Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Marianne & Finn

Who is in the photo at right?

This is me, Marianne and my beautiful girl Finn. She's a golden retriever and she turned one this past October.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I work a part-time job on the weekends, and my husband was nice enough to have this waiting for me when I got home on Sunday.

It's finally getting cold enough in New York so we can start enjoying these warm treats. And Finn will always come over and investigate what we're eating and drinking.

What's brewing?

It's a hot cocoa from Dunkin' Donuts. I actually don't drink coffee.

Any treats for you or Finn on this occasion?

Well, I split a frosted donut with my husband and I confess, we let Finn have a little lick of the frosting.

How were you and Finn united?

On Christmas Eve 2010, my husband and I stopped by one of our local kennels "just to look." We went through a few rounds of playing with other dogs, and then I saw her. I just knew she had to be mine.

How did Finn get her name? Any nicknames?

Finn came from Huckleberry Finn. Everyone thinks it's an Irish name, but I am 100% Italian.

I just love Mark Twain (I even toured his house in CT this summer) and it seemed like a perfect fit.

Yes, I know Huck Finn is a boy and my Finn is a girl! We call her Finn, The Finn, Finnie, Finnickles and FinnFinn.

Does Finn have a favorite place to go for walk?

Finn will lay at my feet in the mornings until we do our usual loop for a walk through the neighborhood.

She just loves to be taken outside in general and is up for an adventure wherever we go.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Squirrels. The postmen around here drive from house to house, and she is terrified of cats. She loves to chase squirrels across the field.

What is Finn's best quality?

She is curious about everything. I could be folding the laundry or making the bed, and she'll come wandering over to see what I am doing and watch me do every detail so much that we think she's planning to do it herself the next time.

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

I am sure she'd love to be fed from the table.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Finn could speak, who should do her voice?

We use a Barbara Walters "Hewwwow" voice for Finn.

If Finn could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?

I would just like to know if she's happy.

Visit Finn Howard's blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 28, 2011

Vickie & Bert

Who is in the photo at right?

What a great chance to introduce myself (Vickie) and Bert. The picture is probably one of 10 pictures ever taken of me. I am pretty camera shy, but Bert on the other hand has had hundreds of pictures taken of him. We had to have a police ID picture and that is the only reason there is this one.

I run a little alternative doggy day care kennel in Utah. I had worked for many years in the field of Mental Health but after a lot of close calls and the loss of my sister and best friend, I walked away from that career and started doing something I really loved. Working with dogs.

Bert is a 3 1/2 year old male golden retriever.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Well, we are not coffee drinkers but I do love a good cup of hot chocolate on a cold day and today it is really cold. As the winter snow storms begin, Bert and I try and start our day with a little one on one time, before the day care dogs come. He usually sits at my side and gets a few baby marshmallows and I just chill (haha).

What's brewing?

We like the packaged hot chocolate with a bit of cinnamon and lots and lots of whipped cream and marshmallows.

How were you and Bert united?

My third partner in search and rescue, Jamie, a little border collie mix, had become too old to continue working and so I was thinking I would either retire (after 25 years and three k-9 partners) or maybe work another 10 years with another dog.

I had a golden as my second search & rescue partner but she had been killed after only working for 5 years. I loved her dearly and thought I might be interested in getting another golden for search work.

I went to look at a local litter with every intention of not bringing home a pup but it took about two seconds to know that Bert and I were meant to be together.

How did Bert get his name? Any nicknames?

My Aunt who went with me to look at the litter wanted to call him Prince Charming which would have been totally embarrassing on a search. I could just imagine calling my k-9 partner over to me with "Come charming, Come" Or "Prince, go find" it just didn't seem to fit.

But on the drive home with the little pup laying on my shoulder the name Bert came to me as totally fitting for the little guy. To appease my Aunt I called him Prince Albert. That made her feel better, but to me he will always be just plain "Bert."

Please tell us a bit about Bert's work as a therapy dog.

Bert certified in search and rescue as a wilderness, cadaver, water, tracking and disaster dog. From the age of 14 weeks, he would go to schools and teach wilderness safety to thousands of children all over the states of Utah, Idaho. and Nevada.

Through the search dogs he also went to retirement homes to visit the residents.

On one demonstration, Bert and I were asked to go to a camp that is for children with cancer. We have done it for years, but this year (2011), Bert met a four year old boy who stole our hearts. Bert was wonderful with this child, as he is with all children, but this one particularly brought out a very unique quality in Bert. A sensitivity that I had not been aware of to date.

It was at this moment that I knew we needed to look into the therapy work more seriously.

What is Bert's best quality?

Bert's gentle side and his understanding of what humans need from him is his best quality. Now don't get me wrong, he can be a nut, a little obsessive compulsive, but when he goes into the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital he becomes the perfect boy. At the request of nurses and doctors he is helped up onto the bed of the patient and he gently lays himself snugly along the side of their bodies, puts his head at their side just under the arm for petting and the two of them just melt into a world of healing. It is amazing to watch and a privilege to be a part of.

Who is Bert's best pet-pal?

Bert's very best friend is another search dog named Murphy. Murphy and Bert have been friends from the first day they met. Since they spend so much time together on searches and in training, they have become like brothers.

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

I think he would like it if I would quit working and just spend time with him, doing what ever he wants -- taking more hikes, more trips to the river for a swim, just more me time.

If Hollywood made a movie in which Bert could talk, who should do his voice?

Michael J. Fox.

Visit the Canine Country Club website and the Four Legged Views blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sam Moffie & Bailey

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Sam Moffie. I am a writer of fiction and when not creating characters and plots I run my tavern in Youngstown, Ohio. Bailey is my second best friend, my first best friend is my wife Juliette. Bailey is a five year old male golden retriever.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I have coffee before I walk Bailey, because despite lots of love and walks, he still tugs me every which way and I have learned that having hot coffee down your throat is better than having it all over your clothes.

What's brewing?

A k-cup of French Vanilla.

Any treats for you or Bailey on this occasion?

For Bailey, the treat is the walk.

How were you and Bailey united?

My ex-wife bought Bailey, but when she did, she was my present wife.

How did your dog get his name? Any nicknames?

The ex named him. His nickname is "Big B."

Does your dog have a favorite place to go for walk?

Bailey likes to walk anywhere. Whether it's in the Poland Woods or New York City, as long as he is walking, he is very happy.

Does Bailey have any influence on your writing?

Very much so. Bailey is disguised as 'Churchill' in my third novel No Mad. When walking him, it clears my mine to focus, unless he runs after another living creature.

What is your dog's best quality?

Bailey's best quality is his loyalty.

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

Bailey would want me to pet him more, feed him more, walk him more.

If Bailey was able to speak in a Sam Moffie biopic, who should do his voice?

Bailey would speak to me in my father's voice.

If Bailey could each answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

"Am I a good master?"

Visit Sam Moffie's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Susan Garrett & Swagger, Feature, Encore, Buzz, and DeCaff

Who is in the photo at right?

Those are my four Border Collies; Swagger (9 mo), his mother Feature (4 years), Encore (7 years), Buzz (15 years) and Mix breed “DeCaff” (12 years).

My name is Susan Garrett. I am a professional dog trainer that lectures all over the world about training your dog through games rather than intimidation.

I have been very fortunate to have owned some amazing dogs that have won more than 25 National Agility Championships and 2 World Championships over the past 20 years.

This picture [photo left] is of myself and my Border Collies Feature and Encore, we were on a trip to the UK for a competition and to teach.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

My dogs chill out every morning while I sit at my computer with a cup of Tazo “Refresh” Herbal Peppermint tea, the way we start each day.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Organic vegan cookies for me, homemade tuna brownies.

How were you and your dogs united?

Buzz and DeCaff were “sent to me” -- I was not looking for a dog when I got each of them but those two dogs were definitely the most pivotal in my dog training career. I learned so much from them, which inspired a video clip on YouTube called “The Journey” which is nearing 200,000 views.

I wrote a book about Buzz, Shaping Success -- it was named dog training book of the year in 2005 by the Dog Writers Association of America. As I professional dog trainer I had more than one break down sobbing due to the challenges Buzz gave me.

How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?

Buzz was crazy with drive. His registered name is “High On Emotion” and he has always lived up to that! The dog I got after Buzz I knew would be called “DeCaff” because once you have had a Buzz you certainly need a DeCaff!

They all have many nicknames; here are some of them:

Buzz: BooBoo

DeCaff: My Dee Dog (mighty dog)

Encore: Coriander

Feature: Peach Pie

Swagger: Wagger, Monkey Man,

Please tell us about your on-line dog training courses.

After spending more than 20 years traveling the globe giving lectures on our unique approach to dog training I realized I was limited with how many dogs and dog owners I could help. People werenʼt progressing as fast as they or I would like because I couldnʼt get to all of the places that asked as often as I wanted. So three years ago I started some on-line training. It by far as produced the best results I have ever seen in all of my years of dog training. Our program works because I know none of us has extra time each day to train a dog but anyone can squirrel away 5 minutes to play with their dog.

The 5 Minute Formula is about to launch another course at the end of November. People sign up to learn one new 5 minute game a day and at the end of the 6 week course they have a better trained dog then they have ever dreamt possible. It really works just like that!

I actually also give out a ton of free videos and ebooks to help people, even if they canʼt sign up for our main courses. Just sign up for my newsletter on my website.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Definitely postman -- my dogs adore people and when we go walking they barely even notice any wild life that may run by.

What is each dog's best quality?

Buzz: His lack of self awareness. Nothing bothers him, he goes with the flow and negativity can not enter his bubble. I think that has been his secret to living a happy life, now at over 15 years young, still without a gray hair!

DeCaff: Loyalty, she would go through fire for me.

Encore: Her love of people. She greets everyone she meets like they are a long lost love just returning from battle.

Feature: She has so many it is hard to pick one; a gifted athlete, a great mother to Swagger and a character that cracks you constantly with her antics.

Swaggger: His work ethic is off the charts and he has that same athletic ability and personality he inherited from his mother Feature.

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

That is easy: they would have me spend less time at the computer.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, who should do their voices?

Buzz - Eddie Murphy; DeCaff - Renee Russo; Encore - Susan Saradon; Feature - Jane Lynch; Swagger - Zac Efron.

If your dogs could each answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

Buzz - Why did you feel the need to scream at me so much when you worked?

DeCaff -- Why do you feel you must control what the other dogs do?

Encore -- Why do you feel the need to smoother everyone with so much love?

Feature - - Why do male dogs annoy you so?

Swagger -- Does being the focus of the Pup-arazzi ever annoy you? (Swagger is the star of an ongoing video course called “Puppy Peaks.” People have watched him grown up since the day he was born and he gets recognized and photographed everywhere we go.)

Visit the Susan Garrett Agility Training and Say Yes Dog Training websites.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 21, 2011

Krista Wells & Ruca

Who is in the drawing at right?

I'm Krista Wells. I'm a visual artist and former Foley artist (sound effects for film and t.v.). About four years ago I developed a rare hearing disorder called hyperacusis. The quick definition of the disorder is "a collapsed tolerance for everyday sound" which basically means that my brain perceives sound to be much louder than it actually is. The upshot of this is that I had to stop working and now I devote my energy to my visual art which has always been a part of my life in one form or another. The handsome fellow beside me in the sketch is Ruca, a dog I met several years ago in Portugal. Ruca is an artist as well so we struck up a friendship. The sketch is from his journal.

Ruca is about four years old. He's a mixed breed with the typical colouring of many of the mixed breed dogs in the Algarve. It's the same colour as the delicious café com leite, which literally is coffee with milk and is made with a shot of espresso, steamed milk and a bit of milk foam on top.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

In the sketch [above right], Ruca and I are sitting outside the Varandas Bar in Burgau waiting for our cafés com laite. We’re meeting to discuss plans for publishing his illustrated journals. He’s been keeping an illustrated journal for a couple of years and a blog since March of this year. The blog has proven to be quite popular and he has made many new friends through it. I thought it would be fun to publish a book of some of his art and observations so that his view on things could reach a wider audience. There’s also something satisfying about holding a book in your hands (or paws) that you just can’t get from a blog.

What's brewing?

As I mentioned, we’re having café com leite at Varandas. They use Delta brand espresso, brew it to perfection and add just the right amount of steamed milk. I like mine really hot but for Ruca they don’t heat the milk up quite as much. Ruca tries to limit the amount of coffee he drinks, although caffeine buzz has spawned a new style of drawing for him which he calls caffeinated drawing. The sketches of the two dogs are in that style.

Any treats for you or Ruca on this occasion?

No treats this time, but when we have a coffee at Mi Mar in Lagos I get a pastel de nata (a flaky pastry with cream filling) and he has a pastel de bacalhau (pastry filled with cod, like a little fishcake).

How were you and Ruca united?

Ruca and I met at Varandas Bar in Burgau, a little fishing village in the Algarve in Portugal where my partner Michael and I have been spending time during the winter for many years. Ruca had just come back from a long walk along the cliffs. He had been tagging along with a Scottish friend who regularly takes long early morning hikes. He looked exhausted, was covered in mud and was in need of a coffee, so I obliged and we’ve been friends ever since.

How did Ruca get his name? Any nicknames?

Ruca is the name of a character in a children’s book and t.v. show. It’s originally from Canada and the character is called Caillou. The Portuguese changed it to Ruca. This Ruca was named by a local family who were under the illusion that he belonged to them. Little did they know how independent Ruca is. He’s a free spirit and prefers to live on the street. I sometimes call him Sweet Boy which he doesn’t seem to mind.

Does Ruca have a favorite place to go for walk?

Ruca is a very sociable fellow. He spends a lot of time at a dog rescue centre not far from Burgau and loves walking with all the dogs there. He also enjoys walking around Lagos, a town not far from Burgau. He meets up with his best friend Rita and they make the rounds of the shops near her person’s bookstore. Everyone knows them and has treats for them. This picture [photo left] is me getting a sloppy greeting from lovely Rita.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Around Burgau it is has to be cat. There are so many to choose from, but he knows which ones are game and which ones aren’t. It’s a delicate line to walk!

What is Ruca's greatest contribution to your artwork?

What Ruca has taught me is to really enjoy the act of making something and not to worry about the result. He gets such joy from sketching and painting and experimenting, it’s infectious.

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

I think Ruca would like it if I had a job as a butcher so I could supply him with all the tasty bones he could ever wish for.

What is Ruca's proudest moment so far?

The first time Ruca held a pen in his paws and was able to do a sketch without totally messing it up was a huge boost for him. When Ruca first started making marks, it was with a stick in the sand. That progressed to using a stick dipped in mud to draw on scraps of paper. The first time he tried a pen he found it difficult to see what he was doing because he was holding it in his mouth and his face was too close to the paper. He was used to having long sticks which meant the paper was far enough away that he could focus on it. To use a pen effectively he had to find a way to maneuver it with his paws. The first time he managed to do it was like the first time a child rides a bike on his own. He was so proud of himself!

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Ruca could speak, who should do his voice?

I would want Jay Baruchel (The Trotsky, Just Buried (a film I did the Foley sound for), How to Train Your Dragon) to voice Ruca. Jay’s got such an endearing, quirky, goofy, yet intelligent way about him. It would fit Ruca perfectly.

If Ruca could each answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

Ruca, is there any way I can make your life even better?

Visit the Dog-eared Journals: art and observations from a dog living in Portugal.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sue Sorensen & Wyatt

Who is in the photo at right?

Hi! I’m Sue Sorensen and this is Wyatt. Wyatt is a 3 year old Airedale Terrier. Wyatt and his older Airedale sister Constanza, help my husband and me, with our landscape design and installation business.

What’s the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Saturday is our errand day. First we hiked around the Willamette River, and then we stopped at the grocery store, the post office and Starbucks.

What’s brewing?

Pumpkin spiced lattes!

Are there any treats for Wyatt?

Just the leftover foam in the bottom of the cup. Poor unloved dog…ha-ha!

How were you and Wyatt united?

We fell in love with Wyatt’s father at the Rose City Classic Dog Show. Such a handsome and good natured dog. We waited patiently for one of his offspring. Wyatt is a chip off the ole block!

How did Wyatt get his name? Any nicknames?

All of our previous animals had a Wolfgang Mozart theme, (Mozart, Leopold, Constanza). Wyatt’s personality didn’t fit that theme…he was his own dog. Wyatt has many nicknames. A couple that I can share are ‘Sparky McFarkle’ and ‘Stinka Pants’ (more about attitude than smell...hee hee).

Does Wyatt have a favorite place to go for a walk?

Any place with bushes, good smells, water and wildlife. We hike around the local community college a lot. There is always something to snoop around there and so many squirrels. But the hikes along the river are dog heaven.

Squirrels, postman, cat…?

All of the above.

What is Wyatt’s greatest contribution to your gardening?

Don’t tell anybody, but Wyatt is a lousy gardener! But, he does make us laugh, every hour of every day! He steals our gloves, he runs off with the tarp, he sits on the flowers and digs big holes. He eats bugs, barks at birds and swims with the frogs and fish. All with a big ‘Wyatt’ smile and that makes us smile!

If Wyatt could change one thing about Oregonians, what would it be?

Give more dog cookies at the gas stations and drive up windows! If you want our business, don’t be stingy with the treats!

What is Wyatt’s proudest moment so far? Most embarrassing?

Proudest- Winning the ASPCA 2010 ‘Go Orange’ photo contest and winning money for Project Pooch.

Embarrassing- Running the agility course ‘Wyatt Freestyle’!

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Wyatt could speak, who should do his voice?

Justin Bieber. He has a cute face and girls like him, just like Wyatt!

If Wyatt could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

That’s easy, the same question I ask him every day. “What would you like to do today, Wyatt?”

Visit the Gardening with Wyatt blog and Wyatt's Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Alison Goodman & Xander


In July 2009 author Alison Goodman and Xander Matthias Goodman (aka the Furry Lord Of Darkness) were guest here on the blog.

From the Q & A:
How did Xander come to be united with you?

As a guess, I’d say I did something heinous in a previous life and Xander is my punishment. Either that, or seven years ago I turned up at an animal shelter in answer to a “this dog needs a home” advertorial in the paper and left with a small and suspiciously quiet Jack Russell. A few hours later the drugs wore off and his true personality emerged. The Universe is still laughing its arse off.

How did Xander get his name?

He is named after the character in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." His middle name is my father’s middle name (although I’m not sure I’ve ever told my Dad about that honour). However, he is also called Xanderpup, The Furry Lord of Darkness, Goatboy, Piglet, Bongface, Fatboy Slim or Bad Dog, according to whichever of his various personalities is currently tormenting us.
Read the complete Q & A.

Visit Alison Goodman’s website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Joanne Lewis & Frisco

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Joanne Lewis and I am a novelist.

My dog is Frisco. He’s a six-year-old male toy poodle.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I have tea with Frisco every day. We love to go to cafes, sit outside, sip tea and look for dropped crumbs.

What's brewing?

Genmaicha. It’s Japanese green tea leaves combined with roasted brown rice. It’s also called popcorn tea. It was invented by poor Japanese people who wanted to stretch their supply of green tea. I try and drink only loose tea and my favorite brand is Adagio.

Any treats for you or Frisco on this occasion?

Tea and a raisin scone for me. Small pieces of milk bone for Frisco.

How were you and Frisco united?

I had a toy poodle named Jennie growing up whom I really missed. It took me almost twenty-five years to unite with Frisco. I went into a puppy store and he insisted I take him home. I’m glad he did.

How did Frisco get his name? Any aliases?

Frisco is named for San Francisco. He’s also called Bear, Papa and Baby Boy. I think he likes Bear the best.

Has Frisco played any role in your writing?

Absolutely. He lounges on my desk while I write. Petting him when I am working on difficult plotting helps me a lot. Just having him around makes me feel good.

He also makes me get out of the house and enjoy the fresh air. We take at least 4 walks a day together.

Does Frisco have a favorite place to go for walk?

The park across the street from my house. There is a volleyball court and he loves to run in circles on the sand.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

He’ll chase squirrels for a few feet but he doesn’t really mean it. The postman doesn’t bother him. Cats – who cares?

But the bigger the dog, the more ferocious he is.

He also likes to jump at palm fronds and try to grab them – one’s close to the ground of course since he’s a little guy.

What is Frisco's best quality?

He lives in the now.

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

I would never leave him alone.

What's Frisco's proudest moment?

When we finish a novel and go for a nice, long walk on the beach.

And his most embarrassing?

His anal glands get impacted so I take him to the vet every 6 weeks or so to make sure they’re OK. When the vet pulls on a glove and sticks his finger---well, you can imagine the rest.

If Frisco could talk in the movie about your life, who should do his voice?

Gerard Depardieu – he is a French poodle, after all.

Joanne Lewis is the co-author of a novel called Wicked Good. It's the "story of a mother and her son with Asperger's syndrome. A different kind of love story. A different kind of mystery."

Visit the Wicked Good website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 14, 2011

Laura Hartwick & Team Small Dog

Who is in the photo at right?

I am Laura and my dogs are Team Small Dog. I'm a former artist who is working on being a super champ of dog agility. The rest of the time I'm a horse trainer and riding instructor and write my blog, coincidentally also named Team Small Dog. Those two that look alike are Ruby, an 11ish year old terrier based ex-feral dog, and Otterpop, who is one pain in the hiney 7ish year old cattle dog chihuahua hybrid sort of maybe. Gustavo is 5ish and all I can say about him is he's the sweetest dog I've ever met and of completely unknown breeds. Literally. He got DNA tested and has an official certificate that says "Untested Breed." No DNA.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Every day is a nice day for drinking coffee and hanging out with the dogs.

What's brewing?

Fair Trade coffee. If I'm a gonna drink it those poverty stricken coffee farmers need to get a bigger cut of the coffee money pie.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Oh yeah. Now everybody knows the secret of my photo shoots. Trader Joe's string cheese.

How were you and your dogs united?

Ruby was sprung from our local shelter where I used to volunteer. Otterpop came from the side of the road out here in Watsonville and Gustavo got picked up by some vets down in Juarez doing a spay/neuter clinic and drove back across the border in their van. Luck and fabulous timing brought us all together.

How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?

Otterpop. Like the popsicles? Pop for short. Ruby just seemed to fit, sort of hard and small and sparkly. We call her Mrs. Wu, after the guy in Deadwood that fed corpses to his pigs. Gustavo is a very distinguished name in the Spanish language. He's Gooey most of the time, though.

Do your dogs have a favorite place to go for walk?

We walk a lot. In the redwood forests, on the beach, open meadows, the railroad tracks, around the neighborhood. This is what we do.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Otterpop would agree all of those things must die. Ruby and Gustavo are plagued by the plethora of squirrels that taunt them on our block.

What is each dog's best quality?

Ruby is a shrewd and crafty Mother Teresa amongst dogs. She has been through a lot in her 11 years, and is why we started agility. She taught me a lot about dog training. Otterpop is my agility super champ and taught me even more about dog training. She yells a lot, but is damn funny. Gustavo's unusual brain taught me even more about dog training, more than I ever knew existed. His shining personality reminds me to be a better person.

If your dogs could change one thing about Santa Cruz, what would it be?

My dogs all wish that they could actually walk legally in all the beautiful redwood forests, open meadows and beaches in Santa Cruz.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, who should do their voices?

I am so glad you asked this, because this is a question I think about a lot in my spare time. Otterpop should probably be played by Courtney Love or Sgt. R. Lee Ermey. I think Robert Downey, Jr. after huffing helium would do a great job as Gustavo. If that's not cool with Bob's 12 step program, then maybe the lady that does Bart Simpson's voice. Ruby would need subtitles or animated thought bubbles, because she is too zen to speak through words.

If your dogs could each answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

I'd try to get Ruby to tell me where it hurts.
I'd ask Gustavo what it is he sees in his brain.
I would just ask Otterpop why can't she shut up?

Visit the Team Small Dog blog and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 11, 2011

Bree & Reilly and Denny

Who is in the photo at right?

Ah! A day in the park with my boys! This is Reilly (black head), Denny (red head) and myself Bree. Reilly is 4 years old, Denny is 7 months and me I am cough cough cough! Reilly and Denny are both AKC registered color headed white Shetland Sheepdogs or Shelties as we call them. Reilly is also a registered therapy dog and does agility. I hope to work with Denny so he will do the same as well.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Well actually I only drink tea – it’s an Aussie thing of which I am one even though I live in the USA now. It is kind of our daily ritual to go the park, sit by the lake, listen to the wind in the trees and the birds – the boys just enjoy a good sniffing session! It’s also a great place for some socialization – the boys get to meet lots of people and other doggies.

What's brewing?

Hot tea – I like the real stuff! PJ TIPS – Special Blend that I get from England. It is strong tea (the kind a spoon can stand up by itself in!) and I have it with a little 2% milk – not creamer!

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

I always have little training treats in my pocket – even a walk in the park can be a good place to practice sit, wait, recall, heel and so on. There are also bottles of water in the car - waiting at the end of our walk too - Reilly always loves a big drink at the end of some exploring!

How were you and your dogs united?

I got both Reilly and Denny from registered breeders. Reilly is from Wisconsin (a cheesehead, as my husband calls him) and Denny is from Kentucky. I got both of them at 10 weeks of age although I visited them a couple of times before picking them up to make sure we were right for each other.

How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?

Shelties are originally from the Shetland Islands so I wanted good Scottish names for them and of course they had to end in ‘Y’. Every dog I have ever owned in my life has had a name ending in "Y". Reilly means outgoing which is what he is – he is very laid back and just takes everything in his stride. Denny means “red headed one” and he is the total opposite, full of nervous energy and scared of everything but will also take on anything too. Reilly’s nickname is ‘the big dog’ because he is over sized for a Sheltie and Denny’s is ‘the honey badger’ because at times he can be totally fearless even though scared of something.

Do your dogs have a favorite place to go for walk?

By far the parks and around the lake although they are quite partial to the pet store or more precisely the treats they get at the pet store. We also check out the neighborhood on a weekly basis too.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

The dreaded ninja squirrels! Reilly doesn’t like them at all and has been known to pull me off my feet when he takes off after one of them.

What is each dog's best quality?

Reilly is just such an amazing dog, he’s the ‘perfect’ dog. He is calm but confident, is happy doing his own thing, a joy to walk and be with. He is also my therapy dog – he just has such a calming presence. He’s not a cuddly dog though, he loves having his ears and back scratched but that is about it. He's extremely intuitive and always picks up on how I am feeling. He does like to stay close to our feet though. Denny is still developing his personality; he is skittish but likes being close. He will sit in a chair with me but doesn’t like being held. He also hates ‘change’ and he gets most upset if we move something from it’s ‘usual’ place.

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

Hmmm..... I think that I could take them to the park every single day. I have RA (rheumatoid arthritis) and some days I just can’t manage a long walk or even a short one.

What is each dog's proudest / most embarrassing moment?

For Reilly – it was learning over twenty sign language moves. He can do many of his tricks with just the movement of my hands. In total he knows over 100 different tricks and is still learning Most embarrassing – I can’t think of any - (he is the perfect dog, afterall).

Denny’s proudest was learning to use his interactive dog toy in less than 5 minutes. (It said on the box it takes me a couple of days to figure it out - yeah sure!). He had the slides open and had pulled out the pegs to reach the treats in the blink of an eye. His most embarrassing is barfing up his breakfast whenever he get nervous.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, who should do their voices?

For Reilly – it would have to be Sean Connery, that calming, mellow Scottish accent! For Denny – it would almost have to Steve Urkel!!! "Did I do that?" - is Denny's catch cry when you see something he has 'found' and took outside.

If your dogs could each answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

Just a simple question, I think: “Are dogs ticklish - there has to be some reason for all that foot movement when you scratch their bellies!”

Visit the CowSpotDogs blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gretchen DeMoss & Kendall

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Gretchen DeMoss. I'm a scientist by day and a blogger by night. Kendall's my 3 year old, female, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. We're a registered Pet Partner team with the Delta Society, and we visit at a local assisted living facility as well as volunteer for the library's Read to the Dogs program. I blog about the Adventures of Kendall. When Kendall can't travel with me, I take Flat Kendall along.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We have coffee at home together every day. A cup of coffee means it's time for Kendall to climb into my lap.

What's brewing?

Our favorite coffee these days is Black Butte Gold coffee from Sisters Coffee Co. They're a small outfit out of Sisters, OR who have delectable coffee. We buy it in bulk so we're sure not to run out. We brew it in our Starbucks coffee maker with the insulated carafe. We don't want it sitting on the burner to get burnt.

Any treats for you or Kendall on this occasion?

No treats on this occasion, but Kendall will do just about anything for a sweet potato treat. She loves anything and everything sweet potato.

How were you and Kendall united?

We picked Kendall out of the litter when she was four weeks old. It's hard to tell what kind of dog they'll be like when they're that small, but we had a great feeling. We had the pick of the litter, and I think we chose right.

How did she get her name? Any nicknames?

Kendall's named after Henry Kendall, a Nobel-winning physicist from MIT. All of our pets have been named after physicists. It all started with Dinger (Schroedinger) the cat. Kendall also lives with Heimey (Oppenheimer) the cat and Rico (Enrico Fermi) the cat. When we were looking for a dog name, we searched through lists of physicists to see what name rolled off the tongue. Calling, "Here Tesla," just doesn't work.

Does Kendall have a favorite place to go for walk?

Kendall loves to go for a walk at the Greenway Park near here. She knows we're there as we approach in the car. There's a creek that runs through the park that has a lot of wildlife living near it. The smells in that park must be wonderful for a dog because her nose is to the ground the entire time we're there.

Squirrel, postman, cat…?

Definitely squirrel. She gives them chase in the back yard every chance she gets. I think she's given up hope that she'll ever actually catch one, but she sure loves to try. Her best friend is Rico, the cat, so she doesn't tend to pay the cats much attention.

Squeaky-toy, tennis ball, stick?

Kendall's not much of a chaser. She likes her bully stick or a dried sweet potato now and then, but she's not one to chase a ball or a stick. She's a pretty low energy dog.

What is Kendall's best quality?

Kendall's best quality is her ability to bring out the smiles in the people she meets. Her big eyes elicit smiles from everyone. Her tail wags from the moment we arrive at the assisted living facility to the time we leave. It's so much fun to watch peoples' reactions.

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

If Kendall would change one thing about me it would be to make me someone who worked from home. She loves to be next to me whenever I'm home. I don't think she likes it much when I leave to go to work or when I travel.

If Hollywood made a movie in which Kendall could talk, who should do her voice?

Wow! That's a tough one. It would need to be someone with a sense of humor and fun, young voice.

Visit The Adventures of Kendall the Cavalier blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Jonathan XIII & Christie Jackman and Kristy Bassilakis


In a 2009 Q & A, Christie Jackman and Kristy Bassilakis, then Co-Chairs of the Alpha Phi Omega Husky Committee from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut (UConn), introduced the UConn mascot, Jonathan XIII.

From the interview:
How did Jonathan XIII get his name?

Jonathan XIII is named after Jonathan Trumble, a Revolutionary War general. The student body voted on the name when they first decided to get a mascot.

Have Jonathans I-XIII always been male?

Yes, the Jonathan dogs have always been male. Most of the Jonathans have been virtually similar, except for Jonathan I who was black and white.

When I hear "UConn husky" I think "Yukon husky." Have you ever introduced Jonathan XIII as the UConn husky and gotten a response like, "He doesn't look Canadian, eh?"

Haha, so far I haven’t gotten any questions like that! Although it’s funny that sometimes people don’t put two and two together and they wonder why we have a dog at the sporting events. But sometimes when people aren’t familiar with UConn I have gotten questions about Yukon, Canada and why I would want to...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mary Hone & Roxy

Who is in the photo at right?

Mary Hone. Artist and blogger. And Roxy, our Pomeranian/Chihuahua, and Torrey.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Roxy has coffee with my husband and I every morning. She sits between us in our big chair. We drink coffee and watch a little news. Even when we are traveling, she will sit in the chair in our trailer with my husband.

What's brewing?

Columbia drip brew. We like Sunflower Markets own brand. I have a little half and half, with unsweetened chocolate almond milk.

Any treats for you or Roxy on this occasion?

Roxy and Torrey both get some of Al’s cheerios for breakfast. They love them!

How were you and Roxy united?

My brother had a male Pomeranian and his roommate had a female Chihuahua. One thing led to another and that led to puppies.

I got pick of the litter, and she is awesome!

How did Roxy get her name? Any aliases?

My kids and I tossed around several names before settling on Roxy. We just liked the sound of it. Short, sweet and all that.

I call her Twinkle Toes a lot.

Where is Roxy's favorite travel destination?

The couch? Kidding. She loves to go anywhere, anytime. Camping, hiking, visiting, you name it.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Squirrel!! We have them in our yard and they drive her and Torrey crazy.

You make doggie necklaces: which one is Roxy's favorite?

The one she wears all the time. Yellow, turquoise, red and blue in a zig zag pattern.

Who are Roxy's best pet-pals?

Torrey, when she's in the mood to play.

What is Roxy's best quality?

She is so personable, everyone loves her. And she doesn’t bark much.

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

Stop working and snuggle with me. Or stop working and let’s go!

If Roxy could talk in the movie about your life, who should do her voice?

Ellen Degeneres. Hands down. Snarky, and tells it like It is.

Visit the Roxy the Traveling Dog blog.

--Marshal Zeringue