Monday, June 29, 2009

Kaye Barley & Harley

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me and Harley. My name's Kaye Barley. Harley and I live with my husband Donald in Boone, NC, which is a small town in the Western Carolina mountains. When I'm not working, I'm "Mistress of Meanderings and Muses," a terrific little blog which recently had a virtual party in celebration of welcoming 10,000 visitors. And that's after having been around for less than eight months. I'm pretty proud of that, and over the moon proud of Meanderings and Muses where we host writers and fans from the mystery/crime fiction community as guest bloggers. While most of us have roots in the crime fiction world, our conversations at M&M are all over the place. It's fun and it's interesting, and I hope some of your readers will stop by for a visit. You never know who you'll see there, or what we'll be chatting about.

What's your dog's name, gender, age, breed?

Harley's full name is Harley Doodle Barley. We added the "Doodle" 'cause he was born on the 4th of July, 2005. (We sorta changed the song to "he's a Harley Doodle Barley ... born on the 4th of July." Silly, silly, I know).

We named him Harley 'cause Donald has always wanted a Harley. This one, sadly enough, is the only one we can afford. Now, while Donald may not be able to hop on and ride this Harley on the open road like he could a Harley-Davidson, I'm doubting very much he'd ever love a motorcycle as much as he loves this little Corgi.

There are two types of Corgis - Pembrokes and Cardigans, and ours is a Pembroke. They're the ones without a tail. Tasha Tudor always owned Corgis when she was living - sometimes as many as 14 at a time and here's what she said about them in The Private World of Tasha Tudor - "They're such characters - a mixture of a dog and a cat, I think. They especially don't like to be scolded in public. They talk back; they growl and show their teeth and pretend they're frightfully savage. However, they never criticize. You're always beautiful to them."

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

The occasion is just a lovely Sunday morning at home. Early morning is a favorite time of day at our house. We are suckers for a sunrise, and a North Carolina mountain sunrise can be pretty spectacular.

What's brewing?

What's brewing is organic Costa Rican medium roast from Higher Grounds. Pressed. Served in pretty pottery mugs hand made by a local Boone potter. A little sugar and a dollop of Half & Half, please.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Still warm from the oven blueberry muffins made with local hand picked blueberries. Slathered with butter.

Any treat for Harley on this occasion?

Well, of course! A brand new bacon flavored chew bone which not only makes him happy, but helps keep his teeth clean.

How did Harley come to be united with you?

Donald and I had two cats. George and Martha. We got George and Martha at the Humane Society the day we returned home from our honeymoon. George graced us with his presence for 15 years, and Martha for 18. Losing them was, of course, heartbreaking and the saddest thing ever. Coming home from work to an empty house with no little loving furry creatures to greet us was also heartbreaking, but we just weren't quite ready for new kitties, so decided maybe it was time for a dog. We had met a couple of Corgis and thought they were very cool, very smart and just the right size for our little house. We found a woman in South Carolina who raised Corgis so we planned a "meet and greet." Obviously, it went well. I cannot imagine life without Harley. Vacation now means finding a place to stay that is "dog friendly," but that's not as difficult as we thought it might be. We've even imposed on friends and family when we've visited, and so far Harley has shown himself to be an exemplary house guest and minds his manners nicely.

Where do you usually take Harley out for fresh air?

We live in the wilderness and have a little bit of land. While walks with me are pretty boring for Harley, walks with Donald are a great adventure. They usually take a walk or two every day exploring. He has a pond he occasionally jumps into and he has a creek he loves to cross. He also has a huge fenced in area that he can get into simply by walking out the back door and off the deck. It's his own little world out there with some open space where he can run, and a big flat rock [photo, right] which he has claimed as his own special place to just sit and "be," and there's an area that has lots of trees and is shady.

Where is the best nearby dog park?

There is a dog park in town - about 12 miles away from where we live, but we haven't been there. Harley takes after his mom and dad and is a bit of a homebody.

Is Harley's bark worse than his bite?

Pfft. Yes. Yes it is. He has a really, really loud bark. And he does everything Tasha Tudor wrote - he talks back; he growls and shows his teeth and pretends he's frightfully savage. And totally cracks us up in the process. But of course, we tell him we're scared to death and that his every wish is our command.

Tennis ball, Frisbee, stick, ...?

Stick. Harley loves to chase a stick. And most of the time he'll bring it back and expect it to be thrown again. When he gets tired of that game, he'll just lay down and eat the stick.

Would Harley rather chase a squirrel, a cat, a car, his tail, the mailman, ...?

Well, he doesn't have a tail...

I think he likes to chase rabbits the best. We have a lot of rabbits living around our house. But they are smart and they are fast, so so far they've been safe.

Would Harley rather catch a squirrel, a cat, a car, his tail, the mailman, ...?

I think actually he's pretty happy when he catches the mailman. If the mailman will scratch his belly.

Which TV dog is Harley most similar to?

Oh my - that would have to be Lassie, wouldn't it?! He is very brave and very smart and would somehow figure out how to pull us out of a well, should that need ever occur. I'm sure of it.

What's the most embarrassing thing Harley ever did?

Well. He burps. Big man sized burps. Gobbles up his dinner, sits down, looks you dead in the eye and burps.

Learn more about Kaye Barley and Harley--and see more photographs of the corgi--at Meanderings and Muses.

--Marshal Zeringue