Monday, April 29, 2013

Larry D. Sweazy & Brodi and Sunny

Who is in the photo at right?

I am Larry D. Sweazy. I write the Josiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger series (Berkley). My dogs are Brodi, 11 [photo below left] and Sunny, 6 [with me, photo right] -- both are Rhodesian ridgebacks.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

The dogs join me my office every morning for that first cup of coffee, and for that second and third cup, too.

Brodi is now 11 years old -- has he slowed down much?

For a 100 pound dog, Brodi's doing pretty well for his age. We still walk twice a day, though a little slower than we once did. He has some health issues, a little arthritis and megaesophagus, a breed defect, which we manage with how we feed him. Brodi has always been a watcher instead of a chaser, so being active has always been a challenge for him. Sunny is the athlete, the chaser.

Are there any dogs in your new novel, The Gila Wars?

There's not. That's something I realized at the end of writing that book. Josiah Wolfe is never home, and as a Texas Ranger, he's always on the trail going from one end of the state to the next, so it would be difficult for him to own a dog. Maybe the next series, but that might prove to be difficult, too.

I do have an idea for a series about a boy and his dog, maybe I'll get to that one of these days.

How do your dogs help, and how do they hinder, your writing?

I can't think of a way they hinder my writing at all. The walks help get me outside, away from my desk, and keep me in shape (mostly) as much as it does them. Their presence is a great comfort. One, or both, are usually not far away from me. I think they make me a better human being, so hopefully, that helps me be a better writer.

If Brodi and Sunny could change one thing about Texans, what would it be?

I'm not sure how to answer that question. They've never met a Texan they didn't like.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs--and your cat--could speak, which actors should do their voices?

Nigel will be so glad to be included in this. Actually, I'm positive Nigel has a British accent. I think he might be the Black Adder (Rowan Atkinson).

Brodi would most definitely have Sam Elliot's voice, badass and comforting at the same time.

Since Sunny's full name is Audie Murphy See You At Sundown, he'd sound like the war hero and actor he's named after, Audie Murphy.

If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

Maybe...what's the worst thing you ever smelled?

The problem is one question wouldn't be enough, would it?

Visit Larry D. Sweazy's website and blog.

Learn more about The Gila Wars, the latest novel in the Josiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger series.

Coffee with a Canine: Larry D. Sweazy and Brodi and Sunny (April 2011).

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 26, 2013

Eric and Tracy Whittington & Labi

Who’s in the photo at right?

That’s us – Eric and Tracy Whittington – with Labi. Both of us are U.S. diplomats working in Bolivia. The picture was taken at 13,500 feet! We met in the initial training class for diplomats in 2005, worked apart for 4 years (Tracy in Africa and Canada, Eric in the former Soviet Union and DC), and married in 2009. We moved with Labi to Bolivia in July 2011. Labi’s 8 years old now; she’s a girl; and your guess is as good as ours on breed. We know she’s part Basenji because she used to chortle and talk all the time when she was young. She only does that knows when she’s really annoyed with the cat.

What’s the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We’ll take pretty much any opportunity to talk about Labi and about ways to help street dogs like her. But today’s occasion is the release of our children’s e-book, A Street Dog’s Story, which follows Labi’s adventures as a former street dog.

We also have a blog,, where we try to draw attention to the plight of street dogs. We cover street dogs in the news, organizations that work to help street dogs, and even profile rescued street dogs and cats.

What’s brewing?

Honestly? Hot cocoa. Nestlé's Quik. Neither of us like caffeine, and beggars can’t be choosers when you live overseas. We take the cocoa we can find.

Any treats for you or Labi on this occasion?

Of course. Labi’s always up for a tasty bone. Even if she’s just filled up on stolen cat food.

How did Labi get her name? Any nicknames?

Most of the street dogs in Kinshasa (the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Labi was born) have floppy ears, but Labi’s are very large, and they stand straight up. It makes her look like a deer! Since Congo is a French-speaking country, Tracy and her friends always referred to the skinny street dog they saw as “la biche” or “the deer” in French. After being rescued, Labi’s name got shortened to “la bi” and then “labi.” Because her name rolls so easily off the tongue, we don’t really have a nickname for her. She does get called “lobster” from time to time, which is both due to the similarity of her name and the fact that she had a lobster costume for Halloween [photo right].

How were you and Labi united?

While serving in Kinshasa, Tracy came across a street dog living on the banks of the Congo River. She was skinny, pregnant, and had a black scar on her hip where, Tracy later discovered, Congolese soldiers had tried to set her on fire. Tracy trapped her, rescued Labi’s puppy from her hiding place in a sewer, and took her home. She was in pretty rough shape. Today, Labi’s a healthy 40 pound dog, but she weighed 19 when Tracy got her off the street. Plus she had fleas and tapeworms! Tracy had her spayed as soon as she finished nursing, and her puppy went to live with a missionary couple in the same city. His name is Bambi, and the two dogs had play dates every Sunday for the remainder of Tracy’s time in Africa.

Who are Labi’s best pet-pals?

Labi’s step-brother is a not-yet-2-years-old former street cat, Linc, who we adopted here in Bolivia (He’s named for a character from the TV show Prison Break). To call him her best pet-pal is a bit of a stretch though, as Linc harasses her mercilessly. She routinely gives up her bed to him, tolerates him swatting her across the face, and even lets him eat her food.

Her best friend in the world was Proby (“the Deputy” in A Street Dog’s Story), Tracy’s 10-year-old Lab/pit bull mix who helped rescue Labi in Congo. [photo left: Labi, Proby, and Bambi] Proby passed away in 2009, and Labi’s muzzle turned grey overnight. Since then, she’s had boyfriends – most recently Puma, the handsome mutt of an Embassy friend, who is head over heels in love with her, and a number of Bolivian street dogs who follow her around on her walks – but no dog has ever replaced her Proby.

Please tell us about your new book.

A Street Dog’s Story is a children’s e-book about Labi, her transition from street dog to pet dog, and how she found her mission in life – saving other street animals. It’s the first in a series of books based on her “almost 100% true” adventures. Right now, it’s available via, but soon we’ll release it for the Nook, iPad, and other e-readers. Twenty-five percent of all the proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Humane Society International’s Street Dog Defender Fund to help other pups like her.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick…?

Definitely toys, and preferably soft, furry ones. Labi has several big boxes of stuffed animals, and she loves each and every one of them. While she loves to chew on her bones, she’ll periodically get up, rifle through one of her boxes as if looking for something in particular, and then pop out with a random toy she hasn’t played with in months. There’s a toy for every occasion…

Cat, postman, squirrel…?

Did you say squirrel? That’s Labi’s favorite word. The best day of her life was the day she arrived in the United States for the first time and discovered these magical delicious creatures. That day was not a good day for squirrel-kind, as Labi can climb trees – most squirrels don’t realize this and stop running far too soon.

What is Labi’s best quality?

Despite what people believe about street dogs and what she went through during her time on the street, Labi is incredibly gentle with all humans. She wins over everyone who meets her, including little kids who are terrified of dogs. Although she’ll jump on us, she seems to understand intuitively that she can’t jump on children. She won’t even try to bite the vet when she gets shots; she bucks like a horse to get away, but she never, ever shows her teeth.

If Labi could change one thing about you, what would it be?

She’d want us to stay in one place, preferably the United States. In Virginia, Labi got hour-long walks every day, and she usually saw squirrels, deer, and foxes in the park near our house. On the weekends, we took her on hikes to state parks and nature preserves. Here in Bolivia, she rarely gets to do more than a daily 30 minutes around the neighborhood. Not only are there packs of street dogs, some of which are dangerous, but there’s just a lot of concrete and very little natural space. She did, however, get to go with us on 30 kilometer, overnight, Inca trail hike with llamas and sleep with us in a tent. That was pretty cool.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Labi could speak, which actor should do her voice?

Without a doubt, Eliza Dushku, ex-Faith on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Because she’s sassy, street-wise, and saves the world.

If Labi could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?

We’d ask what she remembers of the Congo. Does she ever think about the river, the soldiers? Or is her brain pretty much occupied with treats, naps, walks, and avoiding Linc?

Visit the StreetDogStory website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Katie Preston Toepfer & Violet and Mr. Darcy

Who is in the photo at right?

photo credit: Kristy Toepfer Photography
It's me, Katie Preston Toepfer, the author of the recently released book, Wedding Dogs: A Celebration of Holy Muttrimony. I am an animal loving writer and photographer based in Sydney, Australia. With me is my gorgeous diva dog Violet. She is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and will be 7 in August.

In the other photos you'll also see our other dog Mr Darcy with Violet. He is the same breed as Violet, and will be 6 next year.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Clinton (my husband), Violet, Mr Darcy and myself always stop for a coffee at our favourite cafe on the way home from the park on a Saturday morning. We love going to Botannix Cafe because they are so friendly and make the best coffee! We often meet new dogs there and Violet and Mr Darcy love it.

What's brewing?

A flat white coffee (cappuccino minus the chocolate) with skim milk. The coffee's so good, you don't need the sugar!

photo credit: Kristy Toepfer Photography
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Of course! It depends on what sort of mood they are in--it could be air-dried chicken or perhaps some dried beef or a pigs ear.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Violet is a little flower, so Violet is the perfect name for her. She gets V, Bubba, Bubbalish, Noosh, Lish, Bubalicious.

Mr Darcy is truly a gentleman, so the name suits. He gets Mr D, Doogan, Darcy Doogan, Little Man and D.

How were you and your dogs united?

Our paths crossed at just the right time when we were dogless and just moved out of home! It was of course love at first sight on both occasions.

Where did the idea for your new book, Wedding Dogs: A Celebration of Holy Muttrimony, come from?

The book was inspired by my parents' wedding. They had included their Dalmatian and Labrador on their special day.

What's more challenging: photographing brides, grooms, or dogs?

I haven't done too much wedding photography, but I'd say dogs--it can be hard to get them to sit still!

Rabbit, postman, cat....?

Definitely cat (Mr Darcy told me to write that).

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

photo credit: Kristy Toepfer Photography
An old toy chicken that no longer has legs and despite being washed, it's brown from being dragged around by Violet.

If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?

I wouldn't do any work whatsoever and just spend all day playing with them.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?

Marilyn Monroe for Violet. Mr Darcy, I'd say Colin Firth.

If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

Where did you find and how do I get to the path to true happiness?

Visit the Wedding Dogs website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dallas Rising & Max and Warren


Back in 2009 Dallas Rising, and her dogs, Max and Warren, were guests here on the blog.

From their Q & A:
What's each dog's proudest moment so far? His most embarrassing?

I honestly don't know about "proudest" or "most embarrassing" but Max was pretty darn happy when we accidentally bought some soup that had bonito (fish flakes) in it. I started to cook it and it didn't smell right. Rather than waste it, I let Max eat the whole pot of it and he was pretty darned happy about that. And round.

Warren has broken his leg twice and he limped for quite a while after getting a plate and several screws put in after the second break. Needless to say he got a LOT of pampering when he was recovering. He will walk beside me on a walk sometimes to solicit a treat ("Look, Mom, I'm heeling so perfectly!"). Brandon had him on a walk and Warren tried "heeling" for a treat - he prances next to your ankles while looking up at you with a huge smile. Brandon isn't the sucker I am and wouldn't give him a treat, so Warren picked up a leg and started limping. Clearly saying "I'm cute and pathetic, where is my treat?" He sure knows how to manipulate mom and dad.
Read the complete Q & A.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sam Stall & Trudy

Who is in the photo at right?

The one with the red hair and big teeth is Trudy, my seven-year-old mixed breed rescue. The one with the gray hair is me, Sam Stall, the 50-year-old co-author of the recently released Wedding Dogs: A Celebration of Holy Muttrimony. I've done about 20 books, including The Dog Owner's Guide, The Cat Owner's Guide and 100 Dogs Who Changed Civilization, plus a couple of novels: Night of the Living Trekkies and Dracula's Heir.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We're relaxing on the front porch of our Indianapolis home, taking in the tulips and enjoying the first stretch of truly warm weather we've enjoyed this year.

What's brewing?

I'm sipping gunpowder black tea, purchased from a health food store just down the street called Good Earth Natural Foods. They keep it in a bin, measure it out on a scale, and sell it to me in a twist-tied baggie. Good stuff. And very invigorating. It brews into a liquid that's the color of fresh asphalt. It packs a caffeine jolt so powerful it could make a tree sloth run a 100-meter dash.

Any treats for you or Trudy on this occasion?

Both Trudy and I are on diets, so no goodies for either of us. I need to fit back into my summer shorts, and she needs to fit back into her collar.

How did Trudy get her name? Any nicknames?

My wife and I called her "puppy" for several weeks, because we couldn't settle on a name. At first we thought about calling her Ruby or Penny, because of her mostly red hair. But as her personality developed, and she turned into such an oddball, we decided to go for something funny. She's named after a character on the TV show Reno 911 who was also an oddball -- though not covered with mostly red hair. Her nicknames (most of them inflicted by me) include: The Big T; The Trudy-nator; Trudy-licious Trudlebug; Tru; Trudy-Booty; Boo-Bear; and Tru-Tru.

How were you and Trudy united?

I was visiting our veterinarian to pick up pills for one of our (now deceased) dogs when I noticed a picture of a puppy propped up near the cash register. One of the lab techs had found her tied to a cinderblock in an abandoned house, starving and covered with fleas. My wife and I met the little dog, who (at the time) was small enough to hold in one hand. The lab tech said the vet staff believed her to be a Chihuahua/Terrier mix, and that she "probably wouldn't get much bigger than 10 pounds." We fell in love with her and took her home, but as the weeks passed -- and Trudy got bigger and bigger -- we realized the only way she could possibly have any Chihuahua in her is if she ate one. She topped out at about 70 pounds, and appears to be some sort of German Shepherd/Pit Bull mix. But she's sweet as can be. Our six-year-old son used to ride her.

Does Trudy do more to help or to hinder your writing?

Mostly helps -- except when the UPS guy knocks on the door. Then she goes absolutely berserk. But here's the creepy part. She doesn't have a problem with the mail carrier or the FedEx people. Just the UPS guy. If she hears his truck going down the street, she loses it.

Who are Trudy's best pet-pals?

Back in the old days she hung with our two "senior" dogs, Gracie and Courtney [photo left]. Sadly, old age took both of them, so now her best bud is our son, James.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Trudy has two baskets full of toys, and would happily spend the entire evening fetching them. There's just one problem. She understands the "go get it" portion of the game, but can't quite grasp the "give it back" part. So if we play fetch for say, fifteen minutes, we may toss the toy only five or six times. The rest of the session is spent trying to pry it out of her jaws.

What is Trudy's best quality?

Her mellow personality. She was a nut when she was a puppy, but seems to have settled gracefully into middle age.

If Trudy could change one thing about you, what would it be?

She'd make me more conscientious about taking her for walks.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Trudy could speak, which actor should do her voice?

Queen Latifah. They both seem to have similar attitudes.

If Trudy could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?

"Why do you dawdle over your food? Don't you like it, or are you just not hungry?"

Visit Sam Stall's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 19, 2013

Bart Rochon & Halle, Toba, and Loki

Who are in all these photos?

My name is Bart Rochon and I am an actor. I currently star as “Hans the Scantily Clad Correspondent” on the off-beat, unique, and fun cooking show called Bitchin Kitchen. The show is airing on the Cooking Channel (United States), Food Network (Canada and the United Kingdom) and Kuchina+ (Poland).

I’d like to introduce you to my pack – My sidekick Halle (12 years old, Husky Mix), Toba from the Yukon (7 years old, Husky Mix) and the littlest one, Loki (3 years old, Husky Mix).

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I just started filming a new movie called Berkshire County, where I am playing the role of ‘Swine”. I like to sit down with a green tea and review the script.

What's brewing?

Don’t get me wrong, I love a cup of coffee here and there, but I’m a tea guy all the way. Green tea is by far my favourite and it has a lot of health benefits too.

Right now, I’m drinking “Organic Silk Dragon Jasmine Green Tea” from David’s Tea.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

If you take a look at my character on Bitchin Kitchen, my character is usually in a pair of red tights – that’s it! Diet and exercise are important for me to stay in shape for the show (and in general) so I don’t stray too far from eating healthy. But if I were to have a treat, it would likely be soft serve ice cream…or maybe a blizzard…or a sundae…

The dogs are loving their current cookies, “Northern – Smoked Fish and Blueberry.”

How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?

Well, I’ll start with Halle. She is named after an actress I had a huge crush on...Halle Berry.

I grew up in Manitoba playing football and one of the teams I played for used to break the huddle with “Toba!” (short for Manitoba) Toba is named after Manitoba the province I grew-up in.

And Loki is named after the Greek God of Mischief, and he has really grown into his name!

How were you and your dogs united?

Halle [photo right] was given to me by one of closest friends. His dog had just had puppies, I went over for dinner and the rest is history. We have been inseparable ever since!

I adopted Toba from the Humane Society; he was a rescue from up north.

And then I thought, why not add to my pack, and picked up Loki.

You're "Hans" on Bitchin Kitchen--and chance of any of your dogs making a guest appearance?

That would be amazing if they could! They are the masters of shedding, so they likely would not be allowed in the kitchen on set. Do they make hairnets big enough for dogs?

Where do your dogs most like to visit on an outing?

They absolutely love going up to Deep River to visit my mom. They get spoiled, go for lots of walks and spend a lot of time in the water – I think Halle is part mermaid.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Loki – Squirrel for sure.

Toba – Postman, because he loves everyone.

Halle – None of the above. She would like her answer to be “Food.”

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Stick…but ask Halle, and she will say “Food.”

If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?

Wow, that’s a good question! I am away on set a lot, so they would probably want me to be home more. If I could pack them and take them everywhere with me, I most definitely would.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?

I’ve often thought of what kind of voices they would have, I change my mind on it often.

For Halle, she is such a quiet dog, she barely makes a peep. I would have to say Charlie Chaplin (quiet…but definitely gets her point across without having to vocalize).

For Toba, I would have to say Woody Harrelson.

And for the little one Loki [photo right], Robert De Niro.

If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

“Would you like to start a dogsled team?”

Visit Bart Rochon's Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tricia Stohr-Hunt & Sydney


Back in 2009 University of Richmond teacher educator Tricia Stohr-Hunt and Sydney, her doberman-terrier mix, were guests here on the blog.

From their Q & A:
How did Sydney come to be united with you?

We'd been living in Richmond for more than three years, but I'd refused to get a dog while we lived in an apartment. During spring break 1997 my husband and I went to the local shelter. The day we went was cold and rainy and there was no heat in the kennels. The poor dogs were all crying and shivering. I saw a puppy that was sitting up, wagging her tail, and licking folks through the bars. I was immediately smitten. She only had one day left before she was due to be euthanized, so we took her home right then and there. (BTW, I'm happy to report that our local SPCA no longer puts dogs down.)

How did Sydney get her name?

She came to us with the name Honey, but we couldn't see calling her that, so we...[read on]
Read the complete interview.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Adam Handy & Lou Lou


Back in 2009 Louisiana State University veterinary student Adam Handy and his black lab Lou Lou were guests here on the blog.

From their Q & A:
Has Lou Lou ever been a guinea pig for some procedure you're learning in vet school? Do you use guinea pigs as "guinea pigs" in vet school?

Last year in one my electives courses, we were learning how to do eye exams. So I thought it would be good to get a Lou in on it, seeing how she’s getting a little older. She did great for me and my group. She let us check her intraocular pressure and literally take a look inside of her eyeball. I love vet gadgets! By the end of it all, she had pupils the size of quarters. Not really. She...[read on]
Read the complete interview.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Staff Sgt. Joshua Washington & Jings


Back in 2009 Staff Sgt. Joshua Washington, a U.S. Army Military Working Dog handler assigned to the 221st Military Police Detachment at Fort Eustis, VA, and Jings, a five-year-old male Belgian Malinois who specializes in patrol and explosive detection, were guests here on the blog.

From the Q & A:
How did Jings get his name?

MWDs are given their names when they are purchased by the Department of Defense from a breeder. They also have a National Stock Number (something like a Social Security Number) that is tattooed in their ear. DoD purchasing teams are tasked with locating breeders throughout the world that meet the strict criteria to produce dogs that can be considered for the MWD program. The dogs are sent from these chosen breeders to the DoD Military Working Dog Training Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Once MWDs graduate from the training school, they are sent to kennels on military installations around the globe.
Read the complete interview.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 15, 2013

JoeAnn Hart & Daisy

Who is in the photo at right?

This is a photo of me and my dog Daisy. I’m JoeAnn Hart, author of the novels Addled and Float, both of which have all sorts of animals in them, including dogs. We live in Gloucester, Massachusetts, although Daisy is from West Virginia, where she was picked up off the streets when she was around nine months old. I adopted her from Save A Dog in Sudbury, Ma. in 2010, so she’s still young. She’s a messy Cock-a-poo, with a miniature poodle dad, and a Cocker Spaniel grandmother, who slept around, so Daisy’s mom was only half Cocker Spaniel. We only know this because my sister is a vet and had Daisy’s DNA tested.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I had to drop my husband’s car off to be repaired, and in exchange, he bought me a coffee at Lone Gull. Daisy came along for the ride. She loves the car and all the smells on Main Street, but she has to wear a harness when she goes anywhere with me. Her head is smaller than her neck, so a collar is just a place to hang her license.

What's brewing?

I’m having a large light roast with milk. Hot, because it’s not ice coffee season quite yet.

Any treats for you or Daisy on this occasion?

I was tempted, because I love Lone Gull’s almond cookies, but resisted. No goodies for either of us. Daisy loves sweets but she puts on weight too easily to indulge her. She finds ways to indulge herself as it is. We think she was raised in a dumpster in the back of a bakery, because she cannot resist frosting. At Christmas we found her on the dining room table with her face in the whipped cream and gingerbread, but that was nothing compared to last summer, when the day after my son’s wedding we found her with all fours in the leftover cake. She is a very well-behaved dog except for this one strange obsession.

How did Daisy get her name? Any nicknames?

Daisy was the name that came with her from Save A Dog. For weeks we played around with other names and none of them fit quite as well. So Daisy she stayed. Sometimes we call her Sausage because of that weight issue. We don’t consider that an insult, and neither does she. It is simply her shape.

How were you and Daisy united?

I had lost my standard poodle, Annie, in 2009. She was 16 years old when she died and I was just too heartbroken to get another right away. When I was ready in the fall of 2010, I started looking at shelters across New England. I knew I wanted a rescue, but I needed a hair breed or mix because of allergies, and I wanted a medium-sized dog this time. It turns out that most dogs at shelters tend to be either very small or very large. I spent a lot of time searching near and far, but every time a candidate popped up, it was already taken by the time I contacted them. In December I decided to wait until late winter, when, unfortunately, many puppies given as Christmas presents are surrendered for adoption. Then, three days before Christmas, I got an email saying Daisy had just arrived at Save A Dog. I drove down there and I fell in love. She was exactly the dog I was looking for. We took her home the day before Christmas.

Who are your dog's best pet-pals?

She loves other dogs. She adores Gussie, my daughter’s Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, but Gussie doesn’t even look at her when she visits so we can’t call her a pal. Daisy was an only dog until this summer, when my husband got a Golden Doodle puppy, Happy. It was then we realized that Daisy loved dogs, not puppies. Happy hung on her ear all day, like a large fuzzy earring. Now Happy is older and calmer, not an annoying puppy, so they are best friends. They especially like to chase squirrels around the yard together.

What is Daisy's best quality?

Daisy has amazingly soulful eyes. She always looks as if she’s in deep sympathy with my feelings. Then again, she looks as if she is in deep sympathy with everyone’s feelings.

If Daisy could change one thing about New Englanders, what would it be?

Daisy wishes New Englanders would make more cakes with frosting and leave them unattended. She has very powerful little thighs, so leaving them on tables is just fine with her. She’ll get there.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Daisy could speak, which actors should do her voice?

Jennifer Aniston. Daisy is that sweet.

If Daisy could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?

I’d ask her what her life was like before we met. What was she doing wandering the streets of West Virginia? I know there are a lot of puppy mills there, so I sometimes think she was tossed in a dumpster when she didn’t turn out to be a perfect Cock-a-Poo. A dumpster behind a bakery.

Visit JoeAnn Hart's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sue Owens Wright & Peaches and Beau

Who is in the photo at right?

I think you must be referring to the photo of me with my canine muse, Bubba Gump, who inspired my dog mysteries. He is dressed as Sherlock Holmes, and the photo was taken at one of my book signings. I’m Sue Owens Wright, an award-winning author of books and articles about dogs and write the Beanie and Cruiser Mystery Series, which features a basset hound named Cruiser, and now in the fourth book I introduce his new basset sidekick, Calamity.

My current dogs are Peaches (F) and Beau (M). Like the dogs in my books, both are rescued basset hounds. Peaches, a tri-color, is around 10 years old and Beau, the white/red variety, is about 9.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

It’s Take My Dog to Work every day around here, since I work from home much of the time. I enjoy tea in the company of my dogs every day in my front garden, weather permitting. Because of her past, Peaches is a fearful dog in new situations, and I can’t really take one dog anywhere without the other. They are too attached to each other. I do go to a café every afternoon to write for a while uninterrupted, though, and hope to someday have a café dog I can take with me, but these guys aren’t good candidates.

What's brewing?

I’m fond of Peet’s Summer House blend of iced tea, but I love any black tea. My home brew faves are English brands, PG Tips, Yorkshire Gold, and Barry’s Gold (Irish).

Any treats for you or Peaches and Beau on this occasion?

Well, they always get treats, no matter what the occasion. That’s why there are contests for lowest ground clearance at Basset Waddles. Basset hounds are total foodies and masters at counter surfing.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Beau [photo left] came with his name, and it fit him so well I’d never have changed it, though I sometimes refer to him as Beauregard Longfellow because he has such a long body.

Peaches’ name was a nod to her predecessor, Daisy, who I sometimes called my “Princess Peaches.” I call her Peach Fuzz, Peach Pie, Peaches and Cream, Peach Cobbler, any name with “Peach” in it because she’s a peach of a girl.

How were you and Peaches and Beau united?

Both dogs came from a shelter in a neighboring city, though Peaches [photo right] was transferred to the local SPCA, where I adopted her. I adopted them at different times. I saw Beau on in the months after Bubba died. He looked so much like Bubba, I knew I had to go see him. It was a long drive, and I got lost and couldn’t find the shelter, but I’m glad I didn’t give up. He was so worth the trouble. He’s such a great dog! They both are.

How do your dogs help, and how do they hinder, your writing?

There’s the repeated nose nudge on my leg when they want treats or my undivided attention. Peaches is best at that. Daisy was an expert elbow nudger. I’d be typing away when all of a sudden my left arm went flying off the keyboard. Also, their barking at a passerby always startles me out of concentration while writing. Never fails to jolt me back to reality.

When we sit in the front garden together, the dogs bark at everyone who goes by, especially if they are walking a dog. Cats are fair game, too, of course. Peaches starts in barking first, and then Beau joins in. His voice is very loud, which is interesting because he didn’t utter a sound for six months after I adopted him from the pound. Then one day he found his voice again when he howled at a cat on the back fence. I think we were both surprised. He’s been vocalizing at the top of his lungs ever since. There’s a reason I have a metal plaque displayed in my garden that says, “Ask not for whom the dog barks. It barks for thee.”

What is each dog's best quality?

Beau is the best snuggler, and he is utterly devoted to me, more than any dog I’ve ever had. Peaches is a great watchdog. No one sets foot on our property without her letting us know about it. We already had a Bay Alarm System in our house, but she’s much better than the electronic one. She really bays!

If Peaches and Beau could change one thing about you, what would it be?

That I could take them for more walks than I do. They get two a day, but they’d prefer three or more.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?

Both actors would be French, of course, like the basset hound. Beau’s voice would be that of Gerard Depardieu. Peaches’ would be Marion Cotillard.

If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

What happened in your previous life before I adopted you?

Visit Sue Owens Wright's website and dog blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Brendan O'Meara & Smarty and Jack

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Brendan and I’m a writer [Hi, Brendan!]. I'm with Smarty and Jack. Smarty is a yellow lab/chow mix and Jack is a Jack Russell/skipperke mix.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I slam back java with these two mutts every day. Jack is the more sociopathic of the two so he’s always in close orbit of me.

What's brewing?

These days I’ve been lucky to have a Starbucks gift card, so I’ve been rockin’ grande Pikes with a splash of half and half. At home I use a French press, but to be ’Merican, I call it a Patriot Press. I grind Peet’s Blend whole beans—bean by bean with my teeth—and let it rest in the Patriot Press four five minutes in near-boiling water.

During the summer I’ll buy large Dunkin’ Donuts hot coffees. Because I’m cheap, and out of protest for iced coffee being more expensive than hot coffee when you get less coffee by volume, I nurse it and when it reaches room temp, I’ll add ice cubes.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

I’m quite Draconic when it comes to giving them treats. I try to keep extra weight off their bones. The little guy is about 11 years old and has the energy of a puppy. The blonde is nine years old and is still real perky and just a joy to be around, still likes to run and is playful. So I like to think keeping their diet in check is giving them their best shot at a painless senior chapter.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

When we adopted Smarty his name was Eli, which was pretty lame, so I renamed him Smarty (after 2004 Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones) before he could jump in my car. As a New England Patriots fan, had I kept the name Eli, I might have shunned my dog after the 2008 and 2012 Super Bowls.

Jack was named Jax when we adopted him in DC. His full name is Jackonius Maximus. I call him Diggy sometimes, or Jack-Jack, but more often than not he gets called Dip Shit or Asshole.

We don’t go out in public very often.

How were you and your dogs united?

Adopted Smarty in 2005 in Durham, NC. He was about 1-2 years old. I went to the shelter and it was between Smarty and a hound dog named Ralph. Smarty, who has an Eeyore quality to him, lay in a stream of his own pee in his kennel. Ralph was also pretty cool, but Smarty and I had a great chemistry in the consult room so I chose him.

Jack …

Jack …

Jack …

Melanie wanted a dog while she was living in DC but her landlord would only allow smallish dogs. He was the only option. We think he was a bait dog in a fighting ring since he has nicks on his ears and tongue. Naturally he still has PTSD and, as a result, is completely neurotic and mildly medicated.

How do you dogs help, and how do they hinder, your writing?

They almost never hinder my writing. They hinder it only when they sit by me and fart. Jack is more clingy and his company is nice. I like when he buddies up to me while I’m clicking away at the ledger. Smarty is less insecure and spends his time in his cage or in our bedroom.

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

Jack hates squirrels. If he ever catches one he’ll snap its neck. Same for cats. When the “red switch” goes on, as Cesar Milan says, Jack feels no pain. If he and a cat got into it, there will be blood. He loves people so he’ll bark and whine out of excitement and jump a bit (despite our efforts to train him not to).

Smarty won’t chase squirrels, but he loves cats. He gets excited if you say “Kitty Cat”. He wants to play with them. They never share that sentiment. He barks at the postman, but he’s a teddy bear.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Toys are below Smarty. He doesn’t get them.

Jack will play fetch in the Sahara. We use a squeaky ball to distract him while we use our Soda Stream machine to make bubble water (because he goes ballistic at the sound). We use a field hockey ball to play fetch because he’ll tear apart a tennis ball. I could throw a shot put and he’ll try and bring it back.

His space heater might be his best friend. He loves heat. When the space heater is on he buddies up to it. You need to baby sit Jack? Turn on the space heater.

What is each dog's best quality?

Smarty’s freakish sense of empathy.

Jack’s pigheadedness.

If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?

I’d like to think they’d streamline my life and make me worry less. What do they crave? Food, water, exercise, a bed, and love. Pretty simple and they couldn’t be happier.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?

Smarty=Patrick Warburton or Ray Romano

Jack=Gilbert Gottfried or Woody Allen

If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

What was your life like before you entered our lives and when you’re dreaming what do you see?

Visit Brendan O'Meara's website, and read more about his book Six Weeks in Saratoga: How Three-Year-Old Filly Rachel Alexandra Beat the Boys and Became Horse of the Year. Follow the author on Twitter, and "like" Six Weeks on Facebook.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 8, 2013

Cathryn J. Prince & Hershey and Juno

Who is in the photo at right and just below?

Cathryn J. Prince, author of nonfiction history and freelance journalist. Hershey, female, 8 1/2, chocolate lab. Juno, female, 2 1/2, yellow lab.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I have coffee every morning at my desk and the dogs like to sit underneath or next to me.

What's brewing?

Intelligentsia 'Black Cat' brewed in a machine that first grinds the beans.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

The coffee is my treat, but I do give the dogs Peanut Butter treats called Gooberlicious. They go really crazy for those.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

My children named Hershey. Sometimes we call her Hershey Lou Hoo. My husband and I named Juno for the Roman goddess; her nickname is Juno Bug and we call her that quite often.

How were you and your dogs united?

Hershey was a gift as was Juno. Juno comes from Oklahoma. Before she was old enough to travel we'd watch her on puppy cam. We called her 'Orange #4' for a time, because she wore an orange collar and was identified as puppy #4. We liked her feistiness. My son still has her orange collar.

How do you dogs help, and how do they hinder, your writing?

Overall I'd have to say they help me in my writing: they keep me company and they just have this steady presence -- that is until Juno decides it's playtime. Then she is rather disruptive. She also hinders my writing when I have a call to make -- she will sometimes bark for attention.

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

Deer, squirrels, birds, UPS...all of the above.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Raw hide bones and an orange rubber ball.

What is each dog's best quality?

Hershey is wise. Juno is playful.

If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?

That I would let more bread "accidentally" fall on the floor. They'd probably also like me to leave unopened jars of peanut butter everywhere.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?

Judi Dench for Hershey and maybe Abigail Breslin for Juno.

If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

Are you happy?

Visit Cathryn J. Prince's website and blog, and learn more about her new book, Death in the Baltic: The World War II Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff.

The Page 99 Test: Death in the Baltic.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 5, 2013

Emily Anthes & Milo

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Emily Anthes, a science journalist and author of the new book, Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts. And cuddled up to me is Milo, my six-year-old Cavapoo (a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a miniature poodle.)

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We are celebrating Milo’s impending fame. (Just kidding. Sort of.) My book is mostly about the high tech animals of the future—cloned and genetically modified pets, livestock, and wildlife, for instance—but Milo makes several notable cameos in the book. I couldn’t have done it without him!

What's brewing?

An iced latte made with beans from Gorilla Coffee, a wonderful roaster here in Brooklyn.

Any treats for you or Milo on this occasion?

No—neither of us eat much in the mornings, though I’m sure Milo would eat a treat if I gave him one.

How were you and Milo united?

I grew up with dogs, and shortly after moving to New York, I decided that I was ready to get my own.

How did Milo get his name? Any aliases?

I considered a long list of names after I brought him home, and somehow Milo just seemed to fit. My family has taken to calling him “LM,” which stands for “Little Milo.”

Does Milo do more to help or to hinder your writing?

It depends on the day. Most days he’s an excellent writing companion, curling up on the couch next to me as I work. But if he hears or sees another dog walking by on the street outside, all bets are off. I have more than a few recorded phone interviews that feature sudden outbursts of barking in the background.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

You know, he never seems to notice squirrels in New York, which is strange, but whenever we visit my parents in Virginia, he goes crazy over the chipmunks in their backyard. He does a very good job protecting us from them.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

None of the above? What he really loves more than anything is the laser pointer. He will chase that red dot all day. We’ve had to scale back on it though, because he was getting so obsessed with it that he would just sit in the kitchen or hallway and wait for it to appear. We started to worry that we were breaking his brain.

Does Milo have a favorite place to go for outings?

We’re big fans of Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

Who is Milo's best pet-pal?

He loves running into Nico, another Cavalier who lives in our neighborhood. They clearly love each other—and race down the sidewalk to greet each other—but they’re both a little socially awkward, so they’re never quite sure how to play. Mostly they wag their tails like crazy and dance around each other in circles.

What is Milo's best quality?

He is just very, very sweet. I’m not sure he’s a terribly smart dog, but he’s incredibly loving and an excellent writing companion. He’ll happily sit by my side, or in my lap, throughout the whole workday. I’d be very lonely without him.

If Milo could change one thing about Brooklynites, what would it be?

He would ask them to please drop more food onto the sidewalk. And also to stop carrying those scary umbrellas.

If Milo could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

Sometimes he stands in the doorway and just snorts at me. I’d ask him what he’s trying to say.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Milo could speak, who should voice him?

Woody Allen. If Milo were a human, he would definitely be a neurotic dweeb.

Visit Emily Anthes's website.

--Marshal Zeringue