By Joy Pape
This article has been published in honor of the late Maggie Berkvist, photographer, who was to work with Ms. Pape on this column
My husband, Brian, came running into our apartment looking excited and said, “Joy, you have to meet Rosie! She’s so sweet.”
This was during the ‘heat’ of the pandemic when we spent so much time walking out on Hudson River Park, visiting the dogs, birds, plants, water and oh yes, even the people at a distance.
A few days later I saw a dog who reminded me of how Brian described Rosie. I asked, is this Rosie? Yes, Zac, the ‘father’ owner answered.
I didn’t know much about doodle dogs at that time.
As the pandemic raged on, I kept seeing and meeting many dogs who seemed to have some poodle in them. I used to have poodles and cocker spaniels and recognized some traits. I quickly learned about ‘doodle dogs’, also known as ‘designer dogs’ and how some of the first were cockapoos—a cross between cocker spaniels and poodles. Why was this? Both cocker spaniels and poodles are very popular because they have positive traits, such as intelligence, a loving disposition and, in terms of poodles, their lower allergenic properties.
I didn’t know Rosie was a doodle dog until recently. In fact she is a Bernedoodle, a mix of the Bernese Mountain dog and poodle. Then, during another walk on Pier 45, guess what? I met another sweet dog who nearly knocked Brian and me down with friendliness. He too is a Bernedoodle, named Beau, who was with his dad, Buddy. Not long after that near Pier 51, we met another friendly dog named Mia, who was with her owner Harry, and turned out to be a Bernedoodle as well! I’ve come to learn that, presently, Bernedoodles are one of the most popular doodle dogs in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. I can see why. Mariana, Rosie’s ‘mother’ owner told me she found Rosie after a very careful search for breeders who are reputable and good to their puppies. She chose Glass House Puppies. Mariana and Zac were looking for a dog with white hair on its face, but when they saw Rosie’s picture, her eyes got them. Rosie was flown here to live in the West Village from Alabama by a Flight Nanny, March 7, 2020, one week before the pandemic.
What is Rosie’s favorite place in the WV to visit?
“Without a doubt, Leroy Street Dog Run.”
What one thing do you want people to know about Rosie?
“She’s basically a person. She talks to us with the Fluent Pet talking buttons.”
For doggy health care, Rosie goes to the local Greenwich Village Animal Hospital, which is located at 504 Hudson Street. Dr. Nicole Cerniello, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and the Medical Director there, gave me some pros and cons regarding doodle dogs.
- Low to non-shedding
- Low to non-allergenic
- Easy to train
- Needs home/grooming care such as brushing, grooming and/or bathing and tooth brushing
- Can get attached to one person in the family
- Risk of separation anxiety
- Costs for grooming and care
- An increased rate of ear infections and skin allergies in doodles compared to other breeds.
- A big thing I would add is that size is not always guaranteed. There have been several “mini” doodles who end up being 30 lbs. to 50 lbs., as well as some standard sized doodles who end up being low to the ground but long.
Dr. Cerniello emphasized that these are traits that can be true of a lot of dogs, not just doodle dogs, and that owners should always check with their vet for any concerns.
Rosie’s coat is curly, and her mom is thankful to have the team at the grooming shop, Beasty Feast at 327 West 14th Street, to help. Rosie’s groomer there is Jamie, who told us she’s been grooming this girl since she was a puppy. She said:
I love doodles too. There’s all kinds of doodles. They became very popular a few years ago even before the pandemic. Some have curly hair, some not so curly. A lot of people like them fluffy, but they don’t realize the brushing necessary to keep them that way; some people keep them cut short.
Is there anything negative about doodles?
The owners fail to brush them enough and it takes dedication to keep their hair fluffy. They are so friendly.
Everybody loves doodles!
A little bit about Beau & Mia…
Beau, from Beau’s dad Buddy:
He’s very lovable and has to say hello to every dog and person he meets on the streets of the village. And he doesn’t like to poop on the sidewalk. He drags us to the road every time he needs to go.
Beau’s favorite place in the West Village is the dog run on Little West 12th so he can hang out with his best friends, or ‘besties’. He also loves to visit Caffé Aronne in the mornings to grab a treat while dad gets his coffee.
Mia, from Mia’s best friend Harry:
Mia is my best friend. I can’t imagine my life without her. She has opened new friendship circles for me and allowed me to grow and learn about myself. She is so gentle, she even flies with me.
Mia’s favorite place to go in the West Village?
She loves going to Pastis! They are sooo good to her there. Always treats, lots of love.
So now you know of some of the characters of the West Village. So many more to learn about.
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About the Author: Joy Pape is a board-certified nurse practitioner, author and writer who has been loving living in the West Village for ten years with her husband, Brian Pape, who is an architect and community activist.