This is me, Chuck Sambuchino, sharing a cute moment with Graham, our six-year-old mischief lover. He is a rescued poodle mix of unidentified origin. When a highly sophisticated lab inspected him to determine his makeup, they confirmed he is 20% fluffy, 20% flabby, 20% mooch, and 40% pure sweetness.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
It's just a great way to wrap up a day -- wife, dog, Netflix, coffee. Heaven.
Tall Pike Place Roast at Starbucks is my usual grab-on-the-go.
Any treats for you or Graham on this occasion?
He is just in heaven on days like today when I happen to slip him a french fry or two from a fast food meal I've brought home. I'm convinced that he will break down my office door just to get one fry. He's been getting a lot of treats lately in celebration of my new humor book coming out. Red Dog / Blue Dog is a humorous photo collection of dogs doing stereotypical liberal and conservative things. Graham actually appears in the book not once but twice. We're super-excited to give a portion of the book's proceeds to no-kill shelters and rescue organizations.
How did your Graham get his name? Any aliases?
My wife and I absolutely love Best in Show, so I suggested naming him after a character in the film. I wanted a name that was a bit obscure, so I suggested "Graham" after the character of Graham Chisholm, the tall, serious man who oversees the arena preparation and encouraging the stagehands to keep the huge banner from getting dusty. I think my wife agreed to the name quickly because our new dog was, in fact, the color of a graham cracker. (In fact, "cracker" is actually Graham's middle name.)
How were you and Graham united?
My wife grew up with dogs and pleaded with me for years to get one. I kept saying no. Then she pretty much held me at gunpoint until I said yes. (That's an exaggeration, but only slight.) My wife searched PetFinder and voila. The first dog we went to see was Graham over in Portsmouth, OH. The moment he saw my wife enter the house, he peed in happiness all over here. Love at first sight.
What role, if any, did Graham play in crafting your new book?
A massive role. I've always been intrigued by the subject of politics, but only became a lover of dogs after Graham warmed his way into my heart. My wife suggested I combine the subjects of dogs and politics for a unique book idea, and Red Dog / Blue Dog was born. To thank Graham, I dedicated the book to him.
Who is Graham's best pet-pal?
Probably Sofie, a friend's dog.
Squeaky toy, ball, Frisbee...?
Squeaky toy junkie, this guy. He played with this one goose toy for years (Graham named it "Mr. Quacks"), and now we have to keep replacing it every time he tears one to shreds. I feel like an irresponsible parent in the future who keeps cloning the pet cat for a distraught son.
Squirrel, cat, postman...?
Too much effort to chase any one of these. That's precious time better spent snoozing.
What is Graham's best quality?
I could say he's sweet or kind, but that's too unoriginal. I would say that Graham has an uncanny ability to sense when my wife is having a rough day, and he will cuddle with her all day if she needs him. He just knows when to turn into a huge cuddlemonster.
If Graham could change one thing about you, what would it be?
He would get way, way, way more human food. In fact, sometimes when I catch him just staring at me in the kitchen, I know he's hoping I trip or have some kind of minor aneurysm so I fall and the meal I'm cooking happens to go everywhere on the floor.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dog could speak, which actor should do his voice?
Some 10-year-old boy actor. See, my wife is pregnant with our first child, but for the past 5 years, Graham has absolutely 100% been the baby in our little family. I think he relishes it (and is in for a big surprise when that little girl comes in November 2012). So whenever I picture Graham talking, it's always the voice of a child.
If Graham could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?
"You gonna eat the rest of your dinner?"
Visit the Red Dog / Blue Dog Amazon page, RedDog-BlueDog.com, Chuck Sambuchino's Twitter perch and official writer website.