Who is in the photo at right?
This is Bridget. She's 11 and a half. When I got her from the SPCA, they said she was a spaniel mix and would be a medium-sized dog. I think she's really a lab-setter mix or a flat-coated retriever mix (with something bigger).
I'm Angie Smibert, and I write children's book--young adult science fiction, to be exact--and I tutor on the side. And before turning to writing full time, I wrote/designed online training at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. In fact, I got Bridget in Florida--but she likes Virginia much better. Fewer rockets, fireworks, and thunderstorms.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Since I work at home, it's always Take Your Dog to Work Day. So we're having a little coffee break on the back porch.
Amaretto flavored coffee from Fresh Market. Ground at home. With sugar and half-and-half. In one of my Yoga Dog cups [photo left].
Any treats for you or Bridget on this occasion?
A Joint Max liver flavored treat. (She has hip dysplasia.)
How did Bridget get her name? Any aliases?
I named Bridget after the main character in Bridget Jones' Diary (the book, not the movie). Both have sweetly neurotic personalities. Bridget (Brigid) is also the Celtic goddess of poetry (and fire, I think.) Also, the name means "strong willed," which certainly fits my Bridget.
How were you and your dog united?
I got Bridget from the Titusville Florida SPCA. She was about 4 months old at the time. She melted my heart, but I think someone had turned her in for being too hard to handle. Just as I was walking out the door with her, the folks at the SPCA said "oh, you're taking the Monster." She's anything but a monster. But I can see how an inexperienced dog owner might not be able to handle her. As a puppy, she was hyper-energetic, slightly neurotic and really, really, really smart.
How does Bridget contribute to your writing?
When she was young, she did a lot of distracting me from writing. Now she mostly sleeps through it. (I can hear her snoring as I type.)
Actually, I did name the dog in the Memento Nora series after her.
Who is Bridget's best pet-pal?
Brick the cat (see below).
Does Bridget have any non-canine pet-pals?
We have two cats, Maggie and Brick. They're only about a year and half old. (They're also from the SPCA.) I kid that I got Maggie for me, and Brick evidently for Bridget. That cat adores the dog.
Squirrel, cat, postman...?
UPS truck. Bridget recognizes the distinctive sound of the UPS (or Fedex) truck pulling up.
What is Bridget's best quality?
That's hard to limit it to one. On top of a happy-go-lucky personality, she's very intelligent, intensely loyal, and even funny. Now, I know some people may scoff at the idea of a dog having a sense of humor, but she has one.
If Bridget could change one thing about you, what would it be?
I'd let her eat her weight in canned food every day. (She only gets a half can mixed in with her dry food.)
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Bridget could speak, which actor should do her voice?
Somebody funny. Jane Lynch? Or maybe Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
If Bridget could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?
What would make you feel safer in a thunderstorm?
Visit Angie Smibert's website, and learn more about her Memento Nora series.