Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Eric Goebelbecker & Caffeine

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Eric. I am a software engineer on Wall Street and also own and run Dog Spelled Forward, my dog training business.

I give classes every week at the Maywood Veterinary Clinic in Maywood NJ and Fetch Club in New York City. I'm also a substitute instructor at St. Hubert's Dog Training School, where I apprenticed to learn dog training from the best trainers in the business.

I write for my own blog and for Dog Star Daily, and also do a podcast for the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, where I am on the Board of Directors.

Caffeine has been with me since she was nine weeks old. She is nine years old now and a Border Collie/Pointer mix, as far as we know. Caffeine takes "high energy" to a new level. At nine she is still running, jumping, and generally driving everyone nuts.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Caffeine and I walk to Moon Doggie Coffee Roasters a few times a week. Sometimes just the two of us, sometimes with Buddha and/or Gage, my other two dogs.

What's brewing?

Tanzanian Peaberry, black, no sugar. This is my favorite brew and I can only find it at Moon Doggie.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Not this time. Sometimes I go for one of their cranberry muffins, but my wife took the picture and she's pretty strict about my diet.

Any treat for Caffeine on this occasion?

Moon Doggie always has great treats out for dogs! The owner, Donna, volunteers for a Basset Hound Rescue. Caffeine got a heart-shaped cookie this time.

How were you and your dog united?

We found Caffeine at a rescue, as a puppy. I believe on Petfinder? Was it around back then? We had just lost Sally, a pit bull mix, to lymphoma.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

When we visited the rescue they had two puppies, Caffeine and another. Caffeine was the more spirited of the two, eagerly jumping around and exploring the lobby of the grooming salon where we met. At one point she attacked, fatally wounded, and then eviscerated a defenseless Dunkin' Donuts bag. I told my wife "We could name her Caffeine."

A few days, after we decided to adopt her, I called the rescue to ask about her. When I said we had seen a female black and white puppy the volunteer said "Oh! You mean Caffeine?" The name had stuck!

She is often referred as "the Princess" because she can be very demanding as far as how much attention she receives and what she believes she deserves treats for. (Breathing, drinking, eating....) She is also sometimes called "Decaf," usually after 8:00PM.

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

Yup. But she only wants to smother the postman with kisses.

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

Caffeine loves to play fetch, but she prefers a squeaky ball with something for me to grab onto so we can tug between throws. Right now her favorite is a large sized "Bad Cuz" rubber ball. She also loves when I set up the agility equipment in the yard for the spring and summer.

Where is Caffeine's favorite place for an outing?

She loves the walk to Moon Doggie, but enjoys playing in the yard quite a bit too.

Who are your dog's best pet-pals?

Buddha, my other Border Collie mix, is probably her best friend. They love to wrestle in the morning, and can often be found lying near each other. Gage, our other dog, is a bit if a jerk and doesn't always play nicely.

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

I'm too stingy with the treats, and won't let her eat my food directly off of my plate. I'm a bit of a jerk that way.

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

Caffeine is a real ham. She loves to show off in front of people. We attended a K-9 Nose Work seminar last year and she was the absolute center of attention for a couple of 5 minute sessions and I thought she would explode with pride.

Visit the Dog Spelled Forward blog.

--Marshal Zeringue