And then there were three-ish... 

 These 3 lovely black/blu girls are looking for their Valentines <3

Miss Rust, Miss Pink, & Miss Green 

Miss Rust is a happy go lucky, easy to get along with, middle of the road kinda girl. She will rise to the energy level needed for the day but is also pretty happy just hanging out- once she gets her zoomies out of the way! I think Miss Rust would be the perfect pup for an active, large family. She has the "rough and tumble" quality of a tomboy and treats her surroundings as a playground - climbing, exploring, and jumping. She is going to be a lot of fun!

Miss Pink was one of the smaller pups and is lighter than the other girls. She is content to cuddle up and feels that most of life's scary situations can be overcome with a hug. Miss Pink had a rough first week, and it was a group effort to always keep her fed and warmed in the sea of her littermates. In an effort to reduce her stress in the neonatal period, I left her dewclaws intact. This is the first pup I have ever left natural in this way. She quickly caught up nicely to her littermates, however, but she still sighs and snuggles into me when I pick her up, causing any negative feelings to instantly dissipate!

Miss Green is a sweet and devoted little girl, once she decides that she loves you! She may ignore you until then, though - it's not personal! She is the most independent of the available pups, and has a bit more hesitation in new situations than her "bull by the horns" littermates. She is polite, quiet, and it is my personal belief that she would make an amazing therapy dog as she is not overbearing and in your face; however she is pleasant and gentle, responding well to affection and interaction. 

All of the pups scored mostly 3s & 4s on Volhard testing. I have spent the extra time with them reinforcing table/groom training, short sessions in the crate, on the leash, and in the car, as well as individual, daily, enrichment activities. The pups enjoy their little obstacle course featuring a tunnel, slide, seesaw, and boogie board. They are between 10-15 lbs right now, and although they are heavy, they are perfectly content to be carried around the house. When turned loose in the big yard, they happily tear through it, chasing each other round and round. One observation I have made with this litter is that they tend to stick together. Rarely am I looking for a lone pup. Several of them fall in line beside me in my own duties and housework, looking for guidance and engagement. They are clever, thinkers, and problem solvers as a whole. As always, pups are vet checked, microchipped, up to date on shots/wormed, and training initiated. All puppies are sold with a written health guarantee and lifetime support.

Please contact me for more info or if you would like to send me an application for one of the available black/blue girls. DOB 11/20/19 - 

Miss Pink - the cuddly lap pup Miss Rust - fun-loving and easy goingMiss Green - the quiet, little lady

 

Whew! I am so thankful for another round of robust pups. What a wild ride this has been. Whenever I have a litter, the goal is always to keep the pup which most suits my goals at the time. If my picks have inherited the characteristics I was aiming for out of each parent, I count myself blessed. While raising pups takes "carpe diem" to the next level, I am looking forward to a much needed break to focus on training and socialization for my keepers as well as post-champion goals for Violet, activities for Olivia, and a little time to breathe, watch, and appreciate the fruits of my labor. 

Six Weeks of Fun with Misha's Twelve 

 Misha & Lombardi's puppies recently turned six weeks old. My friend and retriever trainer, Paul (Lakota Retrievers) suggested we bring them to have a little swimming lesson at his beautiful property in Covington, Louisiana. Of course, I said "Oh yeah!"

     It was a perfect, Sunny day for an intro to the water. All twelve had a couple of swims, along with a complete shampoo and blow dry as soon as they came out of the pond. Thanks to the great help, it was a wonderful experience. They slept amazingly well that night.

I did go home with a frozen bird, and showed it to them the next day (bleh). All showed great interest in the item, its texture and smells. I am not personally a hunter, but it's been a fun experience to dip my toes into the arena and watch the poodles show their instinct to their original bred-for purpose. I like to believe that there are many pups in this litter who would gladly do the task, if properly placed and trained.

I DO strongly believe that each of these pups will go on to be wonderful family companions. This post-weaning socialization period with their dam and littermates is an invaluable time of their lives. I am so pleased to see the rest of my pack interact so expertly with the very young, and immature puppies. There is no dog in my household that I would not trust to safely interact with them- even clumsy Number Five.

 This is also such an integral experience for them, as the older dogs, all different in temperaments and patience levels, will safely teach them something about canine interaction. It is truly exceptional to witness, and I consider myself privileged to have this experience.

These puppies are fun-loving, social, and spunky. They are also beautiful and playful.

***There are currently a handful of pups from this litter that have not yet been reserved -mainly black/females- Please EMAIL 1st - maria@cadeaupoodles.com if you are interested. I will happily chat with you and meet you at some point if we move past the initial email. I don't mind the phone, but it tends to take up a lot of my time - time that I need for my family and poodles - so please do understand and be patient. If you do call me, please leave me a message or a text (preferred) and let me know who you are and why you're calling. 

Within the next couple of weeks, they will be getting temperament tested, vet checked, and evaluated for structure (this is ongoing, but generally more telling at 8 weeks). Many of them will be going to their waiting families as well, after evaluations. The thought is bittersweet. I grow so bonded to these puppies, as I make their physical and social development the main focus of our time together. Their development is so swift, that if you put it off, you miss windows of opportunity to make each pup a little stronger in some way. Many thanks to my amazing family and team of support. I could not do it without them.

These pups are awesome! They are cooperative, clean, loving, and quiet when put to bed. They are eating well, playing and active but sleeping appropriately, too. 

 

Misha x Lombardi Puppies are Here! 

CH Lakeridge Cadeau Devil in a Blue Dress, CGC (Misha) X GCH Le Glorious Lombardi du NOLA's Caniche Rouge (Lombardi) 

RSVP maria@cadeaupoodles.com 

Misha's puppies have arrived!  11/20/19-11/21/19 - 12 puppies arrived (7f 6m) 

1 light cream male 

1 med cream female 

1 dark cream male 

1 light cream male

1 apricot male 

2 black males 

6 black females 

This was a much larger litter than expected - puppies available!  

Pups will be ready to go home at the end of January, 2020. Inquiries welcome. Contact me for details. 

This is a very special litter! Misha is a wonderful dam.

See more of Misha here:

Upcoming Fall Litter; The Last "Five" Months ; New Champions 

Most newcomers visit the blog for news of upcoming litters, but there are some who faithfully follow my program. I used to do this myself, in the days when I dreamed of being a poodle breeder. I could swear that sometimes I knew the family trees of some poodles almost as well as their breeders did.

So as not to leave anyone hanging in suspense - Misha and Lombardi were recently bred. Visit Misha's page for more info. There is a bit of an 'informal' waiting list starting, but I will not accept any deposits on this litter until I have a confirmed pregnancy via ultrasound, which will be in about 4 weeks. Anyone seriously interested in this litter is encouraged to contact me for a puppy application. This breeding has been planned for years, and I'm very much looking forward to this litter.

On July 27, Ch Cadeau Sweet Devotion "Violet" finished her AKC Championship at 11 most old! She earned her first major and single with Jody Garcini. Jody's little girl was starting school, and she wasn't going to be showing for a while. Lucky for us, Sarah Perchick agreed to take Violet on to show for me! She finished her remaining points including four and five point majors with handler Sarah Perchick! 

 Following on her heels was her brother "Damon," CH Cadeau's Batteries Cost Extra, who finished his AKC Championship in style winning 3 Majors in a row in Canfield, OH with handler Ann Rairigh. I am so proud of these two puppy champions out of the Juno x Lucky litter!

Jody Garcini and Violet after winning Violet's 1st major

Ann Rairigh and Damon winning his first pointsSarah Perchick and Violet on her way to a  championship title!                                                                                   Noodle's Poodles - Number Five
       This little cutie pie is from Natalie x Silver Spring 2019 litter. He was the 5th puppy born, but he's named after the character "Number Five" in The Umbrella Academy. My daughter and I recently watched this series on Netflix and Five was her favorite of the Hargreeves children in the show. As the puppies were being born, my son Anthony was naming them with whatever name popped into his head. Jillian announced that she was naming the next puppy. "It's a white one - a boy," I exclaimed. "What number is that?" she asked. "Number five," I called back, vigorously wiping him, then putting him to his dam to nurse. "Fantastic" she said, and we both knew what she meant. Natalie whelped a total of 3 white puppies in her litter of mostly blue/black (13 puppies total) - "Vanya" the angel that we tragically lost in the whelp after being stuck too long in the birth canal; Klaus, who was born the next morning and now resides with my long time poodle friend Kate, and Number Five, the little white pup pictured above. Five is a source of constant entertainment. He is growing up beautifully. He was always a standout to me. 

With the ease of updating on social media from anywhere with a few movements of the fingers, I have to admit that I have casually fallen away from the "good old days" of blog post updates. With each passing crunch of time, I feel my eyes straining a bit harder to see the fonts that I previously found more than adequate. I feel my back screaming in protest after a period of grooming, an hour sitting on the floor or brief time working in the yard. I feel my interests wandering, my spirit being moved in previously overlooked ways, and the need for my children to have more than fleeting guidance as I juggle work, poodles, and the house. I am at a crossroads in my breeding program as well. I could never quench the passion and love for my dogs or the joy of whelping and raising the litters, but I do not have plans for any puppies to be born here next year. We are wrapping up 2019 with Misha and Lombardi and will revisit a planned litter again when Olivia and Violet are older and have their health testing.

  Olivia is making great progress with her field work and I'm hoping we can get her on her way to a field title at the next trial. She earned her instinct title in Barn Hunt this weekend with Paul Kartes of Lakota Retrievers. I am very proud of my little, diverse poodle pup!

Olivia de Grenier, RATI showing off her ribbon at the Barn Hunt Trial

Violet is home enjoying herself and getting snuggles every night with her sister Cocoa and my son, whose bed they frequent. We affectionately refer to them as "the snuggle sisters." Number Five, a constant source of entertainment, is growing into a beautiful young dog. I am hoping to get our feet wet by taking him to a few dog shows soon. As always, our plate and hearts are full.

 

Puppies, Puppies, Puppies! 

Noodle's poodles are so much fun! I moved them to the bigger enclosure this morning. After a little confused fussing, they all settled down for a nap! It is so cute to watch their individual temperaments start to blossom. 

This is going to be their last day with fuzzy faces! Stay tuned for the big reveal! We still have some precious little BOYS available to approved homes! Pups will be ready to go in June!

Contact me for details! 

Maria@Cadeaupoodles.com

 

Exciting News! 

About a week ago, I received a phone call from a representative of a website called GoodDog.com . The site, she explained, was on a mission, not only to recognize "good" breeders, but also "good" shelters and rescues! They found me on the internet and thought my practices might fit but wanted more info.

She asked to interview me. I was skeptical, considering all of the AR propaganda right now, but I agreed. She put me in the hot seat for about 30 mins, and I LOVED it! As she was asking me questions about my dogs, my breeding program, my puppies, my interview process, my criteria for new homes, etc, I thought to myself "Wouldn't it be great if puppy owners asked all of these questions?" 

I answered honestly, and with a bit of pride, for I know that my heart is allllll up in this, as well as my brain (though sometimes, more my heart! Ha!)

Yesterday, she called me back personally to welcome me to the Good Dog Family. I was more excited than I thought I would be. I thought,  'Who do I share this news with? Is this silly to be excited that some rando from across the country took a look at MY website and MY program and decided *I* was a responsible breeder?? I know I am! But still... It's nice to be recognized. It is. It feels nice. It feels real.. And so much more... 

What this says to me is that somewhere, there are breeder-friendly organizations who are trying and working for and with GOOD breeders.

Now, I know some people will say there is no such thing! I am prepared to take that heat, because I know the truth. There ARE good breeders. There are people who are not looking to add to their bottom line and make a living off the backs of their pets. There are people who believe, as I do, that MANY purebred dogs are on the "endangered" list. There are others who feel, as I do, that if people stopped breeding responsibly, we would run out of GREAT dogs. It seems preposterous, given the plight of animal population, but hear me out. If the ONLY breeders who existed were the ones whose dogs ended up in shelter and rescue, I promise you that the breeds we know and love would no longer be recognizable. That, my friends, makes me very uncomfortable.

Rescue and shelter dogs are AMAZING. Do not misunderstand me! They are not for everyone, though. Some people - rightfully so - would like a predictable companion. They would like to be able to rely on certain traits such as size, temperament, trainability, coat type, etc. They are willing to reach out, be interviewed, make friends with, visit, and support "good" breeders. That is their right. It doesn't have to be one or the other! 

I commend any and everyone who donates (time, money or goods!), fosters, adopts. I have done all three and more, including organized fundraisers with my fellow club members, which mean sharing the proceeds with breed-specific rescue. Most "good" breeders have. Every great breeder I know has had a hand in rescue. We go to great lengths to ensure our own are never in shelters and rescue. 

/end rant

Anyway, That is my exciting news. :) 

Now, back to Cocoa's hair!

https://www.gooddog.com/breeders/cadeau-standard-poodles-louisiana

 

 

Noodle's Poodles are Here!  

"Noodles" is the nickname the kids gave our sweet Natalie. We have been anxiously awaiting her first litter of puppies since the pregnancy was confirmed. Natalie whelped THIRTEEN puppies between April 14 & April 15! That's right. I have had litters of 10 and 12, but this was a new record. It's like two litters in one! Needless to say, we have been very busy over here!

Here are some snaps of the babies, and a little glimpse into what it takes to whelp a litter of 13.

I have sweet baby boys available to pet homes! Contact me for more info or a puppy application.

Unfortunately, I lost a puppy during the delivery - another first for me. It was a difficult whelping for several reasons, not the least being a stuck puppy around 3AM. Noods was tired; I was tired, but the pups kept coming. I saw the little white tail come first, then disappear back inside of Natalie. Out again, and back in. I tried to stay calm. I knew what this meant. Pup was in a difficult position. had hoped for more whites. I had hoped for more girls. Sometimes we have to let Mother Nature deal the cards and accept the outcome. I never whelp without my phone turned on to the Canine Reproductive Facebook Group. They are truly wonderful! I used all the tricks that I knew for a stuck puppy. Natalie finally was able to push her out enough for me to get a grip and pull her out the rest of the way, but I was too late to save her. She took one gasp and never did again. I worked on her, not wanting to believe it. Not wanting to accept it. Again, I tried all I knew save her. Finally, Natalie delivered another, seemingly lifeless puppy, and I had to resign my only white female, pulseless, to the side, and work on bringing the new pup's lungs into function. It worked for him. There were no more losses that day.

Shortly after the birth, I posted about another first - a pup that was born with a cleft palate. A few hours after I was sure Natalie was done and safely under the watch of my invaluable and experienced daughter, I made a "flying" trip to AL to put him with a foster of the Mia Foundation, an organization whose fosters work tirelessly day and night to raise pups born with issues such as cleft palate. I had NO experience with this issue and was more than happy to turn him over to someone who knew more than I did! I am sad to report that little Onyx was not able to be kept alive under his foster's care, although I know with everything I have that she gave it all she had. The Mia Foundation is truly a wonderful organization, and the silver lining to Onyx's loss is that more awareness has been spread about this beautiful organization, and we were able to raise close to $500 for the Mia Foundation in just a few days.

As a breeder, I know full well that loss is to be expected. I was reassured by MY support team that my numbers were still amazing, considering the size of the litter. I am watching Natalie like a hawk for any postpartum issues. We have gone broke buying calcium supplements and laundry detergent; eleven babies is still a lot of work! 

There were 8 males and 3 females surviving; 2 white pups in all (both male). The pups and Noodles are in my bedroom and have made for very scattered sleep in the last two weeks.

The puppies are growing beautifully. I have them marked with nail polish, so I can make sure all are fed and thriving. We have some standouts already, for various reasons. Some of the little ones have caught up to their littermates. The kids named a few of the pups. I have no idea where they come up with these weird names, but it's their way of being involved, so... It has been a labor of love ,and every one in my support system has been incredibly helpful in the rearing of this most precious and sweet litter.

Every time I have a difficult or particularly labor-intensive litter, I jokingly say I am going to charge $10,000 each for the puppies. There is no price that can be put on sleeplessness, or the watchfulness that comes with a first time dam who isn't quite catching on right away, for whatever reason. There is no candle that masks the scent of puppy poop in your bedroom (although that Crest-o-Mint from Rouse's is top notch), or the smell of boiling liver in your kitchen, while making the famous mama's (stinky) stew. There is no magic wand that mixes the perfect balance of goat's milk, liver water, yogurt, baby beef, fading puppy formula, and eggs in the middle of the night, and clean bottles, too. There is no 1-800 number to call when you're struggling to keep a puppy alive. There is NO alarm clock that works as efficiently as the sound of a muffled screech that can only be a baby getting squished under her dam! There is nothing that compares to finally drifting off to sleep after your 3am feedings, poop wipings, and towel changes, only for the dam to decide that this is the perfect time to get back in the box and disrupt all of the babies who just dozed off, creating a squawking puppy frenzy. There is no greater heartbreak than crying on the phone with another owner when it's time to say goodbye. 

A breeder can feel all of these things in the span of one single day, and these are just related to puppy time! Showing, titling, testing, grooming, training - ALL of those activities come with great cost - mental, emotional, physical and of course, financial. When you love your dogs as pets first, it can be heart wrenching to send them off to a new handler - no matter how trusted and skilled. I will ALWAYS worry when that person doesn't answer the phone or a text. I will ALWAYS worry when a puppy owner goes off the grid, and I can no longer get my cherished "pupdates". It is a stressful way to live. I assure you, I could work TWO overtime shifts and earn what I NET on puppy sales in one year.  Instead, I answer emails and phone calls and try to remain polite when someone says "I wasn't expecting them to cost SO MUCH!" 

So why breed dogs?

Why go through this over and over, if not for the money or the fame?

Why?

This has been a question I have pondered heartily over the years. As I brought my fourteenth standard poodle litter into the world, I asked myself again. Why?

Because I love this breed. They are worth preserving.

I love my dogs. They are worth the expense, in every way.

I love my puppy families. They are amazing extensions of my adoration for my pups; We have carefully hand picked one other.  

There is true joy in ownership of poodles.

There is magic in sharing your life with these majestic animals.

There is so much to learn in giving your heart and time to one.

There is so much to be gained from the investment, whether it be a rescue, a breeder purchase, or one acquired in some other way. 

 

We're Expecting! Pups due mid April 2019 

Contact me (email, first, please!!) for more info or to submit or request a puppy application. Pups will be available on spay/neuter contracts as companion animals. 

Our sweet Natalie has been bred and pregnancy was just confirmed! Puppies are due mid April 2019. We are expecting black/blue, and white/cream pups.

Natalie is a darling girl that was born here out of Jacki's 3rd and final litter. She spent some time with co breeder Betty Brown of Donnchada poodles, but eventually came back to me, where she has resided since. She made a quick transition from kennel life to home life and now enjoys all the perks of being a spoiled house pet. Natalie easily earned her canine good citizen title after just one basic, beginner's obedience class. She is a stout girl of about 50 lbs, tall, calm, elegant, and always has a wagging tail. The sire of the expected pups is a handsome silver AKC CH male CH Donnchada By Request Suddenly Silver. "Silver" is the son of one of my most favorite standard poodles, "Benjamin." As luck would have it, I actually did breed Natalie's dam Jacki to Silver's sire Benjamin for her second litter and loved my puppies in temperament, health, and type. I always regretted not keeping one of those pups and have now had the chance to breed the next generation to his son, so I am hoping for a repeat and expecting some really beautiful pups with great temperaments to match. These standards will probably be on the 50lb average size full grown, as both parents are tall, solid animals.

 

Donnchada Cadeau American Sweetheart, CGCCH Donnchada By Request Suddenly Silver

Crashing into 2019 - News with a Purpose 

I have to admit that the second half of 2018 was a mixed bag. There was the Camille roller coaster - emergency surgery and recovery, and we were cruising and full of hope. There was the loss of our beautiful matriarch Comet, whose praises I could sing for the next 14 years. On the heels of Comet's loss, we suddenly and cruelly lost our darling Camille, who was seemingly making such a beautiful recovery from her bloat surgery only to go into liver failure on Friday and take her last breath Monday morning, just a couple of weeks shy of her 6th birthday. Camille was not born and bred here, but she was part of our family and we intensely miss her.

We welcomed a a most unique and wonderful litter of 8 and with that, spayed and retired our brown brainiac, Juno. I have 2 promising show pups from Juno's litter - Violet, who will reside with me, and Damon, who now lives in KY with his owner handler. Of course, I still have Cocoa from Juno's first litter. She regularly entertains the family, and we are expecting a sizable litter out of Natalie in just a few more weeks! We also had a fun and unexpected 'old man' of a stray rescue standard poodle. We enjoyed that experience and even took in a non-poodle foster for a bit of a rehab and rehome (think I'll stick to poodles!)

Many who have been following me for the past few years will remember my "Lil bit." Lil bit was #12 of her dam's second litter. i worked very hard on her. I was oh, so proud of my big accomplishment when she survived against all odds. We had over 500 cheerleaders on social media, showing support and kindness and encouragement. She was lovingly placed into one of the best homes a poodle could want and with a trusted friend and guardian of her dam, Cali, Lil bit - now Roux- went to live happily ever after.

Earlier this week, I was notified that Roux was diagnosed with Addison's disease. Her owner's quick action most certainly saved Roux's life. The symptoms that brought Roux's owner to the vet were mostly lethargy, refusing her favorites, and GI upset. Because of her owner's experience with Addison's (AD) she was able to tell her vet to test for it and potentially save a lot of time and (money) getting the correct diagnosis so soon. 

On the topic of money - ANY emergency in ANY dog can cost thousands of dollars. The cost of veterinary care can easily become exorbitant. I am now recommending that my puppy owners consider pet health insurance. I like to think pawsitively, but the reality is that any emergency in any pet can hit your wallet hard.

We cannot predict Addison's disease. We cannot predict who will have it, who will be free from it , or when, if ever, it will present.

What I wouldn't give to know!!!

What we do know: Stress is a trigger for the expression of autoimmune diseases such as Addison's. Stress can be mental or physical. Some examples include: over vaccinating, a visit to the groomer, boarding at a strange kennel, overheating, a new pet, a new baby, big move, evacuation, big life events, etc...These are all stressors.

It is vital to socialize your puppy, carefully and sparingly vaccinate, and pay attention to any behavior changes. This is NOT the sort of post that I enjoy, but I do not want my puppy owners to spend thousands or lose their dog or be unable to care for it should something like this occur.

If you have ANY poodle from ANY line, please read up a bit on Addison's disease. It affects over 64 purebreds, mixed breeds, and even humans.

 Tens of thousands of dollars have been donated to research efforts, but the mode of inheritance is still not understood. It is said to be more common in females with the average age of diagnosis around 4 years.

Addison's is said to be imprinted in the standard poodle breed. UC Davis is working very hard to find the mode of inheritance. They believe it is related to immune diversity, as poodles were so tightly line bred at one time (and still are in many lines). Almost every poodle is related to each other, even if not closely related in the first few generations. This was done to cement certain breed traits, and can be a very useful breeding tool, however the long term effects of this "bottleneck" are loss of immune diversity. It is likely going to take several decades of careful and selective breeding of healthy dogs - even those related to affected dogs- to reverse the trend. This is a relatively new concept to many long time breeders, and it is going to take some time for the proof to be in the pudding. Meanwhile, diversity testing, pedigree knowledge, honesty and openness about poodle health among breeders and tracking the health of our puppies are the best tools we have.

 

Remembering Comet - 3/13/05 - 9/22/18 

    ** I realize this is long, and it's naught to me who reads it or who doesn't. We all grieve in our own ways, and I find writing to be therapeutic. My only message, really, is that if you can, be there with your best friend as they leave this world. They will be scared and looking to you for comfort, guidance and support. Was it hard? You bet. I DID give my children the option, but they stood firm on wanting to be with her at the end, and I couldn't be more proud of them for having the courage to do so. **     

     A little over a week ago, my children and I made the joint decision that it was time to let our sweet Comet go. Over the past few months, she had been repeatedly falling, could not stand up on her own nor walk very far without assistance, and, the big tell, she stopped eating. Comet was my first poodle and a once in a lifetime dog. My daughter was 2 years old when we made the 1,000 mile journey to Virginia to pick her up, making frequent stops because my toddler was in the process of being potty trained. I had searched for close to a year for the perfect poodle. "They" will tell you that the perfect poodle does not exist. "They" would be wrong. Comet's breeder, Edith Coradazzi, grilled me. I remember during my search sending out nearly 50 emails initiating contact with breeders. I had a list of questions, and Edie answered them all, then turned the interview on me. When she decided, finally, that I would be acceptable, she had me ship some clothes and a crate to her home. She let me choose (remotely) out of 2 of the girls that she felt would suit what I wanted. Although very similar, I chose the rose collared girl. She put my clothes in the kennel with that puppy for the weeks until I made the drive up to VA. When I walked in the front door, out of the 11 pups, the rose collared girl turned towards me first. I can only assume it was because she recognized my familiar scent. 

     Many have wondered about her name. That is what happens when you let your 2 year old child name the family dog! Comet loved to jump. She was a vivacious and brilliant pup. Jillian (my daughter) said she was like a comet. It seemed to fit. I attended a puppy match in Folsom, LA, about an hour from home, where I was building a new construction as a real estate investment project and happened to see a sign advertising the AKC sanctioned event. Comet and I stopped in to check it out, and we were instantly grabbed up by Meg Wood, a handler who lived about 30 mins from home. Was it fate? Maybe! Meg exchanged grooming lessons for help with her beautiful Airedales, and an unbreakable bond was formed among the 3 of us. 

     In the midst of these new beginnings, and shortly after acquiring this pup, Jillian, Comet, and I were forced out of our home due to hurricane Katrina. I remember when my grooming supplies all fit in a fishing tackle box. That is what I took so that I could keep her in show coat regardless of the circumstances. Grooming her became my therapy as I struggled with the loss of my home, community, and displacement of my close-knit family. We spent 6 months in Marietta, GA, and I was fortunate enough to have help from breeder/groomer/handler Michele Polito (Allure poodles), who took the better part of her day helping me trim and talking to me about show coat. Michele was from New Orleans. I will never forget her kindness and generosity to a newbie. She was incredibly selfless and knowledgable.

     Meg's house in Metairie had sustained less damage than my own which was only a couple of miles from one of the levee breaches, but her fence had been lost in the storm, and her grooming assistants were displaced. She invited me, Comet, and Jill to come home and stay with her until my house was livable again. I accepted, and the journey continued. Eventually I was back in my home, and Meg moved to North Carolina.

     So much happened in my life in the years that followed - another child, marriage, divorce, bankruptcy, new relationships, breakups, relocations, new career paths, school, more school, new dogs, puppies. The list is long, but Comet was my faithful companion through every item. She was my comfort when I was sad, my napping buddy, my study partner, my babysitter, my grooming and show guinea pig, my puppy raiser, my walking buddy, my running buddy, my confidant, my therapist, and my best girl. I used to joke that if she had thumbs she would have made my coffee. I often called her my best half and my right hand. My children grew up with her loving presence, and she was one of the few constants in their lives. I should also mention that she was an exquisitely talented counter surfer, food thief, and trash aficionado. I had to make many changes to the kitchen in order to meet her talents. She could take pizza out of the box without disturbing its position on the counter, trash out of the foot-pedal lid, and meat out of a sandwich without disturbing the bread. I'm not even lying. We laugh often about her antics. She was always my first choice as the canine partner when socializing a new puppy. She was both social and confident, eagerly greeting the world with a wagging tail. She instilled this confidence into her charges. She was a shepherd to the poodles and cats. It was only with her assistance that I was able to recover my Armani when he was lost and terrified in full blown flight mode and unresponsive to his humans. I released Comet off of her leash, and she navigated the dark ditch and brush to get to him. If she could've spoken, I imagine she must have said "Get in the car, fool. You're being rescued." Armani immediately snapped out of it, followed her back, and jumped in the car. Just like that.

Comet remained active, jumping the baby gates in the house until she was about ten years old. As she progressed, it was harder for her to do the things she loved. We got her a wagon so she could still be included in our walks, for she would try to the point of exhaustion to keep up. As fate would have it, Meg came to town earlier this year while Comet could still get around. I took Comet and my children to the dog show in Gonzales to see Meg, and what a blessing it was to do that. Comet was like a stubborn old lady and refused stay in her wagon at the show. She walked around the entire center with a pig ear in her mouth, greeting everyone and generally owning the place. She slept for the next 3 days after that exertion! I still chuckle about that.

Very recently, as she failed, and in between sobs, I explained to my beautiful children what was happening to our dog and what options that we had. While hard to swallow, the three of us agreed that her time was closing in, and we wanted to be with her at the end.  As a family, the three of us faced the harsh reality of saying goodbye to our girl.

I am fortunate enough to have relationships with two of the most amazing veterinary clinics. One is around the corner and the other in mid city New Orleans. I opted to take Comet around the corner since they know us, and my other vet was going to be out of town. In her final days, I reflected on our life together. I can count the times that Comet was sick on one hand. She had an ear infection when she was a pup and once again as an adult, kennel cough that she contracted at a dog show, and diarrhea when she was a new dam. That's it. She had diarrhea in her final days and it was indicative of a GI bleed as well. She was failing before our eyes and could no longer walk, stand, drink water, or eat on her own. We still held her up and hand fed her home made meals. We dragged her dog bed from room to room so she could hang out wherever we were. We pushed her in her wagon so she could come with us on walks. She still made a faint "woof" twice nightly, soft as a whisper, for me to get out of bed and help her to the yard to do her business. She was in a great deal of discomfort but ever stoic in her pain. That was my girl. She enjoyed life until the end. She loved her wagon rides and had one on her final day. I took her to my mom's so she could say good bye to her friends and family there. 

We made the appointment for Saturday morning, Sep 22. Coincidentally, it was my late friend and handler Sherri Vidrine's birthday. I didn't realize it until the day, and the thought brought me into a bittersweet emotional state. It felt as though I was giving my dear friend the best birthday present in the world. I was giving to Heaven a piece of my heart and soul. We spent the morning loving on Comet and trying not to cry. She mostly refused her breakfast. We took her for her last wagon ride. As we made our entrance into the clinic, the sympathetic faces ushered us into a private room. I laid her giant fleece bed on the cold table and we gently placed her on her familiar bed. This is when I started to break down. It was really hitting me that these were to be our final moments with the best dog on the planet, and it really sucked to believe that. My children and I tried to get it together for her sake, and we loved on her as the tech shaved her leg and placed the IV catheter. They gave us a book to read and let us take as long as we needed. We read a book together. When sweet Dr. Amster peeked her head in the door, I nodded at her. She said some soothing words to my kids. Comet lifted her head to greet the vet, and Dr. Amster gave her a loving look and head pat. She reassured the crying kids "This is how you want it to be, guys. I know it's hard but this is the best way to go." I concurred. Our beautiful girl spent her final moments embraced in the loving arms of the people she would have laid down her life for on any given day. I told her to go find Sherri, Giselle, and P-nut and whispered "Good girl" in her ear as she slipped away. We should all be surrounded by so much love, compassion, and peace in our final moments. Pictured below, the book they gave us to read and us saying goodbye to our girl before Dr. Amster came in.

 

 

Happier times 

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  • Maria Salpietra
    Maria Salpietra New Orleans, LA
    Thank you, Tom! I appreciate the kind regards and are happy you found the links helpful. Little Miss Cali is preparing to be shown in Florida at the opening shows for the big Eukanuba event. We are very proud of her and look forward to her success.

    Thank you, Tom! I appreciate the kind regards and are happy you found the links helpful. Little Miss Cali is preparing to be shown in Florida at the opening shows for the big Eukanuba event. We are very proud of her and look forward to her success.

  • Tom Mangan
    Tom Mangan Australia
    Congratulations on an excellent site with very useful info, advice and links. Beautiful Poodles too! Love Armani and especially Cali, wee petite though she be. Kind regards.

    Congratulations on an excellent site with very useful info, advice and links. Beautiful Poodles too! Love Armani and especially Cali, wee petite though she be. Kind regards.

  • Maria Salpietra
    Maria Salpietra New Orleans, LA
    Hi Autumn, Please visit my links page &amp; on my drop down menu under 'puppies' I should have info about responsible breeding practices. Scroll through some of the educational material if you have time. It will give you a general overview of topics concerning standard poodles. If you have specific questions, please email me. At the minimum, you should look for a breeder who is willing to health test the parents &amp; has good knowledge of the breed standard and how the poodle is supposed to be built as well as why- You can visit offa.org and search for health testing by breed for more info on this - poodles should have minimum of hips, eyes, and skin tested... I would look for those who test thyroid function and maybe even hearts. This could be a very long post so please email me for more info! Also visit the Poodle Club of America website and browse around there. Best advice I can give you is to be patient and research before committing. :) Do not assume that all breeders are honest, fair, or have the dogs' best interests at heart. Take care and thank you for stopping by!

    Hi Autumn,

    Please visit my links page & on my drop down menu under 'puppies' I should have info about responsible breeding practices. Scroll through some of the educational material if you have time. It will give you a general overview of topics concerning standard poodles. If you have specific questions, please email me. At the minimum, you should look for a breeder who is willing to health test the parents & has good knowledge of the breed standard and how the poodle is supposed to be built as well as why- You can visit offa.org and search for health testing by breed for more info on this - poodles should have minimum of hips, eyes, and skin tested... I would look for those who test thyroid function and maybe even hearts. This could be a very long post so please email me for more info! Also visit the Poodle Club of America website and browse around there. Best advice I can give you is to be patient and research before committing. smile Do not assume that all breeders are honest, fair, or have the dogs' best interests at heart. Take care and thank you for stopping by!

  • Autumn H.
    Autumn H. Beaumont,MS
    I have thoroughly enjoyed viewing these beautiful poodles! The more I see them,the more I fall in love. I am strongly considering getting one, and was wondering if you have any tips for me on selecting the right one. Any advice would be very helpful. Thanks in advance!

    I have thoroughly enjoyed viewing these beautiful poodles! The more I see them,the more I fall in love. I am strongly considering getting one, and was wondering if you have any tips for me on selecting the right one. Any advice would be very helpful. Thanks in advance!

  • Donna M James
    Donna M James Denham Springs, LA
    I enjoyed your site very much. I just lost my beautiful black standard "Sam" this week. He was 15 years old and such a loving and intelligent companion. I enjoy seeing and reading about others. Maybe in the future I will bring myself to consider another, although none could ever take the place of my loving Sam. Thank you for sharing your poodles!

    I enjoyed your site very much. I just lost my beautiful black standard "Sam" this week. He was 15 years old and such a loving and intelligent companion. I enjoy seeing and reading about others. Maybe in the future I will bring myself to consider another, although none could ever take the place of my loving Sam. Thank you for sharing your poodles!

  • Maria Salpietra
    Maria Salpietra New Orleans, LA
    Thank you for the post. Well-bred poodles are hard to go without for very long. Best wishes in your search and feel free to contact me when you are ready. If I don't have one for you I can help you find one. :)

    Thank you for the post. Well-bred poodles are hard to go without for very long. Best wishes in your search and feel free to contact me when you are ready. If I don't have one for you I can help you find one. smile

  • Birdie Sandifer
    Birdie Sandifer Baton Rouge, LA
    Enjoyed viewing your site ! We had two beautiful standard poodles for over 15 years, one white and one black. Lost them about 3 years ago and am beginning to consider another standard. Please keep us posted.

    Enjoyed viewing your site ! We had two beautiful standard poodles for over 15 years, one white and one black. Lost them about 3 years ago and am beginning to consider another standard. Please keep us posted.

  • Maria
    Maria
    Thanks, Kate! They are surely getting messy. Let the fun begin!

    Thanks, Kate! They are surely getting messy. Let the fun begin!

  • Kate Marie
    Kate Marie New Orleans
    Hey Maria Those Black babies are gorgeous!!!! How exciting for You &amp; Miss Comet!!! :)

    Hey Maria
    Those Black babies are gorgeous!!!! How exciting for You & Miss Comet!!! smile

  • Maria Salpietra
    Maria Salpietra
    Thank you, Ann! Thanks for visiting. I'm so excited about my puppies and can't wait for you to evaluate the litter.

    Thank you, Ann! Thanks for visiting. I'm so excited about my puppies and can't wait for you to evaluate the litter.