Monday, September 1, 2014

Joanne Rocklin & Zoe

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Joanne Rocklin, I'm a children's author, and that's Zoe, my 13-year-old female golden retriever.

(Sneaking into the limelight: Mitzie the cat.)

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We are celebrating the release this month of my new book Fleabrain Loves Franny. The dog, Alf, is based on her.

What's brewing?

Starbucks in my new turquoise Le Creuset French Press. The stronger the better, and with milk frothed in my little frother.

Any treats for you or Zoe on this occasion?

Much too many. Zoe will eat anything. Actually, so will I.

How did Zoe get her name? Any nicknames?

I was going to name my first daughter Zoe, which means "life". I only had sons. I shouldn't say "only"--the two of them are the lights of my life. Nicknames: Zozo; Zozy.

How were you and Zoe united?

We bought her from a breeder of golden retrievers. She is the daughter of champions, although she doesn't let this go to her head, and hasn't followed in their pawsteps.

Are there any Zoe-inspired dogs in your new novel?

Yes! My new middle grade children's novel takes place in the 1950’s in Pittsburgh, during the worst polio epidemics of that era. Franny, my main character contracts the disease and can no longer walk. During her hospital stay she is introduced to the recently published Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, and falls in love with the book, and, especially, the spider, Charlotte. She longs for a Charlotte of her own. Her wish is granted in the form of the brilliant and hilarious Fleabrain, her dog Alf’s flea. Alf, the patient and generous "host" of Fleabrain, is modeled after my good-natured and friendly Zoe.

Does Zoe do more to help or hinder your writing?

She gets me moving in the morning because I have to walk her. I think of story ideas as I walk.

Who is Zoe's best pet-pal?

She prefers humans.

[photo right: Rocklin at a school presentation with puppets "Mitzie" the cat and "Zoe" the dog]

Where is Zoe's favorite outdoor destination?

Anywhere she can swim.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Anything she can rip apart, especially if it has cotton stuffing.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

We have two cats, so she knows cats' power, intelligence, and claws. She'll occasionally growl at other dogs, especially alpha white ones for some unknown reason.

What is Zoe's best quality?

Friendliness.

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

I can't even begin to imagine. You've stumped me. Zoe loves humans unconditionally.

[photo left: Zoe the patriot, on the Fourth of July]

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

Betty White.

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

How can I make you happier?

Visit Joanne Rocklin's website.

The Page 69 Test: Fleabrain Loves Franny.


--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Amy Kirk & Jasmine and Coco

Who is in the photo at right?

This is a photo of Jasmine, my tweeny Dachshund, and Coco (a Chug).

None of us are spring chickens, Jasmine is going on 9 and Coco is 11. I'm not telling my age; we are all ladies.

The human in the photo is me, Amy Kirk. I am foremost a Mom and wife...I also run a small teaching farm named Novellas Farm.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

No excuse, we always take a breather at the end of the day when chores are done, helps to refresh us for the evening.

What's brewing?

I'm enjoying a plain old fashioned cup of coffee. Ruta Maya, organic, fair trade...prepared in a French press. Sweetened with raw sugar and laced with my cows' sweet raw milk topped with cinnamon. Yummm!!

No, the girls are not allowed coffee.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Just the pleasure of each others company.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

My daughter named Jasmine, after the flower and the Princess from Aladdin. Coco got her name because my son who had verbal Apraxia could pronounce it...fits her pretty well.

Aliases are Jazzy Jazz, and Coco Girl.

How were you and Coco and Jasmine united?

We acquired Jasmine, my sister knew someone who claimed to be allergic and was looking to rehome her. She offered Jasmine to us, (I had another Dachshund named Pork Chop in my earlier life)... so we got her!

Coco came home in a cardboard box; my husband got her as a puppy for the kids.

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

Cats and squirrels... mainly squirrels.

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

Jasmine loves a good bone, Coco not so much -- she mainly likes to be loved.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Each other!

What is each dog's best quality?

Cocos' best quality is her courage. Jasmine's would have to be her cheerful disposition.

If Coco and Jasmine could change one thing about you, what would it be?

A looser hand with the food...

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

Coco would be voiced by Ellen DeGeneres. Jasmine would be voiced by Elle Fanning.

If Coco and Jasmine could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

I'm assuming I get 2 since there are 2 dogs. I would ask Coco how the whole dog year thing works.

I would ask Jasmine what she intends to do with the squirrel if she catches it.

Visit the Novellas Farm website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 25, 2014

Keith Michael & Millie

Who is in the photo at right?

The tall one smiling is Keith Michael, and the short one smiling is Millie. The tall one is sitting in deference to the short one's Pembroke Welsh Corgi stature. The tall one is an eclectic person: dance production manager/ballet choreographer/birder/photographer/writer/NYC nature walk guide. The short one is simply Millie. (Photo by Maggie Berkvist.)

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

It's morning. We've just been out for our wake-up walk to our "backyard": Hudson River Park. Millie's doing a final edit on my new book Take Me to the River: A Birder's Year in the West Village. (Millie suggests, "More paragraph breaks please, so that there are more opportunities for treats. And more photographs of Me.")

What's brewing?

Even though early morning, it's already summer-steamy outside and a tall iced glass of Peet's Coffee French Roast is just right.

Any treats for you or Millie on this occasion?

Millie considers any occasion a treat-deserving one—getting her leash on, getting her leash off, barking, stopping barking, sitting by my side, sitting in her "place"—she's an equal-opportunity treat-seeker. Happy Hips Duck Breast is her favorite, though she'll accept Zuke's Mini-Naturals when an arbitrary (to her) slimming-down is imposed on her.

How did Millie get her name? Any nicknames?

Millie arrived as Millie, and after getting to know her, she did, indeed, seem Thoroughly Modern. Her name also stayed within our theme of an earlier grand dame corgi, Gracie, honoring the wit and comic genius of the brilliant Gracie Allen. Millie's most prevalent alter-egos are: Milton, for less than girlish days; Fluffy, for when she's sprinkled with tufts from shedding (we could knit a new corgi twice a year from her castoffs); and Gracie, for when our hard-wiring takes over.

How were you and Millie united?

Millie was a rescue corgi who came with "issues." David and I had hoped that with her "settling in" many of those quirks would resolve themselves. Four years later, after regular training, and oodles of affection and tolerance, her feisty impulses are curbed but far from cured. She's still a quirky dog: unshakably possessive of food, white-eyed at most touching, and fearful of nearly anything that is outside of her routine. Sigh. Still, her cuteness is winning.

You're an avid birder: is Millie more of a help or hindrance in that endeavor?

On our walks in the neighborhood (my West Village Bird List is up to a back-patting 99 species!), since I'm looking up for the birds, and she's looking down for a snack from the street, there's not much conflict. Though if I stop too long, the pull of her leash on my binocular- or camera-holding hand can be challenging, or if I stop too long talking to someone who has just crossed the street gushing, "Hey, are you the guy that writes those birding articles in WestView? It's the first thing I read when I get the paper. And is this Millie?" then conversation-drowning barking ensues. Still, she is my writing muse; the hook of my monthly articles is reporting on the avian sightings around the blocks I walk with Millie—while she gets to be her crabby treat-seeking self.

Where is Millie's favorite outdoor destination?

Definitely to walk along the piers of the Hudson River at sunset.

Who is Millie's best pet-pal?

See the "Cat, postman, squirrel…?" answer below.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Fetch to her is a foreign language. The intellectual pursuit of helping with choreography is more her m├ętier.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

The exterminator in the apartment means that she has to leave until he's finished—though if they meet outside, then they're best friends. Any dog from the building passing by her door is akin to dropping the gauntlet—though outside, these same canines can be met with guarded curiosity (or not). And going to the vet! Yikes.

What is Millie's best quality?

Contrary to her corgi breeding as a herding dog, she actually likes a very quiet life with a dependable routine, and her inscrutability is a charmed blend of mystery and, luckily, hilarity. Oh, and did I mention that she was cute?

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

"Please, throw more chicken bones into the street!"

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

Debbie Reynolds, of course.

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

What was your life like before I met you (please answer in no less than Henry Jamesian detail)?

Visit Keith Michael's website for more information about his books, photographs or New York City WILD! Nature Walks.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rachel & Macy

Who is in the photo at right?

Hello! I'm Rachel, a creative blogger at Like a Saturday, and this is Macy -- our 5 year old mini-schnauzer.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I'm working on my blog schedule and events for the remainder of the year with my trusty assistant (read: master snuggler) by my side.

What's brewing?

I brewed French Market Coffee & Chicory in the French press. It is now in my favorite mug with just a bit of cream and hazelnut syrup.

Any treats for you or Macy on this occasion?

Macy loves her veggies. She's been chomping on a kale stalk.

How did Macy get her name? Any nicknames?

Macy came to us already named. She has a whole variety of nicknames, depending on the occasion. She usually only gets the full name treatment when she gets in trouble for barking at the air.

How were you and your dog united?

A former coworker was having to find new homes for her pets, including Macy, due to a family member's health issues. We adopted her when she was just over a year old.

Who is Macy's best pet-pal?

Once you cross the threshold, you are a friend. My parents have two mini-schnauzers as well, Sam and Tucker. Macy is about 1/3 of their size, but she's the boss lady. She loves play time with the boys. The jury is still out on her new German Shorthaired Pointer puppy cousin, Milo.

Where is Macy's favorite outdoor destination?

We have a fabulous new dog park in our community. There are so many new friends and so much sniffing to be had.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Tennis ball, giant squeaky Loofa dog, and a tiny stuffed duck.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

...neighbors, children, air. Schnauzers love to bark at anything and anyone who passes by.

What is Macy's best quality?

Macy is a love bug. She's very friendly and always ready for a cuddle-fest with whoever will join in.

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

She would have me stay home all day. Snuggled up in bed until 10, snuggled up on the couch till 5, a trip to the dog park, and then back to the couch until it's time for bed.

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

Hmm...maybe Zooey Deschanel?

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

What in the world is going on in that cute little head of hers.

Visit Rachel's Like a Saturday blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 18, 2014

Raven Patterson & Charlie

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Raven Patterson, a University of Tennessee graduate (Go Vols!). I’m a part-time assistant manager for The Orvis Company and beauty and lifestyle blogger at Heels and Harmony.

Charlie is a male 7-9 year old Yorkie.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Charlie and I have coffee together every morning. It’s a nice routine.

What's brewing?

Starbucks Blonde Roast via the Keurig.

Any treats for you or Charlie on this occasion?

Charlie is enjoying a bacon and cheese biscuit treat from Three Dogs Bakery in Asheville, North Carolina.

How were you and Charlie united?

Charlie was brought into my husband’s office by a co-worker who found him wandering through her neighborhood. He was a stray, and she couldn’t take him in, so we did!

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Charlie got his name via a Facebook poll from our friends and family, although he rarely gets called Charlie. He is also fondly known as Baby Charlie (my favorite), Chuck Sandwich, Chuck Taylor, Chuck Berry, and Charlie Brown Boots.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Charlie likes to play with our cat, Rosie. Although, for her, it’s more of a toleration.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Charlie is missing his front teeth from not being taken care of for so long, so he prefers soft plush toys that feel good on his gums.

Where is Charlie's favorite outdoor destination?

Charlie’s new favorite outdoor destination is downtown Asheville. It’s very dog friendly. He especially enjoys watching the street performers.

Who is Charlie's best pet-pal?

Charlie is very friendly with everyone he meets, especially the ladies.

He’s a real sweetheart, but he follows me like a shadow everywhere.

What is Charlie's best quality?

Charlie is very loyal and protective. Like I said, he literally follows me everywhere. If I leave the room just to grab something, he’s right there with me.

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

Since Charlie was a stray, I’d ask him about his past and where he came from.

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

I love this question! I imagine Charlie having a quirky little voice since he’s so tiny. I think Billy Crystal would be a great candidate to voice Charlie.

Visit the Heels and Harmony blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Brooke Gaynes & Oliver

Who is in the photo at right?

Hello! My name is Brooke Gaynes, and when I'm not working in human genetic research, I write for different outdoor women's blogs.

Oliver is my 5 year old border collie, and helps me research the different topics I write about. He comes mountain biking, climbing, hiking, and trail running (and sometimes even skiing) with me on a daily basis.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Today is a holiday in Utah, where we celebrate the Mormon pioneers that settled in the Salt Lake Valley.

Ollie and I talked my husband into a fun afternoon of hiking, climbing, and swimming in alpine lakes.

What's brewing?

Today we have fruit punch flavored Gatorade on our hike!

Any treats for you or Oliver on this occasion?

I'm enjoying some pistachio chewy bites, and Ollie is helping himself to some peanut butter and ritz (a special treat for hikes only).

How did your dog get his name? Any nicknames?

Since I love Charles Dickens, I named Ollie after Oliver Twist when we adopted him. He was a skinny, scraggly orphan when we adopted him, but had lots of energy and big smiles from day one!

How were you and Oliver united?

I was looking to adopt a dog, and had visited several shelters in my area. Although I had seen many adorable dogs, the moment I met Oliver it was love at first sight. The connection was strong and immediate. I adopted him on the spot, and called my husband to tell him the news on the drive home.

Who is Oliver's best pet-pal?

Ollie loves mountain biking dates with my friend Hannah, and her German shortair, Milo.

Where is Oliver's favorite outdoor destination?

Although Oliver loves any outdoor destination, his favorite ones involve open trails and large bodies of water! Notch lake, in the Uintas is our favorite!

Do you and Oliver ever run into interesting critters on your runs and hikes?

All the time! Oliver curiously studies tarantulas, and has made friends with a few coyotes on the trail.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Anything that gets thrown! He has a favorite stuffed fox that he carries around the house and uses as a pillow.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Anything that runs! Ollie will chase it!

What is Oliver's best quality?

Oliver's best quality is his love for his family.

On our bike rides, Oliver occupies himself between constantly running between his mama and his pop to make sure we are both okay (I am usually several hundred feet behind John).

Ollie likes to follow his mom everywhere, and is very sensitive to her feelings.

If Oliver could change one thing about Salt Lakers, what would it be?

Oliver loves living in a dog friendly city like Salt Lake City!

He would like to see more watering spots at the dry trail heads though!

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

Ron Weasley from Harry Potter.

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

I'd ask Oliver what the secret is to always being so happy, so forgiving, and so patient.

Follow Brooke Gaynes on Instagram, Twitter, and the Outdoor Women's Alliance.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 11, 2014

Jillian Kronberg & Riley and Roscoe

Who is in the photo at right?

That is me, Jillian Kronberg, and my 7-year old Chihuahua, Riley, doing what he loves best. Snuggling. His brother Roscoe, a one year old German Shepherd, is usually on the bed too, but he's a foot-of-the-bed kinda guy.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We are editing a blog post on my new blog, Broke Mommy, Chic Mommy. My boys enjoy a morning nap underneath the kitchen table.

What's brewing?

Mango Green Tea from a local tea shop called Green Leaf & Pebble.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Nope. Just nappies.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Riley was the only name my fiance and I could come to an agreement on.

Roscoe was named by my 5-year old daughter.

How were you and your dogs united?

Riley was a surprise Christmas present early in my and my fiance's relationship.

Roscoe is for Chloe to play with (since Riley is kind of a crabby old guy now).

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

For Roscoe, all of the above, anything that breathes or may blow in the wind is fair game for getting barked at.

Riley just hates the doorbell.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Roscoe loves his tennis balls. If he's outside, one is probably in his mouth.

Riley will beat up the occasional stinky sock.

Where do your dogs most like to head to for outings?

Grandma's house with the big backyard is a favorite, as is long walks at the local park.

Riley is happy to just ride shotgun in the stroller with Chloe.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Each other. And of course, their human sister, Chloe. At dinner time it's me.

What is each dog's best quality?

Riley is a great snuggler and lap warmer. If there is a blanket, pillow, or pile of laundry, Riley will warm it for you.

Roscoe is an excellent watch dog. He is very protective of all of us but one of the sweetest, most gentle dogs I know.

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

Make the beach dog-friendly the entire year, not just after tourist season.

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

Roscoe would be Finn and Riley would be Jake from Adventure Time. They are that goofy.

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

I would ask Roscoe why is it so hard to walk calmly to the car, get in and ride quietly to our destination. Not every "bye-bye" has to be a circus. Geez.

I would ask Riley how he really feels about Roscoe.

Visit the Broke Mommy, Chic Mommy blog.

--Marshal Zeringue