Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Katie Ganshert & Bubba

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Katie Ganshert, and my furry son, Bubba. I’m a wife, mother, 5th grade teacher, and writer. Bubba’s a male purebred black lab. It’s hard to believe, but he’s already five years old!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I don’t usually splurge on coffee drinks, but since the summer is almost over and school is starting, I thought it would be fun to stop by Panera and grab an iced coffee on our way to Bubba’s favorite water hole.

What's brewing?

Since I splurged, I went all out. A frozen Caramel. It’s this delicious blend of icy espresso and creamy caramel, topped with whipped cream and caramel syrup. I love caramel. Definitely not your low fat beverage.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

I think the whipped cream and caramel syrup was goodie enough!

Any treat for the dog on this occasion?

His treat was swimming in the pond. Give him a tennis ball and water, and he is one happy camper.

How did Bubba come to be united with you?

When my husband and I got married, we were sitting around our house one afternoon and we thought, “Why don’t we get a dog?” We bought a newspaper, looked in the classifieds, and that very evening, drove to a small town in Wisconsin (we lived in Madison at the time) and picked out an eight week old black lab. We’re a wee bit impulsive. But if you could see what he looked like as a pup, you would understand why we couldn’t resist him. He’s been part of our family ever since.

How did Bubba get his name?

We had about a dozen names picked out for him. Onyx. Shadow. Sergeant. Judge, etc. But that first night, we kept calling him Bubba-Wubba. So we thought, why not Bubba? Bubba’s a good name for a lab. I usually call him Bubbers and some people call him Bubbalicious.

What’s life been like with Bubba?

A wonderful roller coaster. Bubba has such an endearing personality. He’s such a goofball, so he makes us laugh a lot. You should see the way he sits sometimes, leaning back on our sofa (yes, we let him up on the furniture), with his hind legs splayed out in front of him. It’s hilarious. But the poor guy has had a lot of health problems. He’s extremely allergic to chicken (we went through a stomach surgery to find this one out). My husband used to take him pheasant hunting, so he’s had his share of barbed wire injuries and subsequent stitches. And recently, we found out Bubba has elbow dysplasia. It’s this last diagnosis that really breaks my heart. That’s why I took him swimming. He’s obsessed with fetch, but running on the land isn’t good for his elbows. The water’s great for his elbows, and labs adore water.

Who’s Bubba best friend?

I’d like to say me, but I’ve been replaced. Our son was born nine months ago, and now that he can crawl, he chases Bubba around the house. Our son climbs all over Bubba. He pulls his ears and his tail, and Bubba loves all of it. We’re teaching our son, “Be nice to the doggie.” Bubba’s favorite thing to do is lick baby food off our son, we just have to make sure there’s no chicken in it.

What’s your favorite thing about Bubba?

His ears. He’s got ridiculously big, floppy ears, which made him look like a puppy until he was three. People would say, “Awww, how old is your puppy?” And I would say, “He’s two and a half.”

Any advice for people who want to get a lab?

Buy lots of tennis balls, make sure you have a high-powered vacuum cleaner, and get ready to be on the receiving end of lots of licks and unconditional love.

Visit Katie Ganshert's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue