I have been fortunate to live with 2 standard poodles. Molly was our first poodle. She was the love of my life. I feel terrible looking back on her life with me though, as I didn't give her the attention she deserved. When we first got her we were living in Toronto, and both of us worked fairly long hours. Despite not being around enough, she & I eventually managed to bond, and she was definitely "my dog". I loved her so much. When we moved to Lethbridge our hours changed, but I still don't think I gave her enough attention. She liked to be in the basement, so often hung out down there on her own. I would play with her and walk her, and spend time with her when she asked for attention, but there's no reason I couldn't have just been down there with her. I will always regret that. As she got older I went back to school and neglected her even more. I will regret that forever.
I can still cry thinking about losing her. I regret so much with Molly. I wish I could have a do-over.
Now we have Paisley. Paisley is the complete opposite of Molly in many (most!) respects. Where Molly was tidy and fastidious, Paisley is untidy and unconcerned about being messy. Where Molly basically trained herself, Paisley requires constant work. Having said that, I love Paisley just as much as I loved Molly. Paisley is independent, crazy, and sweet. She gets into everything, and can lose her mind in an instant. She rarely relaxes, and if not asleep is moving, moving, moving. She's not so much "my dog", or anyone's dog. She's her own dog. I'm OK with that now, although it took a while before I could accept that she was never going to be "my dog" the way Molly was.
I have been so lucky with Paisley. We got to see her at 3 weeks, 5 weeks, and 8 weeks old. She was our dog long before she got to come home with us. With Molly we didn't meet her until the day we went to pick her up. Then the breeder said "This is your dog". And so she was. It was nice with Paisley to watch her grow and develop, and I thank the breeder for that. We had a long drive to bring her home, and I got to sit with her in the car and snuggle. It took about 20 minutes for me to fall completely in love with her. She started off across the seat from me, and gradually inched her way closer until she was lying across my lap. Poodle heaven.
Because I work part-time here I was able to spend a lot more time with her when she was a pup. Now that I'm off work for almost 8 weeks, I get to spend basically 24 hours a days with her. I feel so lucky to have so much time with her. She has so much personality and zest for life. She has lifted our spirits that were so down after losing Molly. Paisley is not an easy dog by any stretch of the imagination, but she is worth the effort. Even now we can see settling down a bit, and being a bit less naughty. I don't kid myself though - I know she will always be naughty. It's her nature. The good thing she is so cute about her naughtiness that you can't hold it against her for long.
I hope that I can be and do all the things with Paisley that I regret not being & doing with Molly. I guess it's a learning curve, but boy, I feel bad that Molly took the brunt of the curve. Hopefully I will be a better poodle parent with Paisley.