Who is in the photo at right?
My name is Kathy Opie, wife and mother of three children, twenty-three, nineteen and seventeen. I am a writer who also works part-time as a receptionist at Microsoft.
My dogs Dillon and Dublin are black pugs. Dillon is a seven year old male and Dublin is the female and she is four and half years old.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
I promised myself a Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte now that they are back in season. We are on our way to Luther Burbank dog park on the shores of Lake Washington near Seattle.
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
We always bring a couple of treats for our puggies. This time it’s Zuke’s Mini Naturals; high in flavor low in calories. As you can see our Dublin [photo left] is a tad overweight. We call them “potty treats” because we are trying to reinforce not “going” in the house but outside on the grass. It was difficult training Dublin, whose breeder had taught her to potty in a kitty litter box inside a dog pen. Once outside the pen and away from her box, she felt any surface made for a good place to “go”. She also didn’t like going outside where it was cold and wet. Dillon soon followed her example. We’ve found the treats and lots of praise have greatly improved the amount of “accidents” we have in the house.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
Dillon was a surprise birthday gift for our three children. My husband Paul researched black pug breeders and found one outside the Portland, OR area who would be having a litter of puppies born around the end of November. All three of our children have their birthday within the same week, so the timing was perfect! Paul discovered he was interviewed as much as a potential pug parent for our new puppy as he was asking questions of the breeder. We didn’t care if our puppy was a boy or girl, just healthy. Then a very sad thing happened. Paul’s mother fell seriously ill and he was called home to see her at the hospital. During his visit he called to tell me of her sudden passing. The phone rang minutes later and I heard the catch in Paul’s voice as he wistfully informed me that the puppies had been born. It was August. I told him we would name the puppy Dillon after his mother. “She would have liked that,” I could feel Paul’s smile and then I heard him hang up the phone too emotional to continue our conversation. Dillon [photo right] came home to us all six wiggly black wrinkly furry pounds of him late in November, much to the squeals and shrieks of our delighted children and exchange student. We call him Dilbert or Dill pickles sometimes.
After a year or so we realized that we didn’t have enough pug for our family. Everyone kept fighting over lap time, cuddle, snuggle and play time. We decided Dillon needed a sibling and so I asked my husband for a new pug for my birthday in May. I wanted a fawn pug to match our black pug and again Paul found a breeder. This time our breeder lived in Olympia, WA. The visits were easier and this time weren’t in secret. Deciding on a name this time was easy. Our kids decided they wanted a name that would match Dillon’s. It needed to be Irish and begin with a D. Our eldest daughter found Dublin on an internet list and it stuck. We often call her Dubs, or Dubbie. Dublin’s mother was a beautiful apricot fawn, her father a strong show black pug named Dillon. Her mother threw seven pups all black except one male. Our breeder insisted with an alpha male like Dillon we needed to chose a female for our next dog. We ended up with two black pugs. We picked her up at the breeder the end of may and it was love at first sight. Dublin although a black pug has a slight sable tinge to her coat, especially in summer. Dublin is generally the “alpha” of our dogs except when it comes to food, where Dillon will exert his “alpha” tendencies.
Do your dogs contribute to your writing?
This is my first writing about my dogs, but it has been so much fun that I will continue doing more of it.
Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?
Dublin loves her brother Dillon and our youngest cat Misha. I will catch them napping on the back of the couch soaking up the sun in the afternoon. Dillon loves his soccer ball and most any furry squeaky toy. They both love playing with all of us.
What is each dog's best quality?
Dillon is a very handsome pug who struts with confidence and is loyal to his family. He will bark and sniff at anyone new who comes to call. Dublin is a very friendly dog who loves being with people. She seems to have a continual “smile” on her face and makes you feel like you are the most favorite person she has ever seen, even if you’ve been home several times in one day.
If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?
They would ask for more walks and probably more treats. The first we should grant, the second we should do less of.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?
I think Dillon being a handsome compact pug with attitude would make a great Mark Wahlberg. Dublin’s voice would definitely be Ellen Degeneres. I can imagine her friendly perky voice coming from Dublin. Dublin is definitely larger than Ellen but the personalities are too great a match for me to dismiss.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
Dillon: “What do you think of us?” With those large pensive, eager eyes, I would love to know what you are thinking.
Dublin: “What would you like to do or be if you were a human being? With that winning personality you could do just about anything.”
Visit Kathy Opie's A Little Something to Chew On blog and Facebook page.