Friday, July 6, 2012

Anna Patricio & Chestnut

Who is in the photo at right?

That is me, Anna Patricio, the debut author of Asenath, a historical / Biblical novel set in Ancient Egypt. My long-eared, four-legged friend is my dachshund Chestnut. She is 7 years old; she was born on 23 December 2004.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Taking a moment to unwind from writing and researching. As much as I love what I do, I need a break every now and then.

I am relaxing with a nice piping hot cup of coffee in my hand and with Chestnut sitting at my feet, looking at me expectantly and waiting for me to give her food. (Later, Chestnut, after I finish my coffee!)

What's brewing?

Latte with one packet of Splenda. I like lattes as I prefer my coffee with a rich, creamy taste.

Any treats for you or Chestnut on this occasion?

I'll have some mandarin oranges. Chestnut will get her dog biscuits - not too much though.

How did Chestnut get her name? Any aliases?

I actually wanted to name her Hotdog due to her unusual body shape - obviously. But my mum thought Hotdog was too common, and wanted Chestnut instead, firstly because of her colouring, and secondly because she was born close to Christmas. Somehow, I eventually agreed to Chestnut.

How were you and your dog united?

I knew someone whose dog had puppies and went over to pick from the litter. Chestnut was the one who readily came to me. So Chestnut it was!

Does Chestnut play any role in your writing?

Sure! Well obviously, being Chestnut's human and all, I am a dog lover. Hence, I like to make my protagonists dog lovers as well. Because I work so closely with them (my heroines), we have to have something in common in order for us to get along. So I thought it would be nice to make them dog lovers.

Fortunately for me, this is also historically accurate. My recently published and forthcoming novels are both set in Ancient Egypt, and the Ancient Egyptians were pet lovers. In tomb paintings, for instance, you see doting humans with their furbabies. So for me, this is killing two birds with one stone.

Who is Chestnut's best pet-pal?

None, alas. She likes to have the whole place to herself, so I can't get another dog.

She got to meet the older dogs before they crossed the Rainbow Bridge though. For some reason, she liked Pepper (the male) but hated Ginger (the female). [photo right: Pepper and Ginger]

I don't know if Pepper felt mutually towards Chestnut. But Chestnut really idolised Pepper. She would follow him all the time and try to play with him. She copies Pepper's habits even up to this day - his facial expressions, and even a weird habit of his wherein he would drag his bottom across the floor while half-sitting and half-walking (hmmm I don't know if what I've said just makes sense, but it's weirder than it sounds).

On the other hand, Chestnut bullied Ginger. She would sit on Ginger's paws and force her (Ginger) to clean her. One time, she even bit Ginger's tail!

Eventually, Chestnut and Ginger had to be separated. Because Ginger was already elderly, she spent her last years as an indoor dog (she was an outdoor dog until Pepper went to Heaven).

Does Chestnut have any non-canine pet-pals?

Yes - me! And also my family members. She doesn't like other humans or animals though. She is very clique-ish.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

All of them (that is, if there were squirrels where I live). Chestnut doesn't like any trespassers on her territory.

She's gotten into fights with passing stray cats a few times. Once, a cat actually scratched her. Fortunately, she wasn't too hurt.

What is Chestnut's best quality?

Her loyalty, cuteness, even the way she copies Pepper's habits. She's so funny when she does that.

Her hunter instincts, which is characteristic of her breed, have also been very beneficial as well. One time, she was barking and making a fuss, trying to get inside one of the storage rooms. I was really annoyed at first, but eventually let her in. She then dashed inside, and flew towards a corner. It turned out that there was a rat in the room!

She killed it, of course. As her reward, she got a deflated basketball, which she totally ripped up in a few days.

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

She would make me give her an endless supply of food. She's a bottomless pit, that dog.

Alas, I can't give her as much as she wants because if she puts on too much weight, that will be bad for her back. Dachshunds, because of their body structure, are very prone to back pain.

Still, Chestnut finds other things to eat. She eats all sorts of weird things, such as soil and seeds that fall from the trees!

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

Hmmm, I'm not sure. Maybe a child actor. I've always imagined dogs sounding like children, even if they are already in their senior years.

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

"Chestnut, can you be mild-mannered and sociable for at least one day?" Hehe.....

Visit Anna Patricio's blog and view the trailer for Asenath.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. How cute your relationship with your dog is.
    God gives us these creatures to be our friends.

  2. Chestnut is very cute and has a personality all her own, I think, Anna. Thank you for this glimpse into your canine friend's life and times. Also, I know you're a very talented author. I'm an Imajineer, too! Thanks for this link, it's so much fun and I love the photos! PS I think Hotdog suits her very well, too!