Thursday, October 8, 2015

Nina Revoyr & Ariat and Russell

Who is in the photo at right?

This is Ariat, a Border Collie, and Russell, an English Springer Spaniel.

I’m Nina Revoyr, a novelist. We live in Los Angeles.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We’re marking the publication of my fifth novel, Lost Canyon, a mountain adventure story that features a Border Collie. The book is about wilderness, race, middle age, drug production, and Los Angeles. But Ariat doesn’t care about any of that—she only cares about the dog.

What's brewing?

I’m a huge fan of Mother Lode Coffee, which is produced in small batches in Sonora, California—a Sierra foothill town that saw its heyday during the Gold Rush. We always bring it home after trips to the mountains, and now I’ve converted a bunch of other city folk to Mother Lode, too. French Roast is my favorite, although I also love the 49er blend.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Coffee is Ariat’s favorite treat. She waits for us to turn our backs and then steals from our cups. Russell was a fan of lemons. He’d jump spectacularly to pick them off the tree, and would bark if he couldn’t reach them.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Ariat’s previous owners named her for a pair of cowboy boots she destroyed as a puppy. She was originally adopted from a rodeo, and then was running loose in the mountains. Russell, my Springer Spaniel, was a rolly-polly puppy boy, very sweet, and the name just fit.

How were you and your dogs united?

Ariat showed up one day during a blizzard in the Sierras, and completely wrapped us around her paw. The people she was living with were about to take her to the pound. They couldn’t handle her—she’d get out and dig through people’s trash, cross the highway. She was wild and beautiful, with an unruly spirit—and she clearly needed someone to love her. I got Russell from a breeder in upstate New York when he was eight weeks old. He’s the cousin of a friend’s dog—I used to live in the area—and they come from a line of goofy, good-natured, sweet and beautiful dogs.

How do your dogs help--or hinder--your work?

Russell would lie at my feet, or next to me. He was always at my side. Ariat often disapproves of me working and paws at me. But they have always helped my spirit, which helps my work.

Have your dogs inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Russell was the inspiration for Brett in my last novel, Wingshooters. I am so very glad I wrote about him, because we just lost him recently, and it comforts me to know that he lives on in that book. Ariat is the inspiration for Timber in the new book, Lost Canyon. But it’s a bit misleading to say the dogs are fictional. The dogs are very much my dogs—personality, physical traits, everything. The dogs are real, but the stories are made up.

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

Russell loved them all. In fact, there’s a comical scene of Brett with a massive stick in Wingshooters.

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

Ariat hates them all, especially squirrels. She patrols our yard and chases them out.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Each other.

What is each dog's best quality?

Russell had tremendous emotional intelligence and empathy—he was a solid, wonderful, fiercely loyal, caretaking boy. Also a total clown.

Ariat is constantly engaged and energetic, very curious. She keeps us on our toes.

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

Russell would want everyone to chill out. Ariat would want everyone to get organized.

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

My spouse was amazingly good at channeling Russell’s thoughts and voice. No actor could measure up.

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

English isn’t necessary—they answer me all the time.

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

Get outside more often. And take more naps.

Visit Nina Revoyr's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 5, 2015

Waverly Fitzgerald & Pepe

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Waverly Fitzgerald, with Faizel Kahn, the owner of our favorite coffee shop behind the counter, and my co-author, Curt Colbert.

I'm holding Pepe, the Chihuahua who inspired the mystery novels Curt and I write together.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Curt and I meet every Tuesday at Café Argento (where this photo was taken) to work on our novels. We’ve written five of them so far and one short story. Pepe doesn’t usually come along but this time he did so he could have his picture taken.

What's brewing?

Curt always has black coffee. I get a Waverly latte (that is a latte made with half lowfat milk and half half-and-half). The coffee is locally roasted at Café Vita just down the street.

Any treats for you or Pepe on this occasion?

Pepe rarely takes treats from strangers when we’re out, although I think if they offered bacon he would accept. Curt usually has a bagel with cream cheese or butter. I sometimes I have a breakfast bagel with hot sauce.

How did Pepe get his name? Any nicknames?

My daughter [with Pepe, photo left] named him. She’s a singer and she sings a lot of Billie Holiday songs. After she adopted and named Pepe, we found out Billie Holiday had a white Chihuahua that looks just like him called Pepper. Pepe also goes by The Pepster, Peps, Babyface and Little Man. Sometimes I call him Pepperoni or Pepito.

How were you and Pepe united?

Pepe is my daughter’s dog but he lived with me for many years (after she moved back home). When she moved out again, she only moved next door so I get to see him almost every day.

Are there any dogs in your fiction that are inspired by Pepe?

Oh, yes, definitely. The crime-solving, talking Chihuahua, Pepe Sullivan, in our five mystery novels is clearly modeled after Pepe Fitzgerald. Like his namesake character, Pepe hates being dressed up and thinks he is much bigger than he is. Unlike his namesake character, he has a sweet disposition and doesn’t talk much.

Does Pepe do more to help or hinder your writing?

Since he’s the inspiration for the mystery novels, he definitely helps. Readers frequently tell us we’ve really captured the Chihuahua personality.

Who are Pepe's best pet-pals?

He currently lives with a cat named Idzy who he scrupulously avoids. He can get quite sulky if too much attention is paid to the cat.

Where is Pepe's favorite outdoor destination?

He loves to go for walks in the neighborhood and he loves to be the one who chooses the route. Mostly he appears to be checking up on other dogs and what they’ve been marking. He’s really an indoor dog, not an outdoor dog. When it rains, as it does all the time in Seattle, he will get to front door and just stare out, as if to say: You’ve got be kidding. You want me to go out in that?

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

A squeaky toy. His favorite toy is the detachable tail off a stuffed Eeyore. He wants us to throw that so he can show off his prowess in capturing it and worrying it to death.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

If he encounters a cat while on a walk, he will go in a big circle around it, which always confuses the cats. The postman is fine. He loves visitors and he loves getting things in the mail. He doesn’t seem to notice squirrels but chases crows and pigeons.

What is Pepe's best quality?

His adorableness. He can get away with almost anything because he is so cute.

If Pepe could change one thing about Seattleites, what would it be?

Pepe would like to be worshiped by everyone he meets. Also he would appreciate more sunshine. And he would like to be able to go into restaurants and stores, like dogs do in more civilized countries.

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

I had to ask Curt because I don’t watch enough movies to know. Curt thinks Pepe would sound like Robert Downey Jr. But the fictional Pepe, who speaks Spanglish, would sound like Antonio Banderas.

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

Who is the alpha dog? Me or you?

Visit The Wonderful World of Pepe blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Peter Zheutlin & Albie

Who is in the photo at right?

The human’s name is Peter Zheutlin. He’s a writer and his new book is Rescue Road: One Man, Thirty Thousand Dogs and a Million Miles on the Last Hope Highway. The dog is Albie, a yellow lab mix who was found wandering alone on a road in rural Louisiana in early 2012. He managed to survive for several months in a high-kill shelter before he was rescued by a local humane organization and adopted by Peter and his family in Massachusetts. The vet thinks he is about 5 or 6 years old now but no one knows for sure.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

No special occasion. We just love each other’s company and go as many places together as we can.

What's brewing?

I’m a Starbucks regular unless I can find a funky, independent coffee house around. For me it’s always a decaf mocha latte wherever I am. Albie doesn’t drink coffee but he can have a spoonful of the whipped cream.

Any treats for you or Albie on this occasion?

Well, today Albie got a special treat because he was especially good while I was being interviewed about the book. He just lay at my feet quietly the whole time amidst the lights and cameras. So he got his own cup of vanilla frozen yogurt today.

How were you and Albie united?

Long story, but the short version is that we found Albie online through a terrific organization called Labs4rescue based in Connecticut. They work with rescue organizations, primarily in the southern states where the dog overpopulation problem is huge, to save these sweet souls. Once we formally adopted Albie he rode north with a man named Greg Mahle who runs Rescue Road Trips. He’s the main figure in the book, a big hearted, devoted man who has driven over a million miles bringing “rescue” dogs to their forever homes in the northeast. It takes a village to save a dog and Greg was just one of many people who extended their hands and hearts to help Albie make the journey to safety and give him a second chance at life.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

While researching the book I met the woman in Louisiana who actually saved Albie’s life. She went to the shelter where he was a couple of times a week to walk him and feed him and hug him while she and another woman looked for a home for Albie. She gave him the name and we kept it. I asked her how she came up with name. I thought there would be some deep meaning behind it. But she said it was the name of one of the people on the TV show Real Housewives of New Jersey. My wife and I both grew up in New Jersey so I guess it was meant to be.

Does Albie do more to help or hinder your writing?

Oh, not even close: he inspired the whole book! And before that he inspired a whole series of columns I wrote for The Christian Science Monitor. I wish he could type!

Please tell us about your new book.

The book was my attempt to understand how and why Albie, and many thousands like him, come north every year from the deep south. I wanted to learn why there’s such an enormous dog overpopulation problem down south, and who works to save these dogs and get them safely north. It can be heartbreaking work because for every dog like Albie that finds a loving home, countless others find nothing but heartache and death. The book is both the saddest of stories and the happiest of stories; the joy at the end of each of Greg Mahle’s rescue road trips, when dogs and their new forever families are united, is something to behold. I cry every time I see it. It’s a book about the deeply compassionate people who sacrifice so much to get these dogs to safety.

Do you have any favorites among the many dogs you met while working on Rescue Road?

Yes, but if I tell you I will spoil the ending. There were so many wonderful, sweet, vulnerable dogs that I met along the way. Not all of their stories ended happily.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

If you work for the Postal Service, UPS or FedEx, best to just leave the package on the doorstep and get back in the truck quickly. Albie never used to bark at anyone, but for some reason that changed. He seems to have it in for people in uniforms. And what Lab isn’t obsessed with rabbits and squirrels?

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

All of the above, but no squeaky toy that resembles a critter lasts more than three minutes before its insides are out.

Who is Albie's best pet-pal?

Me, of course. Oh, you said “pet-pal.” Again, I’d spoil the ending of the book if I said.

What is Albie's best quality?

He is incredibly earnest.

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

He’d clarify whether they should be called Massachusettsans or Massachusettsites.

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

I would ask him to tell me everything about his life before he came to us, whether he lived with people and, if so, how they treated him, how he came to be wandering alone and frightened on a road in rural Louisiana and how he survived. His previous life is a mystery.

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

I am tempted to say Seth MacFarlane who voiced Brian, the dog in Family Guy. But Albie isn’t quite as world-wise as Brian; Albie is an innocent. So maybe Mark Ruffalo. Actually, if I were casting the movie of my book (wouldn’t that be nice?) I’d cast Mark Ruffalo as Greg Mahle, the central figure in the book. He’d be perfect.

What advice would Albie give if asked?

Eat all your vegetables and be kind to all living things (except delivery men in uniforms).

Visit Peter Zheutlin's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sanae Suzuki & Leo, Oro, Kula, Bubu, Lumi, and Happy

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Sanae Suzuki, Bach Flower Registered Practitioner with the Bach Centre, UK, Whole Health Macrobiotic Nutrition Educator, Counselor for People and Pets, Co-owner of Seed Kitchen in Venice Beach and recent author of Healthy Happy Pooch.

The pooches are Leo, Oro, Kula, Bubu, Lumi, and Happy.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

The occasion is the release of Healthy Happy Pooch.

What's brewing?

My homemade Lavender and Lemon Balm Tea.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

The dogs are snacking on sweet potato cookies or kale cookies while I munch on Seed Kitchen's original gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Originally they were all named after different countries gold. For instance, Kula is Hawaiian gold, Oro is Italian and Spanish gold. Once Leo came, we thought he was a handsome boy like Leonardo Dicaprio, hence the name Leo. BuBu was so cute, so that name just stuck. Lumi is from the French word Lumiere...the French Light. The last one, Happy is extremely squeaky and happy, so we named her Happy!

How were you and your dogs united?

I once saw a photo of Leo, with a big smile and felt a connection that I adopted him from the shelter. From there he fell in love with Oro. I was involved with PAWS team, who raises dogs for disabled people and had received a puppy, Kudha. All of my dogs had made direct eye contact with us and that is how we knew they were our dogs.

Cat, postman, squirrel....?

Strangers coming onto our property, squirrels, and people they don't like.

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

Favorite toys are soft and squeaky-toys are their favorites. They also enjoy playing with balls and sticks when outdoors.

Where is your dogs' favorite outdoor destination?

Each of our dogs love Manzanita Lake in North Fork near Yosemeti National Park where they can swim and dive off of rocks.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Their best pet-pals are Yogi; when we go to North Fork he loves chasing all of the girl dogs.

What is each dog's best quality?

Leo is a lover-boy, he loves many people and gives everyone a big smile and is really faithful to Oro.
Oro is a certified K-9 good citizen training to be a search dog. She is a very thorough and careful and detailed orientated.
Kula is very gentle, obedient, service and therapy dog that receives directions very well. Also, a very good leader.
Bubu is very active boy and is a great agility dog. He has never missed jumping over a hurdle during his classes.
Lumi is very alert, smart and won't take BS from anyone. (Example: if we promise to take her out for a walk, she will not let us forget) She is also in training to be a K-9 Good Citizen.
Happy is our baby who loves to be around with us and enjoys watching good, funny movies.

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

If my dogs could change one thing, it would be to open a dog-restaurant, but also humans could eat there as well.

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

Leo - Leonardo Dicaprio
Oro - Carrie Underwood
Kula - Meryl Streep
Bubu - Bradley Cooper
Lumi - Sandra Bullock
Happy - Jessica Alba

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

What's for dinner?

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

Don't do so much and have fun.

About Healthy Happy Pooch:

Healthy Happy Pooch is the remarkable story of a woman and her dogs. Over the last 20 years, Sanae Suzuki has pulled herself back from the brink of death — twice—by using a healthy diet and a holistic lifestyle approach. During these periods of brave struggle, she pondered the idea that what was working for her might just work for her pooches. By feeding them human-grade, plant-based foods, she saw them recover from illness, become more vibrant, and live to ripe, old ages. Healthy Happy Pooch is their story.

Visit the Healthy Happy Pooch website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Polly Dugan & Tripp

Who is pictured in these photos?

I’m Polly Dugan, a writer and the author of two books, So Much a Part of You, a linked short story collection, and a novel, The Sweetheart Deal. I’m married with two sons and I also have a little dog-sitting business, so I’m often surrounded by multiple dogs when I work.

Tripp is an English type Labrador Retriever who will turn six in October. He’s very handsome and gets by on his good looks a lot. He’s very popular at my sons’ school and considers himself the Mayor of the Beach since anytime we go to the coast he has to meet and greet every other dog he sees, sometimes from a great distance. He likes the canine company my dog-sitting generates. Some of our guests have included an English bulldog named Mac, a standard poodle named Rosie and a career-changed guide dog from Guide Dog Foundation named Jack Pot.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I’m a daily coffee drinker so I begin every morning with at least the first cup in bed with Tripp lying between my husband and me. He doesn’t sleep with us but he knows once we’re awake that he’s allowed in ‘his spot’ in the middle. If I’m dog-sitting there may be one or two other dogs on the floor next to the bed waiting to be fed. When school’s in session my final cup in the morning is in a travel mug so when I drop my boys off at school my accessories are Tripp’s leash in one hand, my mug in the other.

What's brewing?

We brew Starbucks Italian Roast, ground on 7 ½, in our Cuisinart coffee maker equipped with a timer so the coffee’s hot and ready to drink, black, first thing.

Any treats for you or Tripp on this occasion?

Tripp’s diet is pretty unremarkable, although he would eat himself to death if he had the opportunity, which I take pains to prevent. Every day is a standard fare of kibble with treats of baby carrots and pieces of apple. He knows he’s going to get lucky when I get the apple corer out of the drawer. When the school year is in session I occasionally stop at a local coffee shop and get a breakfast bagel sandwich. They have a jar of free dog treats and I’ll nab a couple for him so we can indulge together.

How were you and Tripp united?

Tripp is a very finely bred English Labrador Retriever but when he was a little over two years old, 85 pounds and still unneutered, his original owner planned to surrender him at her local animal shelter until her friend intervened with an alternate option.

The friend had Tripp neutered and then posted him on Craigslist, which is where I found him. He was a great addition to our family as we had just lost one of our two beloved dogs to cancer a few months earlier, but he was a handful, never having had any kind of discipline or training.

Because the friend provided the breeder’s information, I was able to get in touch with her and let her know her dog had been rehomed with me. Because Portland is the small town that it is, not long after I got him I discovered that another family at my sons’ school owns one of Tripp’s littermates, Lily. We’ve celebrated their birthdays together.

[photo right: Tripp and Mac]

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Tripp’s breeder named him because, being an incredibly loyal dog, he follows his people everywhere and is often underfoot. We’ve literally tripped over him more times than I can count. We never tire of joking: “Why isn’t your name Waldo again?” because we always know exactly where he is unlike Waldo, who always has people wondering over his whereabouts.

He has a bunch of aliases: Triple Dog (because he was such a handful when he first came to us, he was like having three dogs), Trippy, Triples, The Grand Poohbah, Poohbah, Pooh, Baby Bear, Baby Buffalo, The Black Dog, Bubba.

Does Tripp do more to help or hinder your writing?

He for sure helps, simply by keeping me company, since I spend so much time alone, but his constant companionship is never intrusive since he’s a pretty chill guy. And he keeps me mindful for things like taking breaks to eat or take a walk or just go outside to enjoy the day for a few minutes.

Has Tripp inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Yes. In “Collateral,” the last story in my first book, So Much a Part of You, a firefighter and his family own a dog named Emmett, who was completely inspired by Tripp. Although Emmett isn’t a central character in the story, his supporting role is significant.

What is Tripp's best quality?

His temperament. He’s just a giant, gentle spirit.

Who is Tripp's best pet-pal?

My dear friend Carolyn’s three-legged black Lab mix named Jane. They have a great time together wherever they are. Jane bosses Tripp around and he adores her unconditionally, which is a mutually successful relationship model.

[photo right: Tripp & Jane]

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Tripp lives with his cat sister, Ritz, and the two of them enjoy a pretty unremarkable cohabitation. Yet any other cat or dog walking down the sidewalk in front of our house sends Tripp into a barking frenzy. And there are always squirrels in our yard, so as soon as he’s out the back door, everyone is off and running—the hunter and the hunted. I swear they lay in wait to taunt him. One summer there was an opossum that nightly lounged on our fence and tormented us all.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

If Tripp had his way, I’d give him a new squeaky toy every day, which he would eviscerate within the hour, so that never happens. Like any good Lab, he loves a game of fetch with a tennis ball, especially with a Chuckit! to achieve those long-distance throws, but he’s not obsessed the way some dogs are. And, the truth is, another dog’s ball is always far more interesting than his. He’s mostly a stuffed Kong, nylon Galileo bone connoisseur.

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

He’s generally averse to change so he would probably consult me first, and we would co-answer: 1) don’t get a pet unless you’re committed to a responsible, life-long relationship with her/him; 2) pick up your dogs’ poop; 3) keep your dogs on leash; and, 4) if you’re living on the street, don’t get a dog.

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

In no less than 300 non-identical words, what’s it fundamentally like being a dog? For example, ‘Great!’ 300 times is not an acceptable answer. You’re going to have to work a little harder.

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

Someone who is funny and affable who can also do voices. Tripp alternately employs a begging puppy bark he relies on when necessary as well as a fierce, intimidating, deep killer-bear bark, which keeps primarily invisible and imaginary (and perhaps some genuine) threats out of our yard. I’d go with either Tom Hanks or Jimmy Fallon. They’re both popular nice guys and so is Tripp.

What advice would Tripp give if asked?

We should spend more time at the beach and also, let’s get a puppy.

Visit Polly Dugan's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: The Sweetheart Deal.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tamara Ellis Smith & Winn-Dixie

Who is in the photo at right?

This is me, Tamara Ellis Smith. I am a children's book author. I recently had my debut middle grade novel come out – Another Kind of Hurricane. I live in Vermont with my husband, four kids, seven chickens, two cats and this guy, Winn-Dixie. Winn is a border collie mutt. We're not sure exactly how old he is, but we think about 9.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Because I am a freelance writer, most of the time I work from home. But sometimes I work from our local bakery, Sweet Simone's, for a change of scenery, to be away from the mounting dishes in the sink and laundry in the upstairs hall, for a mocha latte. They've got a lovely outside area with tables and because today is unseasonably warm here in Vermont, I thought I'd take Winn-Dixie for a coffee date!

What's brewing?

Sweet Simone's makes the most delicious mocha lattes around. It's delicious, and there's this heaping sludge-like pile of chocolate sits at the bottom of the cup when you're done.

Any treats for you or Winn-Dixie on this occasion?

We might just grab ourselves a Morning Glory muffin. Chunks of candied ginger in a carrot-bran type muffin. Also delicious!

How were you and Winn-Dixie united?

Winn-Dixie came to me late one night off of a plane at airport in Burlington, Vermont. The flight attendant opened his crate and he walked over to me and put his head in my hands. Love at first touch.

I spent a long time before that on Boy, is that website addicting! I was looking for a very specific dog, modeled after my good friend, Kara's dog Cody, who was part border collie, part who knows what. (We used to say he was part Holstein cow, because he was this huge black and white guy!) When I saw Winn Dixie's picture I knew he was the one because of his eyes. They stared straight into the camera. Straight at me. I showed him to Kara and she said, "Yup, he's it." He has the same eyes that Cody had.

He was in a shelter in North Carolina. So that's why the plane ride.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Winn-Dixie came with the name Windsor. But that definitely felt too formal for him. He's playful and also a hard worker. It didn't take long to come up with Winn-Dixie – from Kate DeCamillo's Because of Winn-Dixie. Both dogs are strays. Both came from the south.

My brother, who is the ultimate nicknamer in the family, sometimes calls Winn-Dixie either Windex or Window.

Does Winn-Dixie do more to help or hinder your writing?

Winn-Dixie is the quiet supporter-type. He lies down under the kitchen table, where I work when I'm at home, and emanates good energy.

Has Winn-Dixie inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

He hasn't…yet. My first novel does have a dog in it. His name is Brae and he plays a pivotal role in the story, but Brae is based 100% on Cody, actually. Winn-Dixie's turn will come! And of course, the funny thing is that the reverse is, in fact, true for Winn. A fictional dog inspired him (or at least his name!)

Who is Winn-Dixie's best pet-pal?

Winn-Dixie's best pet-pal is probably our cat Bantam. They're a little bit like ships passing in the night – Bantam is a night owl and Winn is a morning kind of guy – but they rub noses as they pass.

What is Winn-Dixie's best quality?

His best quality is, hands down, his loyalty. Winn sticks by me no matter what. He waits for me if he goes way ahead down the trail, he waits for me when I am out of the house. It's nice, being the mom of four kids with all of the watching and worrying that comes along with that, to have someone else doing the watching and worrying over me!

If Winn-Dixie could change one thing about Vermonters, what would it be?

I don't think Winn-Dixie would change anything about Vermonters, but I do think he'd change Vermont ever-so-slightly. He is from North Carolina after all, so I think he would probably change the weather. Maybe not a lot, but I know he'd love to get rid of the 4 feet of snow/-10 degree weather combination. Ice chunks on his feet are not his favorite things.

If Winn-Dixie could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

Who did you live with before we adopted you? And what was it like? (I'd hope to squeeze that follow-up question too!)

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

My husband, Derek, used to voice both Winn-Dixie and our old chocolate lab, Fundy. It was hysterical. And then my oldest son wrote a one-act play starring both dogs and that was even more hysterical. Based on both of their takes on Winn, we'd need to find a voice that emanated wisdom and just a little bit of superiority over the rest of the canine world. Maybe Alan Rickman? Or Danny Glover?

What advice would Winn-Dixie give if asked?

Be present and connect.

Visit Tamara Ellis Smith's website.

My Book, The Movie: Another Kind of Hurricane.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Nolwen Cifuentes & Parsley

Who is in the photo at right?

Hello! My name is Nolwen and I’m a photographer in Los Angeles. My dog’s name is Parsley, she’s a little lady about 5 &1/2 years old. Not exactly sure what her breed is as she was a rescue but I believe she’s a Maltipoo.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Every day is take your dog to work day so it’s a daily ritual.

What's brewing?

Always a fresh hot cup of Colombian/French roast with almond milk and honey.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Madeline cookies.

Any treat for Parsley on this occasion?

Parsley doesn’t like just any dog treat. Actually she doesn’t really like dog treats at all, she’s very picky. Her favorite treats are veggie sticks from Trader Joe’s.

How were you and Parsley united?

Tailwaggers in Hollywood was hosting a rescue fair. I went thinking “I want a short haired dog with pointy ears.” Parsley looked straight at me, like she knew I was the one. Of course she was very shaggy with long dangly ears. I saw her staring right at me, she didn’t seem to care for one single other person around so I went over to her. I picked her up and she melted in my arms. Immediately I knew she was my dog. I brought her home and she’s been my best buddy ever since.

You've got some great photos of Parsley on your site: is she a happy model?

She is quite the fantastic model. We’ve been in a few shoots together, a commercial and she even has her own Instagram @parsleyboo.

I'm told you'll soon publish a photo book of a trip you and Parsley took across the country; what's the status of that project?

Parsley and I went on a solo road trip from Los Angeles to New Orleans, camping along the way. She loved it! The book is called Lone Star and documents my journey through photographs and a few of my diary entries. There are 12 limited edition copies being released in about two weeks, they are currently getting printed & bound.

Does she have any nicknames?

Parsley has a ton of nicknames! Parsley Boo, Parcel, Parse, Lil P, Little miss… my family somehow started calling her La Paly which quickly became Palita. She answers to them all.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

She loves to chase cats… anything else she will probably run away from or scream at. She’s kind of sassy.

Tennis ball, Frisbee, squeaky-toy...?

Parsley’s favorite sport is definitely soccer. She also pretends to be really tough with her toy squirrel.

Where is Parsley's favorite place for an outing?

Parsley loves the beach! She loves to run in the water and jump in the waves. We like to sneak into Malibu beaches together. On our road trip we went to the Galveston pier in Texas and spent a few hours running through the waves.

Who is Parsley's best pet-pal?

Parsley’s best friend in the world is no doubt her mom, me. I feel like the second she saw me, she knew, that’s my best friend right there.

What is Parsley's most endearing quality?

That’s a hard one to answer, she has so many! She gives high fives and often when you stop petting her she will lift her paw and ask for more.

If Parsley could change one thing about Angelinos, what would it be?

Parsley really dislikes most other dogs… I think she would want dogs to be banned from the city. She would like to be the only dog in the city. Well in the world probably if she had her way. She’s not a big fan of other dogs. Or humans. Or anyone that’s not her mom. Really she’s a cat in disguise.

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

I think Lucille Bluth of Arrested Development is Parsley as a human. Well, with more cuddles.

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

I would ask Parsley where she came from and what her life was before she met me.

Visit the Nolwen Cifuentes Photography website and follow Parsley on Instagram @parsleyboo.

--Marshal Zeringue