Who is in the photo at right?
Izzy is the star of this photo! Isabella Barkalina to those who wish to be more formal. I, author Barbara Boswell Brunner, am just her supporting cast. Izzy is a 5-year-old, feisty, female Parson Russell Terrier and one of the stars of Dog-Ma, the Zen Of Slobber.
Morgan [below left], an 8-year-old mellow Rottweiler, is our other furry companion. She loves going out to the coffee shop, but folks tend to be a little afraid of her, being a “ferocious Rottie”. Those of you with Rotties will catch the sarcasm here. They are as far from ferocious as you can get. Every one I have ever met has been a big sweet couch potato.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Izzy accompanies us almost everywhere, including to the coffee shop.
She gets to check out her pee-mail and cavort with her buddies.
Today we are sipping on La Colombe’s Corsica blend, black, over ice. It is hot here today and the ice coffee helps get us our day going.
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
Izzy cannot have treats. She has super bad allergies. Her constant companion is her Epi pen. If she could, though, she would love a croissant with lots of melted butter. Morgan’s not so picky. Anything that remotely resembles food will suffice as a treat.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
Morgan was named when we were in a “car phase” of naming dogs. Her nickname is Greenbean – given to her when she was on a huge diet to get her from 165 to her current weight of 120. Greenbeans were her favorite allowable treat.
Izzy’s name took us a long time to come up with – almost a week after we adopted her. She was always so busy and the name Busy Izzy sort of stuck. She also known as Sweetpea, Peanut and Kujo.
How were you and your dogs united?
Morgan came to us through a friend who knew a home breeder who had just had a new litter. We had recently lost our sweet Sutton. We needed to fill that hole in our heart that any dog lover is familiar with, when you lose a furry friend.
Izzy was a rescue from a puppy-mill pet shop. They were going to put her down due to a bad bout of pneumonia. We took her home, nursed her back to health and the rest is history.
Please tell us about your book, Dog-Ma: the Zen of Slobber.
Barbara's vivid and dramatic stories, told with a wicked sense of humor, will make you laugh out loud. She definitely gets what living with rescued dogs (nine of them!) is all about.
When Barbara meets her future husband, Ray, it is love-and dog-at first sight. Over the course of thirty-two years, seventeen relocations and nine dogs, their mutual love of dogs guides them on their unconventional path. The love that Barbara and Ray get in return is literally lifesaving, with one dog attacking a lethal intruder and another discovering Barbara’s cancer. Her own survival story underscores the story of how her dogs become survivors themselves.
Each new dog adds its own dynamic to the family, sometimes upending it. From Turbo (whose Spock-like ears may have provided super powers), Barbara learns about the will to live; Lexington demonstrates incredible patience and an inexplicable love of golf; Madison teaches that laughter is truly the best medicine and that the whole “nine lives thing” is not reserved just for cats; Morgan should be sainted for tolerating Izzy, who is as cute as she is bad. Barbara is certain that somewhere in doggie heaven there is a poster that says “If you are sick, injured or in need of really expensive medical care, FIND THESE HUMANS!”
Squirrel, postman, cat....?
For Izzy it is geckos – those tiny little reptilian creatures Florida is overrun with. She will chase them all day long, although she never catches them.
Morgan loves to chase planes. Yep. And not the low flying ones or helicopters. Her preference is chasing the jets flying at 35,000 feet. She is hilarious and one of these days we will post a video on YouTube.
Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?
Izzy will play with almost anything. She is easily entertained, but her favorite it a 2” orange and blue basketball. She carries it with her everywhere. We have to keep spares on hand if it ever gets lost.
Morgan is not a “player”. The occasional bone or rawhide is all she ever wants. Or a United 747.
What is each dog's best quality?
Morgan’s best quality is her patience and tolerance for Izzy’s antics. Izzy’s best quality is her sweetness when she snuggles at night.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?
Since Dog-Ma is about all of my dogs, here is my list of voice-over candidates, in order of when they came into our lives.
Kashi [photo above right] – an elegant Doberman – Dame Judi Dench
Turbo – a seriously goofy Doberman – Eddie Murphy
Lexington – a wise old man Rottweiler – Morgan Freeman
Madison [photo left] – an insane Dalmatian/Lab mix – Ellen DeGeneres...Ellen are you listening??
Gus – a wanderlust Brittany – Owen Wilson
Cooper – a cerebral Doberman – Seth McFarlane as Brian
Morgan – the “voice of reason” Rottweiller – Helen Mirren
Izzy – a graceful but powerful terrier – Lucy Liu
If your dogs could change one thing about Floridians, what would it be?
Floridians, as a rule, are afraid of dogs. If I could change anything it would be their acceptance of dogs in public places, especially on the beach.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
Izzy – “What will it take to keep you from attacking Morgan?”
Morgan – “Since you have solved the problem of peace in our home so well, what will it take to solve that pesky world peace problem?”
Visit the official Dog-Ma, the Zen Of Slobber website.