Las Vegas Sun

June 27, 2017

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Guest Columnist:

Piff the Magic Dragon: Mr. Piffles is the greatest decision I have ever made

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Piff the Magic Dragon and Mr. Piffles.

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Mr. Piffles.

Click to enlarge photo

Mr. Piffles.

Editor’s Note: As Robin Leach ends his travels to Sardinia and Santa Marinella on the coast outside Rome to enjoy his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, many of our Strip personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their words of wisdom.

We continue today with off-the-wall comedy magician Piff the Magic Dragon from the new show “X Comedy” at the Flamingo and Las Vegas showbiz manager and producer Seth Yudof. Here is Piff with the story of his sidekick, Mr. Piffles:

Mr. Piffles is a rescue dog. Not like Lassie. There’s not much Mr. Piffles could rescue, is there? Apart from maybe a moth with a sore throat. What I mean is, I rescued Mr. Piffles. Here’s the story:

In August 2008, I was making my debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with my first full-length “One Dragon Show.” All was well; houses were full, reviews were great, audiences were happy, and yet … I felt like the show was missing something. What I needed was a gimmick.

The venue manager had a Chihuahua named Nacho. Nacho was 4 months old, and we got on like a house on fire. But in a good way. My publicist suggested that perhaps Nacho should make a little cameo in the Piff show. And so it came to pass. Nacho stole the hearts of the audiences, and I was hooked.

Realizing that a dog is for life, not just for Edinburgh, I did my due diligence and researched the upkeep and maintenance of such a beast.

If you have never owned a Chihuahua, let me tell you, they are one of the lowest-cost creatures I have ever met. A bag of food lasts three months. They are far more loyal than most of the relationships I’ve had. And their magic skills are second to none.

I was committed. And so I turned to Gumtree the very next day and found Mr. Piffles’ cry for help. I set out to the cold, unforgiving land of Dundee, Scotland, where Alfie, as Mr. Piffles was formerly known, was being held captive.

On first glimpse, I wasn’t sure he was cut out for show business. He was unkempt, mangy, his eyes crusted over, and an 8-year-old was putting the boot in on a daily basis.

However, worst case, I thought, I should at least get him out of these horrible conditions, and if it didn’t work out between us, I could always rehome him. I paid £400 ($620.60) in ransom money and got him the fluff out.

It was a slow process at the start. He would growl, snap and bark at children. He hid under tables. He soiled more carpets than I had the capital to replace. I would drag him through the rain, swearing under my breath, as onlookers pointed, laughed and stared.

But onstage? Onstage, he shone. From the get-go. Audiences loved him. So I dug in. I took him to vets. I fed him properly. I found a trainer. And slowly he began to come out of his shell. His coat began to shine. His eyes cleared up. His tail began to wag.

Looking back, it took nearly a year for him to fully settle in. Now he is without doubt the greatest decision I have ever made. He’s a constant delight, a wonderful companion and a loyal business partner.

He might be a rescue dog, but, nearly six years on, I’m the one who feels the redemption.

Check out our other guest column today from Las Vegas producer and manager Seth Yudof. On Friday, our weekly Royal Robin Rundown is here in the Weekend Celebrity Preview, and, on Sunday, our guest columnists are Shane Scheel, creator of the new musical sensation “For the Record: Baz” at Light in Mandalay Bay, and Sebastien Silvestri, head honcho of food and beverage at the Venetian and Palazzo.

On Monday as Robin moves onto Croatia, we’ll start a new week with Sherry Gordy of the famous Motown musical family and Terry Fator’s opening DJ Ben Harris from the Mirage.

Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Las Vegas Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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