My mother has always been a "dog person". She trained her childhood dog (a border collie mix aka Duchess the First), to eat off a plate on the picnic table and do many tricks. When she married her parents would not let her take Duchess to her new home.
Dad brought home a wolf hybrid (shepherd/wolf mix) for Mom when she was pregnant with me. This dog, Duchess II was "Martina's dog" and very protective of the family. One time she saw toddler me crawling towards the street in our suburb, and dragged me home by the collar. Mom was watched the whole thing from the kitchen window.
After both Duchesses passed we had a series of family dogs. Mom had a Doberman for a while and her name was Duchess III.
When I got Georgie, Mom wept. She'd always wanted a standard poodle, a black standard poodle. So, for Mom's birthday I arranged with Georgie's breeder to purchase a female Standard Poodle from the next litter from Georgie's mom, which was expected in June.
Mom counted the days. We waited and waited for the puppies. The breeder called and the pups were born the evening before my birthday. Mom and I drove quite a distance to the breeder's one week after the pups' birth. Georgie was in the car and stayed there while we met the dam and pups.
Georgie's mama looked exhausted and had 8-9 pups begging for her attention. Mom clutched one to her chest immediately and said "This is Duchess, I love the Marcel on her forehead"
She brought Duchess home from the breeder's after the pups had been weaned about seven weeks later. Mom came by my work on her way home from the breeder's with Duchess and we had a tailgate party at Burger King (know puppies really like French fries). Mom (she really doesn't cry often!) cried, hugged me really really tight and said thank you many times.
Duchess is now 10 years old, full of energy and happy and adores Mom. She comes over for "sleepovers" once in a while which Georgie, Gordy and I love. Mom says it gets lonely with just one poodle in the house when Duchess is here. )Hank is the other standard poodle at Mom's: she adopted him about four years ago. We call him Hank the Horse because he is a very large dog.)
Well, since then Duchess has provided constant entertainment and love to everyone in the family. I told Mom that when Duchess goes it will be harder for me than when Georgie and Gordy go. Duchess just has grabbed all of our hearts. The only times she doesn't grin is when she is asleep. The first two years of Duchess were tough for Mom -- puppies take a long time to calm down and learn, but they both pulled through.
The only thing Mom fusses about with Duchess is the topknot. Duchess may have had a "marcel" as a pup but her topknot has always naturally parted in the middle despite any attempts to have it be one poof. So if you see a pretty grinning and prancing black female Standard Poodle with her topknot in two sections, that is Duchess!