Friday, May 25, 2018

Julie Clark & Teddy

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Julie Clark, and I'm the author of the debut novel, The Ones We Choose, from Gallery Books, and imprint of Simon & Schuster. The pup is Teddy.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Teddy never misses a chance to sit next to me on my reading chair, even if it means sitting on top of the book I happen to be reading.

What's brewing?

I have an automatic coffee maker that brews my coffee by 3:30 in the morning, so that it's ready when I get up to write at 4:00 AM.

Any treats for you or Teddy on this occasion?

Teddy is always looking for treats. He's not picky, and if my two young boys aren't careful, Teddy will help himself to their food as well. He has zero impulse control.

How were you and Teddy united?

Teddy was a rescue dog that we got through an organization called Dogs Without Borders. They found him wandering the streets when he was about six months old. He was malnourished and suffering from pneumonia. He spent a few weeks in the dog hospital before we were able to bring him home. But now, he lives a life of luxury, and we're not sure he even remembers his time as a street dog.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

My boys named him. They thought he looked like a teddy bear. Sometimes we call him Teddy Bear. But mostly just Teddy.

Does Teddy do more to help or hinder your writing?

He generally sleeps on the bed next to me while I write. Sometimes he'll snore. Other times he'll yip. Every now and then he'll wake up and try to settle next to me, squeezing himself between my laptop and notebook and various printed pages that usually surround me when I work.

Has Teddy inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Not yet!

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

He has a squirrel friend who comes to visit him every morning to torment him. Around 6:30, when I let him out into the back yard, this squirrel will show up and "bark" at him from the roof of the garage or the telephone pole. It drives Teddy crazy.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Squeaky-toy for sure. He has a stuffed squeaky tiger toy that he carries around with him.

Where is Teddy's favorite outdoor destination?

The dog park. He loves to meet other dogs, and would spend all day there if he could.

Who is Teddy's best pet-pal?

Jack, a labradoodle that lives with my friend Chrysta and her family.

What is Teddy's best quality?

He's pretty low energy. Wherever we are, he likes to be there too. He'll travel from room to room with us, and then just settle in and take a little snooze while we do whatever it is we're going to do there.

If Teddy could change one thing about Californians, what would it be?

He'd eliminate the postal service. It's his most stressful hour of the day.

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

What was it like living on the street as a puppy? How did you get there?

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

Whoever does the voice for Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street.

What advice would Teddy give if asked?

Take a nap. Things are always better when you're well-rested.

Visit Julie Clark's website.

Writers Read: Julie Clark.


--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 18, 2018

Melissa Caruso & Freya

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Melissa Caruso, author of The Tethered Mage and The Defiant Heir, the first two books in the Swords & Fire trilogy, novels of intrigue and magic from Orbit Books. Freya is a 9-year-old female Labrador Retriever, and the sweetest lump of butter you could possibly imagine.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Freya and I like to hang out on the deck in together while I write and sip iced tea! Our deck is my fair-weather office, and Freya is my constant writing companion. Today we're working on edits for Book Three of the Swords and Fire trilogy.

What's brewing?

Teavana Jade Citrus Mint tea, iced. I’m actually not a coffee drinker…eep! Is that allowed? (I love the smell of it, though.)

Any treats for you or Freya on this occasion?

I just had a delicious cinnamon roll, and Freya helped finish it.

How were you and Freya united?

Freya was a Christmas present to the whole family. When my eldest (who was five at the time) opened the surprise box we’d carried her into the house in and saw her for the first time, she whispered “It’s real!” in this awed voice, as if she’d seen a magical creature. And in a way she really did—I’m not sure there’s any creature more magical than a puppy!

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

Freya is named after a Norse goddess. Her beloved predecessor, Sif, and my husband’s childhood dog, Loki, also have names from Norse mythology. So we have a tradition going!

Does Freya do more to help or hinder your writing?

Mostly she’s a wonderful and patient writing companion. Sometimes she decides it’s Arbitrary Barking Time when I’m trying to concentrate, though. And she kindly makes sure I never get so absorbed in my writing that I forget dinner!

Has Freya inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

One of my main characters in the Swords & Fire trilogy has a dog, Scoundrel, who isn’t directly based on Freya—but she certainly inspired some of his traits, like his intense devotion to expected leftovers and love of chasing sticks.

Cat, postman, squirrel…?

Freya lives with three cats and both loves and is intensely jealous of all of them! For barking at, though, nothing gets her worked up quite like deer, which we do get in our backyard sometimes.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick…?

That’s a tough one… She’s a retriever, so she loves anything and everything she can carry around in her mouth. She has a special enthusiasm for really big sticks, though. She’ll drag around small logs if she gets the chance.

Where is Freya's favorite outdoor destination?

Any park with a pond! She loves swimming more than anything. We also have taken her on a few trips to hike in the White Mountains in New Hampshire with us, and she really loves those, especially when we hike alongside streams with lots of swimmable pools!

Who is Freya's best pet-pal?

Freya has a very special friendship with one of our cats in particular, a little female tortoiseshell called Star. Star climbs up on Freya’s back and gives her massages, and Freya occasionally brings Star dog toys in the hopes that she’ll play with her.

What is Freya's best quality?

Her boundless capacity for love. She’s one of those dogs who immediately loves everyone she meets and wants nothing more than to play, snuggle, and be petted. Though she does have one special talent—one of our friends who house-sit for us when we go on vacation has epilepsy, and apparently Freya can detect her seizures before they happen and will make her go lie down shortly before a big seizure occurs!

If Freya could change one thing about Massachusettsans, what would it be?

I think she wishes they allowed dogs in more places, especially at beaches and in restaurants…but probably most of all, she wishes she could go with her girls to school.

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

Someone with the right degree of goofy warmth! I’m not really a big movie buff, so I’m clueless about specific casting.

What advice would Freya give if asked?

She might advise us that it would be better for our health to give half of whatever’s on our plates to the dog. Also that petting dogs relieves stress…Especially in this one spot on her chest that really gets her leg going!

Visit Melissa Caruso's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Emily Adrian & Hank

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Emily Adrian. I’m the author of YA novels Like It Never Happened and The Foreseeable Future, which was released on May 8. Hank is a seven-year-old shepherd/Golden Retriever mix (we think).

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Hank and I have coffee most mornings, but today is Saturday so we are extra relaxed.

What's brewing?

Some Dunkin Donuts coffee that we brewed in a cheap coffee maker from Walmart that never gets quite hot enough.

Any treats for you or Hank on this occasion?

I’m having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Hank is eagerly awaiting his human sibling’s breakfast time, at which point human sib will toss a lot of food from the high chair to the kitchen floor.

How were you and Hank united?

My husband and I adopted Hank when he was an eight-week-old puppy in the city of Toronto. Hank, like our son, is Canadian; my husband and I are both American.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Hank just seemed like a Hank—however, his full name is Hank Buckles Triumph Musty Bear.

Does Hank do more to help or hinder your writing?

Honestly? I’m never more peeved than when Hank barks at the postman, waking the baby from his nap and effectively ending my writing time. That said, Hank’s overall impact on my life is so positive that I’m quick to forgive his occasional misdeeds.

Has Hank inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Oh, absolutely.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

He’s terrified of cats, offended by the postman (see above), and indifferent to squirrels.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Shhh…he’ll hear you.

Where is Hank's favorite outdoor destination?

Any body of water.

Who is Hank's best pet-pal?

A lovely beagle named Louis, our friends’ dog, with whom he grew up.

What is Hank's best quality?

Hank is truly up for anything. In his seven years, he has been on countless road trips, stayed in hotel rooms and Airbnbs, moved with us from Canada to the states, explored cities and forests and small towns. No matter where we go, he’s right by our side.

If Hank could change one thing about Ohioans, what would it be?

We’ve been living in a small town in north Ohio since last August, and Hank’s chief complaint is that most of the dogs here are confined to their houses or backyards. He would like the dogs to go for walks, so that he can meet them.

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

Who’s a good boy?

What advice would Hank give if asked?

Remember: you’ve got three legs and a spare.

Visit Emily Adrian's website.

Learn more about The Foreseeable Future.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Arin Greenwood & Murray

Who is in the photo at right?

That's my sweet dog Murray Rothbark. He is going on 10 years old. My husband and I adopted him when he was about a year and a half old. We don't know what breed he is - we've never had him genetic tested - but he seems to have some hound in him. What I can say for certain is he's a Very Good Boy.

I'm Arin Greenwood. I'm an animal writer and former lawyer. I live in St. Petersburg, Florida, with my Murray, three cats - Elfie, Jackie, and Chappy - and one very tolerant husband.

I used to be animal welfare editor at The Huffington Post, and now I freelance animal stories for a whole lot of publications like The Today Show's website, The Dodo, and The Washington Post. I have a new novel about dogs, and robot dogs, and love, that came out on April 17 - it's called Your Robot Dog Will Die.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

The occasion for Coffee with a Canine is that the day has begun, and so I must have coffee. Murray very patiently lets me drink one big mug of it before our morning walk.

What's brewing?

I have one of those coffee makers with a timer on it, so that I wake up to a full pot of coffee. I want to thank the person who invented this device from the bottom of my heart. I drink dark roast coffee with a splash of almond milk - my husband complains the coffee tastes like burned sludge but I like it quite a bit.

Any treats for you or Murray on this occasion?

Murray and I eat our breakfast after getting home from our morning walk. I'll have my second gigantic cup of coffee with a big bowl of Wheaties, while Murray enjoys his bowl of kibble.

How were you and Murray united?

My husband and I wanted to adopt a dog. We were looking for a dog who'd get along well with our cat. We found Murray - then called Baxter - on Petfinder. A local rescue group called Rescue Angels got him out of a shelter in the south. He was being fostered at a doggie daycare in Washington, D.C., where we were living at the time.

We went to go meet Murray at the doggie daycare, and he just rolled right over for belly rubs. We were smitten. We brought him home overnight for a test run, just to make sure he and our cat would be good. (They were!)

The second we walked in our apartment door, Murray ran into our bedroom and hopped up onto the bed. It's like he knew he was home.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

The general rule in our household is that I bring home the pets and my husband gets to name them. Our dog's full name is Murray Rothbark. He's named after one of my husband's favorite economists, Murray Rothbard. My husband works at a think tank called the R Street Institute, and our Murray actually holds a position there as well - he's director of canine policy. He's got bylines on a couple of published op-eds, too, if you can believe it.

Does Murray do more to help or hinder your writing?

I'd say overall he's a neutral influence on my writing, but he's a tremendously positive influence on my life. So to the extent that I am a happier person because of Murray, I'm also a happier writer.

Has Murray inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Not yet. Stay tuned, though.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Murray is so funny about cats. We have three cats now, and they all desperately want to be friends with Murray, and he is just not interested. He doesn't pay them any attention. But when he sees strange cats - out on the street or at other people's houses - he gets so excited that he'll start to cry. He wants to go sniff them and lick them. He loves them. Our cats, though - nope, he has no time for them.

He hates people who deliver mail to our house, or packages. He'll bark at UPS drivers, even if we see them miles away from our house. He sometimes even barks at random brown vans if we happen to spot one. Squirrels, likewise, do not bring out Murray's best qualities.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Yes to all the above.

Where is Murray's favorite outdoor destination?

He loves playing fetch in our yard. And his favorite thing in the world is when we take him to this magical place called Dog Beach. My husband and I call it the happiest place on earth for dogs. It's a beach at a park in St. Petersburg where dogs can go run around and swim, and play. It's so wonderful. Unfortunately for Murray, a trip to Dog Beach is usually followed by his least favorite thing in the world - a bath.

Who is Murray's best pet-pal?

Murray loves me and my husband, and likes a couple of other people, but he doesn't have that many dogs he likes to play with. He's not mean or anything, just mostly kind of disinterested. There is this one dog named Banjo who Murray really loves, though. She's one of the only dogs he's ever loved to play with. I don't know what is different about Banjo, but it's very sweet to see him have a doggie friend.

What is Murray's best quality?

That's like asking what is the best thing about being alive, or about sunshine and flowers. Everything about Murray is perfect.

If Murray could change one thing about Floridians, what would it be?

He wishes they would set off fewer fireworks. Those stupid explodey things really scare the bejeezus out of him.

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

"Can we go to dog beach now, but how about we skip the bath afterwards?"

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

Oh, that's a good question. I guess the obvious answer would be Bill Murray. (Get it????)

What advice would Murray give if asked?

I think it would be something along the lines of: "Eat more snacks, take more naps, abandon all baths."

Visit Arin Greenwood's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 16, 2018

Jennifer Caloyeras & Reba and Dingo

Who is in the photo at right?

This is me, Jennifer Caloyeras, and my two rescue dogs, Dingo, 4 (the brown one) and Reba, 15! We actually had both our dogs genetically tested since we last spoke, so I can say, with more certainty that Dingo is part Australian Shepherd and part chihuahua and Reba, although she received every recessive gene possible, is a pit bull!

I am a writer and I also teach writing at UCLA Extension's Writers’ Program.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

My third book was recently published. It’s called Unruly Creatures and it’s a short fiction collection full of wonderful weirdness. And lots of unruly creatures.

What's brewing?

I’ve been into the Stumptown coffee out of a french press. It says it has hints of citrus and chocolate. I don’t know about all that, but it does help me wake up in the morning!

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

They are enjoying some hip and joint turkey jerky for dogs. It’s smells so good. I almost want to eat it.

Readers can click back to your 2015 Q &A to learn how your dogs got their names, but I wonder: have Reba and Dingo acquired any new nicknames in the last couple of years?

We call Reba sleeping beauty because she literally sleeps almost all day.

Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your new story collection?

There is one story in the collection, “Big Brother” that has a very loyal dog in it. I remember watching Reba napping and dreaming and using that to describe how this dog was dozing.

Now that Reba is 15 years old, is she facing any special geriatric challenges?

She really has slowed down a lot of the last few years, although, every once in a while she’ll bound across our yard with the energy of a puppy. (and then she follows it with a four-hour nap.) She suffers from some hip pain and the stairs are a bit more difficult to navigate. She’s on medicine for high liver enzymes. But other than that, she’s really doing pretty great!

Where is your dogs' favorite outdoor destination?

We recently took them to Three Rivers, California at the base of the Sequoia National Park. They loved it! There was a small creek for them to play in and so many new smells to smell. Coyotes definitely came out at night, so we were sure to keep them inside once the sun went down.

When I last asked about your dogs' best pet-pals you mentioned guinea pigs and humans. Have Reba and Dingo met any special canine friends since then?

Dingo especially loves a good dog playdate. She has some dog friends - Gryphon and Charlie, who come over to play with her. They have concocted all sorts of intricate games with their own set of rules. It’s very fascinating to watch.

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

They’d want me home all the time. And in my bed, so they could snuggle with me. I think, I would like this too!

When I last asked who should voice your dogs in a movie about your life, you mentioned Soleil Moon Frye for Dingo and Helen Mirren for Reba. Are there any new actors you'd consider for the job?

I’m very pleased with my casting choices.

Visit Jennifer Caloyeras's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Coffee with a Canine: Jennifer Caloyeras & Reba and Dingo (May 2015).

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 2, 2018

Sarah Albee & Rosie

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s Rosie. She’s an eight-year-old standard poodle with what the French—her compatriots—call joie de vivre. She knows we’re heading out soon and is wondering what’s taking so long.

I'm Sarah Albee, and I write nonfiction books for kids. My new book is Dog Days of History: The Incredible Story of Our Best Friends.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I just had my second cup of coffee and now we’re heading to the library, which is a pleasant walk down the hill. (It’s slightly less pleasant walking back up the hill.) I have an ILL (inter-library loan) book waiting for me, so she gets an extra walk this morning.

What's brewing?

A rich, delicious, French-press brew, made by my husband. He gets up at 4:30 to make the coffee and prep for class. (He’s a history teacher.) I get my first cup of coffee delivered to me in bed at 5 am. Sadly, I have to drink it black these days because my doctor says I have to watch my cholesterol, so I have to give up everything that makes life worth living, including milk in my coffee. But it’s still a delicious cup of coffee.

Rosie is quite familiar with the routine, and stays in bed while I get a couple of hours of writing in.

Any treats for you or Rosie on this occasion?

She knows all the guys on the grounds crew at my husband’s school. Her very good friend, Ernie, keeps a box of dog treats in his golf cart, so we’re always on the lookout for him as we head to the library.

How were you and Rosie united?

A friend of a friend let me know that there was a litter of puppies available two towns over. My kids had been begging for a dog. So I made a stealth visit to investigate. I never intended to get a fancy breed of dog (I grew up with a succession of great mutts), but I fell in love with Rosie.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

Our family had endless discussions, and Rosie emerged as the front-runner name. I love flower names like Rosie, Daisy, Violet, Lily. Also it totally fits her delightful personality.

Growing up, my older brothers always got to name our pets. We had a (female) dog named Igor and a ram named Chuck Knox.

Does Rosie do more to help or hinder your writing?

Rosie is always part of the solution. Except when she rolls in something gross.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Bark her head off but keep well back/Bark once and then assume her “adorable” pose in hopes of a treat/outrun it in an open field and then wonder what to do next.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Meh/Meh/prance around with one then lose interest.

Where is Rosie's favorite outdoor destination?

She likes walking around campus because everyone knows her. Sometimes I bring her down the “main hall” if we need to get the mail, and she visits every office where treats can be had. There are many offices where treats can be had.

Who is Rosie's best pet-pal?

Rufus the English sheep dog. They’re BFFs. [photo right: Rosie and Rufus]

What is Rosie's best quality?

She’s amazing with small children. She never growls, ever. When we go away, our friends with four small children look after her. Shenanigans ensue.

If Rosie could change one thing about Connecticuters, what would it be?

Eliminate all dog brushes from the state. She hates having her ears brushed out.

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

What do you dream about? (She makes a lot of noises while she sleeps sometimes.)

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

Peggy Lee of course. (We love Lady and the Tramp.)

What advice would Rosie give if asked?

Wring joy out of every moment of your life.

Visit Sarah Albee's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Leslie Karst & Ziggy

Who is in the photo at right?

This is Ziggy, a Jack Russell mix, age seven. (But when she switches into her devil-dog mode, tearing around the place in circles, you’d swear she was still a pup.) I am Leslie Karst, author of the Sally Solari culinary mystery series. I’m a Western-European mix, age sixty-one. (But after several cocktails, if you can get me dancing to “Burning Down the House,” you might swear I was still a teenager.)

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Ziggy and I are waiting for the Merrie Monarch (a world-renowned hula competition) parade to pass through downtown Hilo, Hawai’i, where we live half the year. But right before this photo was snapped, we were at home out on our lanai, me sipping a cuppa joe, she stalking geckos scurrying around the ti and ginger plants.

What's brewing?

Kirkland label House Blend, medium roast, by Starbucks. (It’s the Costco brand, and not at all bad for the money.) Brewed strong, with milk—or half-and-half, if there’s any in the fridge.

Any treats for you or Ziggy on this occasion?

Some of the folks on the parade floats tossed wrapped candy our way, and I let Ziggy have several licks.

How were you and Ziggy united?

Ziggy was in the local paper as one of a litter of puppies born in Puna, the district south of Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai‘i (Puna is also home to the active volcano and a whole lot of hippies). Since my wife and I wanted a dog that would be small enough when full-grown to ride in the airplane cabin with us when we travel between Hawai‘i and Santa Cruz, California, we needed to meet both parents, to see how big they were. Ziggy’s mom and dad were not only the requisite size, but her dad (a JRT-Corgi mix, we think) was one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever encountered. (Her mom, a JRT-Chihuahua mix, not so much).

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

Ziggy’s full name is Sieglinde (but we spell it with a Z so folks will pronounce it correctly). She’s named after the heroine in Wagner’s opera, Die Walküre, and has the majesty and spunk to match her namesake—the demi-goddess who fell in love with her brother and bore Siegfried, who himself went on to marry his aunt, Brünhilde. (And you think your family is dysfunctional.) We mostly call her Zig, Ziggy, or Sieglinde, but on occasion refer to her as “the Zigster,” or “the princess.”

Does Ziggy do more to help or hinder your writing?

In general she does neither, spending her day lazing about the house while I write. But when she’s ready for her walk or wants to play, there’s no ignoring her piercing barks as she sits at my feet with that look in her eye: Get up from the computer right this instant and pay attention to me!

Has Ziggy inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Sally’s dog, Buster, is certainly inspired in part by Ziggy, but also by every other dog I’ve known in my life. And Ziggy and Buster do share an infatuation with critters who scurry and who live in holes.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

All of the above, and also geckos and mongoose, when we are in Hawai‘i. But squirrels—especially the ground variety that burrow by the levee in Santa Cruz—are without doubt her favorite. We don’t even say the letters S-Q around Ziggy, lest she go berserk.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Those will all do in a pinch, but she mostly loves to chew the eyes off stuffed animals we buy for a quarter at garage sales, then pull the stuffing out of their eye sockets, imagining herself (or so I imagine) one of those vicious hyenas feasting on zebra from Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.

Where is Ziggy's favorite outdoor destination?

Anywhere that has (shhhhh!)...s-qs. And she loved tearing through the snowbanks in Fairbanks, Alaska, where we once spent five months.

Who is Ziggy's best pet-pal?

Her biggest crush was an Alaskan husky mix named Makai. She met him when we were in Fairbanks, and fell head-over-paws in love with that handsome dog. Makai taught her to lift her leg when she pees—which she still does when she’s marking—and they would run off together for adventures in the woods until we put a stop to it (we were worried the little Zigster could be carried off by an eagle; this was Alaska, after all). But her best long-term pal is Daisy, whom Ziggy met as a pup in Santa Cruz.

What is Ziggy's best quality?

Her curiosity. She’s fascinated by the world and is constantly checking everything out: looking around, listening, cocking her head, wondering, “wait, what’s that?”

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

She would make it so I never left the house without taking her with me.

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

What goes through your brain when you lie there in the sun gazing out at the world?

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

Rachel Maddow. She’s smart and curious like Ziggy, but also has a bit of the devil dog in her.

What advice would Ziggy give if asked?

Make sure you’re adopted by humans who are retired or who write for a living. They don’t leave home nearly as much as those other kinds.

Visit Leslie Karst’s author website.

--Marshal Zeringue