Monday, January 10, 2011

Tasha Miner & Kibeth and JoJo

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Tasha Miner. I'm a private violin teacher, who also teaches viola, and coaches a youth orchestra in Southern California. I perform frequently at weddings and other events as a violinist as well. I also work for a non-profit organization, Orange County Hiking Club (OCHC) as the online shop manager, daily newsletter writer, and other odds and ends purposes.

My hounds are how I stay sane with all that going on! First is Kibeth, a black tuxedo greyhound, rescued from tracks in Florida. She's now 8 years old, and she's been with me for just over 5 years now. Second is JoJo, a black/white greyhound, rescued from tracks in Alabama. She's now 7 years old, and has been with me for just over 2 years. JoJo is my heart dog, my shadow, my velcro girl. Kibeth is my rock -- she doesn't baby me, isn't overtly attached to me, but she always lets me know I'm needed, and is always there for me when I need a "paw" to cry on.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Our favoritest Sunday morning involves going to Knowlwood for breakfast before going to the dog park, Bark Central just down the street. Neither my fiance nor I drink coffee, but we both enjoy a good hot chocolate in these brisk California mornings.

What's brewing? Any goodies to go with the coffee?

I prefer Starbucks hot chocolate the most, but I always order it plain, without whip cream or marshmallows no matter where I go. I'm a Plain Jane, but it's delicious!

Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?

The dog park, of course! Kibeth is a total mooch, looking for love and attention (as though she doesn't get enough from me at home) from all the people. In general, she couldn't care less about the other dogs, she's in it for the owners and smells. JoJo, on the other hand, is the social butterfly with all the other dogs, and a peacemaker. She's broken up well over a dozen fights already, without instigating another fight in the few months we've been here. It's remarkable to see.

How were you and your dogs united?

I've wanted greyhounds since I saw them at an Art Fair in Ann Arbor, Michigan when I was only 8 years old. I got Kibeth as soon as I could afford my own apartment in college, and then JoJo when I started my Master's degree in music performance.

How did your dogs get their names? Do they have any nicknames?

Kibeth is named after the Disreputable Dog in a trilogy called The Abhorsen Trilogy, consisting of Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen by Garth Nix. Her race name was Little Bit Lively. Clearly not much to do there. I call her Kib, Kibby, Kibmeister, and various endearments at random times. She knows to come to all of them -- no idea how she can differentiate! JoJo's race name was Phoney Jonie, so her name is derived from that. We sometimes call her Josie, Jo, Lovebug, JoJo Mojo, or Goofball.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Squirrel or rabbit, definitely. Both tested cat-safe at the rescue, and both love people and pay the postman no mind. However, those ears perk, their heads go up, and the leashes get a little less slack on walks when there's game afoot!

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

Squeaky toy in a stuffie is the bestest! I can trained both of them with those sorts of toys, no treats required.

Where is your dogs' favorite place for an outing?

Huntington Beach's Dog Beach. It's beautiful, and they love a good romp in the sand! Kibeth is the water dog of the two, and she learned quickly that saltwater doesn't taste too great. Haha.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

That'd be each other and me. We just moved to California, so they don't have many regular paw-pals, unfortunately.

What is each dog's most endearing quality?

Kibeth is very polite. She takes treats gently, doesn't jump up, doesn't bark. She's a lover, through and through. She's excellently patient, and can get her energy up for a high-action day, or keep it down when I'm busy working. JoJo is the snuggler, but she can also make you laugh with her antics. She'll get into the trash if we leave it out, but I consider that her contribution to cleaning the house, because it makes me be on top of it. ;-) My fiance and I just about die when we see her lying upside down on her back in bed with us.

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

Kibeth's proudest moment was when she learned to "heel." She froze so many times during training, I didn't know if I could get her confidence up enough for her to let me show her how this command worked. When she finally got it, she smiled a greyhound smile, and jumped straight up in the air! JoJo's proudest moment was when she learned how to "shake." Sitting was step one, and that was quite a feat for this long-bodied hound, but being able to hold a sit and shake my hand was just amazing talent! Unanimously, their most embarrassing moment was having an accident in the house after gorging on garbage they dumped open. Apparently, half a large cheese pizza is too much to eat when waiting 4 hours. Ick.

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

When I'm away from home to teach, they would have the students come to our house! More people, the merrier!

Learn more about Kibeth and JoJo at the Granted Wishes Greyhounds blog.

--Marshal Zeringue