Choosing a bite-sized baby from Happy Tails Rescue (HTR) to feature this month was like deciding what to order off the menu of a favourite restaurant. After much deliberation, I ultimately decided on poodle pie – mostly because I liked his name. Although casually referred to as ‘Poodle’, the approximately nine-year-old miniature poodle seen here is formally known as Leland.
Hearing his name brought me back to the 80s when legal drama L.A. Law lit up our TV screens! Tweed-suited, spectacled Leland McKenzie was the highly-respected paternal presence at the firm. That is, until his reputation was shattered after starting a saucy affair with the competition’s top dragon lady. Of course, Leland’s good name was quickly restored when his girlfriend fell tragically down an elevator shaft. Clearly, there are differences between law firm Leland and powder puff Leland.
For starters, Leland the poodle didn’t hail from Harvard even if he’s got the smarts to qualify. Rather, he was a scholar-less scamp of no fixed address until scooped up by Kingston Humane Society last fall. Instead of toting an impressive array of credentials in a fancy briefcase, limp-tailed Leland had the burden of a staggering list of medical woes weighing him down.
Leland’s ears and eyes were so badly infected that he was first thought to be deaf and blind. Poor diet and obvious negligence had turned his teeth ghastly green. He was definitely not adoptable. Due to the massive amount of bacteria invading practically every inch of his tiny frame, his entire immune system was at risk of shutting down. None of this scared off the gals at HTR. They’re always prepared to do what they can to bring the happy back to the tails of homeless half-pints.
Leland’s immune system didn’t stand a chance at being cleared of all bacterial charges, unless they could get him to come clean…literally. Due to the ground-in dirt covering every matted curl, he’d been mistaken for gray. A bath and a shave transformed him into the cotton-ball seen here, complete with professor’s bow tie! At least, that’s what Leland was told when presented with the pretty bow for his topknot.
Leland’s makeover was the easy part. It’s taken a few months for his rescuers to chisel away at the harder fixes.
Dental surgery was combined with a neuter operation, resulting in a winter-white smile…and no puppies in the forecast. The worst of the ear infection has cleared up but ear drops remain a daily ritual, something our positive-minded poodle does his best to tolerate.
Leland’s eyes were also treated for a serious bacterial infection. Like his ears, he still must endure a couple squirts of medicine each day to prevent dry eye. Mr. Positive ain’t so positive about optical torture but he tries to look at the bright side. At least he’s got nice teeth for those times he’s forced to grin and bear it. And although he’s plagued with mild cataracts and we’ve yet to invent spectacles for dogs, his poor vision doesn’t stop him from living it up as a pampered pup!
Fostered by Carol Thorpe, founder and president of HTR, Leland is convinced he’s already made partner. It’s a cushy job too. Just like the actor who played Leland McKenzie, he has no plans to retire. While ex-L.A. Law Leland is now a certified open-water diver in his 80s, curly-locks Leland is a self-certified duvet diver – nobody can dive into a duvet cover quite like Leland!
Regular patty-cake meetings are also on his agenda. Leland calls one pretty much every day with Carol’s Yorkie. They bat each other’s paws until somebody announces snack time. Nobody is quite clear on the purpose of these meetings, but the attendees always emerge bright-eyed and bushy-tailed which is good for productivity – especially when you’re in the business of liberating tails on a grand scale.
While Leland stays on your lap and you are certain to be late for work as a consequence, a single thought is sure to enter your mind. You can hardly be blamed. One lap dance from party poodle and you’re pleading no contest. Right or wrong, it will eventually occur to you that Leland is the kind of guy you’d throw somebody down an elevator shaft for.
Leland is an approximately nine-year-old miniature poodle currently working on getting his name on the HTR letterhead. Until then, he’s happy enough being Chief Lap Lounger for Happy Tails Rescue, www.happytailsrescue.ca…at least until he hops on yours!