Friday, March 25, 2011

Lela Nargi & Jaffa

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Lela, a freelance reporter and book author, and my girl Jaffa, a 10-year-old mix of Rottweiler, Chow, and Lab (best guesstimate).

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I actually stopped drinking coffee several years ago – I loved it, it didn’t love me. Now I drink 2 cups of strong tea every morning in order muster the courage to face the world out there on the streets of Brooklyn when I take Jaffa out for her morning walk. Or in this instance, a romp through Prospect Park.

What's the beverage du jour?

Barry’s, extremely hot and dark, with a very small drop of milk.

Any treats for you or your dog on this occasion?

Unfortunately, true to her Lab-y nature, Jaffa is completely food-obsessed. She rarely gets a Greenie or a Wellness peanut butter treat anymore, for the simple reason that having been so treated, she will beg incessantly. For days.

How did Jaffa come to be united with you?

We used to live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, back before it was fancy. Every pet owner in the neighborhood hung out at BARC, the Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition, and bought food and supplies from its bizarre and hilarious owners, Tony and Vinnie. One day, friends called to say they’d “borrowed” a puppy from BARC for the day, did we want to come down to their shop and see it? The puppy, of course, was Jaffa. Having had no intention of ever owning a dog, we adopted her an hour later.

How did Jaffa get her name?

Being food-obsessed ourselves, we named her after Jaffa Cakes, the English biscuits topped with orange marmalade and dark chocolate, which is what her coloring reminded us of.

Does he/she have any influence on your writing?

Yes, she gets me out of the house for even just a few minutes every morning before I start to write, which ensures that I am actually a part of the world at large and not some misanthropic freak chained to her desk.

What's an ordinary day like for your dog?

Wake up at 5:00AM whining for breakfast; 5:15-5:17 eat breakfast; 5:18-7:00, lie around; 7:01-8:25, whine for my daughter’s breakfast, my breakfast, my husband’s breakfast, get some pats around the ears, wander around with eviscerated fur squeaky toy dangling from mouth; 8:30-8:45 walk around the neighborhood; 8:46-early afternoon, lie around until someone has to go out on an errand, then go out for another walk; 3:30-5:00PM, whine for dinner; 5:01-5:03 eat dinner; 5:04-8:30, whine for other people’s dinners, lie around, bark at neighbors coming home, snarf a few crumbs off the kitchen floor; 8:31-9:00, go for evening walk; 9:01PM-5:00AM, lie around.

Does Jaffa have a favorite place to go for walk?

Prospect Park in Brooklyn – although this is less of a walk than it is a fiesta of off-leash-hours ball chasing until too sore to walk. Uh, her, not me.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Oh by all means: squirrel.

What's Jaffa's best quality?

Optimism. Every day offers the renewed possibility that someone will forget to replace the lid on the garbage can.

What's Jaffa's proudest moment so far?

The time she barked at the person who was stealing my bicycle from the hallway; if only I’d listened!

Her most embarrassing?

The time we came home from a walk down by the Williamsburg waterfront and she barfed up a stewed tomato, three rocks, and a cigarette butt.

Visit Lela Nargi's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue