Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Donna Cooner & Cassidy and Roxanne

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m in the middle and I’m Donna Cooner, a young adult author and professor in the School of Education at Colorado State University. On my right is Cassidy, my twelve year old lab, and on my left is Roxanne, my two year old chocolate lab.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We are celebrating the release of my debut novel, Skinny (Scholastic, 2012) before I take Rox to doggie day camp. She’ll swim in the indoor pool and play with all her friends until it’s time for me to pick her up. Hopefully, she’ll be tired enough that her “goat dog” tendencies will not surface today.

What's brewing?

Keurig’s Starbucks breakfast blend.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Not this morning, but later they will get the nightly treat of a banana. I’m not sure how it began, but Cassidy loves bananas. Every night we have a ritual where I hand her one from the kitchen countertop, she carries it up the stairs in her mouth, jumps on the bed and drops it into my hand to be peeled. Even though she is completely blind now, she manages to make trip to the bed with her banana every single night. Tonight she will be closely followed by Roxanne, who does nothing, but reaps the rewards of half the banana.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Roxanne and Cassidy were named after classic rock songs. Cassidy for a song by The Grateful Dead and Roxanne by Sting’s song by the same name. Roxanne is also nicknamed The Goat Dog.

How were you and your dogs united?

Cassidy was the first chocolate Labrador Retriever I’d had and she is such a sweetheart. Smart. Gentle. Easy to train. I absolutely fell in love with the breed. When she started to lose her sight and slow down with age, I thought I’d find another lab puppy to join her.

Even though Roxanne is the same breed, she was a totally different “child.” Funny and a little manic, she’s definitely the goat of the family.

Do your dogs contribute to your writing?

Roxanne is featured in my debut novel, Skinny. She’s great comic relief.

Rabbit, postman, cat....?

Unfortunately, Roxanne has a thing about pillows [photo left].

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Roxanne loves all things that squeak. Balls are also her favorites, but she has not yet learned she is a Labrador retriever.

What is each dog's best quality?

Cassidy is incredibly smart. She understands almost anything you tell her or ask her. I often wonder at the breadth of her vocabulary.

Roxanne is a hugger. Always welcome after a long day.

If your dogs could change one thing about Coloradans, what would it be?

Those mountains are there for a reason. Hike more, work less!

If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

I would ask Roxanne, “What did the pillow ever do to you?”

Visit Donna Cooner's website, blog, and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

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