Leslie Phelan

Our star columnist & her Pug squad

By the Get Leashed Doggy Style team

Leslie Phelan - Get Leashed Magazine

Leslie has been writing for Get Leashed Magazine since the very beginning, which means that without her, we’d just be pictures on a page. Leslie brings Get Leashed to life, with a wonderful sense of style and a perception of how pets fit into our lives that we couldn’t do without. Her writing’s got flare, has made us lol on countless occasions, and has just the right amount of attitude to keep us reading to the very last word, wondering the whole time where she comes up with it all.

Leslie lends her style and flare to the party scene by designing some of Toronto’s most exciting events. When she’s not out and about wearing that hat, she’s got her writing hat on, penning memorable features for us and others, plus a novel she’s recently finished (more about that below). Plus, she designs a very fresh, very cool clothing label that we can’t wait to see more of!

Her adorably entertaining pugs are two of the most loved dogs in the city and nobody looks better strolling the streets than Leslie does when she’s got them on the lead. The dog-lover she is, she even had and extra dog in tow when we came to photograph for her feature. You might remember Sophie the Frenchie from our Christmas Market shoot.

Learn more about Leslie and the Pugs below and be sure to search her name on our site to catch up on her most memorable articles!


Please tell us about yourself:

I’m a writer by trade, having gone to Journalism school. In this field, I work as a columnist at Get Leashed Magazine, a ghostwriter on a few ongoing projects, and a novelist – my debut book is called Lovesick Little, and is a retrofitting of my favorite childhood story by Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid.

To satisfy my artistic side, I work as an event design creative at Caspar Haydar Design Inc., where I help style some of the most stunningly memorable parties in the city. Also, in 2014 I started a clothing label called Tribe Toronto Apparel, and have been designing graphic, color-driven casual sportswear ever since. It’s really taken off in the last few months, ever since my partner and I invested in the whole print-making setup! Word-of mouth sales, requests off Instagram, and pop-up market sales have kept us busy. We have a web site coming soon, and we will be participating in the Trinity Bellwoods Flea and the Gladstone Flea coming up in mid-February.

I consider all of these occupations, my job. I feel grateful that my days are dynamic and that I have a variety of ways to hone my interests and use my talents without ever having to worry about running out of inspiration or getting bored. I work at CHD on a project-by-project basis, so on days that I’m not required at the office, I ask myself what I feel inspired to work at, and do that. That is my favorite part of my job; the freedom to choose it as I go.

Phelan Pugs - Get Leashed Mag

A bit about your pets:

My pugs are Brutus and Isabel, and they just turned 10 this past autumn. I’d never needed a dog until I suddenly needed a pug one day after covering the Terry Fox Run in the Beaches and seeing this man happily carrying two curly-tailed, flat-faced monkeys in his arms. It was a humid day and they were both snorting. It was love at first sight!

Brutus and Isabel are litter mates, and while there were probably more puppies in their litter, I call them my twins. I think each one represents the dual sides of my Gemini personality – Brutus being the boisterous, quick-footed, energetic and bright side, while Isabel covers the slowed-down, mellow, picky and snoozy side.

What does your ideal weekend look like?

Ideal weekends with the pugs are those with nice weather, because pugs really weren’t built for the cold or to deal with rainy weather – they’d just rather take a quick grass break and then run back inside. But when days are nice, they’re both down to stroll around with me all day. Living in the Beaches was heaven for them – off-leash opportunities and tons of friends to play with in every direction. We loved to grab a coffee or a gelato on the boardwalk with some of my other pup-havin’ friends and wander wherever we felt like.

Describe your personal style:

Laid-back. I used to be much fancier, but as I’ve matured, I’ve developed a real appreciation for comfortable style. That’s what Tribe Toronto is about – staying comfy, but still making a style statement.

Leslie Phelan and dogs - Get leashed Mag

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by any kind of person who makes their own way and is the architect of their own life – anyone who dares to dream of their ideal situation and then goes and gets it. With so many pressures to earn and to own things, I believe the real heroes are the ones among us who sacrifice the comfort of a steady pay cheque in favor of a dream realized. I get so happy when I hear of my entrepreneurial friends making it; it helps me stay focused on my own goals.

How would you describe the look and feel of your home?

My home is small but comfortable! I’ve painted the walls my favorite shade of buttercream-banana yellow, with touches of my favorite jewel tones everywhere. I utilize antique trunks as furniture that double as storage, and my dad helped me to build a raised-up bedframe that gives me room for big bins to hold crafty supplies and off-season clothes underneath. I like it to be bright and energetic in my home; I don’t think I could ever survive in a basement apartment or a place with not much natural light.

A story about your Pugs:

My pugs are the most relaxing creatures to spend time with — so easy-going and lovely, without fail. The first time I flew with them, we were headed for Vancouver just before the Olympics when they were about 5 years old. Since I had two and was flying solo, I had to put them in cargo. In the month leading up to the flight, people kept scaring me with stories of pugs whose hearts gave out on flights and even though the thought frightened me, I knew my two were somehow tougher than that. I made their carry crate extra soft with pillows and blankets and boarded the flight with my fingers crossed.

When we landed in YVR, I ran over to the oversize baggage area with my heart in my throat . . . but then when the door was raised, I saw the two of them sitting comfortably in their little crate, looking at me like “are we there yet?” They’d never looked cooler, or more awesome to me. I’ve loved them even more since that day, not just as treasured pets, but as the chillest kinds of friends I could have ever asked for in this life.