Monday, April 30, 2012

Debbie Dadey & Bailey, Skippy and Shadow

Who is in the photos at right and below?

I'm Debbie Dadey (in the blue sweater) and my beloved Bailey is a Springer Spaniel and Border Collie Mix.

I am the author and co-author of 151 children's books, including the brand-new Mermaid Tales series from Simon and Schuster. Bailey is currently unpublished.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Bailey and I have coffee together every weekday. In the morning after breakfast we retreat to my office. She to her dog bed and me to my desk chair. I have two other dogs that join us: Skippy, a 15 pound Maltese, and Shadow, a Schipperke that likes to eat everything-including toilet paper. Skip sleeps under my desk and Shadow sleeps in front of it.

What's brewing?

Lately I've been enjoying Folgers Gourmet Vanilla Biscotti flavored with Sugar Free French Vanilla International Delight straight from my Keurig machine. I'm too cheap and lazy to get dressed to go to a coffee shop, so I figure since I only drink a cup a day I can splurge on a coffee machine. This way I can work until break time in my pj's.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Usually the dogs eat breakfast and fall asleep. They are very supportive of my writing this way.

How were you and your dogs united?

They are officially not my dogs. Bailey is my husband's. Skip is my daughter's. Shadow is my youngest son's. However I feed the dogs. I love them and spend almost every day with them. They sleep with me. They follow me around our house like a parade from room to room.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Bailey is named after my book series, The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids. The book series was named after my beloved grandmother, Lillie Bailey. Marcia Jones and I co-wrote the series.

What role have your dogs played in your writing?

They snore in all the right places while I'm writing.

I did write a series with Marcia called Barkley School for Dogs. My dogs gave us lots of ideas for the series, including the plastic funnel that Bailey had to wear when she had surgery.

Do your dogs have a favorite place to go for an outing?

They love going for walks around the neighborhood. Bailey's leash goes in my left hand. Skip and Shadow's leashes go in my right. The poundage works out pretty evenly that way.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Every morning my dogs chase our neighbor's cat out of our yard. One day I'm afraid they will catch her.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

They are good buddies with each other. Bailey is the 'mother' dog. When they go outside the others wait politely for Bailey beside the door before proceeding without her.

Bailey is sixteen and I worry what the other dogs would do if something happens to her. I worry what I would do!

What is each dog's best quality?

They love me without question, even if my hair sticks straight up and with no make-up.

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

No cats.

If your dogs could speak in the movie about your life, who should do their voices?

Bailey would be a female Morgan Freeman, Skip would be William H. Macy and Shadow would be Tim Allen after three cups of coffee.

Visit Debbie Dadey's website, like her Facebook page, and check out her Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 27, 2012

Kate Quinn & Caesar

Who is in the photo at right?

That's Caesar and his mama, novelist Kate Quinn. I've written three historical fiction novels set in ancient Rome, and Caesar is an 18-month-old pup from my local animal shelter. Like all the mixed-breed dogs I have owned, I made up my own breed for him. Caesar has been christened as a member of the fabulously rare and exotic breed known as the Outer Mongolian Temple Dog.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Mornings chez Quinn are always like “Night of the Living Dead,” only instead of “Brains ... brains ...” the resounding moan is “Coffee ... coffee ...” Every work day starts out with me pouring a massive cup of joe and settling down on the couch to read emails from my publisher until I'm awake enough to start writing. Caesar does his part by curling up against my hip and trying his damnedest to get a slurp out of my Boston Red Sox mug whenever I look the other way.

What's brewing?

I would drink lighter fluid as long as it was black, caffeinated, and came in a sufficiently large vat.

Are you and Caesar celebrating the release of your new novel, Empress of the Seven Hills, with any special brew or treats?

No coffee for him; he's hyper enough! But it's a special occasion, so he can have a biscuit. Or two – this dog has the metabolism of a hummingbird.

Please tell us about the new novel. Any dogs in it?

Empress of the Seven Hills takes place in 1st century Rome under the reign of Emperor Trajan. Take one brash young soldier on the hunt for glory, throw in a senator's daughter with a yen for adventure, stir in a scheming villainess, two wars, one prophecy, and lots of political intrigue, light on fire, and serve! And yes, I've got dogs in this book – my villain is a big dog-lover. He's a historical figure, and he could be a right bastard to the people in his life, but history records that he doted on his dogs.

How did Caesar get his name? Any aliases?

I named him Caesar for his calm Imperial gaze, and his willingness to charge into battle utterly outnumbered but confident of victory. And if he doesn't curb the instinct to take on Rottweilers twice his size like they're barbarian hordes at Alesia, he's about as likely as Julius Caesar to die violently! As for aliases, whenever he's a bad dog he goes by the name of Cesare Borgia: his evil alter ego.

How were you and Caesar united?

My husband and I finally moved to an apartment big enough for a dog, so we went to the nearest animal shelter and started looking. We saw a little all-black guy with big ears waiting quietly in a cage, giving us the eye. The minute we took him out, he gave us one comprehensive up-and-down glance and curled up on my husband's feet. That was that.

Does Caesar have any influence on your writing?

He's a crucial part of the creative process. I do all my writing cross-legged on the couch with a laptop balanced in my lap, and Caesar's job is to curl up against me, carefully positioned for maximum cuteness while at the same time making it almost impossible to reach either the mouse or any of my research books. It's a hard job, but he's dedicated.

Does Caesar have a favorite place to go for an outing?

I've got a beautiful stretch of woods on my doorstep, wound through with hiking paths. Caesar and I go for a three mile ramble every day once I've met my page quota. I muse over plot problems, and he looks for things to pee on or pick a fight with.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

He will chase them all with equal happiness, but his favorite target is the sock-sized Pekinese next door. Those two have a vendetta like Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus.

Who is Caesar's best pet-pal?

His monumental “You want a piece of me?” attitude keeps him from socializing with other dogs at the moment. I'm hoping he mellows once he gets older.

What is Caesar's best quality?

Loyalty. I swear this dog thinks he's auditioning for Where the Red Fern Grows. He would happily throw himself between me and a charging cougar. In the absence of cougars, he vigilantly protects his mama from squirrels, joggers, and moms with strollers.

If Caesar could change one thing about you, what would it be?

He'd make me more forgetful. If I would just forget to close the fridge now and then, or leave my lunch unattended on a low table a bit more often, I would be the perfect owner in his eyes.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Caesar could speak, which actor should do his voice?

Why not Ciaran Hinds, who played Julius Caesar in HBO's Rome?

Visit Kate Quinn's website and blog.

Writers Read: Kate Quinn.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chris Pavone & Charlie Brown

Who is in the photos at right and below?

That’s me, novelist Chris Pavone, and Charlie Brown, a thirteen-year-old cocker spaniel.

What’s the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Charlie and I are celebrating! My first novel The Expats was published a few weeks ago, and immediately hit the New York Times bestseller list. Charlie, a book-publishing veteran himself (see below), is well aware that this is occasion to celebrate.

What’s brewing?

I’m having a macchiato at Café O on Sixth Avenue and 12th Street, in Greenwich Village.

Any treats for you or Charlie on this occasion?

No. We both ought to lose a few pounds, although only one of us will admit it.

How were you and Charlie united?

Charlie was a birthday present given to my wife Madeline by her mother—with permission and consultation (he wasn’t a surprise, unwrapped, “Oh my God ...”). Charlie is the only dog I’ve ever lived with.

How did Charlie get his name? Any nicknames?

Charlie was our training child—he helped us learn how to be parents, in anticipation of having actual human children. So we gave him the name that we probably would have used for one of our sons. Charlie also has plenty of nicknames, but he thinks we’re crazy if he’s going to answer to any of them. The main one is Yumpus de Grömpus, of the (fictional) de Grömpuses of Belgium, one of the oldest noble families of the Walloon region.

What role has Charlie played in your writing?

None. But I was a book editor before I was a book writer, and Charlie appeared in one of the books I edited. Back when he was a puppy, I hired a well-known pet photographer named Jim Dratfield—who had published a few books of animal photos—to take some portraits of our puppy; this was my birthday present to Madeline. During the shoot Jim and I got to talking about a new project, which I ended up publishing as Underdogs—a book about non-purebred dogs—a decade ago. And even though Charlie is a pure cocker spaniel, Jim and I both wanted his photo in the book. So to avoid clashing with the book’s premise, we put Charlie’s portrait in the Acknowledgments, where he is thanked—by name!—for his role in bringing the project to fruition. All his friends were very impressed.

Does Charlie have a favorite place to go for a walk?

We live most of the time in New York City, but we also have a weekend place in a Long Island village. When we bought the old house, the first thing we did was enclose the yard in fences, to pen in Charlie as well as our twin sons, who were babies at the time. But somehow Charlie has always managed to escape, and he loves strolling around town, living an unsupervised, leash-free lifestyle. We usually find him at the ice cream parlor, or at our neighbors’ houses.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Oh, he hates squirrels, but it’s the rabbits that really drive him nuts. Charlie has torn his ACL twice—both rear legs—chasing rabbits. I myself recently had ACL-replacement surgery, and my wife had it twenty years ago, so all the adults in our household have undergone this procedure. I’m afraid our children are going to end up wearing knee braces prophylactically.

How does Charlie contribute to your art?

Charlie is a testament to dedication. He has helped me see that if you devote yourself singularly to something, and focus fully, you can achieve 22 or even 23 hours in a single day of sleep. Awe-inspiring.

Squeaky-top, ball, Frisbee?

Charlie’s longest-term frenemy has been a revolting stuffed-fabric blue bird that we refer to as Crazy Birdie, because he’s got bloodshot eyes, and looks somewhat insane. Crazy Birdie has spent a number of winters outside, developing a richly mottled patina. Charlie absolutely loathes Crazy Birdie, and every year tries unsuccessfully to kill him, then despondently dumps the thing under some bush or another, which is where we find Crazy Birdie during spring cleanup.

If Charlie could change one thing about you, what would it be?

Charlie can’t for the life of him figure out why people shut doors. He would be so much happier if I never again did that.

What is Charlie’s best quality?

Charlie is unobtrusive, which is why our neighbors don’t mind when he shows up uninvited. He likes to just plop down next to you (to anyone, really, he’s not discerning about friends) and hang out calmly and often asleep, keeping you quiet company—“a heartbeat at my feet,” as Edith Wharton wrote. That’s Charlie.

If Charlie could change one thing about New Yorkers, what would it be?

Charlie lived in Luxembourg for a while—we all did—and he appreciated European attitudes about dogs and restaurants (especially in Bavaria): 1, dogs are welcomed warmly; 2, they are invited in; and 3, they’re offered something to drink, and often a bite to eat as well. Charlie doesn’t understand why New Yorkers don’t adopt these attitudes, and he’s offended by the Department of Health regulations; Charlie knows that he spends more time cleaning his hands than everyone else in our family combined.

What is Charlie’s proudest moment?

Charlie once took a much-deserved afternoon break at Les Deux Magots, on the boulevard St-Germain in Paris, where people like Hemingway and Picasso and Sartre and Camus used to hang out. Charlie looked around with satisfaction, and thought, This is the life for me.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Charlie could speak, who should do his voice?

Charlie thinks talking is vastly over-rated—stupid, actually. He would never sign a release for any type of film other than a silent one.

If Charlie could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

“What’s your understanding of elevators?”

Visit Chris Pavone's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Expats.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dan O’Malley & Sally

Who is in the photo at right?

The one with the brown fur and white shirt is me, Dan O’Malley. I’m a novelist, my first book, The Rook, was released in January (he says shamelessly). It’s a supernatural thriller set in the public service. My day job is with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau – I’m a media guy there. The one with the white fur is Sally, West Highland White Terrorist Terrier extraordinaire. She’s about seven months old. Her day job is being a dog.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

It’s Sunday, and the only day where, for long periods of time, I can sit in the good armchair and slowly come to terms with the fact that I am awake.

What's brewing?

Robert Timms coffee, prepared for me by my Dad, using a French press. He prepares it in some fiendish way that alters the basic properties of the coffee (and possibly the universe.) As a result, it melts the top layers of your tongue, and you can actually feel it eating its way into your brain. I dilute it with milk and sugar, in order not to die.

Any treats for you or your dog on this occasion?

You didn’t hear about the coffee? When Sally is good, she gets a liver treat.

How did Sally get her name? Any aliases?

Sally got her name because the last name is O’Malley, and I am a cruel, cruel person.

How were you and Sally united?

The O’Malleys are big on Westies. They are our kind of dog. Different branches of the O’Malley family, on different continents, have, without consultation, all acquired Westies. So, it had to be a Westie. Finally, there was one available at a breeder down on the coast. So, my Dad and I went on a man trip, driving for hours down steeply switch-backing roads, through rainforest, passing through tiny, strange hamlets, to get our little white girl puppy.

What role has your dog played in your writing?

Generally she serves as a welcome distraction. If the words aren’t coming, it’s generally time to take the puppy for a perambulation. Because she’s not yet trained to be off-lead, it means I can’t read while I’m walking, which leaves my brain to run wild and free.

Does Sally have a favorite place to go for an outing?

She likes to go to the local puppy park. Very sensibly, they have an enclosure for big dogs, and an enclosure for little or elderly dogs. Sally goes into the little dog enclosure, and is extremely self-effacing and submissive to all the other dogs. It’s a little startling, since she’s not at all that way with people. She assumes that all humans worship her.

Rabbit, postman, cat...?

She likes to chase birds, especially magpies. On our walks, we will often pass kangaroos (we back onto a nature reserve), but she affects not to notice them. Probably a wise decision, since she is exactly the right size for getting trampled, or stuffed into a pouch.

What is Sally's best quality?

Her skepticism. There is nothing like having a small dog regard you with a steady gaze and a mildly incredulous expression. If she could raise one eyebrow, she would be the ruler of the household. Oh, and her friendliness. This dog loves everyone.

If Sally could change one thing about Minnesotans, what would it be?

Well, obviously, she would change the proximity. It is 14,758 kilometres from Canberra, Australia to St. Paul. This is extremely inconvenient. However, once this problem has been remedied (and efforts are underway at this very minute to bring the two cities closer together,) then one other thing needs to be changed. Their state mushroom. The fact that the morel must be cooked before it can be safely eaten does not mesh at all with Sally’s approach towards fungi.

What is Sally's proudest moment?

She treed a possum the other day. She has been insufferable ever since.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Sally could speak, which actor would you suggest for her voice?

She’d need to have a Scots accent, and sound quite young, so I think Shirley Henderson would do a good job (she’s the actress who played Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter movies.) Or maybe Katie Leung, who played Cho Chang.

Visit Daniel O'Malley's website and blog.

Writers Read: Daniel O'Malley.

The Page 69 Test: The Rook.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 20, 2012

Michael Norman & Annie and Eddie

Who is in the photo at right?

The two pooches seated around me are our two American bull terriers, Joyce and Eddie. The two-legged character in the middle is me. My name is Michael Norman and I write crime fiction for the Poisoned Pen Press. This photo actually appeared on the cover of one of my books, On Deadly Ground. Sadly, shortly after publication of the book, Joyce was diagnosed with cancer and had to be put down. Recently we added a new female bull terrier to the family. Her name is Annie, and we believe she is about eighteen months old.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Every morning my wife, Diane, and our dogs Eddie and Annie celebrate the new day with coffee and dog treats. We drink our coffee, chat, and sometimes read the newspaper while the dogs noisily wrestle and play tug-of-war with any available toy. Eventually they settle down with their heads in our laps. It’s become a tradition in our home and is a favorite time of day for all of us.

What's brewing?

Call us coffee snobs but we prefer to purchase our own green coffee beans, then roast and grind them ourselves. That way we have the freshest and most flavorful coffee possible. We have tried coffees from all over the globe but have found the coffee grown in Central and South America to be our favorite. We buy coffees primarily from Columbia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, and Guatemala. We prepare the coffee using a French press. Diane insists that I make her froth each morning with her coffee—spoiled isn’t she?

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

We stuff dog toys with treats while we simply enjoy our coffee.

How were you and your dogs united?

In a million years, we didn’t picture ourselves with bull terriers (pitbulls). Our son, Chris had two, and we were quite negative about his decision to get bull terriers. We had always owned dachshunds. We had read what the media says about them and had pretty much bought the story. Chris became ill, and he couldn’t keep his dogs. His heart was broken and we volunteered to find a home for Joyce. We fell in love with the breed and kept Joyce.

Quite by accident I found Eddie on-line at a rescue in the Grand Canyon. He had been picked up as a stray and had lived there for almost six months. I took Joyce to meet him, and it was a good match. Unfortunately, Joyce died two years ago. All of us missed her. Last November, a dog trainer friend of ours introduced us to Annie. She’s a brindle and looks a lot like Joyce. She is still a puppy and is quite a handful.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Since both dogs came to us from rescues, they already had names. We decided to leave well enough alone. The closest thing to an alias would probably belong to Eddie. He’s so flexible that we sometimes call him Eddie Spaghetti. In like fashion, we sometimes call Annie, Annie Fanny.

What role have your dogs played in your writing?

Two things come to mind. First, Eddie never allows me to write for too long at any one time. He comes over to my desk and pesters me until I stop and give him some attention. The good thing about that is that it forces me to take periodic breaks and get away from the writing if only for a few minutes. Fortunately, he doesn’t try to pester me every thirty minutes.

In my new book, Skeleton Picnic, my protagonist, who happens to be a Bureau of Land Management Law Enforcement Ranger, befriends a half-starving pit bull and ends up keeping him.

Do your dogs have a favorite place to go for an outing?

Bull terriers are a good choice for couch potatoes. They require regular (like daily) exercise and don’t much care where we take them. They love the exercise and so do we. On average, we walk each dog around three miles and always on leash. Perhaps their favorite place for an outing is a cabin we own near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. They love to go on the trail with us. For the most part, we allow them off-leash during these longer wilderness adventures.

Who are Annie and Eddie's best pet-pals?

Our dogs’ favorite pet pals are each other. They play and play and play. A neighbor dog, Taffy, who outsizes them by almost twice is a good friend. She is a brute and when they have a play date, Taffy throws them around unmercifully.

What is each dog's best quality?

Like most dogs, our bullys have wonderful canine qualities: They are affectionate, loyal, courageous, and forgiving. They live in the moment and never tire of people. Not one day goes by that we don’t laugh right out loud at something the dogs do. They add immensely to our lives.

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

They would prefer that we not travel so much and stay home with them. The dogs stay with a professional dog handler in her home whenever we travel. We never board them.

If your dogs could speak in the movie about your life, who should do their voices?

I would choose Sylvester Stallone for Eddie and Diane would select Whoopie Goldberg for Annie.

Visit Michael Norman's website.

See My Book, The Movie: Skeleton Picnic and The Page 69 Test: The Skeleton Picnic.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lynne & Dinah, Bridget and Elliot

Who is in the photos at right and below?

My name is Lynne and these are my three long coated Chihuahuas, Dinah, Bridget and Elliot. They are 10, 8 and 2 years old.

I work for a gaming machine company in Yorkshire England. In my spare time I enjoy playing the mandolin, crocheting and sewing and I am learning to speak Japanese.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

It is a lovely Spring day here and the dogs and I are spending some time in the sunshine.

What's brewing?

I am drinking an Italian organic fair trade espresso blend. It is lovely made into a cappuccino.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Just for a treat, I am having a slice of lemon drizzle cake and the dogs are eating a deli baked dog biscuit each.

How were you and your dogs united?

I got Dinah [photo left] and Elliot from a good friend who breeds Chihuahuas but Bridget was not so lucky and came from a puppy farm situation.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

All my pets are named after real or fictional characters in literature. Elliot for T S Eliot the poet, Bridget for Helen Fielding's character in Bridget Jones Diary and Dinah was my favourite character in Enid Blyton's Adventure books that I read as a child.

Do your dogs have a favorite place to go for an outing?

One of our favourite places for an outing is Robin Hood's Bay near Whitby in North Yorkshire.

It is a picturesque seaside villiage where you can stroll on the beach then sit outside one of the little coffee houses or tea rooms with the pooches.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

It is always a race to the front door to see the postman - unfortunately, their goal is ripping up the letters.

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

Bridget and Elliot [photo right] love their squeaky toys but Dinah isn't much interested in toys anymore.

Who are the dogs' best pet-pals?

My dogs don't really like other dogs much so they just have each other and their friends from Blogsville of course.

What is each dog's best quality?

Elliot's best quality is he is sweet and loving.

Bridget [photo left] is full of fun and Dinah is quite sedate and ladylike.

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

I think if my dogs could change anything about the English it would be the fact that we seem to be adopting the puppy mill culture like other parts of the world, which is very sad.

What is each dog's proudest moment?

I'm not sure about their proudest moment but they look pretty pleased with themselves when they bark at the big dogs who walk on the green behind our garden!

If your dogs could speak in the movie about your life, who should do their voices?

If the dogs could pick who would do their voices in a film about our life, Bridget would like Whoopi Goldberg as she is quite a sassy little dog. Dinah would probably choose Dame Judi Dench and Elliot would love Johnny Depp.

Learn more about Dinah, Bridget and Elliot at the Dip-Dip and The Bridge blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 16, 2012

Terry Nebeker & Sandy

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Terry Nebeker, a bookseller at One More Page Books in Arlington, VA. 

Sandy's an 8-year-old Weimaraner who loves books, so we call her "The Weimareader." She devours them. And I mean that quite literally.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

It's a beautiful morning here outside the DC area--the cherry blossoms are busting open.

I love to sit out on the deck with Sandy, and she loves it when I go back inside to get something or answer the phone because then she can drink my coffee.

What's brewing?

We sell this great coffee at the bookstore. It's called Larry's Beans. It's Fair Trade, Organic, Shade Grown, all kinds of good stuff. They have a great sense of humor. The bag alone is worth the purchase. Much better reading than a cereal box. Here's an example from the back of my bag of "Frankie's Blend: Club Sumatra Extra Dark" ground beans: "Captain airTIGHT urges you to reseal this bag!" Any product with its own superhero is a winner.

Any treats for you or Sandy on this occasion?

A big bowl of ice cubes for Sandy. She loves them. But apparently they taste better out of the bowl. She keeps pawing at it so they spill out.

How did Sandy get her name? Any aliases?

Sandy came with her name. She has many aliases. There's "The Weimareader," as I mentioned. That morphs into "The Weimareater" when she finds something she's not supposed to have--usually a paper product of some kind. She's pretty sassy so sometimes she's "Sassafrass," or "Sassquatch." It can even get as bad as "Sasser Arafat." Some days I come home from the store and ask, "How was Sandy today?" and the response will be "Sasstastic." It's a theme.

How were you and Sandy united?

I got her from Lost Dog Rescue here in Arlington. I've always loved these short-haired hunting dogs, but they need so much exercise I never thought I could own one. Sandy has epilepsy, so she takes medication that makes her a little more chill. A good walk every day and little Frisbee or ball in the back yard seems to work okay.

Does Sandy spend much time with you at One More Page Books? Is she more intrigued by the books or the wine?

She visits occasionally, usually on a quiet Sunday afternoon. But she gets restless, and would really love nothing more than to retreat to a corner with a really good hardback. And that doesn't end well for the book. Some titles she's really enjoyed at home are Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown, and Bake Sale by Sara Varon. I was so sad about that one. I'd gotten it for free at the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance trade show. I was very attached to it. My daughter bought me a replacement one for Christmas.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

She's intrigued by squirrels, would chase birds if she could, is suspicious of cats, and barks at the doorbell. My daughter has three pet rats that confound her. They are too quick and they don't have a good sense of personal space. Sometimes she tolerates them; sometimes she snaps at them.

Squeaky-top, ball, Frisbee...?

Outside, her favorite thing to do is retrieve: the Frisbee, the Chuck-It ball, a stick. She brings it back every time. Inside, she really enjoys a good squeaky tennis ball. We get those AirKong balls with the short nap and a squeaker. Heaven.

What is Sandy's best quality?

She loves to ride in the car and that makes her a great companion. She does really well-off leash so we can just wander out of the house, hop in the car and run errands. Sometimes she'll jump into the front seat and sit there looking so much like a person. We don't let her ride up there but it's great when you're sitting with her in the grocery store parking lot. But I can't leave her alone with any groceries in the car. She's pretty skilled for someone without thumbs. One time I ran out to get a carton of eggs and popped into the bookstore to drop something off. I'd hidden the eggs under the driver's seat. She ate the carton and left the eggs behind, none broken.

If Sandy could change one thing about you, what would it be?

She would love it if I dedicated every day to playing outside with her. Also, she would appreciate my tossing the occasional roll of toilet paper her way. The cardboard center is the best--kinda like a Tootsie Pop!

What is Sandy's proudest moment?

When she's discovered an unguarded paper bag or tissue box.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Sandy could speak, which actor should do her voice?

I think any of those wonderful Saturday Night Live women would do a fine job--Kristen Wiig, or perhaps Tina Fey. Someone who can change gears rapidly. Focus isn't always Sandy's forte

Visit the One More Page Books website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 13, 2012

Susan H. James & Isabella and Jake

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Susan and I'm the owner and photographer at Susan H. James Photography. I also blog about the adventures and antics of my huskies at A Tale of Two Huskies. This photo is of me, my husband, and our Siberian huskies Isabella and Jake at the beach this past Christmas. Isabella is 1 1/2 years old, and Jake is 1 year old.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I stopped for a frappe on the way to the park with my huskies.

What's brewing?

McDonald's mocha frappe.

Any goodies to go with the coffee? Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?

I don't usually have anything with my frappe, and my huskies get treats after their walk-- usually Dentley's rawhides or peanut butter-filled stuffed hooves.

How were you and your dogs united?

My husband found a breeder outside of Raleigh, NC and loved the picture of one particular husky, now our Isabella. A little over six months later, we started searching for a good playmate for Isabella, and ended up going back to the same breeder, where I picked out Jake. They have the same parents, so they're full-blooded brother and sister, just from different litters.

You've got some beautiful wedding photos on your website and blog. Which are more challenging to photograph: dogs or brides?

Thanks. Definitely brides. While dogs may move around a lot more, they don't care if they look a little heavier than usual or make a weird face in the photos. Brides do.

How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?

My husband liked the name Isabella, and we went through lists and lists of names until we both finally agreed on Jake. (Note: The names were not picked in connection with the Twilight saga. I've had many point out that connection, but we never read the books or watched the movies. Just a coincidence.) Isabella's nicknames include Baby Girl (which we used just as much as Isabella, if not more), Missy (when she's getting a little brave), and Princess (when I'm annoyed with her and she's acting "too good" for something). Jake's nicknames include Jake-Jake, Jakey-boy, Big Boy, and Goober. Ironically, before getting Jake, my husband suggested this name, and I told him that you couldn't name a dog Goober, it would just be wrong. Turns out Goober would've been a perfect name because he's so klutzy and makes the funniest faces.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Anything and everything that moves excites my huskies-- people, squirrels, cats, other dogs...Isabella wants to greet every person and dog, and chase everything else. Jake likes to greet all people, but is more likely to bark at another dog until he gets to know them a bit. He'll also chase squirrels, cats, leaves, etc. Any time the doorbell rings or someone knocks at the door, they go crazy, trying to see who can get to the door first and jump up to see who's outside.

Tennis ball, Frisbee, squeaky-toy...?

They love toys. Isabella never tore up a toy until Jake arrived. He's a chewer and can de-stuff or de-squeak a toy fairly quickly; Isabella is now just as good at it. Ropes, tennis balls, and more recently, really bouncy balls-- they can't get enough of them. Huskies aren't known for fetching, but Isabella will retrieve a ball almost every time, in hopes you'll throw it again and continue the fun. Jake may or may not return it-- he's a bit hit-and-miss on that.

What is each dog's most endearing quality?

Isabella has never met a stranger. She loves meeting new people and seeing old familiar faces.

Jake is the sweetest dog. He loves to lay on my feet anytime I sit down. He will also lick you to death if you'll let him-- hands, face, neck, toes, whatever he can get to.

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

They'd want me to allow them to sleep on the bed more often, or every night.

Where is your dogs' favorite place for an outing?

Anywhere in the open that allows them to run free like the wind. There's not too many places that they get that opportunity, so anytime they can, they have a blast.

What is each dog's proudest moment?

For Isabella, it's anytime she thinks she's outsmarted me or my husband. She's always been smart as a whip, so anytime she figures out how to escape the screened-in porch, or finds a toy that I've hidden out of reach (or so I thought), she's happy.

For Jake, it'd probably have to be finding yet another tree or post to mark every time he's outside.

If your dogs could speak in the movie about your life, which actors should do their voices?

For Isabella, probably Jennifer Garner or Kate Beckinsale-- they have the beauty, brains, and kick-butt attitude that Isabella has.

For Jake, I'd say maybe Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler-- someone that's a bit of a goofball and bumbler, like Jake always is.

Visit the Susan H. James Photography website and A Tale of Two Huskies blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ryan Guzman & Boogy and Lily

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Ryan Guzman, the owner of Hawaii’s Original Taste Coffee or H.O.T Coffee. We sell coffee from our family farm in Ka’u, Hawaii. My two dogs are Boogy and Lily. Boogy is 8 years old male and half Rottweiler, half Pitbull. His little sister, Lily is 6 years old and a pure bred Yellow Lab.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Our large dogs need a lot of space so I take them to the park as often as possible. This time it’s been longer than usual because of the bad weather. Boogy and Lily love the open space and walking the trails as much as I love sipping on my H.O.T Coffee.

What's brewing?

As expected I enjoy my family coffee from Hawaii. The roast I prefer is medium. H.O.T Coffee has hints of chocolate, nutty and tropical flavors with low acidity. I use the conventional drip brewing coffee machine and occasionally us the Chemex.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Boogy and Lily’s favorite treat is the “Bully Stick.” They don’t get it often so they are going to be extremely excited to have one today.

How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?

Boogy’s nickname is “Fat Head” because he has such a big head. Lily’s nickname is “Monster” because during her puppy phase she eat everything from shoes to baseboard molding.

How were you and your dogs united?

In 2004, my wife and I were looking for a dog that would help protect us and be a great addition to our family. We were also in search of our first house so we knew we were going to have the space for a family pet. One weekend we were reading through the newspaper and came across an ad for puppies. What caught our attention was the uncommon mix of Rottweiler and Pitbull breed. We had to go take a look. We met his parents and got to know all of the puppies. Once we did that we had our hearts set on taking one home. Boogy was playing with his reflection in the glass door of an entertainment center. He had us laughing and that is when we knew we found our new family member.

In 2006, my wife came home from work gushing about seeing the cutest puppies. Her co-­worker knew a breeder of purebred Yellow Labs. The co-worker had chosen male to add to their family and was sharing pictures at work. My wife wanted to go take a look at the puppies and I knew I had no chance trying to stop her. We went to meet Lily’s parents and fell in love with all of the puppies. Lily however was the one that picked us. She climbed onto my wife’s lap and snuggled up in her arms. My wife didn’t let her go!

Dogs have something like 220 million olfactory receptors (roughly 40 times the number found in humans), so obviously they can detect subtle differences in the aroma depending on what you have brewing at any given time. Have you ever noticed them behaving differently when you have, say, dark roast brewing instead of medium roast?

I can’t say that I have noticed a difference.

Do your dogs have any non-­canine pet‐pals?

Boogy and Lily love our newest addition to our family, our son Ryker. They like to eat up all the treats Ryker drops when he is eating. Recently Lily enjoys her time spend with Ryker because he shares his foam blocks with her.

What is each dog's best quality?

Boogy’s best quality is his ability to make us laugh. Whether he is sneaking up behind us to stick his head between our legs and makes funny faces at us or running into things because he is so clumsy, he keeps us entertained.

Lily’s best quality is that she is so attentive. She always keeps an eye on us when we are on walks. She will scout our surroundings and come back to check on us. She even keeps her eye on Boogy.

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

Boogy would change the temperature in the summer. His coat is black and tan so he is not a fan of the hot, hot sun.

Lily would change the lack of bodies of water. Lily loves to play in water and probably wishes there were closer bodies of water.

If Hollywood made a movie about H.O.T. Coffee in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?

Boogy’s voice would be Lou Ferrigno.

Lily’s voice would be Renée Zellweger.

If your dogs could ask only one question in English, what would they ask?

Boogy would ask, “Where do you hide the Bully Sticks?”

Lily would ask, “Can we buy a swimming pool?”

Visit the H.O.T Coffee website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 9, 2012

Kerry Cohen & Iris

Who is in the photo at right?

The less attractive one is me, Kerry Cohen. I'm the author of six books, two of them memoirs. My dog is Iris. She's a puppy St Bernard, about 5 months old now.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Iris jumped up on the table where I was working and knocked over an entire cup of coffee onto my laptop. It went off immediately, and I haven't been able to get it back on yet. We'll see. I'm still hoping it will dry out completely. I also sometimes hold it and whisper to it how much I love and need it.

What's brewing?

Stumptown Coffee, brewed in a coffee maker. I drink it with half and half.

Any treats for you or your dog on this occasion?

What do you think?

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

I wanted an old name, something that will work as well now as when she's an old lady. As one of the biggest, most lumbering dog breeds, I also wanted to note what a delicate, petite flower she is.

How were you and your dog united?

I got Iris from the shelter. My partner and I were considering getting a dog, but only a lazy one. [photo left: the day Iris joined the family] Iris and three of her brothers showed up at the pound one day, and we had just happened to check the shelter's website. All four were gone in one day. We lucked out because someone had placed a hold on Iris all day, and I walked in there just as the hold was expiring. A woman walked in right behind me and wanted to see her too, so had we not taken her, she surely would have gone to the person next in line.

Aside from the laptop crisis, does Iris make any contribution to your writing?

Interesting you should ask because I have strong feelings about people who write about their pets. Dog memoirs always wind up on the bestsellers lists. This pisses me off. I wrote a memoir about something important, and yet my memoir isn't a bestseller. Are people really this annoying? Dogs are not interesting. They are all the same. Just like cats are all the same, and are also not worthy of having memoirs written about them. Because of this pet peeve (oh no, she didn't!) of mine, this blog will be the only time I will allow myself to write about my dog. I hate people who write about their dogs!

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Yes, squirrels and cats. But mostly she just lies there. I like this about her.

[photo right: Iris is reportedly as smart as she looks]

Squeaky-top, ball, Frisbee...?

She likes these things as well. See? All dogs are the same.

What is your dog's best quality?

I'd say her flappy lips.

If your dog could change one thing about Portlanders, what would it be?

They'd all want to rub her belly.

What is Iris's proudest moment?

We are still waiting for it.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dog could speak, which actor should do her voice?

Margaret Cho.

Visit Kerry Cohen's website and blog.

Cohen received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Oregon and an MA in counseling psychology from Pacific University.

Read Cohen's list of "Five Great Books about Teenage Girls and Sex."

The Page 69 Test: Loose Girl.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lisa Begin-Kruysman & Hooper

Lisa Begin-Kruysman and Hooper the Portuguese water dog are making their third visit to Coffee with a Canine. They were also guests of the site in September 2010 and again in June 2011.

Are you and Hooper celebrating the release of your new novel, Full Snow Moon, with any special brew or treats?

If we were up north in New Jersey, we might be having a lot more hot coffee (although it’s been pretty warm up there we hear). But right now, we are back in Key Colony Beach, Florida, where it is in the low 80s every day, a good place to take that left over morning coffee and make a cool iced-coffee concoction in the afternoon! This is a special place for us because it was here last year that we wrapped up the dog-centric Something's Lost and Must be Found. We are happy to bark that this book has been ranked consistently in the top fifty at the Kindle Store in the Dog Category and now has 34 five-star reviews!

Please tell us about the new novel.

Full Snow Moon tells the story of a hapless surfer who is persuaded by a restless spirit to find a missing cache of Jefferson Peace Medals buried on the property of the spirit’s boyhood home. It is a coming-of-age story with plenty of American and Meteorological History, tied together with a spiritual and paranormal theme. Most of the action takes place in my town of Brick Township, NJ and Asbury Park, NJ. I am confident most people will learn something new in this book.

Are there any dogs in Full Snow Moon?

I think most people were expecting my second book to be a dog book. But, the only “woof” of a dog is a reference to Lewis and Clark’s (the givers of the Peace Medals) dog, Seaman, a strong and brave Landseer Newfoundland who accompanied them on their expedition.

What's new with Hooper since you were last a guest here on the blog?

Hooper is still the same silly, loving and headstrong Portuguese water dog. Although she does not care for the heat of Florida, she does love to swim in the Gulf here. She often sits at my feet inspiring me as I work on my next book, the biography of Will Judy, the man who founded the National Dog Week Movement (McFarland 2013).

Did you and Hooper make it to Woofstock in Islamorda again this year?

Yes, we did. Woofstock was held earlier this year and we almost missed it. Woofstock is an extraordinary event and it is good to see it is going strong after three years. Unfortunately, it was a very hot day and we had to leave after an hour so that Hooper could cool off in The Gulf. I love the spirit of Woofstock, all these happy dogs wearing “Adopt Me” vests being walked by volunteers. Many of these dogs are surrendered due to the death or illness of their human or by families who can’t keep them. You just want to help them all. I am confident they will go to good homes because the volunteers and “fosters” are so dedicated.

In the writing of the Will Judy book, I always remind people that National Dog Week was launched not to bring more dogs into the world, but to make humans more responsible pet owners. I urge people to heed this message and to spay and neuter their pets appropriately.

Read Lisa Begin-Kruysman and Hooper's September 2010 Q & A and their June 2011 Q & A.

Begin-Kruysman's National Dog Week Movement blog and connect with the National Dog Week Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shraddha Majalkar-Gawde & Pluto

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s Pluto and his mom, AKA Shraddha and the latest addition to his family… a baby boy.

Pluto is 8 months old male yellow Labrador; while his mum is a freelance communication trainer and the youngest addition to his family is still figuring out how to use his hands and feet.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Any chance to go out with Pluto and we won’t miss it…

What's brewing?

An iced tea for mum, since mum isn’t allowed caffeine nowadays.

Any treats for you or Pluto on this occasion?

Pluto gets a vanilla ice-cream… his most favorite treat of all time.

How did Pluto get his name? Any aliases?

He bears resemblance to Micky’s Pluto with mischief in his eyes and an unstoppable curiosity. Added with an uncanny ability to get his nose stuck up at unlikely of places.

He is usually called by his name but when mood strikes mum and the family calls him, pup, love, sweetie, dada (which means elder bro in his native tongue).

How were you and Pluto united?

Mum got Pluto as a birthday present for her younger sis, Amruta.

Does Pluto have a favorite place to go for an outing?

Pluto loves to socialize, so anywhere he gets to meet other people, he is happy to go. But one of his most favorite place is the playground where he gets to frolic around chasing balls with kids.

Is Mumbai generally a dog-friendly city?

Not really. It’s not easy moving around in a crowded city, without causing a stir. Finding dog-friendly places in Mumbai is a challenge, but the good thing is, that things are changing. I’m pretty sure, in a while Mumbai will become a dog-friendly city.

Rabbit, postman, cat...?

All are welcomed with equal enthusiasm and vigor. None are chased away.

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

A squeaky ball, anytime. We are still working on “drop” command, so the darling will fetch but won’t drop.

What do you hope will be Pluto's best quality when he matures?

His ‘best’ quality is his love of people. He loves being around people. And for a pup of 8 months has shown considerable maturity around the baby. I hope he grows to be an ideal big bro and friend.

If Pluto could change one thing about you, what would it be?

My impatience. That’s one thing which causes a lot of abandoned training sessions.

If Hollywood or Bollywood made a movie about your life in which Pluto could speak, which actor should do his voice?

John Leguizamo as Sid, the sloth from Ice Age.

Visit the The Pluto Chronicles and the Musings of a Restless Reader blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 2, 2012

Diane Pagel & Tess, Nan, Rainey, and Maid

Who is in the photo at right?

This would be Tess and me, Diane Pagel. I have a day job as a Aerospace Engineer for the FAA: I certify large transport airplanes. My degree is EE. For my hobby I raise and train Border Collies for sheepdog and cowdog trials. I have been working with Border Collies for over 20 years and 17 years of that in the sheepdog venue. I have been doing USBCHA trials for 12 years.

Tess is almost 14 years old and my retired Open dog. She is the love of my life and the reason that I am in this sheepdog sport. I also have a sheep farm and raise sheep to train my dogs on and also for food.

In addition, I am a writer. I write for The Working Border Collie magazine and The Stockdog Journal. I am also writing material for a dog book. I also have a Border collie blog. The name of my kennel and training center is Deltabluez Stockdogs.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I often go to Starbucks for coffee and take my dogs. Since we live in a small town, I can sit outside with them and have coffee. The local folks love them and give them treats. My dogs love going for coffee as they get quite spoiled by everyone.

What's brewing?

My favorite coffee is Almond Latte Breve. I also drink a lot of tea. Green tea is my favorite.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

My dogs always get treats. They sit nicely and as a result they get treats. They especially love my mother. When she visits, she will feed them a whole bag of treats while we drink coffee or tea.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

DeltaBluez Tess is my retired Open dog and her nicknames are Tessie and Monkey. Monkey as she wraps her paws around your legs.

Nan is Beautiful and Nana-Banana.

Rainey [photo right] is Bug, Bunny or Petunia.

Maid is Maidie or Moo-Moo.

They all respond to “the girls.”

How were you and your dogs united?

We bought Tess when she was a pup to save her from being shot. The breeder was tired of the puppies and was going to shoot them as she was going on vacation. Next thing you know, she changed our lifestyle around and we got into sheepdog trialing. She made us learn to love life.

Nan was from a friend who had cancer and wanted her to have a good home. She wanted to make sure she would keep on trialing but have a good life.

Rainey is the daughter of Tess and when she was born, I knew she was going to stay.

I recently got Maid [photo left] as I needed another trial dog and had admired her for years. I never thought I would be able to get her but when the opportunity came up, I jumped at it.

Do your dogs have any non-canine pet-pals?

Well, Sarah the barn cat thinks the dogs are the best to rub against and then kick them out of their dog beds. They will often sit with her on the couch. Sarah grew up with the puppies so she rules them with an iron paw. They also adore Jeff “Getty” Freeman, who is my husband. He spoils them a lot and of course, my mother totally spoils them.

What is each dog's best quality?

Tess- the ability to carry me as I was learning how do the sheepdog trials and her capacity to love me.

Nan [photo right] - to teach me how to handle a dog and be calm.

Rainey- for showing me how to help a dog grow.

Maid- is showing me how to handle a strong dog and be a mentor.

All have the traits of love and forgiveness. They are my partners and after our sessions, they hold no grudges. I love them deeply. They all came in my life with a purpose and I have to honor that.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?

Katherine Hepburn and Sophia Loren.

They would be more of the older classic style actresses.

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

Probably not to get too excited on the trial field, stay calm and focus more. When that happens, it is like magic.

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

What can I do to make your life better or happier?

Visit Diane Pagel's Border collie blog and the Deltabluez Stockdogs website.

--Marshal Zeringue