In 1992 we got our first standard poodle. His registered name was Charlie Don’t Surf, but we called him Bismarck. He was a pet, rather diabolical and lots of fun. I don’t know if he was a good example of the breed standard, I just know he was a good companion.
The following year my work took us to Oakland, California and we could not take a dog with us, so we placed Bismarck with a friend. He lived a long, fun-filled life on a farm in Frederick County. We didn’t get our next standard poodle until 2002.
When we returned from California, we brought a dog we found on the streets of Oakland, rather she found us. I was the director of campus safety at Mills College and a jogger we all knew was running on the sidewalk near the College’s entrance. She saw someone stop their car and put a little, blue merle, Australian Shepherd mix out on MacArthur Boulevard, a four lane highway that surrounds Mills. The dog saw the jogger running and followed her onto campus where a girls’ soccer game was in progress.
When that dog saw that ball being kicked around, she started chasing the ball and all of the soccer players started chasing the dog. Security was called to the scene and the responding officer opened the security car door and called the dog, who immediately jumped onto the back seat. He brought that dog to my home where I lived on campus and asked if she could just stay with us for four hours. We had that dog for ten years. We named her Holly and we took her with us when we moved back to Maryland, she was a West Coast dog living on the East Coast.
When Holly died, I was very sad. I started researching standard poodle breeders on the internet. I connected with several reputable breeders and eventually ended up at a kennel in Virginia. I was looking for a puppy, who was not yet conceived. This breeder had fourteen black poodles and one white. The white poodle was a bitch four years of age and the breeder was simply looking to place her.
When the breeder let the white poodle out so I could meet her, the bitch announced herself with a lot of barking, and then she ignored me. The breeder said, “Oh, she likes you.” I responded, “How can you tell?” And with that the dog stopped in front of me, stood up on her hind legs and placed her front feet on my shoulders to look into my face. I told the breeder, “I’ll take this one.” I did and we named her Lily.
My sister, Amy, died in 2007. My husband was feverishly searching for ways to occupy my mind, I was so despondent. One day, Larry told me, “You should get that show dog you’ve been talking about for years.” Once again I was back talking to breeders about poodles. I ended up not far from home. Larry and I purchased a male standard poodle puppy from Susan Palmer at South Mountain Standards and so the madness began.