Who is in the photo at right?
I'm Kirsten Stade and I work for a nonprofit environmental group helping defend public employees who blow the whistle on agency environmental misdeeds. I also teach dog training classes, groom dogs out of my home, and volunteer at my local humane society.
In the photo I am with my old friend Lamar, a 12-year-old Anatolian shepherd mix I rescued as a young dog from the Santa Fe Animal shelter when I lived there years ago. My intention was to foster him, and that lasted about 3 days.
I currently have two foster dogs as well as Lamar. Fozzie Bear is a Mastiff mix I rescued from a nearby shelter two years ago with every intention of finding him a home quickly. Sandy is our newest foster; she is pictured with my sweetie and co-conspirator Florian Rouiller.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Lamar and I celebrated my birthday on the outer banks of North Carolina with my family last year. We are an outdoorsy lot and love to explore new places with all the dogs!
Unlucky for Lamar, I'm afraid the beverages I enjoyed for my birthday were not dog-appropriate! Fozzie is rather particular with food and drink; he likes mountain spring water better than anything.
Sandy will try just about anything; she wanted to try some Leinenkugel's Berry Weiss [photo right] but don't worry, Florian stopped short of allowing her to guzzle his brew.
Any goodies to go with the coffee?
Lamar and I got to share some birthday carrot cake.
How were you and your dogs united?
I met Lamar when I visited the shelter with my co-worker to take his wife, who worked there, out to lunch; I saw Lamar, who was named Toby, and Toby extended his paw to me repeatedly, and I told the shelter staff that if his time ran out, they should give me a call.
I met Fozzie after I got permission from the rescue group I volunteered with to pull a dog from a high-kill shelter in Maryland. I wanted to pull an older, calm, medium-sized, female of some easy-to-find-a-home for breed. I brought Florian with me, and Florian stuck his tongue between the bars of the cage that contained Bullet, a massive, powerful, adolescent male who was on death row because he'd failed his evaluation due to an overabundance of energy and poor impulse control. Bullet exuberantly returned Florian's overtures, which is how he came to be named Fozzie Bear and living with us.
Sandy is the result of my receiving an email about a dog who was stressed out at the shelter where I volunteer, right when I was in a vulnerable mood.
How did your dogs get their names? Do they have any nicknames?
Lamar Latrell is named after the famous nerd in Revenge of the Nerds, one of my favorite movies of my youth.
Fozzie Bear was the furthest thing I could think of from Bullet and the perception some people might have of such a large, powerful, muscular dog.
Sandy's name was given her by the shelter.
Squirrel, cat, postman...?
Fozzie's prey drive is through the roof. Lamar has some interest in prey species but is nice to the postman. Sandy seems pretty good around other species, especially humans. I don't completely trust her around my parakeets yet, but she may be able to be placed with a family with a cat--I can get back to you on that one if anyone's interested!
Where is your dogs' favorite place for an outing?
Our favorite places are hiking trails all over Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia and the pups love any place they can run free and get wet.
Our favorites are all on our blog.
Tennis ball, Frisbee, squeaky-toy...?
Lamar is a Frisbee star--he can catch them behind his back in midair. Sandy and Fozzie haven't figured out how to catch yet, but Sandy is an amazing jumper [photo right].
Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?
Lamar is not a huge fan of any other pets, though surprisingly he sometimes plays with Sandy the annoying little pup. Fozzie and Sandy usually have a lot of fun together, though Fozzie gets tired of Sandy's constant harassment.
What is each dog's most endearing quality?
Lamar likes to take his Frisbee and place it on the grass and then throw himself down on it and roll around on his back, making happy groaning grunting noises.
Fozzie is the most sensitive dog I have ever met, and if any human is ever upset Fozzie is on that human's chest or lap. Generally he can't get close enough to his people.
Sandy grunts and snorts a lot when she chews on things, but also when she kisses you and when you pet her.
If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?
Probably the fact that I have this compulsion to acquire other dogs! I think each of them would prefer having us humans all to themselves.
What is each dog's proudest moment?
I'm pretty proud of the progress Fozzie and I have made on his leash reactivity. We still have work to do, but we've learned a lot.
Sandy does great at adoption events--we've been proud at every one I've taken her to.
It's hard to pick one proud moment from 11 years with my main man Lamar. I'm proud of him for his incredible athleticism at the age of 12, his airborne Frisbee catches, his love of swimming, and his paws, which were the reason I rescued him and are still so expressive.
Visit the Peaceful Dog blog.