Who is in the photo at right?
My name is Seabrooke Leckie; I'm a freelance biologist (by training) and writer (by passion). I'm co-author of the new Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America, which will be released in April. My husband and I have two dogs: a 3-year-old female black lab/border collie cross named Raven and a 1-year-old male boston terrier called Jack.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
We live on 130 acres divided into a 30-acre parcel (with the house) and a 100-acre parcel down the road. I don't make it over to hike around the latter very often since the immediate 30 is so easy, so I bundled up the pups, packed a thermos and some treats, and headed over.
Though my husband enjoys coffee, I'm a tea drinker to the core. In the thermos today: Twining's Earl Gray, my staple.
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
None for me, but the dogs got carrot chunks, which delighted them.
How were you and your dogs united?
When my husband and I left the city we decided to get a dog. We wanted a black lab but didn't have money for a purebred. We watched the classifieds for a while, then saw a listing for a lab/border collie pup just the next town over, and because she was a mix she was a price we could afford. We went to to see if we liked her (being uncertain about a mixed breed), and ended up coming home with her.
Two years later we decided Raven was a little lonely and would benefit from a playmate. We settled on boston terrier as having the best temperament to match hers. Bostons come in two sizes, and we wanted the larger size but there seem to mostly be smaller ones in Ontario. We were actually looking at a breeder in Pennsylvania when we discovered a classifieds listing for a litter of large bostons just a couple hours from us.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
The name Raven represents our interest in birds (our main focus, as biologists). Jack is actually short for Jack Kerouac, a favourite author of my husband's. They both have nicknames they would probably be embarrassed if I repeated here.
What role have your dogs played in your writing?
The dogs make occasional cameos on my nature blog, though their greater influence has probably just been in forcing me to get out every day. Without them I get lazy. I do a lot of brainstorming for my various projects while out walking them, and of course I have to be outside in order to find things to blog about.
Do your dogs have a favorite place to go for an outing?
Grandma and Grandpa's! Unfortunately, my parents live an hour and a half away so we don't see them much. Alternatively, any open water where they can swim gets two paws up.
Squirrel, postman, cat...?
Oh my goodness, squirrel. Also, chipmunk. They live with three cats and get scolded for cat-chasing. (They get scolded for chipmunk-chasing, too, but employ selective hearing at such times.)
Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?
If you're offering to throw it, they're wanting to chase it. (This usually means ball.)
What is each dog's best quality?
Raven is super smart (the border collie in her); we probably don't spend as much time stimulating her intelligence as she deserves.
Jack is bold as brass. And he'll take a lickin' and keep on tickin'. We couldn't have planned a much better personality to be a companion for Raven.
And they're both nice quiet dogs. If they're barking at something, you know it's worth getting up to check out.
If your dogs could change one thing about Ontarians, what would it be?
Raven would wish that they visited more often. Jack would wish that they lived somewhere warmer.
What is each dog's proudest moment?
A couple of years ago our cats escaped the house through an unlatched porch door and disappeared. It was night when we noticed them missing, and my husband and I were out calling for them, scanning with headlamps. It was Raven who eventually found them, farther from the house than we'd been looking.
Jack's still a bit young for a proudest moment. Perhaps when he discovered a whole muzzle-licking delicious strip of bacon that had accidentally been dropped and snarfed it down before anyone noticed? I think he was pretty proud of that.
If your dogs could speak in the movie about your life, who should do their voices?
I had to think a while on this one. I settled on Kate Winslet for Raven, and Jack Black for Jack (the name's just a coincidence).
Visit Seabrooke Leckie's nature blog.