I was twenty-two years old. I had just started law school. And I was obsessed with one word—poodle.
Yep. You read that right. Poodle.
Why was I thinking about a curly-haired water dog? I couldn’t have told you. I only knew that the word was there, and that it wouldn’t leave me alone.
So I did what any other sane person would do. I started googling.
I learnt about the history of poodles. Did you know, for instance, that toy poodles were bred so that they could fit inside the muffs of Russian princesses to keep their hands warm? I learnt about the fact that, unlike most dogs, their hair doesn’t fall out. It just grows and grows and grows until it covers their eyes and ears and feet. And, much to the delight of my friend Kate, I spent hours during lectures looking up pictures of the different colours they came in. (She’s a human rights lawyer now and still laughs about this.)
But knowing about them wasn’t enough.
I wanted one of my own.
So one night, when my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I were eating at our favourite sushi place, I decided to bring it up. “What would you say,” I said, “if I told you I wanted to get a poodle?” (We were living together at the time. He needed to be consulted.) He dropped his chopsticks on the table. The first word out of his mouth was no. He didn’t like them, he said. They were lap dogs, silly dogs. Dogs with funny hairstyles and small brains.***
Luckily I had done the research. I managed to refute each of his arguments, one by one. In fact, I could say that attending law school taught me to argue for poodle ownership more than anything else.
He held to his opinion. But that didn’t stop me. I started building a case.
I looked up reputable breeders and researched rescue organisations. I joined a forum. I read about training, personality, breeding, temperament, grooming. I found a nearby puppy school.
It wouldn’t be an over-exaggeration to say that by the time I got my puppy—a brown toy poodle named Delphi, who quickly became Darfer—I was completely obsessed.