Who is in the photo at right?
That's Maggie on the left and Dudley on the right. The old guy in the middle is me, Sands Hetherington. Dudley and Maggie are St. Bernard littermates born four years ago last Valentine's Day. I write children’s books starring a kid named John and a red crocodile named Crosley who sneak out and have adventures after bedtime.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
I'm afraid I don't do coffee. I'm an apple cider and wine & cheese man. These are sacred and diurnal activities, and the guys are always with me at the time--unless they happen to be out in the yard.
I have made Irish Coffee using John Jameson's, instant coffee and cream fluff in a spray can, but it's been over thirty years. That, now, is a real cup o' coffee!
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
These two wouldn't have been born for another thirty years. These days Dudley gets a large Milk-Bone and Maggie gets two carrots when I have my breakfast cider.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
I just came up with them from the ether. Dudley's nicknames are Dorger and Boo-boo, and Maggie's are Sissy Rose and Shagrat.
How were you and your dogs united?
I used to breed St. Bernards and know a few of the people. I called a couple of them who still participate, and one had Dudley who was four months old. I got Maggie from the same place a year later so that Dudley would have a friend. I did say they were littermates: Dudley is a longhair ("rough-coat") and Maggie is a shorthair ("smooth-coat").
Do Maggie and Dudley play any role in your writing?
They lie around close somewhere and provide a presence. It would be a lonely business indeed without something like that.
Do Maggie and Dudley have any non-canine pet-pals?
No pets, just wild. Other than the obligatory squirrels, they have several deer that visit through the fence at twilight. They also enjoy raging at bass boats out on the nearby lake.
Squirrel, cat, postman...?
No cats around, and they never get to see the postman. If they did, Maggie would rush up and make friends.
What is each dog's best quality?
Dudley is completely and utterly good-natured. Maggie is good-natured too, but a bundle of energy. They complement each other and are very attached.
If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?
Maggie wishes I were more liberal with food. She weighs 110 pounds and is a real little beauty. She would weigh 300 if I would conform. Dudley says I don't take him around in my old dog of a Honda Civic nearly enough.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?
Charles Laughton and Meryl Streep. Meryl Streep could do any girl dog.
If Maggie and Dudley could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
What's it like being a (well-treated) big dog? (Or) Would you trade places with me?
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