Who is in the photo at right?
The two Dalmatians are Flynn, aged 8, with the eye patch standing at the back and Desi, nearly 4, with the black ears lying down and I’m Victoria Corby. I’m a British author living near Bordeaux, France and am currently getting my three print novels ready to publish as ebooks.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
I stagger down in the morning, feed the cats then the dogs (the dogs do not approve of this order) then get the chance to put the coffee machine on.
It’s a standard French filter machine with Brazilian coffee, nice and strong. Then just a dash of milk.
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
After their breakfast they get a piece of yesterday’s bread each. They’re French, the French eat bread at every meal so they reckon they should too.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
Flynn was born in Spain and came from a litter where all the puppies’ names started with H. He had been nicknamed el Pirata because of his eye patch and was named Herrol Flynn after Errol Flynn’s role in Captain Blood. He’s sometimes called the Large White because he’s huge for the breed and doesn’t have many spots, Mister, Dibs and The Mouf.
Desi’s pedigree name is Desirée which we were going to change, but when a fat spotted princess who looked as if she was born to wear a tiara and a sparkly collar arrived we realised it suited her down to the ground. She’s also known as the Baby, Little Princess, Little D and The Wee (she’s a good size but looks small next to Flynn).
How were you and your dogs united?
Flynn was my middle daughter’s 18th birthday present. We already had his grandmother Jez who had been given to us when she retired from the show ring and her previous owner, knowing that we weren’t interested in breeding or showing and were looking for a patched puppy, told us of Flynn. He was born in Malaga in the south of Spain but luckily was taken to Madrid for us to collect him – still an 8 hour drive which he spent on my daughter’s lap. They’ve been soulmates ever since.
When Jez died Flynn was so distraught – it was the first time in his life he’d ever had to spend the night on his own – that he started self harming and we realised we had to get another puppy immediately. I found an adorable little girl with black ears in Nice (as far away as Madrid) and it wasn’t until I was sent her pedigree that I realised that she was Jez’s great-great granddaughter and Flynn’s cousin.
Do your dogs contribute to your writing?
Desi keeps me company, Flynn prefers to keep his mistress’s bed warm for her. Up To No Good, my third novel, has a Dalmatian in it who was closely modelled on Plum, our first Dalmatian. I corrected the proofs while sitting next to her and nursing her through her last illness and the book is dedicated to her.
Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?
Rabbit, postman, cat....?
Flynn doesn’t chase anything; Desi, despite her looks, is a natural born huntress, the bigger the better. Luckily the one time she came face to face with a wild boar she realised he was too big even for her. However she knows the cats are off limits and so is the very nice post lady.
Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?
Flynn adores anything that squeaks, particularly dropping his ball in the swimming pool and then bobbing for it until he can catch it.
Desi only really likes toys when Flynn has them and she can try to take them away.
What is each dog's best quality?
They are completely loyal and loving. Dalmatians also tend to be wonderfully pragmatic about their owners, they are totally focused on their soul mates then when he or she goes out they turn their attention to someone else in the family and love them wildly until the owner comes back when the second string person gets dropped like a hot brick. It means you don’t have to worry about them pining too much!
If your dogs could change one thing about the French, what would it be?
The French around here are very dog friendly: when our daughter take the dogs to the café in our local market town they are always given bits of bread and croissant.
However the dogs would like summers in France to be cooler – from May onwards it’s often too hot to walk in the afternoons.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?
James Stewart for Flynn, he’s laid back and tough; Cameron Diaz for Desi.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
What is it you don’t understand about Not On The Sofa?
They’re bilingual, so do I get to ask them on in French too?
Visit Victoria Corby's website.