My family is a poodle family. (Mostly*). Not the little poodles. The big ones. Standard poodles.
Our first poodle, Mitzi, was a miniature. You’d think this would be a tiny poodle, but miniatures are actually mid-size dogs. Poodle sizes are kind of like canned olives in reverse: whereas olives explode almost immediately from small to jumbo, colossal, super-colossal and even mammoth, poodles shrink quickly from standard to miniature to toy to teacup.
IMHO the last two are yipping ankle-biters for old ladies who live in trailer parks.
The bigger the poodle the mellower in mood and (my family believes) the brighter. This I can’t attest to because our experience has almost exclusively been with the big ones. We had one disastrous detour for the two months we foster-parented Pepe, a neurotic toy poodle with bad teeth, hideous breath and a game hind leg which caused him to hop every few steps like one of the Dounblemint twins.
Mitzi joined our family before I was born. She was a moody dog, given to snapping at anyone who approached her when she ate or groomed herself. Still, she would allow my sister and I to dress her in sweaters and hats from our baby sister’s wardrobe.
When I was in 2nd grade I showed Mitzi in a pet contest, which took the form of a parade down the main street of our small town. Entrants included every sort of animal, including birds in cages and turtles in bowls. Those of us with creatures on leashes had a much easier time than those whose pets needed to be carried in heavy receptacles.
Amazingly, Mitzi won the first prize (on what criteria I haven’t a clue) and I was awarded a hand-carved wooden plaque, which just resurfaced when we were cleaning out Mom’s attic. They don’t make plaques like they used to.
Our next two poodles were brown standards – Jada and her son Jing-Jing. (My parents were jazz buffs).
My favorite was Melody, a pretty white standard. So pretty that my parents decided to breed her. When she went into labor, the family gathered to watch in fascination as the puppies started coming.
One. Lick lick lick. Push. Two. Lick lick lick. Push nudge. Three. After six we figured that was about it and went to bed, but my sister stayed up with her all night. In the morning we found her asleep in the box with Melody and five more puppies, for a total of eleven.
Later when the puppies lost their blind rat appearance and moved into the adorable puppy stage my Dad took a picture of the whole little family and it made the front page of the local paper.
*One of my sisters has had several standards, I have one (who I prune myself to save money), my other sister hates pets. Of my three kids only one has had a dog and his was a dalmation.
More poodle patter soon.