My name is Mary Spies, and I live in Redwood, N.Y., located just 10 miles from the Thousand Islands, St. Lawrence River and Canadian border.

I have had dogs all my life ranging in breeds that included a collie mix, German Shepherd, Cocker Spaniel, two rescue dogs, Chow and Lab mix, Belgium Shepherd, and three Poodles—I even raised a few litters of Poodles in the 60's .My dogs are very much a part of my life. I have always shared my home with them and considered them part of my family.

When my children were young, my oldest had allergies. The poodles didn't bother him, but as the other breeds came along they did.

In 2010 I was looking for a dog that had hair, not fur, and one that was larger than a miniature poodle but not as large as a standard poodle. I came across the Barbet, located a breeder, met her dogs, went to shows and totally fell in love with this breed. I was on a waiting list for almost two years but was able to purchase Haven, my first Barbet, in 2012. Jemma, my second Barbet, came along in 2014.

I retired from my career as a registered maternity nurse two years ago. Now I fill my need for babies with puppies! I love showing my dogs and traveling with them. We spend four months in Florida and the rest of the year here, showing in Canada, and enjoying a lake property I have where the dogs can swim and ride in the boat with me.