Friday, July 22, 2011

Crystal & Pinch

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Crystal, a 29 year-old Canadian ex-pat in France who teaches business English at a French insurance company near Paris. My dog Pinch is a miniature pinscher/dachshund mix and he's 4 years old. In that photo, we are on a paddle boat in the middle of a lake in the French Alps on holiday.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I have a coffee every morning around 7:30 before getting ready for work and after coming in from Pinch's walk (we live in an apartment). He'll sit on my lap as I sip my coffee and check blogs, emails, and likely Facebook.

What's brewing?

I have a Senseo coffee maker that makes one cup of coffee at a time. I love flavoured coffees and right now, I'm having vanilla.

Any treats for you or Pinch on this occasion?

I try to only give him doggie treats, but he usually gets a tiny taste of whatever I'm eating. I'd love for him to chew on those tartar reducing dog treats to help keep his teeth clean, but he won't touch them.

How were you and Pinch united?

I found him online in the North of France and actually ended up saving him from a backyard breeder who had no business taking care of puppies. I took him at 4 1/2 weeks when the woman told me to come get him because 'the mother dog isn't feeding him anymore so I'm just giving him cow's milk'. I figured he was better off with me, so I took him to the vet to get checked out and to buy some special puppy formula. He didn't even have teeth yet when he came home with me, but I nursed him back to health and paid for life-saving hernia surgery when he was just 5 1/2 weeks old.

How did Pinch get his name? Any nicknames?

My French husband actually came up with the name Pinch because it's short for 'pinscher' and easy for French and English people to pronounce! We have a variety of nicknames for him including: Mr. Silly, Bean, Nibble(s), and Mini Cujo (because he isn't the most social dog with other people and animals...)

Dogs generally love cheese; France is great at making cheese. Is Pinch a fromager?

He loves hard, salty cheeses but rarely ever gets any because I don't often have cheese at home. He has problems with tartar build up on his teeth, so I try not to give him things that could make it worse. But if I have some cheese, he'll run over and sit up on his hind legs like a bunny til I give him (a very tiny) piece.

If your household suddenly re-located to Canada, what would Pinch miss most about France? What would be the most difficult adjustment?

I don't think he'd miss anything. There are very few dog parks in France - near Paris, anyway - and a lot of traffic and people everywhere, all the time. In Canada, he'd have more places to run free and the possibility to make some doggie friends. The most difficult adjustment would be taking the plane I think. If he got through that, I'm sure he'd love his new life in Canada.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

He's never actually seen a squirrel I think and he's lived peacefully with his feline brother, Noé, since I got them both around the same time. If the postman rings the doorbell, I have to put him in another room so that he doesn't bark too much or jump at the poor guy. He barks at just about anything and everything.

What is an ordinary day like for Pinch?

I don't often work 9-5, so I'm home a lot with him. He gets walked once in the morning before I go to work, once at lunch time, then 2 more times before bed. He's a homebody and likes to just be near me if I'm reading or washing dishes. He also sleeps on the bed next to my pillow every night (my husband works nights). We are moving to the Alps at the end of August though, so his routine will be shaken up and I'm worried he'll need some time to get used to all the changes.

What is Pinch's best quality?

He is a very loyal dog to the people he tolerates. The exhaustive list includes me, my husband, and my French parents-in-law. He loves to snuggle with me at all times and is great at keeping me company when my husband is away for work. He's my baby and I couldn't imagine life without him.

If Pinch could change one thing about France, what would it be?

He'd be happy if other people and dogs didn't exist. Living in the city is hard for him because he's got some anxiety issues ever since a vicious attack from a much bigger dog.

He'd probably also like that other dog owners in France keep their dogs on leashes so that he doesn't feel the need to get into fights with them to protect his Mama.

What is Pinch's proudest moment so far? His most embarrassing?

His proudest moment was probably when, as a tiny puppy, he was published in the Cute Overload 2009 calendar in a photo snuggled up to my cat Noé [photo left].

Most embarrassing? He's scared of many inanimate objects and I've seen him growl and tuck his tail between his legs when we walk past a plastic bag blowing around in the street.

Visit the Crystal Goes to Europe blog.

--Marshal Zeringue