The Black and White Poodle Puppy

October 2015
February Fortescue (Slytherin)

Dedicated to Holly Noelle, December 21st, 2000

Several years ago, before they decided country life was too rural and muddy for them and they relocated to the gray, concreted city, I lived down the holler from a couple named Sterling and Rose. Sterling and Rose raised and sold pure-bred miniature poodles. Poodles. I had lived an isolated life and, up until then, had only been around beagles, German shepherds, and coon hounds. I had never seen poodles in anything other than magazines and was looking forward to seeing strange-looking dogs with white (or maybe even black) hair styles sticking up on the tops of their huge heads.

I was very disappointed. Sterling and Rose's dogs appeared almost normal. No poofy fur; rather, it was strange and crinkly. They were almost delicate-looking, and were not very stocky. None were white, but some were black, and even a couple were labeled "apricot". Their home didn't have that "eau de doggy" smell I expected, either. I began visiting my new neighbors every chance I got and formed strong bonds with a couple of those dogs. Before long, I had a key to their home and the freedom to visit my new fur-friends and to let them out during the day while the pet-parents went to their day jobs.

Approximately three months later, as planned, apricot poodle Honey and black poodle Raven became pregnant. Both had been mated with white poodle Polar, who lived with friends of theirs from an urban area. Sterling and Rose were moving to the city in March, but the pups were expected in December, and I would be permitted to take my pick of the puppies, in exchange for having poodle-sat.

Honey delivered first, in mid-December. She birthed three females, which would most likely remain apricot and white as adults. So pretty! Rose believed they would be easy to sell. People often choose female puppies over males, and they usually prefer lighter colors, like white or apricot, over darker colors, like black or brown. This surprised me, so I asked her why. She wasn't entirely sure, but many people seem to associate light with good and dark with evil; in fact, far more dark-furred dogs and cats are feared and euthanized than light-furred ones. How silly! I immediately decided to selected a puppy from Raven's litter.

Raven birthed her puppies on December 21st, and I held them for the very first time on Christmas Eve, surrounded by red and green and the twinkling multi-colored lights (red, blue, gold, silver, and green!) from the Christmas Tree. She had four puppies. Two were male, and both were an equal combination of black and white. The other two were female. One female was solid black, while the other was mostly black, with a small, white streak going down her chest. I was going to take the black puppy, but Rose said she'd be easier to sell, because many buyers only want solids. She also noted that the two mostly black and whites were called "parti poodles" and would sell very easily. I joyfully accepted the mostly black female. I cuddled her in my arms next to the green and red lit-up Christmas Decorations, named her Holly Noelle, and welcomed her into the world.