Me at age 11 with my first poodle. I groomed him all by myself!
As a teenager showing one of my early poodles...
I have always loved dogs and they fill up a big space in my heart and life. I have been a professional dog groomer for most of my adult life. Poodles however, have been the only dogs that I have ever owned. They are so amazing!
I got my first poodle, an English import, when I was about 10 years old. He was only a pet but came from a show kennel. When I was about 15 I started looking for a show poodle to own and become involved in the breed with. So I joined what was then the Austin Poodle Club as a charter junior member. I started working in a show kennel on weekends and during the summer and I was able to save up enough money to buy my first show poodle. The only problem was, I was still young and didn't drive! So, I didn't get to take her to many shows. I had some success with my early dogs but it wasn't until years later that Hardt Poodles came to be. I didn't have anyone that shared my passion for poodles and dog shows at that time.
After marrying and raising a family I longed for another chance at showing poodles. I bought another show poodle as my first had lived out their lives (mostly as couch potatoes). However, this girl did not care for the ring that much. She would rather watch the events than perform in the ring.
As my children grew, I still wanted to have a show dog as my first were lovely, deserving dogs that inspired me. I then bought "Desi" (who later became Ch. Burline Hardt's Desire) from Jessie and Jane Burrow of Burline poodles, and Hardt poodles was born. Desi lived up to her name in every way possible.
My son Kevin is a poodle lover and owner. While he doesn't show dogs, he likes to attend the shows when possible and he looks after the poodles when I am away at an over-night show.
My son Brian showed his Dalmatians in both the breed ring and junior showmanship. Brian is now married and busy with family life.
My daughter Melissa is an accomplished breeder/owner/handler of her own line of poodles. She grew up showing in the breed ring and junior showmanship and was able to qualify as a junior handler to attend the Westminster Kennel Club dog shows in New York. She is now also married has kids but continues to show and breed poodles of her own, under the prefix of Marand Poodles.
I lost my husband of 24 years to cancer. The poodles gave me back a new sense of self and happiness. My children's lives were enriched by growing up with the poodles and being involved in the dog shows. My family has always meant everything to me but I must say that the poodle breed has always been my first love.