Who is in the photo at right?
That’s my dog Blue and me, Kim Kavin, at a park near our home in Long Valley, New Jersey. A friend of mine took the photo for me so that I’d have it for the jacket on the hardcover edition of Little Boy Blue. We brought the dog as well as my friend’s 2-year-old daughter to the park on an overcast winter day and hoped for the best. We got lucky when a couple walked by with a pair of dogs. Blue made this great, attentive face, and I tried to just keep smiling at the camera while holding him back, lest he leap off my lap and chase those dogs into the nearby lake. The 2-year-old thought the entire situation was highly entertaining.
What’s the occasion for coffee with a canine?
Actually, I haven’t had a cup of coffee in at least ten years. I quit cold turkey after I got out of the newspaper business, where I worked as an editor on the night shift and got addicted to the stuff. Now my hot drink of choice is African Rooibos red tea, which is naturally decaffeinated. I enjoy a cup before bed, when Blue is usually snuggling with me on the sofa.
Any treats for you or Blue on this occasion?
I will admit that there is still a little bit of a caffeine junkie in me, because a little piece of dark chocolate with that cup of tea (or, really, with anything) is hard for me to turn down. Blue obviously can’t have chocolate, but loves a good deer antler or rawhide bone or bully stick at night. I think he enjoys gnawing those things even more than he does eating real food.
How did Blue get his name? Any aliases?
I wish I could say it’s some great literary reference, but the truth is that my ex-husband named Blue back when we were still married. He’d just seen the movie Old School starring Will Ferrell, and there’s this scene where Ferrell is shouting over the grave of a dead 90-year-old fraternity pledge, “You’re my boy, Blue!” My ex thought it would be hilarious to shout this around the house. I actually love the name Blue for a hound mix from the South, though I did ditch the quote just as soon as I ditched the husband.
Squirrel, cat, postman…?
Where we live, it’s squirrels, deer, and the occasional black bear. My house is on five and a half acres at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, surrounded by untouched woods. Blue loves to “guard the perimeter” by walking along the fence line and looking into the woods to see who’s around. He is never disappointed. If not a squirrel or deer or bear, there is always the neighbor’s cat.
Squeaky toy, ball, stick…?
Honestly, whatever toy is in the mouth of whatever foster puppy we have in the house for Lulu’s Rescue, which is one of the groups that helped to save Blue’s life. We’ve had 19 fosters in the past year, since I learned about the need while writing Little Boy Blue. All of the sudden, all of these toys Blue used to be bored with are suddenly hot stuff and in demand. Whatever the foster dog picks up, Blue wants it. And if the dogs have nothing in their mouths, then he wants their full attention to play.
Who is Blue’s best pal?
Blue loves my parents’ dog, an AKC Champion Doberman named Quincy. I swear Quincy outweighs Blue by a solid 50 pounds at least, but the two of them run and wrestle and play like they are a perfect match of size and strength and speed. Even when Blue was still a puppy [photo left], they bonded like glue.
What is Blue’s best quality?
Resilience. Blue’s first owners hit him. Then the second person who had him put bleach all over a rash. Then he endured a journey of some 500 miles in the back of a dark RV before finding his home with me. When I first met him, he was a shy and frightened boy. He now holds an AKC Canine Good Citizen certificate for obedience, is wonderful with humans of all ages, and makes friends with just about every dog he ever meets. He never let bad people ruin the great dog inside of him.
If Blue could change one thing about you, what would it be?
He’d want me to sleep at the foot of the bed. Every single night when I climb into bed, Blue is on my pillow. He waits for me to pet him and tell him what a good boy he is, and then I have to move him to the foot of the bed so I can sleep. He grumbles and moans as if I’m taking his spot. The king of the king-size mattress, Blue is.
If Hollywood made a movie about Blue, which actor would do his voice?
I think Jake Gyllenhaal. I hear that he has rescue dogs, plus he’s almost as cute as Blue himself.
If Blue could answer one question in English, what would I ask him?
I’d ask, “What can I do to make your life even better?” Because this awesome boy truly deserves it.
Visit the official site of the book Little Boy Blue and the wonderful dog who inspired it.