Who is in the photo at right?
I'm Wendy Welch, and I run this bookshop with my husband, and just wrote a book about it. Bert, our five-year-old wire terrier mutt, is sitting in my lap, and Zora, our Black Lab, is doing guard duty, half in and half out of the frame. Zora is six. Her full name is Zora Neal Hurston. Bert's full name is Albert.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
We have coffee together every morning. It's a ritual.
We order beans from a VA roasting company and grind them fresh each morning!
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
Usually I have a muffin, and the dogs have the muffin paper.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
Zora was named for the famous writer, as she wears the same kind of hat. Ms. Hurston was often photographed in a hat with a feather sticking up, and Zora usually has one ear up, and one ear down. We call this "wearing her good hat."
Bert... well, he just looked like a Bert, and we added Albert to pretty it up.
How were you and your dogs united?
Both our dogs were strays picked up by the side of the road. We watched to be sure no one else belonged to them, and then we opened the door, and in they jumped!
Do your dogs contribute to your writing?
Bert disapproves of anything that takes attention away from him.
Zora helps me with my punctuation.
Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?
They are each best friends with the other. Zora raised Bert. (We found her first, and Bert about a year later. She took him well in paw and taught him manners, right from wrong, and how to beg at the dinner table.)
Rabbit, postman, cat....?
Leaves. It's pathetic, but Bert chases falling leaves while Zora watches from the porch, without comment.
Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?
Squeaky toy, definitely, the squeakier the better.
What is each dog's best quality?
Zora is an earth mother. She wants everyone to be well and happy, all the time. When we have foster kittens in the shop (we rescue for PAWS) she follows them around, making sure they don't get into trouble, and licks them if they cry. She will come and get us if she thinks a kitten needs something; she once brought me an empty water dish for one of the kittens, with a concerned look.
Bert is a clown; he falls off chairs, leaps at flies, and generally takes life moment by moment. He lets the foster kittens curl up at his side when he's napping, too, which is awfully cute.
If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?
How little meat we eat. We are practically vegetarians, and this, for Bert and Zora, is a problem.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?
Jessica Lange would play Zora, definitely: that sultry yet matronly voice.
Bert.... well, it would have to be Robin Williams.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
Where did you come from?
Visit Wendy Welch's blog.