Sunday, November 19, 2017

Amy Giles & Sally

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Amy Giles, and I’m a young adult author. My debut Now Is Everything is available November 7th. The sassy girl with the racing stripe down the middle of her head is Sally, my faithful canine companion. Sally is five years old. Because she’s a muttigree, our best guess is she’s a Shepherd mix with some Jack Russell.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Sally joins me every morning for coffee and snuggles. Since I work from home, she’s always by my side. We’re both homebodies.

What's brewing?

I’m not much of a bean snob (unlike Hadley’s father in Now Is Everything). Today’s selection is Eight O’Clock Coffee, on sale from Stop & Shop, but perked in my electric percolator. I have a French Press in case of emergency (power outage), but I have no idea how to use it, TBH.

Any treats for you or Sally on this occasion?

Sally gets a sprinkle of grated cheese on her morning kibble. She’s fancy that way. I’m having a Kind breakfast bar.

How were you and Sally united?

A few weeks after our dog Max went over the rainbow bridge, my family felt the time was right to go to the shelter and adopt a new pup. I didn’t think I was ready; my heart was still shattered. But they talked me into it, and I’m so glad they did. Sally was curled up in a tiny ball in her cage. When they pulled her out and handed her to me, it was love at first sight. Sally wrapped her paws around my neck and wouldn’t let go.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

Ha, welllll…my daughter Maggie named her Sally after Charlie Brown’s sister. My daughter Julia gave her the middle name of Hugsalot, because of Sally’s paws wrapped around my neck. That later evolved into Sally Peesalot when she urinated all over the vet’s office a few weeks later.

Does Sally do more to help or hinder your writing?

Sally is usually a great writing companion. If she needs to go out, she’ll put a gentle paw on my arm to tell me, “Okay, stop now and open the back door.” But one day when I had a deadline looming on a significant revision, a cute bunny took up residence in our flower bed. Sally barked out the window all day. That wasn’t fun.

Has Sally inspired the creation of any dogs in your fiction?

I have yet to put Sally in one of my stories, but now that you’ve pointed that out, I do feel a little guilty about it.

Cat, postman, rabbit...?

Squirrels, cats, rabbits, other dogs…any critter that dares to walk by the house will elicit the canine alarm. Nighttime can be brutal when the raccoons and possums come out to play.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

We’ve been trying to teach Sally how to fetch for five years. It’s still a game of catch me if you can.

Who is Sally's best pet-pal?

Sally plays nicely with Indiana, Franklin, and Augie. She just doesn’t pick up on the cues when they’re tired and no longer want to play. Indiana once hid behind a hydrangea bush to get away from Sally when he’d had enough.

What is Sally's best quality?

She is super lovable with everyone. She really is one of the most affectionate dogs I’ve ever met.

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

She’d want me to share her same boundless energy.

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

“Sally, what do you think happened in that last episode of The Sopranos?”

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

Amy Adams or Emma Stone.

What advice would Sally give if asked?

“See that deceptively benign patch of grass over there? Do not…I repeat…do not crawl on your belly over that. That’s a Yellowjacket nest. You do not want those buggers nipping at your nether regions. Trust me!”

Visit Amy Giles's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Valerie Constantine & Zorba

Who is in the photo at right?

This is Valerie Constantine, half of the writing team of Liv Constantine, author of The Last Mrs. Parrish, sitting with the amazing Zorba, probably the greatest dog in the world. He is a seven-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and he loves to read––mostly history and mostly about England, since his breed hails from there. And actually he prefers tea to coffee.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We have our morning coffee together and I bounce ideas off him before I begin writing. Here we are sitting at a friend’s lake house and enjoying the scenery.

What's brewing?

I have a big cup of Fancy Santos from Baltimore Coffee and Tea Company.

Any treats for you or Zorba on this occasion?

Zorba will eat anything I put in front of him, but his favorite treat is a petite Greenie. Today, though, he is having a Trader Joe’s Organic Chicken Brown Rice Recipe Stick. He loves those as well.

How were you and Zorba united?

My husband spotted a Cavalier sitting in a car at a grocery store parking lot and waited for the owner to return. When she got to the car, he asked where she had gotten the dog. It turned out she was a breeder, so he gave her our information and asked her to call us when the next litter came along. We forgot about it, but a year and a half later, she called to tell us that she had a new litter of two. The girl was already taken, but the boy was available, and that’s how we wound up with our favorite dog of all time.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

My husband and Zorba are both British. I am Greek. I guess I needed to be represented, thus the name Zorba, as in Zorba the Greek. Now he seems half and half to me. I like that. I occasionally call him Z for short.

Does Zorba do more to help or hinder your writing?

Zorba definitely helps my writing. He sits quietly near me when I write. He also gets me outside to walk, which often is a time that I’m hit with great inspiration.

Has Zorba inspired the creation of any dogs in your fiction?

Not so far, but my husband, who is also a writer, keeps talking about collaborating on a Zorba diary. Zorba has quite a mind of his own and isn’t bashful about letting us know. He also has a great sense of humor.

Cat, postman, rabbit...?

Squirrel, with a capital S. They drive him crazy, and he’s never caught one in his life. We have a fox and some deer that cross our lawn occasionally, and he goes mad with them as well. Loves the postman and UPS lady, because they give him treats. He’s not very fond of anyone walking past our house…

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

None of the above. Zorba won’t play with a toy unless someone plays with him. Tug of war is his favorite. He won’t fetch. He sort of looks at you like “You threw it, you go fetch it!”

Who is Zorba’s best pet-pal?

I am. He’s my best bud. The breeder told me that “a female dog will love you, but a male dog will fall in love with you.” That has worked both ways with Zorba and me.

What is Zorba’s best quality?

Without question it is his sweetness. He’s the most lovable dog ever!

If Zorba could change one thing about Marylanders, what would it be?

He would make them better drivers. They would also not do 50 miles an hour in the fast lane, but would instead move over so that I could pass them.

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

How much of what we say to you do you understand?

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

Colin Firth. Posh and British.

What advice would Zorba give if asked?

Take long walks, stop and smell the roses along the way, get enough rest and spread lots of love.

Visit Valerie Constantine's website. Learn more about The Last Mrs. Parrish: A Novel by Liv Constantine (the pen name of sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine).

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Lynne Constantine & Greyson

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me, Lynne Constantine, and Greyson.

How were you and Greyson united?

We were actually on a list with two rescue sites for a golden retriever. My beloved golden, Tucker, was ill and our kids begged us to get a dog to keep him company and to help with the transition when he passed. I got an email that there was a three-month-old silver lab available asking if we were interested. My husband and I talked about it before telling the kids, and he went to meet him. He Facetimed me from the rescue and as soon as I saw him I knew he was for us. We picked him up a week later and he and Tucker, our golden got to play together for six weeks before we had to say goodbye to Tucker.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

He was called Ash when we got him, and we decided it sounded too much like another not so nice word. We through lists of names until our kids both decided that since he is a gray color, Greyson would be a good name for him. He sometimes answers to no no no, stop chewing that, or please don’t bite me.

Does Greyson do more to help or hinder your writing?

At this puppy stage, definitely hinders. However, Tucker was by my side when I wrote all my books to date (and he was a tough puppy) so I have hope that when Greyson matures, he will take his place next to me in my office.

Has Grayson inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Not yet. But if I have any plots that include a dog that shreds paper – he’s in.

Cat, postman, rabbit…?

Yes, yes, yes as well as other dogs, reflections in the glass that look like other dogs, animals on television and anyone wearing a hat or hoodie. All inspire ferocious barking out of character with his adorable face.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick…?

Loves them all as well as socks, shoes, cardboard, scarves….

What is Greyson’s best quality?

His exuberance. He embraces life whole-heartedly and goes after everything with gusto.

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

That I would be more flexible about letting him leap into our bed at night. Maybe when he calms down a little.

Visit Lynne Constantine's website. Learn more about The Last Mrs. Parrish: A Novel by Liv Constantine (the pen name of sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine).

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

S.F. Henson & Francie

Who is in the photo at right?

Here you see me, S.F. Henson, attorney and author of Devils Within, my debut YA novel that's out October 31. In my lap, sitting so that I can't reach my sweet caffeinated nectar, is Francie. She's a little over a year old. We think she's a Golden Retriever mix. There could be some German Shepherd in there, but honestly Francie is probably the result of a drunken night, so anything could be mixed in. (Just out of sight, and reach, is my favorite coffee cup).

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We needed an afternoon caffeine boost (and by "we" I totally mean me. Francie doesn't need any additional energy!). The weather was gorgeous and Francie had just rocked her daily training, so we headed to the back porch to relax.

What's brewing?

Usually it would be a mocha from my favorite local coffee shop, Angel's Island, but since it's closed on Sundays I'm drinking a Gevalia mocha latte from the two-in-one autodrip/k-cup coffee maker in my kitchen.

Any treats for you or Francie on this occasion?

Francie got a mix of Pet Botanics chicken flavored training treats and good old fashioned milk bones. An afternoon with my pup was treat enough for me.

How were you and Francie united?

My husband and I adopted her from Animal Services about a month ago. We'd actually gone to look at another dog and saw Francie curled up on a cot in the back of her pen. We couldn't resist her tufted ears and sweet nature. We thought she was a calm, chill older dog who needed love when everyone else was interested in the puppies. Turns out she was younger than we thought and she'd just been spayed. So not calm, drugged. Saturday morning she was a whole new animal! We couldn't be happier with our choice, though.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

Our last dog--Atticus Hairyson Henson--was named after Atticus Finch (see the attorney and author part above) and my favorite Beatle (George Harrison), so we decided to stick with the literary and music theme. Her full name is Francis Lane Henson, Francie for short. Francie comes from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, a favorite book of both mine and my husband's, and Lane from "Penny Lane." She gets the full thing when she's bad, and Francie-bug when she's adorable (which is most of the time).

Does Francie do more to help or hinder your writing?

Right now, hinder, but she's learning. She was a stray before we adopted her, so she's been desperate for attention. The more comfortable she gets with us, though, the more she trusts that we're not going anywhere and the more independent she's becoming. It's really great to see her transform and become more confident!

Has Francie inspired the creation of any dogs in your fiction?

Not yet, but I have some ideas brewing.

Cat, postman, rabbit...?

Cat, rabbit, squirrel, bird, chipmunk, you name it. If it darts, Francie is on it! We're trying to find ways to channel her prey drive before she drives our two cats insane.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

She's a sucker for a squeaker, but she really loves her Frisbee. She hasn't quite figured out the catching part, but the chase is half the fun for Francie.

Who is Francie's best pet-pal?

She'd love it to be the cats, but seeing as how they want nothing to do with her, Francie's best friend is my husband. She knows the moment his car pulls in the drive and wags her tail so hard her entire body waggles.

What is Francie's best quality?

Francie is extraordinarily good-natured. She loves everyone she meets and is the most complacent dog ever. We can play with her paws, cover her eyes with her ears, or hold her like a shepherd carrying a sheep and she just goes along with it.

If Francie could change one thing about Alabamians, what would it be?

She'd want more restaurants with outdoor seating. Francie loves going out with us (anywhere, everywhere), but we may be getting a little tired of the same two or three restaurants that allow dogs on their patio.

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

Do you think you're actually a cat? Francie tends to lay on the back of the couch, and drape across our backs, and try to squeeze her body other places cats go that dogs don't fit, so I'm not sure if she understands that she's a canine at all.

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

Chloe Moretz. Francie is young, and kind of sassy. I can totally hear Chloe as her voice.

What advice would Francie give if asked?

If all else fails, roll on your back and show your tummy. Humans can't resist a good tummy.

Visit S.F. Henson's website.

My Book, The Movie: Devils Within.


--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Peter Zheutlin & Jamba

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Peter Zheutlin, lapsed (failed lawyer) and now writer, with Jamba, the third of our three rescue dogs from Louisiana. She a girl, about three years old we believe, and though her rescuers said she’s a Lab mix, truly, without DNA testing, it’s anyone’s guess. The way she always has her nose to the ground we suspect she’s part hound, like about 99% hound.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I do almost all of my writing at Starbucks where I rent a table for about $5 a day. With three dogs at home it’s practically impossible to get work done there. Now, I’d like to say this was take your dog to work day at Starbucks, but it wasn’t, so I brought my coffee home so Jamba and I could work on your questions together on the deck. Oh, and it’s always a decaf mocha latte with whip cream for me and water for her with a few liver treats.

How were you and Jamba united?

Funny you should ask. We were actually helping our older son, who had recently graduated from business school, find a rescue dog. To his credit, he quickly realized that Jamba was too energetic to be home in his apartment while he worked so she moved in with us and our other two rescue dogs, Albie (an alumnus of Coffee with a Canine) and Salina. Our rescue contact in Louisiana for Jamba was Keri Toth, the same person who helped us adopt Albie.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

Our son went to Tulane University in New Orleans as an undergrad. And Jamba comes from Louisiana. So he named her after one of Louisiana’s most famous dishes, jambalaya. That’s her full name, Jambalaya, or Jamba for short. Of course our younger son started calling her “Juice,” as in Jamba Juice, so that also stuck.

Does Jamba do more to help or hinder your writing?

Both. She helps in that she provides a lot of good material. She’s a free spirit and a funny dog with a lot of zest for life. But she could play fetch with a tennis ball twenty-four hours a day and can be pretty insistent about it. It’s hard to say no.

Please tell us about your new book, Rescued: What Second Chance Dogs Teach Us About Living With Purpose, Loving With Abandon, and Finding Joy in the Little Things.

Rescued picks up the rescue story where my last book, Rescue Road, left off. Rescue Road took readers deep into the world of dog rescue, how it’s done and the remarkable people who do the really difficult work of saving dogs from terrible fates. That book ended with dogs being delivered into the arms of their new families. Rescued is about living with these second-chance dogs and the life lessons they teach us.

Cat, postman, rabbit...?

Albie and Salina are obsessed with critters. They’ll stare at a tree for hours after spotting a squirrel there. Jamba could care less. It’s all about the tennis ball. Albie and Salina also go nuts when the FedEx or UPS guy comes to the house. Jamba just barks to be part of the group. She has no idea why she’s barking except that the others are.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?



See above. She loves tennis balls more than Rafael Nadal. Her dream job would be to be a ball girl at the U.S. Open tennis championships.

Who is Jamba's best pet-pal?

A tennis ball. Any tennis ball. After that, Salina. They love to play
”defend the bed” in which they fight for control of our bed.

What is Jamba's best quality?


Innocence. In the fall when the leaves start to fall she will spend hours in the back yard chasing falling leaves. She looks like a child in a snow globe staring in wonder at what’s falling from the sky. I refer to her as the happiest camper in camp.

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

She thinks I’m perfect. It’s another of her admirable qualities. Please don’t ruin her fantasy.

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

Can we take a break from throwing the ball now?

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



Easy. Tina Fey. If Jamba could talk I think she’d be hilarious.

What advice would Jamba give if asked?

Get a ball, be happy that you have that ball, and forget the rest. Everything is just nonsense.

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

Coffee with a Canine: Peter Zheutlin & Albie.


--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley & Polly

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, and I write children's historical fiction. Polly is a female Lhasa Apso, right around 10 years old. (She would like to apologize for her goofy-looking ears, and say emphatically that it was not her fault. The groomer did it.)

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I drink coffee every morning. Polly does not drink coffee, but she has a special kind of dog treat she would like to have every morning. She doesn't always get one, but she usually does.

What's brewing?

A French press dark roast with copious amounts of half-and-half.

Any treats for you or Polly and Sarah on this occasion?

No, this isn't a special occasion. Polly and I go to work every morning.

How were you and Polly united?

I bought her as a gift for my husband, because he had a Lhasa growing up. But she's become a joint dog. She likes being with me during the day.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

Our first dog was named Under Dog, and so we named our second Sweet Polly Purebred, the name of Underdog's consort. (Under died a few years ago, at an advanced age. We still miss him.)

Does Polly do more to help or hinder your writing?

It depends on the day. Usually she sits in the windowseat of my office and lets me know if anyone is coming up the driveway. Sometimes, especially in winter when the heating vent under my desk is blowing warm air, she comes and lays on my feet. I find that very companionable. Sometimes, however, she falls asleep and snores so loudly that I have to go wake her up. I can't write with that much commotion.

Has Polly inspired the creation of any fictional dogs? Has Sarah inspired the creation of any fictional horses?

I'm astonished to realize that I don't have any dogs in my fiction. I'll have to remedy that. Sarah, my mare, has not yet inspired a fictional horse, but probably will some day as she's quite a character. Butter, the pony in The War That Saved My Life and The War I Finally Won, was inspired by Pal, my daughter's darling quarterhorse.

Cat, postman, rabbit...?

Polly is afraid of the barn cats, with good reason. She once almost tackled a groundhog, but thought the better of it at the last moment.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

No. Polly is too dignified for any of that nonsense. She does not fetch, and has no interest in playing with things she can not eat.

Is Sarah the mare Polly's best pet-pal, or is there a canine that holds that honor?

Her best pet-pal is her cousin Bogey, my sister's dog. We often take our dogs with us when we visit each other.

What is Polly's best quality?

Attentiveness.

If Polly could change one thing about Tennesseans, what would it be?

Nothing. All her favorite people are Tennesseans.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Polly and Sarah could speak, who should voice them?

No idea--I'm not a movie person.

What advice would Polly give if asked?

Get plenty of sleep.

Visit Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Ismée Williams & Rowan

Who is in the photo at right?

This is Rowan. He’s an eighteen-month old Australian Labradoodle. I am the one wearing the dress. My name is Ismée Williams. I am a pediatric cardiologist and an author. My debut YA novel, Water in May, released Sept 12, 2017 with Amulet Books.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Well, Rowan had to have his influenza vaccine (something I recommend everyone should all get every fall, unless you have a contraindication such as an egg allergy or a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome – remember, I’m a doctor). Since Rowan did such a good job at the vet, I thought he deserved a treat!

What's brewing?

We love Starbucks, because they make something special for Rowan: a puppaccino (a cup filled with whipped cream). I prefer their decaf lattes but today I have a chocolate chip Frappuccino because it is hot and muggy out!

Any treats for you or Rowan on this occasion?

None other than the puppaccino!

How were you and Rowan united?

Our girls had been begging for a dog for years–basically since they could talk. Getting a dog didn’t fit into our hectic two-working-parent city lifestyle. So I always brushed them off by saying if I get a book published, we can get a dog. Well, you can bet that was the first thing they thought of when I told everyone about my book deal in 2015. The kids jumped from their seats at the dinner table and started shrieking, “Now we can get a dog!” So much for postponing the inevitable! But here’s the other catch: I am allergic to dogs. I always have been. I had horrible eczema and asthma as a child. So we did a lot of research before committing and found out this breed is supposed to be hypoallergenic. We even visited the home of a colleague of my husband’s who had an Australian Labradoodle from the same breeder we ended up using just to make sure it was true. A few months later, a tiny bundle of red joy arrived. Now I can’t imagine our family without him.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

There are five of us in the family. And we are all rather stubborn and opinionated. We must have gone through a hundred names. Finally, we settled on Rowan. It was my suggestion, based on the character from Sarah J. Maas’s amazing Throne of Glass series. I thought we would end up with an honorable, brave, stoic dog. My eldest daughter just this summer tore through the Throne of Glass series and announced that our pup Rowan could not be more different than Sarah J. Maas’s Rowan! Oh well. But there’s more to the story. My husband wants to point out that Rowan was the one name he didn't like. He was out of town when the final decisions were made. My 6-year announced the verdict to him over the phone and explained that his vote didn’t count as much as the four females in the house. Luckily, my husband didn’t mind too much!

Does Rowan do more to help or hinder your writing?

Rowan doesn’t hinder too much, except for when he is walking around the apartment looking pathetic because no one will play with him. He has perfected what we call the ‘saddest dog in the world’ face.

Has Rowan inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Not yet. But he has enough cuteness to star in is his own picture book series, I think.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Squirrel. Hands down. He loves to chase squirrels. Luckily, he’s not fast enough to catch them!

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Rowan loves all his toys. For my own sanity, I don’t give him squeakers. His favorite toy is a rubber Frisbee by Kong. He’s not the most athletic dog, but he will on occasion catch the Frisbee in mid-air.

Where is Rowan's favorite outdoor destination?

We have a small cottage in CT that has a fenced in pool area. That is Rowan’s favorite place because we let him off-leash and he can chase the Frisbee (and the squirrels).

Who is Rowan's best pet-pal?

My good friend has a very attractive and sweet goldendoodle named Maple who lives a few blocks away from us in New York City. Maple and Rowan met as puppies and they have been besties ever since. Sometimes the dogs see each other before my friend and I do and they start going nuts pulling us towards one another!

What is Rowan's best quality?

Rowan is very sweet and calm. He is even a certified therapy dog already! He loves to be pet and he is incredibly soft.

If Rowan could change one thing about New Yorkers, what would it be?

Rowan would make it a rule that every New Yorker has to stop and pet him. When he was a puppy we would laugh because his head would follow each person down the sidewalk, cocking as if in disbelief the person didn’t stop to pay him any compliments and attention.

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

What do you think about the whole dogs versus cats debate?

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

Chris Pratt from Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy. He has just the right mix of cute humor and goofiness.

What advice would Rowan give if asked?

Chillax. Everything is going to be all right.

Visit Ismée Williams's website.

--Marshal Zeringue