodle smarts but those who’ve met him don’t think so. This is a puppy who enthusiastically struck the play-bow pose on two broken legs when he met his surgeon for the first time.
Here’s the background scoop. Not long after acquiring Teddy from a friend, a university student learned a hard lesson outside the classroom – toy poodles can break, especially puppies. Given the breed’s delicate bone structure, they ought to be called glass poodles. While the actual cause of the injury is unknown, it was likely something as simple as falling off the couch. One wrong move and the novice dog owner found himself at the vet with a broken puppy.
Teddy had badly fractured his left front leg and needed surgery. But like most students, his owner was financially strapped and the student’s parents refused to help. Reluctantly, the veterinarian wrapped up the leg and sent him home. Two weeks later, Teddy was back after fracturing his right front leg. With two broken legs requiring immediate medical attention, it was time for Teddy’s owner to do the right thing. If he couldn’t afford surgery, he needed to relinquish ownership to a reputable rescue group or animal shelter. The veterinarian contacted both on his behalf.
Before the rescue group could respond, Teddy was handed over to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA). In a shelter circumstance, tough choices have to be made regularly. A puppy with two broken legs would be a costly venture, and time-consuming considering several weeks of rehabilitation post-surgery. Once fully recovered, Teddy would need to find a trusted guardian prepared for a life-long commitment. It was a tall order and with shelter resources always stretched to the limit, he was sadly at risk of euthanasia.
But as I mentioned earlier, Teddy has a great comeback story to tell.
I’ve already filled you in on the bone-shattering agony of defeat portion of our story. I’ve yet to tell you about the thrill of victory that came after. There would have been no life if not for the ‘family’ that didn’t hesitate to sacrifice what was needed for the poodle with the sunny disposition. That family is none other than Happy Tails Rescue.
The sacrifice came from Carol, the head of the family. Sharing a similar philosophy to Teddy’s, the rescue’s founder would insist it was no sacrifice at all. Her angel with the broken wings needed surgery to the tune of $4,000. The rescue’s funding couldn’t cover it so Carol gave up on her long-anticipated home renovation project. The eighties had been calling her for a while wanting their bathroom back, but what’s another year surrounded by totally gnarly pastel tiles anyway?
Dr. Devon Boyd of the Central Toronto Veterinary Referral Clinic operated on Teddy soon after he cheerfully introduced himself to her with his broken-legged play-bow. Needless to say, his devoted family expanded that day to include every staff member at the clinic. Where angels tread, miracles follow. Dr. Boyd opted for a second surgery a few days later to further reinforce the intricate repair work. She did that one for free.
It will be another two months before the casts can come off. In the meantime, Teddy is on lock-down. No play-bows. No triple Salchows. No fun. But here’s the thing about Teddy: he’s got this spirit that won’t quit. Nothing gets him down even when he’s down. He’s kind of … unbreakable that way.
Teddy is a six month-old Toy Poodle play-bowing if only in his dreams at Happy Tails Rescue. In a couple months, he’ll be ready to perform the real deal for you. Now that’s worth a gold medal! (happytailsrescue.ca, firstname.lastname@example.org)