Yes. There are poodles living at the Lonely Hart Ranch. See, I grew up with a poodle named (of course) Fifi. She was the smartest dog I ever owned. Fifi figured out how to open the refrigerator door. She also knew that she should only open it (and take a few morsels) when my family was not home, and it took us quite a long time to devise a sneaky plan to catch her in the act. Obviously she was a lot smarter than we were.
When I first moved to Santa Fe, I noticed poodles here and there and I thought, what an incongruous place to have such dogs. It's dusty and rugged here, and the poodles would get very dirty. Even their dainty toes would be caked with dirt. Then I found out how tough they are, and why they have such silly haircuts. I liked the idea of an outward appearance hiding an inner strength and the story of their ancestry. Great metaphor for the theme of my book.