Monday, August 8, 2011

Dorri Olds & Buddy James

Who is in the photo at right?

Hi, my name is Dorri Olds. I’m a native New Yorker born on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I work in my home/office in Chelsea as a freelance writer and web designer.

The photo is of me standing in my building’s large private garden holding my beloved hairy son, Buddy James, a 7-year-old purebred Cavalier King Charles Spaniel imported from Germany.

What’s the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Every morning is a coffee date with my canine. I open my eyes to Buddy, and my fiancĂ© Steve, sleeping peacefully [photo left]. I sit up and Buddy’s head pops up like a periscope and he leaps from the bed to shadow me to the kitchen.

What’s brewing?

I make my eye-opening cappuccino with 2 shots of Lavazza espresso, and cinnamon and chocolate powder sprinkled on top.

Bud stares at me watching, waiting. He knows that after my first sip he gets to eat.

Any treat for Buddy on this occasion?

’Lil Bud gets plenty of daily eats, but during the morning coffee ritual he over-acts. He likes to portray starvation. It’s so adorable I toss him a pre-java treat, usually a Milk-Bone [photo right].

Once I’ve placed his food bowl on the floor, within seconds he has inhaled his Science Diet beef breakfast then runs back to bed for Steve to rub his belly. When I sit down with my cuppa joe and a banana, Buddy rushes back to my feet. I serve him stringy pieces of banana from inside the peel.

How were you and Buddy united?

Buddy came into my life on New Year’s Eve of 2003. He was 2 months old, weighed 4 pounds and looked like a Beanie Baby. Brendan, my friend, knew she would break my heart when she broke the news she was moving to the West Coast. To soften the blow she bought me Buddy.

Does Buddy have any influence on your work?

Yes. If I’m at my computer in work-trance too long, Buddy trots over, plops down and makes this weird whimpery sound that means, “Hey! What am I, chopped liver?”

How did you come up with Buddy’s name?

He was named after my Uncle Buddy, a portrait painter who died when I was 5. Growing up, I spent hours staring at his self-portrait on the wall of my parent’s home. Now the painting hangs opposite my bed where I see it every morning.

Buddy’s middle name came from my childhood fantasy. I yearned to be filthy rich, own a Rolls Royce and have a chauffeur named James. My dream was to say, “Home, James.” The chauffeur never materialized, nor did the millions, but I what I got is love. I never knew I’d treasure anyone to the depths I do little Bud-Bud. His dark brown Bambi eyes and soulful ’tude made me christen him the lovechild of Rhythm ’n Blues singers, Buddy Guy and Etta James.

Does he get along with, or get especially agitated, by cats, squirrels, postmen...or some other creatures?

The Budmeister gets along with everybody. I enjoy bringing him along for an afternoon coffee in my garden. He sticks close by hoping there will be something to lick from my cup [photo left].

He greets neighbors’ dogs cheerfully, watches birds and squirrels with mild interest, but really perks up for humans. Bud’s a people-person.

What are his favorite toys and/or games?

He’s fond of cigarette shaped rawhide treats and enjoys them even more if I try to grab them out of his mouth. He’ll growl and yank the treat away from me, but if I lose interest in this repetitive game he lets out a “humph” then nudges my hand until I resume.

Where is Buddy’s favorite place for outings?

Our typical walk covers a few city blocks during which he wags his tail, sniffs trees and hydrants, and tries to swipe food remnants—no matter how congealed and disgusting—off the street. He attempts to be sneaky by closing his eyes into beady slits, tucking his mouth down to hide the forbidden scrap of food, then hunching over like a cartoon villain. He gives himself away every time and I’m left to yank the bacteria-ridden morsel out of his mouth and toss it into the trash. Wherever we go I stuff my pockets with plastic bags and tissues.

Is he a city dog, or does the country appeal as well?

As long as we’re together, Buddy is happy anywhere. We both enjoy my Aunt Norma’s house upstate. It has a large fenced-in yard so he can run around and piddle wherever he pleases. He usually hangs around near me though, either by the pool or at my feet during Scrabble games. He can’t stand not being able to see me.

At home he prefers doors open so he can follow me around. Using the word “heel” with him would be silly and unnecessary.

Who are Buddy’s best pet-pals?

Thankfully, Buddy’s godmother Brendan moved back to NYC a few years ago. Bud’s best friend is her Cavalier, Harry Rex [photo above right]. He also loves my Aunt Norma’s golden retriever, Zack, who isn’t golden—he’s blonde [photo left].

What is Buddy’s best quality?

I can’t choose just one. He’s devoted and loyal, mischievous and entertaining, snuggly, cuddly, and beautiful to look at.

Bud makes friends everywhere. He’s enthusiastic and gleeful 99 percent of the time.

What is Buddy’s proudest moment? His most embarrassing?

Buddy feels neither pride nor shame. I’ve witnessed a number of emotions: joy, fear, disgruntledness (if that’s a word).

I once asked my cousin Charlie what he imagines Buddy is thinking.

Charlie guessed, “I love you, I love you, I love you. Got something to eat?” I think Charlie nailed it.

Keep up with Dorri Olds at her website, blog, Twitter perch, and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue