Friday, April 15, 2011

Robert McCarty & Dafi and Nemo

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Robert McCarty and the dog is Dafi, a 10-year-old, male, Belgian Shepherd (Groenendael).

I’m the author of the Planet Of The Dogs series of early reader books for kids and dog lovers.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

For much of the year, I live in Helsinki, Finland with my wife, Stella, and we start the day, particularly during the rather long winter, with coffee. The Finns call the deep winter months, Kaamos. The days are short and darkness prevails. Coffee and a dog’s affection are mandatory.

What's brewing?

Paulig has long been Finland’s top importer of quality coffee. We drip their Presidentti dark roast and treat ourselves to an intense coffee taste, but not as heavy-handed as an expresso.

I have read that the Finns drink more coffee per person than any other country.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Several variables here. Stella enjoys crackers and jam; I enjoy croissant a couple of times a week…and good toasted Finnish bread.

Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?

Breakfast…maybe Hau-Hau lihaisa kanna-Risi koiran taysravinto.

How were you and Nemo and Dafi united?

They are family dogs and I married into the family. I found Dafi to be a wonderful dog and through him I have learned about the wonders of shepherds. He had already been trained as a rescue dog by my stepdaughter, Meri. That’s a photo of Stella and Dafi on the left and at right is a photo of Meri and Nemo.

Nemo is one year old big puppy. Both dogs live sometimes with Meri and sometimes with us. She lives near a forest.

We have been introducing Nemo to a wider world of other dogs, cars, and parks in Helsinki. He enjoys chasing sticks in the snow wherever he is.

Please tell us about Nemo and Dafi's connection to your books.

Actually, the idea for the books came earlier in my life, when a conversation turned to “why can’t people be more like dogs…the world would be a better place.” The dog in our life at that time was a wonderful rescued toy poodle. She was the inspiration behind Miss Merrie, Queen of the dogs.

Dafi has very much influenced my thinking and the actual writing of the books. Loyalty, courage, and unwavering focus are powerful attributes of working dogs like Dafi. These qualities play a major role in all the books; a major theme throughout is the dogs finding non-violent solutions to war, kidnappings, and conflicts.

The drawing on the left is of the first three dogs who come down to earth from the Planet Of The Dogs. One of them is modeled after Dafi.

There are more illustrations and sample chapters on our website.

More about our dogs, books, kids and therapy reading dogs can be found on our blog.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Meri gave them their names…they have a somewhat different connotation in Finnish. No aliases.

Cat, squirrel, postman...

They are trained to avoid confrontation. They will go after a squirrel in the forest.

Tennis ball, squeaky-toy, stick...

They both enjoy tennis balls and squeaky toys. Nemo loves to chase sticks. Dafi, however, after a couple of chases is bored…

Where is Nemo and Dafi's favorite place for outings?

The wooded parks in Helsinki and the forests near Meri’s house.

The photo on the right is of Dafi and me in our Helsinki apartment.

What is each dog's best quality?

Unconditional love, the basis for the human canine bond…

If Nemo and Dafi could change one thing about you, what would it be?

They are always ready for more treats, snacks and goodies.

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

I will have to ask Dafi. Nemo is still learning and would probably have a different answer every week.

Also, there would be no Christmas if it weren't for the dogs. They actually saved Christmas, long, long ago when they freed Dasher and Dancer from the Ice Castle.... The story is told in Snow Valley Heroes, volume 3 of the Planet Of The Dogs series.

See more illustrations and sample chapters from the Planet Of The Dogs series of books at at the official website.

Among the praise for the books: "It was wonderful to witness my students applying character lessons from the books in their own peer interactions…my students love them…(these books) are great motivators to encourage young people to read."
--Julie Hauck, third grade teacher, Longfellow School, Sheboygan, WI; developer of the therapy reading dog program, Pages for Preston.

Learn more about Robert McCarty's dogs, books, and about kids and therapy reading dogs at
his blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

No comments:

Post a Comment