Monday, September 30, 2013

Laurie Gaetano & Oliver

Who is in the photo at right?

Hello! My name is Laurie Gaetano (better known as "Oliver's Mom") and this is my best friend for the past 4 years, Oliver. He is a five year old Havanese I rescued from our local (high) kill shelter in May 2009. I have a fun greeting card (real cards - not ecards!) and gifting business that I work from home or anywhere, with my laptop and phone.

I am also on the Board of newly formed non-profit, Pima Paws For Life. We just launched our website and Facebook page in June. We are working to establish Southern Arizona's largest Adoption Guarantee Shelter, so that we can save thousands of our homeless pets that needlessly die every year at our local animal control.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Oliver goes everywhere with me, so of course, coffee on the patio is no exception! Today, we are here meeting a local business owner interested in learning more about how he can add appreciation marketing to his successful business practice. I will take him to my website, and have him click the "Send a free card" button so he can experience for himself how easy it is to send out appreciation to others. He sees the vision right away and becomes a "Preferred Customer" within 15 mins of our meeting. I've taken a picture of him and Oliver (who he has spent a lot of time admiring) and later I will send him a card with that picture on the front to thank him for his time and business. I invite all of your readers to be my guest, and send a free card to someone they care about today!

What's brewing?

When it's summer in the desert I will usually enjoy whatever it is brewing - iced! Today, it's a delicious iced Chai Latte. Oliver sticks with his usual, water.

Any treats for you or Oliver on this occasion?

Oliver has much more self control than I do when it comes to treats, believe it or not.

How were you and Oliver united?

Please follow this link to Oliver's Adoption Story.

How did Oliver get his name? Any aliases?

Pima County Animal Control gave him the name "Toby" since he had no tag or microchip when he was plucked off of a busy intersection in town. He looked like an Oliver to me. I think he reminded me of the sweet orphaned boy from my favorite childhood movie, Oliver. One of the first things everybody says after meeting him is, "he looks like an Oliver!" (I bet your readers are saying the same thing now!)

That's a handsome photo of Oliver on Pima County's new dog licensing campaign poster. Was it difficult getting Oliver to strike that pose, or is he a natural?

Oliver is definitely a natural in front of the camera, but doesn't understand what all the fuss is about. Just to be clear, the campaign photo was shot by a talented local photographer, Ann-Eve Cunningham. I can only take credit for the look of adoring love in his eyes, as he always makes sure not to lose sight of me. We are pretty much inseparable!

Has Oliver done much other media work?

I learned very early on how photogenic he is, and the emotions his photographs evoke in people when contacted me via Facebook after seeing a picture I posted of him on their wall. They chose him out of thousands to appear on the home page of their website and national media marketing materials [image right]. He's also appeared on the homepage of AOL a handful of times, representing them. I just recently got word that he will be featured in Brown Trout Publishers 2014 Havanese Calendar.

Would you tell us about the work you and Oliver do as a pet therapy team?

We have been a Certified Pet Therapy team through the Humane Society of Southern AZ's (Pet VIP Program) for the last 2 years and actively participate in offsite events and regular visits to a couple of Senior Care Homes and Tucson Medical Center. You can learn more about the program and the work we do on my blog. It's something we both always very much look forward to!

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Definitely squeaky-toy or most any furry toy that makes noise. Oddly enough, he also enjoys playing with cat toys and has been known to pick out and carry a toy mouse around the store as we shop at PetSmart.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Oliver loves cats. We regularly foster kittens/cats, and Oliver [with foster kitty Clementine, photo right] is the most loving, nurturing caregiver.

Does Oliver have a favorite place to go for outings?

Oliver loves anywhere we go where he can run on some grass. I just took him (in May) for the first time to Ocean Beach, CA to celebrate our 4 year "Oliversary" (a friend coined the term and it stuck). I put together a little video to document our time in San Diego. I know if we lived closer to the water we would both enjoy spending a lot of time there. I grew up on Long Island, so I miss being so close to the ocean.

Who are Oliver's best pet-pals?

Oliver has many 2 and 4-legged friends in our community -- many more than I do! We have been meeting with a group every other month or so (weather permitting) for the past three years. There are a few couples that take turns hosting a group of us in their back yards. The group has grown over the years, and is made up primarily of Havanese, Bichons and Maltese. Because these breeds are in the same family, it's so much fun to see them all interact together and all the similarities they share.

What is Oliver's best quality?

Hard to choose just one! I'd have to say his ability to connect with people and speak to their heart. People are literally drawn to him everywhere we go. I can't even begin to count all of the people that Oliver has drawn into my life, and all of the lives he has touched over the past four years. He definitely changes peoples' perception of shelter pets in such a real way, and has even been credited (on more than a few occasions) for inspiring someone to adopt, who may not have otherwise.

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

I would ask him if there is anything else I can do to make him feel like the most loved dog in the world.

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

I've always imagined him with a British accent, just like Oliver Twist.

If Oliver could talk, what advice would he give to people?

Of course, he would ask them all to make adoption their first option. He would also encourage people to get involved in their animal rescue community. Be a voice for the voiceless. Spay/Neuter. (OK, maybe he wouldn't say that, but I highly encourage it!) Adopt, Foster, Transport, Sponsor, Donate, Volunteer, Educate, Network. We can all do something to help save a life!

Visit the Pima Paws For Life website and Facebook page, and Laurie Gaetano's blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 27, 2013

Sil & Coffee

Who is in photo at right?

That's me, Sil, and my puggle, Coffee. We live in Toronto Canada with my husband and my cat.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Today Coffee and I went out for my daily coffee and walk. I'm also going on vacation for five days and wanted to spend some special time with my beloved pup.

What's brewing?

One small black coffee (Colombian Dark) from the Second Cup just down the road from us. I shared a piece or two of my muffin with Coffee.

Any treats for you or Coffee on this occasion?

Just two small bits of my muffin.

How did Coffee get her name? Any nicknames?

Coffee was named Coffee because my husband loves coffee and because she's the same color. I call her Honey Bunny sometimes or Coffee Cake.

How were you and Coffee united?

After being married for 8 months, my husband and I went for walks in this dog park. We discussed it and decided we wanted to get a dog. We got her from a pet store, but in the future I will adopt from a shelter or breeder.

Who is Coffee's best pet-pal?

She knows her sister from her litter. We actually bumped into each other in a local pet store and after talking with the owner, we put two and two together and Coffee now hangs out with her sister Paige from time to time.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

She loves a bone and will spend hours munching and chewing on one.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

She lives with a cat (Misha) and they co-exist well. Are they best buds? No, but Coffee seems to get along with almost everyone. She is not a fan of raccoons though.

What is Coffee's best quality?

Coffee is always joyous and happy. She is pure goodness and looks you right in the eyes making you feel like there is a deep connection. Even though she is not a puppy anymore, she still has that puppy energy that everyone loves.

If Coffee could change one thing about the good people of Toronto, what would it be?

That the good people of Toronto would allow more dogs into public areas (malls, stores) and make more off leash dog parks.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Coffee and Misha could speak, which actor should do their voices?

Misha would sound like Scarlett Johansson and Coffee would sound like Ellen DeGeneres.

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

What would you like to do today?

Visit Sil's online stores, Love n Lavish and Fauna and Forest.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yona Zeldis McDonough & Willa and Holden

Who is in the photo at right?

I am Yona Zeldis McDonough, author of five novels, twenty-two books for children and numerous essays, articles and stories that have appeared in many national and literary publications. Dogs are Willa and Holden. Both are pure bred Pomeranians. Willa, the female, is eight and Holden, the male, is seven. They have been mated and Willa had a puppy (named Bebe and she is so cute I can't bear it!) so I call them husband and wife.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I mostly have coffee in my own sunny dining room; Willa and Holden are always there with me.

What's brewing?

I use a Nespresso maker for the best latte ever. It steams the milk to perfection and the easy-to-use pods are make a delicious brew.

Any treats for you or Holden and Willa on this occasion?

I might have a muffin (home-made; I'm a good muffin maker) and the pooches each get a biscuit.

How were you and Holden and Willa united?

I know a wonderful woman who is a dog breeder on Long Island. She had these two dogs she was retiring and she called to ask me if I wanted them. After I finished doing cartwheels around the living room, I said yes.

How did Holden and Willa get their names? Any aliases?

These are the show names they were given. Holden [photo left] is actually short for Holden the Applause and Willa is short for Willa be famous? For reasons I can't explain we call Holden Roscoe and Willa Fairy or Fig.

Your new novel Two of a Kind has just hit the bookstores. Are there any dogs in it?

Yes, there is a dog that plays a small but important part. My protagonist, Christina Connelly, is trying to get information from a very cranky, older man out walking his dog. He is not too helpful until she reaches into her purse and pulls out a dog biscuit, which she gives to the dog (she keeps a stash on hand for dogs of her clients--she's an interior designer). The owner softens and gives her the information she needs.

Do Holden and Willa do more to help or to hinder your writing?

Oh, they help! I work in a small room that faces the yard; I tend to keep the dogs nearby. They snooze or roll over, hoping for a belly rub as I pass. I love having them near me.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

They ignore cats and squirrels; they yap like mad at the poor postman.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Not interested, though they both enjoy chewies and such.

Do Holden and Willa have a favorite place to go for outings?

Our backyard, though small, seems to have all they require. Some dirt for digging. Plenty to sniff. Things to try to eat, like leaves, weeds and small twigs.

What is each dog's best quality?

Willa [photo left] is so dainty and pretty; she's a true lap dog and is happy when cuddled in someone's arms or lap. Most endearing.

Holden is a true gentleman. He is calm, self-possessed and even-tempered; I have never heard him growl. And he always knows when I need some TLC; he jumps up and licks my nose.

If Holden and Willa could change one thing about Brooklyn, what would it be?

Willa was raised on LI and does not understand why there has to be concrete; if it were up to her, Brooklyn would be covered in grass.

Holden thinks there should be more places for dogs to stop and snack along the way.

Learn more about the author and her work at Yona Zeldis McDonough's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Yona Zeldis McDonough & Queenie, Willa and Holden (October 2012).

My Book, The Movie: Two of a Kind.

The Page 69 Test: Two of a Kind.

Writers Read: Yona Zeldis McDonough.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 23, 2013

Andrea Lochen & Maddy

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Andrea Lochen, the author of the novel The Repeat Year. My dog, Maddy, is an 8-year-old Teddy Bear, a mix between a Shih Tzu and a Bichon Frise.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We decided to spend an hour in our backyard soaking up the sun, reading (me), and sniffing out unusual smells and rolling in the grass (Maddy).

OK, no coffee for you and Maddy--but are you sharing any treats on this occasion?

Chilled lemonade for me and water and a rawhide bone for Maddy.

How were you and Maddy united?

Maddy was a wonderful surprise gift from my husband on my golden birthday (when I turned twenty-three on December 23rd). I had wanted a dog for a long time, but it seemed like an impractical undertaking since we were living in an apartment at the time with busy work schedules. So on my birthday, resigned to a few more painfully dog-less years, I was instructed to close my eyes and hold out my hands, and when I did, a wriggling, six-pound puppy with a golden bow tied around her neck was placed in them. I immediately fell in love. My husband and I like to say that she’s the gift he’ll never be able to top and the gift that keeps on giving.

How did Maddy get her name? Any aliases?

Maddy is short for Madison, Wisconsin, a city that I adore (and where The Repeat Year is set). The better question would probably be are there any aliases or pet names I don’t use for her because there are so many of them, but most are too embarrassing (for both me and Maddy) to list here: Maddy Madkins, snuggle bug, bunny bear, cutie bean… You get the picture!

Have any Maddy-inspired dogs appeared in your published work?

In The Repeat Year, Phil’s dog, Cashew, is loosely based on Maddy. Cashew is a tan Shih-Tzu, so he looks different than Maddy, but his energetic, enthusiastic behavior is pretty similar. And one of the lines I wrote about him, “[A dog is] a bundle of pure love, gift-wrapped in fur” was definitely inspired by her.

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

She’s a great writing companion. She has a little doggy bed next to my desk, and if she’s not laying there while I’m writing, it’s because she’s laying across my lap with her chin perched on my hard plastic armrest. Sometimes she gets bored with my writing and demands we play, and it’s usually the much needed break and distraction I need, so I can come back to whatever chapter I’m working on feeling revived.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

One of Maddy’s best friends is our mail carrier because every day she leaves a Milk-bone treat in the mailbox for her, so that Maddy is now conditioned to lick her lips and expect a treat every time we get the mail. She likes our mail carrier so much that once she even tried to get in the postal truck with her (although I suspect it had more to do with the open box of Milk-bones on the floor). In case you can’t tell, my dog is extremely food-motivated.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Plush squeaky toys—she loves to rip the stuffing out of them and dig out the plastic squeaker. We have several deflated, sad-looking squirrels and raccoons she still plays with. For her seventh birthday, we bought her the mother of all plush squeaky toys—a long red dragon with twenty squeakers sewn into it! She was in heaven, and almost a year later, some of the squeakers still function.

Does Maddy have a favorite place to go for outings?

Basically anywhere we go, she’s game. Maddy adores riding in the car (especially through drive-throughs, because she sometimes get a treat), going for walks in our neighborhood and to parks, and visiting my parents and my in-laws.

Who is Maddy's best pet-pal?

My in-laws’ dog, Lacci, who is the same breed as Maddy, but a few years older. They look almost like twins when they’re together!

What is Maddy's best quality?

Her unconditional love. Her joy and enthusiasm for life. The way she makes me laugh.

If Maddy could change one thing about Wisconsinites, what would it be?

She would mandate that we all carry cheese or other treats in our pockets to give to her at regular intervals.

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

I would ask her to describe her perfect day for me and then I would recreate it for her.

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

It would have to be me or my husband because we do her voice all the time! She sounds high-pitched, cheeky, and occasionally has a Southern drawl.

Visit Andrea Lochen's website and Facebook page.

Writers Read: Andrea Lochen.

The Page 69 Test: The Repeat Year.

My Book, The Movie: The Repeat Year.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 20, 2013

Bethany and Jason & Wilhelm, Brychwyn and Huxley

Who is in the photo at right?

The Cascadian Nomads: two active humans, Bethany and Jason, and three busy canines, Wilhelm, Brychwyn and Huxley. Bethany gets paid to be a physiology/fitness nerd and Jason makes a living as an A/V geek. Wilhelm is a 6-year-old miniature dachshund, Brychwyn is a 2 1/2-year-old Cardigan Welsh Corgi and Huxley is a 1 1/2-year-old rough collie. Everyone is a boy except Bethany. We all blog with our crazy psittacine, Leo (not pictured and also a boy) at Cascadian Nomads.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

This is the first weekend that we have been in town in a while. Fiddlehead Fine Foods and Cafe serves our favorite coffee and has great biscuits. Sometimes it is nice to just be in the 'hood.

What's brewing?

This is Seattle, after all, so we started with Velton's Bonsai Blend mocha's (Bethany's was iced and Jason's was hot) and we ended with cups of Velton's Twilight Blend. If we didn't need sleep, we'd drink Velton's coffee 24 hours a day!

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

We won a bag of Chewed Shoes Peanut Butter Bacon Bites at a Doney Clinic fundraiser that have been the dogs absolute favorite "I will do anything for that" treat. We had exactly three left so this seemed like the perfect occasion for the dogs to enjoy them!

How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?

All the dogs call names come from their breeds country of origin and their kennel names are all songs from Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks." Wilhelm [photo left] truly came to us by "A Simple Twist of Fate," nothing describes Brychwyn better than "Tangled Up In Blue" and Huxley's dam is named Storm so he had to be "Shelter From the Storm." We also like the meanings of their call names: Wilhelm means "protector," Brychwyn means "speckled holy one" and Huxley means "outdoors-man." If we listed all of their nicknames, our coffee would get cold.

How were you and your dogs united?

We got Wilhelm as Jason's first puppy and as a dog for Tynan (our founding dog; a rescued Chesapeake bay retriever/lab mix) to share all of his wisdom with. Wilhelm was devastated when Tynan died so we got Brychwyn to keep him company. And we got Huxley [photo right] to be our big dog and watch over us all as our shepherd. It kind of takes two dogs to fill the huge void Tynan left. Wilhelm loves his new pack and there is so much joy in training and traveling with such a diverse group.

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

Definitely the pet store (we have three within walking distance.) Even if we don't have a plan to run a pet store errand, when we round the corner on a pet store block, the dogs try to lead us there!

Do the dogs have any non-canine pet pals?

Gryphon is our sage, 19-year-old cat who shares his many years of life experience with the dogs, Amelia is our agile, 5-year-old kitty who plays tag and wrestles with the dogs and Leo is our Triton cockatoo who drops food to and yells at the dogs. Leo also does a great impression of a squeaky toy.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Definitely squirrel. Our neighborhood mail carriers give the dogs treats.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Stick: readily available no matter where we roam.

What is each dog's best quality?

Wilhelm is a genius who tries to hide it and get by on his adorable looks. Brychwyn [photo left] is a genius who wishes his brains were more obvious than his good looks (and he tries to tell us all but we just hear barking.) Huxley is a genius who will very soon turn the door knob with his snout and leave us to go to college for a doctorate in Manipulative Psychology. Those are their best personality qualities... their best physical qualities is that they all have the cutest, fluffy butts and adorable feet!

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

They'd like to see no more illegally unleashed dogs. Maybe they just feed off of us human Cascadian Nomads being upset by illegally unleashed dogs, but it does bother the dogs to see it happen (they bark and whine... Walk interrupted!) And if Cascadians don't stop illegally unleashing, then dogs will stop being welcomed in as many places in Cascadia and we know our dogs wouldn't want that.

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

Huxley: Mike "Stuart McKenzie" Meyers
Brychwyn: Wallace "Vizzini" Shawn
Wilhelm: Mark "Neidermeyer" Metcalf

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

Why? And they'd likely answer "because," we'd all get a good chuckle and snuggle up for a nap. Or, they might be totally frank and explain all of life's/dogs mysteries, we'd all get a good chuckle and snuggle up for a nap.

Visit the Cascadian Nomads website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Elizabeth Haynes & Bea

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m the one on the left – my name is Elizabeth Haynes and I’m a writer from the south east of England. In the centre is our Spanish shelter dog, Bea, and on the right is my ten year old son, Alex.

The picture was taken at Seaford Head, which overlooks a famous set of white chalk cliffs called the Seven Sisters. This is very close to where I grew up, and it was Bea’s first visit to the place I know as home.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I write from a shed in my back yard. It’s quite smart as far as sheds go – and it has a coffee machine that can produce a pretty decent espresso.

I used to write in coffee shops, but since my lovely canine isn’t allowed in to most of them, I prefer to write – and drink my coffee – in the shed, with Bea for company.

What's brewing?

Today I’ve brewed a double shot espresso and topped it off with some hot milk. I’ve added some Amaretto flavoured syrup for variety, and because I need a sugar hit to get going.

Any treats for you or Bea on this occasion?

I have a ‘biscuit box’ in the shed for emergencies. Bea’s got a rawhide bone that she’s been working on for some time now.

How were you and Bea united?

A friend of mine adopted a dog through a charity that rehomes stray dogs from Southern Spain. The shelter is really overcrowded and these lovely dogs have very little hope of finding a forever home since there are so many of them. My friend Heather had such a good experience with her dog, Robert, that when we decided to get a shelter dog too it seemed the right thing for us. Bea had been abandoned at the gates of the dog pound as a pup with her siblings, and had been there ever since – two years! She came to us in April having been driven all the way across Europe in a van, and she was so timid at first. Despite having never lived in a house she coped really well. She’s such a fast learner, and so eager to please. She has been doing so well at her dog training classes, and she is such a kind, placid and loving girl – we could not have hoped to get a better dog. Here’s a picture of her [photo left] in the back of my car – terrified - a few minutes after I’d collected her from the van, and another picture of her on my knee after a walk [photo right], four days later.

How did Bea get her name? Any aliases?

The shelter had named her Beatriz, but since none of us can pronounce Spanish properly we shortened it to Bea (to rhyme with pea.) She also gets called Buzzy-Bee, Biba, Bea the Wonderdog and Superbea. In private I call her my Baby Bea.

You published your latest novel before Bea joined the household. Is there any chance a Bea-inspired dog will make it into your future work?

My characters have had cats as pets in the past and this is largely because I’ve always worked full time and therefore have had cats myself. Now I’m working from home and can have a dog, I suspect my characters will have dogs too. At the moment I’m working on a short story to promote my fourth book, Under a Silent Moon, and strangely enough a dog is going to feature in it. In fact, the dog in question is Dixi, who is our Bea’s brother and along with the other siblings Helena and Tino is still waiting in Spain in the hope of finding a forever home. You can see a video of the three remaining podenco puppies here.

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

She is very good, actually – much less distracting than any of the cats I’ve had in the past. She follows me quietly from room to room, and when I’m in the shed writing she will be curled up in her bed in the corner, or lying outside in the sunshine if it’s warm. Bea is always ready and willing to go for a walk whenever I need a break, and since she’s still learning to play, she’s not constantly pestering me to throw a ball.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

When Bea had been with us three weeks, we heard her woof for the first time and it took us all completely by surprise. The cause of this uproar was a cat that was sitting on the fence. She will bark at anything that comes into the garden, but a cat on its own territory is merely observed with a patient curiosity. She enjoys chasing pigeons and rabbits on our walks, but if she gets close enough to catch them she lets them go about their business. She is a podenco, which is a Spanish hunting breed, so she is a natural chaser and very fast when running at full stretch.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

She’s learning to enjoy chasing tennis balls; she has squeaky toys and a plush dog, but she’s not destructive at all. She’d much prefer to just snuggle up and snooze on the couch.

Does Bea have a favorite place to go for outings?

We have a wheatfield a short distance from the house and when the wheat was growing she would run around in crazy circles through it, occasionally leaping like a gazelle above the crops to see where she was.

Who is Bea's best pet-pal?

Here she is [photo left] with LG (short for Laughing Gravy) who is a red labrador belonging to fellow crime writer Lisa Cutts.

LG is staying with us at the moment while Lisa’s on vacation. He’s about three times the size of Bea but they are very good friends. You can’t see it in the first picture but both tails are wagging!

What is Bea's best quality?

She’s incredibly placid and calm. And she has the most amazingly expressive ears – we have Dobby ears, Yoda ears, greyhound ears, bat ears – and beautiful topaz coloured eyes.

If Bea could change one thing about Kentish folk, what would it be?

I don’t think she has a problem with the people, but I don’t think she’s too impressed with the Kentish weather. It has been a good summer but I know she’s not keen on the rain and heaven only knows how she’ll cope when it starts to snow. Southern Spain, where she’s from, is hot and sunny pretty much all year round.

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

Why do you insist on eating grass when you know it upsets your tummy?

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

It would have to be Penelope Cruz. A girl and her dog can dream! Thank you so much for asking me these great questions. Bea is looking particularly fluffy and proud of herself as a result.

Read about Human Remains.

Visit the official Elizabeth Haynes website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ricci & Sophie

Who is in the photo at right?

Hello Coffee with a Canine readers! My name is Ricci and this is my Sophie puppy! In this pic we were about to go on our first Mommy/Puppy road trip to Ohio! Sophie is a two year old Malti-Poo and I picked her out when she was just two days old. I was able to bring her home with me when she was eight weeks old and we have been inseparable ever since!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Today's Coffee with a Canine is brought to you from my couch where Sophie and I are having our post-dinner snuggle. I am actually drinking water and Sophie is napping. She's a little spoiled and is actually jealous of the laptop in my lap...!

What's brewing?

Just plain water for now...Boo!! But I foresee many trips to Starbucks in our future so I can get my all time favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte and then Sophie and I can go to the park and she can play with some other pups!

How did Sophie get her name? Any nicknames?

It's funny you should bring up her name, I always said I wanted a little girl puppy and I would name her Stella (after my fave beer) and when I held her the first time she was a Sophie!

How were you and Sophie united?

I actually found my Sophie online. I was looking at shelter pups in my area and her breeders site came up somehow and I found out her Mom was due the nest week. The lady sent me pics of a teeny tiny two-day-old Sophie and it was love at first sight.

Who are Sophie's best pet-pals?

Sophie's best puppy friends are my best friend's puppies, Abby and Mikey. We just spent time with them on our trip to Ohio and they hit it off immediately. I wish I had gotten a pic of all three of them together!

Where is Sophie's favorite outdoor destination?

Sophie's fave outdoor destination has to be the park. We have a park pretty close to home that we like to walk at and it seems like everyone who walks there has a dog and so Sophie has puppy friends to play with when we go.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Sophie loves her babies I get her at Target. They are little stuffed animals with squeakies in them!

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Sophie likes to chase the rabbits that come up in our yard!

What is Sophie's best quality?

Sophie loves everyone. Seriously. This dog has no enemies and loves everyone at first sight. Everyone is her best friend and she thinks people come over just to see her. Ha!

If Sophie could change one thing about Arkansans, what would it be?

Sophie would make it so pets could go everywhere with me. Not just Petco and Home Depot. Sophie believes in making the world a more pet-friendly place.

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

Hmmm...maybe Selena Gomez?

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

What do you do all day when I am at work???

Visit the Ricci Explains It All blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 13, 2013

Evie Wyld & Juno and Hebe

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Evie Wyld. I run a bookshop in Peckham, London, called Review, and have also written two novels, After the Fire, a Still Small Voice and All the Birds, Singing. The silver hairy dog is Juno. She is a 14 year old lurcher. The blonde one is her daughter, Hebe who is 7.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I have been camping with the dogs for a week in the Isle of Wight. They actually belong to my mother, who has gone away for a bit, so I’m trying to distract them as much as possible. We always have a coffee in the morning.

What's brewing?

Very strong Monmouth Colombian from a cafetiere. Black, no sugar.

Any treats for you or the dogs on this occasion?

The dogs have just had their breakfast which was left over spaghetti - Juno’s favorite, and I will make mine after my coffee. Probably bacon and eggs.

How were the dogs and your mother united?

My mother and father brought Juno home as a puppy when I when to university.

Seven years ago Juno had puppies with a whippet called Timothy, and we kept Hebe.

How did the dogs get their names? Any aliases?

My father was keen on using classical names - he was an art dealer so had to keep things beautiful. Juno is the goddess of the moon and also of female sexuality, which suits her very well. Hebe is the daughter of Juno, in goddess terms, as well as dog terms.

Are the dogs happy campers?

They are, mainly because they get to sleep under the covers with me. Hebe in particular likes to be spooned.

Have you created any fictional dogs that have found their way into print?

Yes - my latest book has a fairly central character who is a boarder collie. He is called Dog.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Lots of squirrels down. Rabbits too. Occasionally a fox, which feels like cannibalistic.

So far no dead cats, which is good.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

At home, Hebe has a soft toy beaver, which my father enjoyed making rude jokes about.

Juno has a stuffed cabbage. Not sure how that came about.

When not camping, do the dogs have a favorite place to go for outings?

They get walked twice a day in two different parks in South London, but to be honest, they aren’t that bothered about either of them. They like being on the Isle of Wight on the Tennyson Trail.

What is each dog's best quality?

Juno is extremely funny.

Hebe is very cuddly.

If the dogs could change one thing about Londoners, what would it be?

All the men would turn into women.

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

Why did you eat that?

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which the dogs could speak, who should voice them?

If death was not a problem, Juno would be Kenneth Williams and Hebe would be Diana Dors.

Follow Evie Wyld on Twitter and visit her website.

The Page 69 Test: After the Fire, a Still Small Voice.

Learn more about All the Birds, Singing.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Renee Swindle & Mocha and Nikki

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Renee Swindle and I wrote the novels Please Please Please and Shake Down The Stars. With me are Mocha (brownish, mocha-colored) and Nikki.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

My girls and I have tea together every morning, usually after a nice long walk.

What's brewing?

Tea! I love it. I don’t spend money on much except books and fine teas. My dogs and I are total tea snobs.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Today they’re getting their favorite treat, rawhide bones. Nikki and Mocha don’t get treats very often so when they get a rawhide bone it makes for a fun time.

I’m having a croissant, straight out of the oven. Baked by Julia Child.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

My dogs came with their names so I didn’t get the opportunity to name them. I sometimes call Mocha Mochiata or Mochiata Chocolita. Nikki is Nick, Nikster or NickFlix.

How were you and your dogs united?

Mocha belonged to a neighbor. She was extremely shy and never wagged her tail. My neighbor never took her on walks and I noticed she sometimes went without food. The guy also mentioned he liked to breed her and sell the puppies. I couldn’t stand seeing her mistreated so I very kindly asked if I could start walking her so that I could have company. (I didn’t need the company I just hated to see her so sad.) Over time, I started walking her and feeding her daily. Soon, she was sleeping on my porch. Now—I own her!

Oddly enough, Nikki came to me almost in the same way. My upstairs neighbor moved in with his dog, but he would leave her alone for days at a time. It was horrible. One day I asked if I could start walking her so she could keep me company. (The lie seemed to work with the other guy so I used it again!) I had to walk Mocha first and then I walked Nikki until they finally got used to each other. I soon started feeding them both as well. When the upstairs neighbor said he was moving he asked if I wanted her. Since Nikki and Mocha were spending all their time together anyway, it was a no-brainer.

Is there a dog in your new novel?

There aren’t any dogs in Shake Down The Stars, but I have a new novel coming out and July 2014, A Pinch of Ooh La La, and I’m very happy that I was able to fit a dog into the story.

Do your dogs do more to help or to hinder your writing?

My dogs make sure I take three walks a day, which is the best fix for helping me daydream about ideas or giving me time to away from what I’m working on.

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

Both Nikki and Mocha have learned that cats are their friends. Squirrels, though? They go nuts. They also love to chase gophers at the Amtrak station where we sometimes walk. The station has a dog area that is full of gopher holes and Nikki and Mocha love to dig there.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Nikki loves any toy, anywhere, anytime. Mocha, however, is all about finding a good spot to sit and contemplate the existence of Life. Squeaky toys bug the hell out of her. Nicky and I have to keep them from her or she’ll destroy them within seconds.

What is each dog's best quality?

Nikki behaves as though every day is the best day ever. I’m thankful she doesn’t own pompoms, or I imagine her kicking her legs and cheering nonstop. When I first started taking care of her, she barked at everything and had an anxious disposition. Now she’s an incredibly happy dog.

Mocha was shy but now she acts like a yogi or meditation master. Nothing riles her—except squeaky toys.

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

I raise my voice when they find something on the ground or something minor like that. I’m sure they’d prefer a calm “No” instead of me raising my voice.

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

That’s tough. I don’t know about Hollywood, but Mocha probably sounds like Terry Gross. There’s not an actress out there who could pull off Nikki’s unbridled yet heartfelt enthusiasm.

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

My dogs and I talk all the time and I know everything there is to know. They love your site, by the way. Sometimes when I get home they’re on the computer reading the latest Coffee With A Canine post. They’re addicted.

Visit Renee Swindle's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sara Dobie Bauer & Ripley and Raylan

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Sara Dobie Bauer, a novelist, blogger, and copy writer. I just released my first novel, Life without Harry, in eBook format! I have two pups: Ripley (at right) is a sweet two-year-old girl, probably of the pit bull variety. Raylan is an eight-month-old bad boy, also probably a pit mix.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

The dog park is too limiting for my wild beasts. There’s a huge green field by our house in Phoenix, so my husband and I take them running there before the desert heat hits. We sip on iced coffee; the dogs roll in the grass and chase birds.

What's brewing?

Coffee AM’s decaf Orange Coconut over ice with cream and honey!

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

A Kind protein bar: almond dark chocolate chili. My favorite. When we get home, the puppies get doggy breath mints and breakfast: a big bowl of Earthborn Holistic.

How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?

Ripley is named after Sigourney Weaver’s character in Alien. I figure if the aliens do try and take over Earth, my dog will stop them. Her nickname: Ripplesnuffigus.

Raylan is named after the Elmore Leonard character and hero of the show Justified, Raylan Givens. We live in Phoenix, so we needed a butt-kicking cowboy in the house. His nickname: Monster.

How were you and your dogs united?

Ripley was found wandering the desert in my friend’s backyard outside Maricopa. She was only six weeks old, and despite living in a tiny apartment and planning a wedding, we took her in. She’s been a joy ever since. We realized she needed a brother when she started pouting, so we found Raylan at a Petsmart adoption day.

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

Chance’s house. Chance is Ripley’s boyfriend … but they let Raylan hang around, just to be nice.

Are your dogs more help or hindrance to your writing?

Mmm. Well, they stare at me a lot when I write, which is creepy (think the weird twins in The Shining). However, it’s soothing when they sleep at my feet. The sound of their breathing keeps my writing rhythmic.

[photo left: Raylan]

Do the dogs have any non-canine pet pals?

Oh, no. Noooooo.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Squirrel. And Ripley once ate a chicken. Like, a whole, live chicken. They love our post-lady; she brings them treats.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Squeaky toy. It’s creepy, but I think they like pretending they’re killing something.

What is each dog's best quality?

Ripley [photo right] is sweet. So sweet. She loves to cuddle.

Raylan is a terror, but he makes us laugh. They also both have faces that could make Freddie Krueger melt.

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

The amount of time I spend in front of a computer not playing with them. Also, I sing when I cook. They usually go outside when that happens.

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

Ripley: I know she’s a girl, but I imagine she would sound a lot like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.

Raylan: Seth Rogan. After smoking weed.

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

Ripley: What are you so concerned about all the time?

Raylan: Do you want to eat my brain? I feel like you want to eat my brain.

Visit Sara Dobie Bauer’s blog, Twitter perch, and Goodreads Author Page!

--Marshal Zeringue