Saturday, January 20, 2018

J.D. Horn & Kirby

Who is in the photo at right?

J.D. Horn, author of the Witching Savannah series, Shivaree, and the new The King of Bones and Ashes; Kirby Seamus Weissman-Horn, male, will be declared as being 3 years old on 2/14 (not sure of actual age), Chihuahua.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

There's a cafe named Kofi just a few blocks down the street. Kirby and I sometimes stop by while out on our walk.

What's brewing?

I'm a total addict when it comes to coffee, but here I always order the "Crimsonberry" herbal ice tea.

Any treats for you or Kirby on this occasion?

No. I'm trying to get back in shape for a half marathon in February. Kirby will get a "good boy" biscuit when we get home.

How were you and Kirby united?

We met through Rocket Dog Rescue in Oakland, CA. (Adopt, don't shop!)

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

We were looking for a name that begins with a hard consonant--supposedly dogs respond better to names beginning with a hard consonant--that suited him. He just looks like a Kirby, no? The middle name of Seamus came from my younger stepdaughter. With Kirby's red fur and green--yes, gorgeous green--eyes, he has a bit if an Irish look to him.

We've come to call him "The Professor," as he is an incredibly intelligent and serious dog.

Does Kirby do more to help or hinder your writing?

I've learned to type with one hand while playing tug with a squeaky toy with the other. You decide if that's a help or hindrance.

Has Kirby inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Not yet, but our dear, departed cat Sugar appears as a character in The King of Bones and Ashes. Makes me feel like Daddy has given her a tenth life.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Kirby loves cats. His big thing is bunnies. He hates them with a fiery passion. An Anya Jenkins level of loathing for the rodents. Our place in Palm Springs is overrun with the critters. They're actually adorable, but Kirby has a total meltdown whenever he spots one.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Ball and squeaky. He loves both. With a dog his size, I'd have to go with a twig rather than stick, so it hardly seems worth the effort.

Where is Kirby's favorite outdoor destination?

We live half the year in San Francisco, and Kirby adores Huntington Park on Nob Hill. It's a small park, but there's usually a dog or twelve to meet there. Every Friday evening from 5 to 7, people bring wine or beer and gather in the park with the dogs for "Yappy Hour." Some of the people who come aren't in the position to have a dog, so they drop by for their canine fix.

Who is Kirby's best pet-pal?

Our Palm Springs neighbor (and pet sitter) has a Tibetan Spaniel named Ava. She's Kirby's bestie.

What is Kirby's best quality?

He is such a good boy. How can I choose just one best quality? All of his qualities are the best.

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

I would never again leave home without him.

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

My rescue boy suffers from terrible separation anxiety, especially when we go out at night. I would ask him what I could do to help him feel safe when we're not there.

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

Liam Neeson.

What advice would Kirby give if asked?

If you can avoid swallowing the pill your dad has wrapped in a treat, you can double or triple your treats before taking the medicine.

Visit J.D. Horn's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Steph Post & Juno

Who is in the photo at right?

This is me, Steph Post, and Juno! I am an author and high school teacher and Juno is a two year old mutt. I call her a “fichippet,” as in she’s a Feist, Chihuahua and Whippet mix. She’s absolutely nuts...

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Juno and I have coffee every morning out on the back patio. I do my best to wake up and she makes sure to run off any early-rising squirrels. Juno doesn’t have the patience to go hang out at the local coffee shop.

What's brewing?

I’m a straight black coffee kinda’ girl.

Any treats for you or Juno on this occasion?

Juno is honestly more interested in the squirrels than any kind of treat. And I’m the same way about the coffee.

How were you and Juno united?

There’s a whole amazing story behind how Juno came into my life, but I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. One of my dogs died unexpectedly this past June and I was completely devastated. I mean, just absolutely heartsick. Skipping to the good part- I wound up at an animal shelter two counties over, to look at adopting another dog, and there was Juno. She was extremely sick with kennel cough, but there was no way I was leaving the place without her. I like to think that we were brought together to heal one another and I think we were able to do so.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

Juno had a different name at the shelter that didn’t fit her. I’m very into mythology (I have a chicken named Freyja, after the Norse goddess, for example) and so she’s named for the Roman goddess. She was also adopted on the last day of June, so the name fit perfectly.

Does Juno do more to help or hinder your writing?

I think she tries to help. She likes to be in my lap when I’m writing, but this isn’t always the most comfortable thing for both of us. At least once a writing session, though, Juno will come racing into the room, take a flying leap into my lap and put her paws on the keyboard.

Has Juno inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

No. For someone who loves dogs as much as I do, I actually make a point to keep dogs out of my novels. A dog in a story makes readers nervous- they’re always wondering if it’s going to die- and so I try to just avoid the possibility altogether.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Squirrel. Juno is obsessed, I mean obsessed, with squirrels.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

If there are no squirrels around for her to chase, she’s definitely chomp on a squeaky toy by herself. But good luck throwing her a ball or a stick. She’ll just look at you like you’re crazy.

Where is Juno's favorite outdoor destination?

Anywhere where there could possibly be squirrels. I took her to the beach for the first time this morning and she was not impressed. At all.

Who is Juno's best pet-pal?

Her big brother Vito, my sixteen-year-old Jack Russel Terrier. He’s mostly blind and deaf, so he can’t really play with her, but they love to curl up together at night.

What is Juno's best quality?

She absolutely loves people. With all the dogs I’ve ever had, she’s definitely the sweetest.

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

Our need (around here anyway) to shoot off as many obnoxious fireworks as possible to mark every single occasion.

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

What can I do to make you happier? (Yes, I’m not going to lie, she absolutely rules me.)

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

Oh wow. I just don’t think of dogs as having actual speaking voices. Maybe Gal Gadot? She’s a little dog, but I imagine she’d have a pretty strong voice.

Visit Steph Post's website and learn about her new novel, Walk in the Fire.

My Book, The Movie: Lightwood.

The Page 69 Test: Lightwood.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Katie A. Nelson & Wookie

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Katie A. Nelson, author of The Duke of Bannerman Prep. I'm hanging out on the couch with Wookie. He's a male labradoodle, a little over two years old.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Since I work from home, Wookie and I hang out together most days. He loves to follow me from room to room, and helps me stay on task.

What's brewing?

I don't actually drink coffee, but it's gotten cold here lately, so I usually make a hot chocolate mid morning. Otherwise diet Pepsi is my go to when I need a pick me up.

Any treats for you or Wookie on this occasion?

We're sharing my potato chips left over from lunch as we speak. (Er ... type.)

How were you and Wookie united?

We got Wookie as a puppy. We hadn't planned on getting a dog yet, and had just been looking around to see what was out there. When we found out he was available, we drove over to meet him and fell in love! It wasn't great timing, as my husband and I left for Europe a week later, but luckily Wookie's aunt was willing to take care of him while we were gone.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

We love Star Wars, and it seemed to fit him. Much like Chewbacca, Wookie likes to act tough, but sometimes runs away in the face of danger. Or, you know, a really mean Canadian Goose.

Does Wookie do more to help or hinder your writing?

Wookie is a great help most days. He keeps me company while I'm at my computer, and is always up for a walk when I get stuck and need to work something out. He also keeps me from eating too many snacks while I write.

Has Wookie inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Actually, there is a dog in the book I'm working on right now that is inspired by Wookie. Wookie thinks he's the hero of the story and needs a larger role. We're working that out in revisions.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Squirrel! We have a large tree in our front yard and Wookie corners all kinds of squirrels there.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

All of the above!

Where is Wookie's favorite outdoor destination?

Walks around the lake in our neighborhood.

Who is Wookie's best pet-pal?

His best friend was a golden lab named Ranger who lived next door to us in California. Sadly, we moved a few months ago and he misses his friend!

What is Wookie's best quality?

He's very intuitive and always knows when someone is sad or lonely. Wookie will rest his head in your lap or come over and lay on your feet to offer comfort.

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

He's not a fan of rap music and gets agitated when someone in the car next to us is blasting it. Wookie likes alternative rock, and singing along to Disney show tunes.

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

What's so scary about the vacuum?

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

Lin Manuel Miranda!

What advice would Wookie give if asked?

Quit wasting time on the internet and get back to work!

Visit Katie A. Nelson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Gavin Ehringer & Onda

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Gavin Ehringer, a journalist and author, and he’s Onda, my 8-year-old Aussie shepherd...and truly my best friend. We’re inseparable.

What's brewing?

Black coffee for me, water served in stainless steel for Onda. We keep it simple.

Any treats for you or Onda on this occasion?

I like carrot cake, and always keep cheese-flavored Charlie Bear treats in my pocket for Onda.

How were you and Onda united?

He was bred by Las Rocosa Australian Shepherds - the Hartnagle family were foundation breeders of Aussies, and I’ve been a family friend for 30 years. All eight of my dogs have come from their farm.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Onda means “wave” in Spanish. I first saw Aussies at the beach in California as a kid. I called them “surfer dogs,” because I didn’t know their breed! Later, I encountered them in Colorado. This one’s actually Onda No. 2.

Please tell us about your new book.

Leaving The Wild, The Unnatural History of Dogs, Cats, Cows and Horses considers how these animals became domesticated, and what they got and gave up in return. It’s really an examination of how animal breeding influences animals’ lives, for good and bad.

Skateboard? Really?

Yes! Onda rides a Dogtown-brand Slateboard, as well as competes in Frisbee, agility, dog shows and herding. I worked at teaching him to ride off-and-on for nearly two years before he mastered it.

Is it true that Onda is not shy about performing in public?

Yes, he’s not. He often does agility and “trick” demos for charity, and we do tricks in front of coffee shops and outdoor restaurants to amuse people...He’s like a street busker, and can draw a crowd.

Who is Onda's best pet-pal?

Well, we have a new puppy named Whammo! (with an exclamation mark). They’re pretty close, despite the age difference.

What is Onda's best quality?

Gosh, he has so many! He’s just laid back and happy, and always eager to learn new things.

Where is Onda's favorite outdoor destination?

He likes going to the farm where he was born, to herd sheep. He also likes the beach, as one would expect of a surfer dog.

If Onda could change one thing about Coloradans, what would it be?

Well, the Aussie actually should be the official state dog, in his opinion. The state played a big role in the breed’s development, and I think he’d be grateful for some recognition of that. Aussies aren’t really from Australia.

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

Well, he’s trained to understand Spanish! I suppose I’d ask him, “Estas muy contento?” (Are you happy?) He’d answer “Si!”

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

Matt Damon. Like Matt, Onda is smart, talented and has a great sense of humor. And he’s ruggedly handsome.

What advice would Onda give if asked?

I’d probably ask him for advice. He’s the brains in this partnership.

Visit Gavin Ehringer's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Casey Daniels & Lucy

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Casey Daniels, mystery author. My latest book is Smoke and Mirrors, the first in the Miss Barnum mystery series that follows the adventures of a (fictional) sister of PT Barnum as she works at his American Museum and solves mysteries along the way! My “date” for tea is Lucy. Breed? Your guess is as good as mine! Even the vet isn’t willing to try and figure that out. She’s very tall and very furry and though she sometimes acts like a herder (she likes to nip the legs of the other dog in the house), she also can howl like a hound. We suspect maybe some Irish Wolfhound is in there somewhere. It would explain the long legs. But the furriness and the herding instincts ... who knows! We celebrate Lucy’s birthday on December 15 and in 2017, she’ll be 2.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We’re home enjoying our afternoon cuppa.

What's brewing?

We have tea together every morning (Tetley British Blend), then we treat ourselves to a cup of Typhoo (a nice strong English tea) every afternoon.

Any treats for you or Lucy on this occasion?

Nope. We’re pretty careful about treats mostly because our other dog (a 12-year-old Airedale named Ernie) is on a restricted diet and can’t have much of anything. Lucy gets a couple treats now and then when Ernie isn’t looking!

How were you and Lucy united?

Lucy is a prison dog who I found online at a site called Terriers in Need. She was dropped at a shelter when she was about four months old and she lived there for a bit, then was part of a prison training program. Lucy lived with an inmate in a prison for about six months as part of a terrific program where along with compassion and responsibility, the inmate learns a skill (dog training) and the dog is taught basic commands. She was well trained when she came to us. Well, except for “come” which she thought was the funniest word on the planet and an invitation to run in the other direction and dare us to chase her. Happy to report she’s got that command down pat now!

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

Naming the dog sparked a family debate. Lucy was the one name we could agree on. As far as aliases, there are plenty: Loosey Goosey, Lulu, and the ever-popular Lucy-Fur (say it fast) for those times when she forgets her manners.

Does Lucy do more to help or hinder your writing?

Since I write all day and she snoozes all day, I’d say she’s a help.

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

Not yet, but she will one of these days especially since I am currently working on a contemporary mystery that features a woman who trains Human Remains Detection dogs. I’ve been on a training with HR dogs and it was fascinating. Lucy would love it! Me? Not sure I have the stamina!

Cat, postman, rabbit...?

She loves to watch everyone and everything outside--squirrels, the chickens next door, cars, trucks, falling leaves. All are a source of fascination. I often wonder if this is because she didn’t see much of the outside when she was in prison.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Mr. Bunny and Mr. Squirrel (durable canvas stuffed toys), a Kong, a squeaky bone. Nothing too fragile, she’s a big dog with a powerful bite.

Who is Lucy's best pet-pal?

She’d love, love, love Ernie the Airedale to be her best pal, but alas, Ernie would rather sleep than play. Still, recently when he was sick, she refused to leave his side, and she constantly offers him her toys. He’s an old guy, and very laid back, but Lucy is persistent. Sometimes too persistent! One of these days, she’ll learn you don’t mess with an Airedale.

What is Lucy's best quality?

When I first talked to the people at the prison about her, they said she was a “sweet” dog. Hmmm ... I wondered what that meant. I’ve had a few dogs over the years, and I’ve loved them all to pieces, but “sweet?” Then we met Lucy and I knew exactly what they meant. She really is a dear. She loves to be hugged, she likes to be petted. In spite of her size (and she’s a moose, far bigger than the Airedale), she is gentle and so quiet, she can slip in and out of a room without anyone noticing. This comes in handy especially when she’s stealing folding money or socks, two of her favorite things to walk off with.

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

See above, I bet she’d love it if I had the energy and the time to do something like HR work, or search and rescue, or agility. There’s a lot of energy packed into that furry body and she’d love to expend it with more running and chasing and jumping. Me, not so much.

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

I’d ask where she came from and how she ended up in the shelter.

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

Ha! It may be because she played Matron Mama Morton in the movie Chicago, and a lot of that movie takes place in a prison, but I always think Lucy’s voice would come from Queen Latifah.

What advice would Lucy give if asked?

She’d tell you to roll with the punches. She’d tell you that sometimes--like when you’re dumped at a shelter in the middle of the night and then you go to prison--things don’t look too good. But if you hang in, if you hang on, you can end up finding people to love who love you right back!

Visit Casey Daniels's website.

Writers Read: Casey Daniels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Jennifer Kincheloe & Monkey

Who is in the photo at right?

Monkey is a four-year-old Brussels Griffon mix. She’s a perfect angel, no matter what anyone says. (No, she did not bite that jogger.) I'm Jennifer Kincheloe, a public health research scientist turned writer of historical mysteries. My new Anna Blanc novel is The Woman in the Camphor Trunk.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

It’s the weekend.

What's brewing?

I buy green Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans and roast them myself in a popcorn popper, grind, and brew them. These beans would blow your mind.

Any treats for you or Monkey on this occasion?


How were you and Monkey united?

It started in the 90s when my husband and I were first married. We were thinking about getting a dog. Our breed book had a picture of this creature who looked like Oscar the Grouch, but not much like a dog. It was kind of a running joke for us. We laughed about it for years. The breed was Brussels Griffon, and pretty rare in the west. I’d never actually seen one.

Fast forward to 2013. I saw Monkey on the Adopt a Pet website and wanted to make my husband laugh. So I woke up early so I could be at Petco at 6:00AM to wait in line for the adoption event. I sat on the dirty side walk for five hours with thirty or so hopeful dog-parents-to-be. When the event began, I nabbed her. My husband laughed and laughed, and we’ve been blissfully happy ever since.

Does Monkey do more to help or hinder your writing?

She’s good for historical research. Brussels Griffons were the “It Dogs” in the first century of the 1900s. Also, she keeps my blood pressure down.

Cat, postman, rabbit...?

Yes. Postmen beware.

Who is Monkey's best pet-pal?

Monkey doesn’t care for the company of other pets. She likes to scare my daughter’s dog, Buffy, who is a golden retriever.

What is Monkey's best quality?

Her devotion to me.

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

She’d want me to rub her tummy all the time instead of just half the time.

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

My daughter Samara would have to do it. She’s always talking in this funny “Monkey voice” attributing selfish attitudes and snotty dialogue to the dog. My daughter’s Monkey imitation is as funny as anything on the planet.

What advice would Monkey give if asked?

“Never get another dog.” She likes being the only one.

Visit Jennifer Kincheloe's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Woman in the Camphor Trunk.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Tracy Calhoun & JJ

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Tracy Calhoun and I am a full time hospice nurse, in addition to being the driver for JJ, a seven-year-old female Golden Retriever, who is a therapy and crisis response dog, working alongside me at our inpatient hospice house.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

While in Seattle, our favorite stop for coffee is, of course, BARK! Espresso, with it's own dog cafe on one side.

What's brewing?

Even if it is 10 degrees below zero, it's always an iced latte for me.

Any treats for you or JJ on this occasion?

While I grab a cookie, since there is always time in a day for a cookie, JJ has the special Pooch's Peanut Butter Latte and gives it a 4 paws up rating.

How were you and JJ united?

I actually caught JJ when she was being born. She had a tiny white "kiss mark" on her forehead and still has a white twinkletoe on one foot.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

JJ was named after one of my nephews, Jaret. It's hard to come up with a girl's name from this, but JJ stuck. Her nickname is ButterButt, because she was so big as a puppy.

Please tell us about your new book.

In 2016, I was approached by a publisher asking if I would be interested in writing a book involving JJ, her hospice work and her day to day life. JJ's Journey tells the story of a therapy dog dedicated to helping humans through crises, tragedy, and loss through love and comfort. While these stories are often emotional, they also highlight the power of the human-animal bond, bringing smiles, laughter and tears. While the topic of hospice can be difficult for people to think about, many of the stories are about living life and helping others, expressed with humor and canine chaos along the way, as only a dog obsessed with bacon, puppies, and swimming can do. Along the way, JJ's sassy voice captions the photos throughout the book.

Cat, postman, rabbit...?


Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Ball or retriever bumper, but with the very non-retriever like attitude of "No take. Throw. No take." It makes the game a bit of a challenge.

Who is JJ's best pet-pal?

Taz, also known as Cat-dog. He was rescued as a tiny kitten and raised by a pack of Goldens. He sleeps every night curled up with JJ. We haven't had the heart to tell him he's a cat.

Where is JJ's favorite outdoor destination?

Anywhere she can find a pond to swim in.

She still is trying to convince me that a pond time counts as bath time.

What is JJ's best quality?

Her intuitive nature and ability to seek out those who need her comfort and attention.

If JJ could change one thing about Oregonians, what would it be?

Eat more bacon. And share it with your dog!

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

How are you able to pick the people who need you most day after day?

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

This one is easy, since one of JJ's names for me is BossyPants. It would have to be Tina Fey, bringing life to a very sassy dog!

What advice would JJ give if asked?

During the time of writing these stories, JJ was diagnosed with lymphoma. Even during treatment, she has taught us all how dogs embody the concept of living in the moment. No one has told her she has a life limiting disease, so she continues to live life with zest and work at her second home.

Her motto has become "Barke Diem", a dog's take on Carpe Diem, meaning seize the day.

Visit the JJ Hospice Therapy Dog website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue