Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Diane Bruder & Blues Traveler and Ginger Snaps

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me, Diane Bruder, with my dog, Blues Traveler. I am a high school Speech, English and Drama teacher at Bay City Central High School and have coached academic teams like Debate, Student Congress, Forensics and Mock Trial. This fall I hope to work with Junior Student Council and an afterschool enrichment program for at risk youth.

What are your dogs' names and vital statistics?

I have two American Hairless Terriers. My Male is the darker of the two dogs, named Blues Traveler and he is 11 years old. The pink dog is my female, Ginger Snap, and she is two-and-a-half years old. American Hairless Terriers are rare and have only been in existence since 1972. They were first bred by Edwin Scott of Trout Creek Kennels.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I have coffee each morning at 5:00 a.m. with my husband and I pack his lunch before he leaves for work. Blue and Ginger go outside to play and do their doggie duties. If I am not working, like in the summer, they bolt up the stairs afterwards and we snuggle under the covers until about 7:30 am.

What's brewing?

Fresh Ground 8 o’clock coffee, with Sugar Free Coffee Mate Vanilla Caramel Creamer, compliments of James Bruder, the Java Master of our house.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Just cereal or yogurt and fruit slices.

Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?

The dogs enjoy Pupperoni Dog treats or Beggin’ Strips and VitaK Peanut Flavored Vitamin Drops along with a little lick of yogurt or milk left over from my cereal to wash it all down.

Some mornings I will hand feed them dog food from a “people bowl” while watching TV on the couch. It is the same food in their bowl, but for some reason it just tastes better when mom hand feeds it to them on the couch.

How were you and your dogs united?

Blue came from the breeder, Wade’s Kennels in Arizona. He flew via plane in January, 11 years ago and was just 8 weeks old when we got him.

Ginger came to be with us 2 years ago when we lost our female Rat Terrier, Gidget. Blue needed a buddy to play with as he was depressed when Gidget died. Ginger came via airplane from Trout Creek Kennels in Louisiana. She was already six months old.

How did the dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Blue’s full registered name is Wade’s Blues Traveler. His sire’s name was Blueberry and his Dame’s name was Moody Blues. We wanted to keep the name Blue and since he came to us via plane he was Blues Traveler, named after a musical group, starring John Popper.

Ginger got her full name of Trout Creek’s Ginger Snap, because she is very sweet like the cookie, but Snaps around the yard chasing things or just having a good run.

Blue’s alias is “Mama’s Fat-Rat” because he has gained some chunk over the ears…probably due to my hand fed morning treats.

Ginger’s nickname is “Ginny the Belly-Warmer” because she likes to cuddle in close to my belly when sitting on my lap under a blanket or snuggled under the bed covers at night.

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

Ginger does the chasing and Blue just follows along barking because she does. They will bark off anyone that comes to the door including the postman but are more likely to chase after animals. Their favorites are squirrels and bunnies or any rodent with fur. Maybe it is hair envy?

Tennis ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Most definitely any form of ball be it small tennis ball or football-- Preferably one that squeaks or has fur on it or stuffing in it. They like to chase it and beat it up by swinging it violently side to side before laying it at my feet to throw it again. If left unattended with a tennis ball, they will chew all the fur off it.

Ginger does all the running, and Blue, now that he is older, waits for her to bring it close to me and then steals it from her to lay it at my feet.

Where are your dogs' favorite places for outings?

Favorite places are: the back yard, going for a bye-bye in the car, taking a walk along the river or around the block, on a lap or by a lap, on the couch snuggled under a blanket, or curled up under the blankets next to me in bed. Blue likes to lay his head on the bed pillow next to mine, and Ginger likes to curl up in my belly. They like to be anywhere their family is; they are very social, loving and loyal.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Each other, our family, and any visitor who comes to the house that pets or feeds them treats.

What is each dog's best quality?

Both are very loving and loyal. Blue likes to lick noses, and Ginger likes to playfully nibble fingers. It is more of a lick and taste than a bite. Both dogs mind well, and don’t run off even when we take them camping in the woods. I love their tenacity when playing. They will play until they drop if I let them.

Because they are hairless, they have no dander either and are very hypoallergenic dogs. I do not sneeze or get hair on my couch or clothes. They are very hearty and healthy dogs, and can be bathed once a week in a laundry deep sink or right in the shower with the same body shampoo the rest of the family uses. We moisturize their skin just the same way we do our own.

They are not outdoor dogs but are easy to care for dogs. They need SPF 50 protection in the summer so they do not burn, and long legged pajamas and wool coats in the winter so they can go outside and still stay warm.

What is each dog's proudest moment? Most embarrassing?

Blue’s proudest moment was when he learned to jump up on the couch by himself and walk on a leash. For some odd reason he has to spin in circles about 8 times before he goes down stairs, exits a door or jumps on furniture. Yesterday, he was out in the yard by himself and spotted a squirrel. He had his first chase ever and treed the squirrel! He is a well-mannered dog and has never peed or soiled any carpets in the house. He is very intelligent and easy to train. He was crate trained and had an older dog to emulate.

Blues' most embarrassing moment was that because he was around an older female dog, he squatted to pee, instead of lifting his leg the first 6 months of his life.

Ginger’s proudest moment was getting her doggy certificate from Pet Smart Training School. She didn’t totally understand the tricks until about 3 weeks after the class and then they just stuck with her. She hasn’t forgotten her basic commands.

Her most embarrassing moment was when I found a doggie doo-doo under my dining room table. When I showed it to her and asked her what it was, she cowered down and gave me the big brown eyes and then rolled on her back in submission for me to pet her belly.

--Marshal Zeringue