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Discussion Starter #1
It feels odd saying hi after I've spent weeks reading all over this forum--I've already learned so much about colors and grooming and health, followed old threads that were so sad (puppymill tragedies) and so excellent (service dogs and sharp heels and new titles, oh my), and gotten info on breeders. I feel like you should all know me too even though I haven't said a word!

I'm going to go by mandarine here, I live in the Bay Area in CA, and if you had told me a year ago that I'd be researching mini poodles, I would have replied that that was solid proof that psychics aren't real.

My last dog was a Leonberger, and I grew up with a Keeshond. My mother bought the Kees from a shady pet store, and she looked more like an elkhound most days. I still had a blast with her in Jr Showmanship and obedience (statewide awards in 4H and I think a couple legs on her CD? long time ago) and trained her to jump over and through things in a course before agility was a thing.

I lost my Leo in 2011, when he was almost 11 (a good run for a massive breed). In a stroke of mostly luck, he was an incredibly smart dog. He picked up vocabulary quickly, had a great memory, and was stable as a house. I was constantly challenged thinking up new things for him to learn that worked with his body. When he was 9, I wrote down all of his demonstrable vocabulary and it was well over a hundred words. He could pull kids in a cart, tell a pencil from a pen, learned people's names in one meeting, and sighed dramatically when told to go to bed. Miss that guy.

It didn't seem that there would be a way for me to have another dog until retirement. My work days are long, and I have some health issues. The health issues have been increasing recently, with another autoimmune disease likely in the cards. A symptom I've been struggling with has escalated a lot, and it's something a service dog would be appropriate for. As breed after breed got crossed off my list, still there was the poodle. After dealing with heavy double coats, I am not phased by time- and effort-intensive grooming. And after having an atypically smart dog, I would love to increase my odds of having another (particularly a breed that enjoys training and novelty). There are so many more sports available now!

All puppy plans are on the shelf until I get through the next several weeks/months of doctor visits, labs, and diagnostics. But I'm still here and reading, and appreciating very much all that you share and your lovely dogs. This is an excellent resource.
 

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Welcome to the forum mandarine. Yes I agree with you lots of info to learn on here. I've had many dogs in my lifetime and I at one time had a elkhound. Mine was a super great dog. I was still at home with my parents back then, wow it was like 45 or more years ago. No one I knew even had ever heard of a elkhound. I had GSD, Rottweilers, mini schnauzers, shih tzu. a lab but now in my older age my 1st standard poodle. I ask myself why I waited so long. I am beginning to know health issues though mine are mostly mobility problems mostly do to a earlier accident injuries that now are arthritic. My friend has auto immune disease and its very difficult. She unfortuately is a unusual case and has several issues all attacking her body at one time. She is only 43. She use to have flare up in her joints but now its her entire body. She has been to every doctor and traveled to Mayo clinic and other than auto immune they cannot find the root of her many illnesses. I am sure there is more going on. I hope your tests come back positive and that you end up with a course of treatment like so many others with autoimmune disorders to keep you moving to better health.
 

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Oh dear Mandarine -to lose your beloved dog and to have to deal with health issues too.
Hope that you will find the poodle of your dreams.
 

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Welcome to PF Mandarin! Just becauseyou don't have a Poodle yet doesn't mean you can't join in the posting. We are here to answer any questions you may have about poodles too! Feel free to ask!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, everyone! Do people ever arrange meetups on the forum? I'd love to meet some dogs out in the world.

Mufar42, oh no, I hope your friend can find an answer. It took one very good doctor to figure out what was originally going on with me years ago, and then an obnoxiously strict elimination diet took care of 90% of my issues for a long time. Unfortunately, that's no longer working--or it's still working for the first disease, but there is a new one, which can happen very easily with autoimmune.
 

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mandarine, I have gotten together with several people from the forum. It is always fun to meet new people! I was just thinking we should plan a meet-up for people in the area, since we have quite a few in the Bay Area.
 

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Welcome, mandarine! You would be a fantastic poodle owner with all of your training chops. Praying for good news on the health front, so it can become a reality.
 

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Welcome mandarine! I just joined recently after lurking for a while as well, and it has been a great experience having a part of some conversations.

I am so sorry to hear of your health troubles. My husband has an autoimmune disease as well. It's so difficult to "manage" such illnesses. I hope that soon you'll find another medication or regimen that helps all your symptoms.

I have not yet owned a poodle, just like you, but I will be getting a standard puppy sometime next year. I am sure the breed would be a wonderful addition for you, as they are such incredible therapy and service animals.

Best wishes!
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
still here!

It's been a few months, during which I finally (after thousands of dollars of tests and doctors and a few very scary weeks at the end) got a diagnosis and started some treatment for yup, another autoimmune disease. Only been a couple weeks and I'm already feeling better! Amazing what appropriate medication can do.

I took a hard look at my resources and needs over the last few days, and I'm making the call: I'm ready to start puppy planning. There are two breeders I really like (both in CA, both with deeply pigmented and square minis, and good comments here) and I'll be reaching out this week to see about litters later this year or next year.

Though I'm very hopeful my treatment plan will take care of the issue I was thinking about an alert dog for, it hasn't yet, and there's a chance it won't. Which I'm trying to not even think about right now because it is complicating my life, a lot. I'm going to socialize the bejeezus out of the dog early in any case so I have the option to train later if it's still needed.

In the meantime, happy to take Bowwowflix and book recommendations! I've already queued up the basics (Garrett, grooming, Control Unleashed; will be ordering Focused Puppy) and am SO EXCITED to get involved in the rich modern world of dog stuff. Last time I had an AKC dog was the late 80s, and my parents got tired of dog shows.

Hope everyone is well here, and thanks again for this amazing source of information you all have created.
 

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Welcome to PF and happy puppy shopping to finalize your planning. I would add Ian Dunbar's free downloadable books and the various sticky threads here to your reading list.
 
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Welcome to PF and happy puppy shopping to finalize your planning. I would add Ian Dunbar's free downloadable books and the various sticky threads here to your reading list.
Oh, I love me some Ian Dunbar! I hand the pre-puppy PDF out like candy to people getting dogs.

My favorite Dunbar moment in the last many years: I was seeing Up at the theater with a friend, and whispered during the movie that the dogs had crazy accurate body language. He said, "Pixar is around here, so they probably had researchers to consult." I said, "hmm, I wonder if it was Ian Dunbar." Then they mentioned him in the credits and I felt like a genius. (PS the theater was almost empty--I'm not a monster who talks during movies usually.)

Very lucky to live in an area with access to multiple Sirius puppy class options!
 
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