Monday, July 11, 2011

Barbara Edwards & Dixie

Who is in the photo at right?

Dixie, a Belgiun Malinois, female eight years old and author Barbara Edwards, a published writer. We’re visiting Chimney Rock, North Carolina during a conference for The Wild Rose Press authors.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I have coffee with Dixie every morning. She uses her cold, wet nose to poke any exposed skin until I awake to make my coffee and take her outside. She does her business while I sit on the porch and enjoy the morning.

What's brewing?

I drink my coffee black with ½ a spoon of sugar. I like strong coffee, usually Colombian Roast, never the flavored stuff.

Any goodies for you or Dixie to go with the coffee?

I love éclairs and there is a French bakery downtown. Theirs are wonderful with fresh cream. I try not to indulge more than once a week. Dixie gets the last bite. She has begging down to a science.

How were you and your dog united?

Dixie is adopted. This is a long story. My husband loves German Shepherds, but I’m sad to say that every time I’ve been bitten it’s been by one. I was watching the Westminster Kennel show, not really shopping, but they showed the three varieties of Belgians. They are all beautiful, but the Malinois’ description said: smart, family friendly, loyal. And I said ‘Aha!”

I went online to search for breeders and found they are very careful with their dogs, only breeding the females every other year. Sorry, none available. I checked with adoption sites and their dogs were several years old, not what my husband wanted.

We were sitting in a coffee shop (isn’t that appropriate?), having coffee, when he found an ad in the Step Saver about a Belgian Malinois up for adoption. I called and the rest is history. She was six months old.

How did Dixie get her name? Any aliases?

When we adopted Dixie, she wouldn’t respond to any name we called her until my son visited. He said, “Since you’re going south for the winter, why not call her Dixie?” She ran over and nuzzled his hand. So she actually picked her name. No aliases although there are a few things muttered when we clean the yard.

Does she have any role in your books and writing life?

Dixie keeps me from becoming a desk potato. She will nudge my arm until I surface and take her for a walk. This keeps me from gaining weight, too. I would love to make her a character, but she is so small people would think it fiction.

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

Don’t make me laugh. Dixie has staked out her territory: our yard and the road in front, the air overhead. She barks at squirrels, cats, rabbits, fox, an occasional coyote, the pair of hawks hunting mice and even an airplane landing at the airport. The postman and the garbage man both carry dog treats and she will bark until they hand over the goodies.

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

I had to eliminate chew toys. She destroys them and eats the pieces. Not good. I found an ostrich leg bone at the butcher’s shop and she took a year to wear it down to a hand-length. She will find a branch in the yard and play tug of war with me.

Where are Dixie's favorite places for outings?

With me. She wants to be with me twenty-four seven. She goes camping, hiking, visiting, wherever I go. She is well-behaved, a sweetheart despite her eighty pounds of muscle.

Who are her best pet-pals?

Dixie likes Bea, a sort of black retriever mix with a sloppy smile who belongs to my son and they play in the yard. Also, Cherokee who we visit in Virginia.

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

She’d make me pet her continuously all day, every day.

What is Dixie's best quality?

She is loving, a snuggler with a big heart. Dixie wants to be a lapdog, but will settled for laying her head on my lap and smiling at me.

What is Dixie's proudest moment?

She caught a squirrel’s tail and pulled out a tuft of hair when it fell off the porch banister. She is convinced she can do it again.

Her most embarrassing?

When she ate a piece of carpet and couldn’t cough it up or pass it. She was totally miserable, hanging her head and tail. That did entail a trip to the vet.

Thank you for allowing me to brag about the smartest, best, most wonderful dog in the world, Dixie.

Visit Barbara Edwards's website and blog, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

--Marshal Zeringue