Friday, October 2, 2009

Jennifer K. Stuller & Giles and Wesley

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Jennifer K. Stuller, and my boys Giles and Wesley. Giles will be four years old this October and Wesley turned one this past June. They are both Maltese – truly the smartest and sweetest of doggies. I’m a writer, critic, scholar, pop culture herstorian, book author, and public speaker. My first book, Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology (I.B. Tauris) is a comprehensive history, critique, and reference guide examining feminist history and potential within popular culture and will be available in January 2010.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We are waking up so that we can start our day! I’ll be busy researching and writing. They have some very important playtime to get to!

What's brewing?

A warm mug of Tao of Tea’s Liquid Jade Matcha. Matcha is a traditional Japanese powdered green tea that is delicious and nutritious. Unlike coffee, which I can no longer drink much of anyway, green tea keeps my energy steady throughout the day. (Though I’ll sometimes have a more caffeinated black tea if I need an extra boost or have a deadline.)

Any goodies to go with the tea?

Fresh fruit smoothie with banana, non-fat yogurt, freshly grated ginger, soy milk, pure cranberry juice, locally grown berries, and vanilla-flavored protein powder. Yummmmmmm...

Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?

Since it’s morning the boys are having their breakfast. One at a time please! Giles eats his Hill’s Prescription Diet K/D first, then Wesley gets his Natural Balance Duck and Potato.

How did your dogs come to be united with you?

We decided to get a dog shortly after we bought our first house. I’d wanted a cat, and my husband had wanted a big dog. My dad and his wife have Maltese, and since we enjoy their doggies, Hubby and I decided to compromise. Once we had our own little white dog we couldn’t imagine it ever being different!

We adopted Giles from a breeder in Gig Harbor, WA in January of 2006 and he makes us laugh everyday. We love him so much that for his third birthday we got him a “little brother.” This time we went to a breeder on the Oregon Coast where we were lucky to find our little Wesley – the perfect addition to our family.

How did they get their names?

I was insistent on naming our first dog Giles after the character Rupert Giles from television’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And since Hubby went along with the choice he got to name the second one. We ran through names like "Bowie" (after David), Duncan Idaho (from Dune), and Xander (also from Buffy). But then he was emailed pictures from our breeder and forwarded them to me. I saw the little guy and thought “Oh my God – he's totally a Wesley!” (as in Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, a colleague of Rupert Giles, and a name neither one of us had ever brought up as a possibility). I decided not to say anything, because I wanted to be fair to the Hubby. It was his turn. But he came home from work that evening, asked if I'd seen the photos and said:

“What if we named him Wesley?”

And we knew we had to! Our little Watchers!

(And for you Buffy and Angel fans out there, we couldn’t have guessed it at the time we named them, but Giles is quite the gentleman and Wesley is a rogue demon hunter.)

How do Giles and Wesley help you with your writing workday?

They are my research assistants!

Stick, frisbee, tennis ball...?

Giles loves his “squirrel.” (It’s actually a Dr. Noys Material Dog chipmunk, but we call it squirrel.) It’s his favorite toy to greet us and guests with. Wesley will play with pretty much anything, as he’s much less fussy in general than G, but he can’t resist the appeal of a dirty sock. (In fact, the naughty boy appears to have a stash of them in his crate.)

What's an ordinary day like for your dogs?

Morning belly rubs. Potty. Food. Potty. Wrastle. Snuggles. Chase. Snuggles. Potty. Snuggles. Wrastle. Food. Potty. Chase. Snuggles. Potty. Bed. And repeat!

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

They are each other’s best friend! In fact, Wesley cries if he’s not right by Giles’s side. They also enjoy the company of our neighbor, Lola – a Dachshund, Lulu – a Cockapoo, and my parent’s Maltese, Agatha, Chloe, and Sherman II.

What are Giles' and Wesley's best qualities?

Their joy. For the littlest things too: car rides, foodstuffs, walks, visitors, our happiness, each other’s company, naps, squirrel ... And it’s infectious. Their wiggly tails mean the world to us.

What are their proudest moments? Their most embarrassing?

I would think for Giles his proudest moment would be when he gained the confidence to jump up to the couch as well as back down from it. For Wesley, it would be when Giles was comfortable enough with having a puppy around to let Wes snuggle up to him – all Wes ever wants is to be next to his big bro.

Most embarrassing? Well, I don’t think they care, but I’m always horrified when my otherwise well-trained doggies pee on the floor at someone else’s house! Naughty!

Jennifer K. Stuller writes on subject matter ranging from architecture & design to feminist issues, corporate profiles and lifestyle trends, to travel, real estate, history, and popular culture. Her work appears in publications as diverse as Geek Monthly and Bitch to Washington CEO and the Encyclopedia of Gender and Society (SAGE Publications).

Read more about Ink-Stained Amazons and Cinematic Warriors: Superwomen in Modern Mythology.

Visit Jennifer K. Stuller's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue