Who is in the photo at right?
My name is Lia Weber and I’m the human in the picture. I am a dog trainer and the assistant to another dog trainer in Portland. The little spotted one in the picture is Elli, who, I believe, is a Dalmatian/APBT/Whippet mix and the best partner I’ve ever known. She makes me look like a top-notch trainer (most of the time).
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine? What's brewing?
Sorry, I’m not a coffee-drinker. Hot cocoa with either almond mylk or coconut milk every AM, though! Elli’s curled up between my knees, waiting for her day to begin.
Any treats for you or Elli on this occasion?
Not at the moment – but we’ll get started later today with her training. Training happens every AM and PM.
How did Elli get her name? Any aliases?
Elli was named before I knew her. I saw her online and started thinking up names almost immediately – she was absolutely going to be mine, so I named her. I chose Ellipses as her full name; as a former English major, I know the names of obscure punctuation marks – an ellipses is “...” . Elli just so happens to have a similar pattern on her left rib.
She gets a new nickname every day, but mostly she’s referred to by one of the following: Elli-Belle, Elli-Boo, Shoo, Shugs (short for Sugar), or Little Lady. Out on the town and off-leash, she goes by Boobear.
How were you and Elli united?
After deciding that I wanted to be a trainer and realizing that I’d probably need a dog, I went on the hunt. I found her online after being disappointed by several other puppies – they all got snatched up so quickly. I wanted a Dalmatian for what seemed like ages... forgot about it for a long time, decided to be a trainer, then she showed up, and I adopted her the next morning.
Does Elli have a favorite place to go for an outing?
Elli loves all off-leash activities, like visits to the beach, Sandy River Delta and dog parks/soccer fields.
Squirrel, postman, cat...?
Cat. Definitely cat. One particular cat in our home has made her life very cat-focused. If she sees one, she immediately tries to greet nose-to-nose, if they run, she chases. She’s also quite fond of attacking feet/hands under the covers. If you move, she pounces and usually ends up with a mouthful of blanket, though I allow her a few chomps here and there, so long as she’s gentle.
Squeaky-top, ball, Frisbee...?
Flirt pole (like a large cat-toy made for dogs) antics are becoming extremely awesome to her (she tried to climb the piano this week to reach it, haha) and her all-time favorite Good Other Cuz ball.
What is Elli's best quality?
Her intelligence/eagerness to work.
If Elli could change one thing about you, what would it be?
It would be... My inability to control my emotions when not directed at her. I think that makes sense. Basically, she gets extremely upset if I am upset at anything or anyone. She just wants me to be happy all the day long, like she is.
What is Elli's proudest moment?
Elli, my dad and I were out hiking sand dunes one beautiful day last summer in Florence, OR and I had her off-leash. She disappeared while I talked to my dad for a while. After a few minutes, I decided that it’d be a good time to check her understanding of her whistle-recall. I gave the 3-blast cue and waited... and waited and waited. I fought the urge to repeat the cue. A few seconds later, she’s hurling herself up the side of the dune we were standing on with something in her mouth – she comes right back to me and drops it at my feet: a dried up turd. How nice of you, darling.
If Hollywood had made a movie last year about your life in which Elli could speak, which actor should do her voice?
I keep imagining Elli with a British accent, with a really precious laugh because she would laugh a lot. I’m thinking Emma Watson.
Learn more about Elli at the Identity: V+ E blog.