Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Michelle & Bodie and Magoo

Who is in the photo at right?

Hi, I'm Michelle, we live in New Zealand, in between lounging about as much as possible I work in an office, you know the deal, airconditioning, computer and coffee. With me are Bodie (m) and Magoo (f) - 8 and 8 1/2 respectively. They are Border Terriers, a hardy little breed that originated on the Border of Scotland and England.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

In summer weekends this is the best way to start the day; I usually eat breakfast out in the back yard.

What's brewing and any treats for your dogs on this occasion?

Usually home ground plunger coffee: I think this brew is called Screaming Turtle. Flat white no sugar. The treat for the dogs is a bit of our training food, Superior Chunky, so that they will sit nicely for the photo. I don't think they are really into what I am reading here.

How were you and your dogs united?

Bodie [photo left] I got as a pup at 7 weeks. I had seen his Dad at a terrier dog show, till then I had never even heard of Border Terriers but I liked their no nonsense look and the long legs.

And Bodie's dad Stan was just a gentle adorable guy so of course I put my name down for one of his pups.

Magoo came to us when she was 2; this is a photo of her [at right] the first time we saw her. She fit right in straight away. Bodie couldn't believe his eyes when he woke up the night after she arrived and she was still there; he bounced all over the bed.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Bodie was named after the 70s show character in The Professionals. His nicknames are Bodes, Wodes, and the Bodester.

Originally the intention was that the second pup would be Doyle of course, but when we got Magoo I just remembered a childhood character called Mr Magoo and thought that was a cute name for such a wee dog. She's usually called Goo, or the Goose.

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

Our favourite place at the moment is a wild west coast beach just out of Auckland. Bodie's a pretty independent wee chap with a really good recall so he's happy to go mooching off on his own investigating and I know he won't be too far away.

Magoo never stops and only has one speed -- 100 miles an hour. Here [photo left] she's just towed me for the past hour up and down a steep hill and she's still got energy to burn.

Rabbit, postman, cat...?

Magoo will chase anything that moves. Bodie's usually too busy leaving peemail to notice anything that moves; he's not too keen on skateboards though having nearly been run over by a couple of them and doesn't like noisy motorbikes.

What is each dog's best quality?

Magoo is always up for an adventure and will come out with me for hours on a walk. On the other hand Bodie is happy to come out with me to friends' for dinner and just mooch about with the people or investigate their garden and take their couch for a test drive.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Goo's favourite toy is a rock. I keep confiscating them cos she keeps burying them in my bed, but we must live on top of a quarry as she keeps digging up more. Last weekend I found a 1kg lump of dirty concrete buried under my duvet. I don't know how a 6kg dog got in in her mouth, through the dog door and up onto the bed? This photo [at right] is of a cleaner more genteel rock than the latest lump.

Bodie is obsessed with the rubber milking teats that we get off the farm. And he doesn't shred them, which is pretty good for a terrier.

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

Danny DeVito for Bodie and Princess Fiona (is that Cameron Diaz?) from Shrek for Goo.

Visit the Bodie & Mrs Magoo blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 29, 2012

Iris Anthony & Larry

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Iris Anthony, author of the historical novel The Ruins of Lace. Hanging out on the couch with me is Larry the Cuddle Pug. He was rescued from a shelter last summer, so his age is uncertain, but I think 5 years is a good guess.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Larry and I have coffee every day. I start writing about ten in the morning and by then my initial caffeine fix has worn off. I usually sip a shot of espresso as I turn the computer on and get to work. Larry’s bed is underneath my desk, so he keeps me company.

What's brewing?

A shot of Starbucks French Roast. I’m from the Pacific Northwest and when I was going to school at the University of Washington, there were only two Starbucks in the entire world, both of them in Seattle. Starbucks truly is my local coffee shop.

Any treats for you or Larry on this occasion?

Yes! An ice cube – or two if he’s looking extra cute. Larry has a gluten allergy so his diet is limited. For a while he tolerated baby carrots, but he’s been reacting to those lately as well.

How did Larry get his name? Any aliases?

He definitely knew his name when he was adopted and it fits his face and his personality, so there was really no need to change it. I call him Larold, though, when he gets in trouble. He doesn’t really look like a Lawrence but I can’t legitimately call him Harold either, so Larold has turned out to be a good compromise.

How were you and your dog united?

I first saw Larry on the internet last summer and it was love at first sight.

How does Larry contribute to your writing?

Larry keeps me on task. In the cooler months, he sits in my lap and sleeps as I write at my desk (which has the added benefit of keeping me warm). I hate to have to wake him up which usually keeps me in my chair and writing until noon. After a break for lunch (and more ice cubes) we go back to work until mid-afternoon. I have to say he’s lousy at research though. I do my research reading on a couch in the living room and more than once his snores and deep breathing have put me to sleep.

Who is Larry's best pet-pal?

Larry’s a bit shy around other dogs, although he loves people. There’s a little Yorkipoo next door that would love to be friends. I’m hopeful that with a little more time and a little less exuberance on the Yorkipoo’s part they’ll become the best of friends.

Does your dog have any non-canine pet-pals?

Larry has two human neighbors across the street that he adores. One has a knack for picking out just the right dog toys and the other has the gift of knowing exactly how to pet him. Larry also has a favorite stuffed rabbit toy. When he’s not busy trying to chew off Bunny’s tail, he takes great care in grooming it the same way he grooms himself. He also needs Bunny to sleep. If he trots off to bed without his toy, he soon comes back in search of it.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Larry’s a little cock-eyed so he doesn’t see very well. The neighborhood has a large number of squirrels, rabbits, and even several foxes, but I don’t think he’s ever noticed any of them.

The postman is a good friend, though.

What is Larry's best quality?

He makes everyone who comes by feel special and not in an obsequious sort of way. He’s just very endearing.

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

He would make me share my pillow with him. (Not happening, buddy!)

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

Rick Moranis. See what I mean about Lawrence? Rick Moranis could never be a Lawrence.

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

How did you end up at the shelter?

Visit Iris Anthony's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 26, 2012

Jaime & Cookie Munster

photo credit: Tom Buchanan
Who is in the photo at right?

From top left... my husband Dan who is hanging onto Chance (the Munsterlander that started the craze), Jules (Cookie's mom), my step-dad Rob; I'm Jaime and I'm at the bottom left hanging onto Cookie Munster, Mocca (Cookie's brother), my mom Gwen who's hanging onto Steele (Cookie's dad).

Dan and I own Cookie who is a 4 year old male Small Munsterlander. The rest of the Munster Pack lives with my folks. Everyone is fixed now so no more Munsters! I'm the Financial Services Manager at a Mazda dealership. I've been there just shy of 7 years and it's been a really fun challenging job. I am also the President of our local Big Brothers Big Sisters Agency. I have been involved with BBBS for 10+ years in various capacities. It's a great organization to donate my time to.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Dan's gone for an early morning golf game. So, Cookie and I have a rare morning home together alone.

What's brewing?

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte... decaf because I'm just shy of 7 months pregnant [editor's note: as of mid-September].

Any treats for you or Cookie on this occasion?

I picked up a fresh baked glazed cinnamon roll at the grocery store this morning.

How were you and Cookie united?

When the pups were little I would go out and visit with the litter. Right from the very beginning he would follow me around and try to climb in my lap. Dan and I had a sheltie at the time so we weren't really planning to get another dog. By the time the pups were eight weeks old and ready to go six of the eight had homes. My mom was getting a little anxious about having two spare pups so we decided to take one. I guess he picked me from the very beginning and it was fate that he was one of the last two left.

How did he get his name? Any aliases?

photo credit: Paws on the Run Pet Photography
Dan and I thought it would be funny if he had had a name from the TV show The Musters but didn't like any of the characters names so we settled on Cookie Munster. We also call him Cook, Cooker, or I call him Rookie Cookie. Even though we have been doing agility trials for nearly a year and a half he still trials like he's a Rookie!

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

He loves to go to my folks' cabin to hangout for the weekend with the whole Munster clan. It's a little over an hour away so we don't get there as much as I would like. In the city we live about a 15min walk from the Old Man River. There is a nice off leash park there. We walk down to the park on a regular basis and he gets to go swimming.

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

We have a bunch of floaty toys that we take down to the river that he loves. He's a good swimmer and on a hot day he will spend ages retrieving toys! He also loves our socks and shoes. When he is excited he has to have something in his mouth. Dan and I are always running around the house looking for a matching shoe!

Who is Cookie's best pet-pal?

photo credit: Paws on the Run Pet Photography
He loves being with all the other Munsters. He gets along best with his brother Mocca. Sometimes his parents like to put him in his place in the pack! Chance is old and doesn't pay much attention to the youngsters. He also loves a little Sheltie (Catch) that we do agility with. We have babysat little Catch a few times and they have a blast together. My in-laws have a Sharpei that he really likes as well. He can be a bit of a jerk around new dogs so I have to really watch him at trials and the dog park. He shares our home with a Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo... they are definitely not BFF's. I would say they barely tolerate each other. Cookie, the bird dog, is afraid of her and she knows it.

What is Cookie's best quality?

He's a very sweet boy... he loves to cuddle, be petted, and just be with us. He's also a very loyal dog.

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

Between my job and volunteer work I am very busy. Cookie probably wishes I was home more. I am really looking forward to my year of maternity leave to be at home with Cookie and the baby. I'm sure Cookie will love it too!

photo credit: Paws on the Run Pet Photography
What is Cookie's proudest moment?

Not sure what I would say his proudest moment is... He does have a bad habit of stopping in the middle of an agility run in competition and taking a poop. I think he is a nervous pooper and the stress of the trial setting gets to him. Not his proudest moments but I can laugh about them now.

If Cookie could speak in the movie about your life, who should do his voice?

I had to ask Dan because I'm not much of a movie person... He said Nicholas Cage, not sure why. Personally I think he is more like Eddie Murphy because I think he is like Donkey in Shrek. He's loveable but silly and kind of scattered at times.

If Cookie could answer just one question in English, what would you ask him?

Do you actually like doing doggie sports or do you just go along with it because I like it?

Visit the Munster Madness blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

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

Monday, October 22, 2012

Val & Gracie and Schatzie

Who is in the photo at right?

Hi, I'm Val, wife, dental assistant, hobby photographer and Dog Mom to Gracie, a 7 year old female yellow lab mix and Schatzie, a 6 year old female German Shepherd. I refer to them as our "Girlz."

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Just stopping by after our usual morning walk about the ranch. We are blessed to live on our 80 acre "ranch" in which we can run and explore without any restrictions.

What's brewing?

No coffee at our house, just juice. My hubby *R* and I have never acquired the coffee taste bud.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

The Girlz love treats. They don't get a lot of them due to Gracie having megasophagus (genetic eating disorder) and Schatzie having hip dysplasia. We keep a close eye on their food intake and to make sure they keep their girly figures. When they do get treats it's usually a very small puppy biscuit.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Gracie came with her name and she indeed is a Gracie. Other names for her include Princess Grace, Lucy and my sister refers to her as G-dog.

Schatzie's name means "Little Sweetheart" in German, my husband gave her that name. We also call her Schatzie Beans.

How were you and your dogs united?

Both girlz came to us via a search on Petfinder. We worked with Paws to Love Rescue located in South Dakota. Gracie was about 4 months old and on "death row" when we found her. Schatzie was 11 weeks and a breeder surrender. We have no idea what the reason for the surrender was.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

I'd have to say each other. You won't find one too far from the other, typical sisters!!

Rabbit, postman, cat....?

The postman would be their favorite. When the mail person comes to the door it's usually because they've got a package from gramma!! They love presents from gramma.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Gracie loves a good squeaky toy--it usually lasts less than 10 minutes. Schatzie is more of the stick and ball girl, she enjoys a good round of fetch.

What is each dog's best quality?

Schatzie is the typical shepherd, she loves to have her family all in one place, she's also the "police officer" in the family. She'll let you know if you're in the wrong. Gracie, well she is our clown and full of drama. She makes us laugh as she is always a happy dog.

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

There are 2 things---one would be that owners take more responsibility in spay and neutering their pets. Two, recycle more.

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

This one is easy... Gracie would be either Doris Day or Lucille Ball and then of course Schatzie would be Lucy's sidekick Ethel.

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

I have to know what makes horse poop taste so darn good.

Visit the My Girlz Got Paws blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 19, 2012

Yvette Van Veen & Kip

Who is in the photo at right?

Yvette Van Veen – Owner of Awesome Dogs, Pet Columnist Toronto Star, Pet Writer.  And Kip – Male, 1 ½ years old. Mixed breed. Rescue from Northern Quebec.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

All the time! I’ve even suggested it in a column. When I have a puppy, I go to the nearest coffee shop drive through every day. It’s a short drive. They learn to like car rides that way. They also learn to accept having people reach into the vehicle. Great in nice police officer is standing by my car for a ride check or [a-hem] maybe I accidentally did something and got pulled over. Either way, I want my dog really used to people reaching into vehicles. Once a dog has its shots, we go to the coffee shop and have a coffee so the pup gets socialized. Coffee shops are great for socialization.

What's brewing?

Cappuccino – plain. Also like Vietnamese dripped coffee with condensed milk. If making coffee at home, then I like to do a cold brewed syrup and shake it up in a cocktail shaker!

Any treats for you or Kip on this occasion?

Always! I carry treats all the time. But Kip is picky. The coffee shop staff try to give him a donut hole. He takes it. But once we leave he spits it out. He likes meat!

How did Kip get his name? Any aliases?

Kip was named by my son. It’s for the gymnastics move. Apparently it also means chicken in Dutch. Kip’s moniker is Kipper the ex-Crotch Ripper for very literal reasons.

How were you and your dogs united?

All of them were fostered for rescue and never left. My son said we needed to keep Kip because he was soooo bad, no one else could possibly want him. Kip’s doing really well now, but it was quite a journey.

What's the most interesting question put to you by a reader of your column in the Toronto Star?

It wasn’t a question. It was a complaint. Years back I did a piece on spay and neuter. At the time, most of the information available extolled the health benefits of spay and neuter. Someone said that I didn’t present the whole picture. That there were negative health effects. I do read all complaints, as long as someone isn’t throwing obscenities at me, I do tend to ask questions or dig.

Turns out that there is some interesting research, mostly pertaining to early neuters in male dogs. I appreciated that someone cared enough to point me in the direction of new research I had not yet seen. If someone has new research – I absolutely want to see it. And if I’m unaware of something, I do want to hear about it. I have no problem saying, “New information is available.”

Who is Kip's best pet-pal?

Shadow – the next door neighbour’s black lab. She is his girlfriend.

Rabbit, postman, cat....?

Nope. Hope not. I train dogs for a living!

Kip lives with 2 cats. Icarus, the younger one, is his best friend. They play and wrestle together. He’s met rabbits and likes them. However, he does have an odd obsession with plastic bags. He likes to grab them, run around with them and tear them.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Chewber Frisbee and felted tug toys.

What is Kip's best quality?

Kip is a working dog through and through. He’s too smart for his own good. As he matures, he’s going to do amazing things. I like how he gets along with the cat and tolerates having the cat play with his tail. He’s learning American Sign Language, which means I can “talk” to him while teaching classes by using my hands. That way I don’t have to stop talking to ask him to obey.

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

Less time working on the computer to make more time for play.

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

Jack Lemmon – that rapid fire delivery he did in Some Like It Hot.

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

Is there anything you want me to change/do differently in how I look after you or teach you?

Visit the Awesome Dogs website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Beth Poole & Lizzy, TJ and Tank

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Beth Poole; I am a retired chemist. I currently make jewelry, am studying for my NAPPS certification and most importantly work in rescue. I also have a blog, where I talk about the dogs I work with everyday at Husky Haven. I am hugging my 6-year-old red and white Husky, Lizzy... and Tank, my 7-year-old Pit mix is trying to get in the picture. I also have TJ, he is my all white 6-year-old Husky.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I have coffee every morning after I walk all three of my babies...a time for us to relax together before I start my rescue work.

What's brewing?

I have a glass of Gevalia Expresso Roast, Iced, with two Stevia in the Raw.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

No treats for me, but the dogs usually get a Purina Pro Plan biscuit.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Lizzy was named Liza at the rescue: my son said we should liven up her name so she became Lizzy. I also call her Lizzy Bear.

TJ's name was that at the rescue and we kept it. I call him Jay, Jayster and Ouija Board...don't ask me why!!

Tank [photo left] was named by the people who found him wandering the side of the road after he was tossed out of a car...the name seemed apropos (he's a really muscular short guy), so it stuck. His only other alias is Tanky.

How were you and your dogs united?

Both of my Huskies came from Husky Haven...about the time I started volunteering there. Tank, as I said was found on the side of the road by some of our volunteers, it was love at first site for both of us and we had a trio.... Tank thinks he's one of the Huskies!!!

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

We have a couple of other volunteers and Husky owners that we pal around with, but usually I have one or two fosters here, so they always have a few friends hanging around.

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

Squirrels definitely!!!

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Lizzy [photo right] is the only one who will play with toys, squeaky for her. The boys only want to tear up the toys!!

What is each dog's best quality?

Lizzy is my playful,sweet girl. TJ is my laid-back,loving guy. Tank is the most affectionate of the group, he always wants to be near me. (He is, in fact, sitting by my feet right now).

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

They hate it when I'm blogging and thought that when I retired I'd spend more time with them. They would want me to spend less computer time and less time with all the rescues I work with.

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

Lizzy would be Julianne Moore, another feisty redhead.

TJ [photo left] would be my favorite actor of all time, Vincent D'Onofrio.... I can just hear TJ with that voice.

Tank would be the comic relief...Jack Black.

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

For both TJ and Lizzy I would ask: What happened to both of you wonderful dogs that you ended up in animal control and then rescue?? For Tank I would ask: How did a sweet dog like you end up being tossed by his owners?

Visit the Lizzy's Life blog and Husky Haven website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 15, 2012

Deb Long & Stella Rose and Sam

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Deb Long and I am a legal assistant to the County Attorney in Iowa. I am holding Stella Rose Long, who is a little black pug. She is a female puggie who is 2 1/2 years old. She was born on February 15, 2010.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We are having coffee down in one of the Villages here in Van Buren County. This village is called Bentonsport and is a small village with different artisans’. Right now we are setting on the deck of the new fudge factory drinking a cup of coffee. I like it with a little cream in it. If you look over our shoulder you will see the Des Moines River flowing by.

What's brewing?

We usually just drink plain ole black Folgers coffee, with International Delight in it. I like Almond Joy the best.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

No, treats today for me, but Stella just ate a little “cream and berry bone” that Goose’s mom sent her and Sam.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Stella Rose’s name just came to me on the way home after I decided she was going to live with us forever. She was laying in the car seat looking up at me with her trusting eyes and I decided she needed a really pretty name to make up for her before life. Her brother Sam's name is what his dad picked out.

How were you and your dogs united?

Stella and Sam came from a breeder’s kennel. I went with a friend to drop off some papers (not knowing what it was) and the owner gave us a tour. It was smelly, and dirty and appalling. I just wanted to run back to the car and leave, but I just kept looking. In the basement she showed us a pen with 4 large dogs in it, and one little black dog. She handed me the little dog and told me she wasn’t able to sell her cos of her eyes. I didn’t know anything about pugs, but just knew she looked like a baby gorilla. I laughed when I was holding her. She was dirty, and smelled really bad, and I ended up carrying her while we looked at the kennel. When it was time to go home the breeder told me I could just take her if I wanted if not they would have to do something to her cos she wasn’t worth anything. We had just lost our little min pin a few weeks before after living with us 12 years, and I didn’t think I was ready for another furry kid, but I couldn’t put her back in the pen. Stella Rose went home with me that night. The first 6 months were pretty hard, cos she came with a lot of rescue dog traits. Finally though she started to realize we were never gonna let anything happen to her, and we were really her forever home. Down the road we also went and brought back her little brother and later her aunt. Trudie (her aunt) went to the rainbow bridge a few weeks ago. Rescue dogs are the most loving, thankful little creatures you will ever meet. I often wonder tho who rescued who.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Stella’s best pal was Trudie. They played all the time. She plays with her brother Sam also, but he is a bit of a grump so they play differently. Mostly he steals her treats, and toys.

Rabbit, postman, cat....?

Cat. At our house lives “mean ole cat Dietzman” He has lived with us for fifteen years. He is the Alpha pug at our house!!

What is Stella's best quality?

Stella has the most loving kind heart. She loves when we have company and loves all our grandkids. She has made it her mission to help rescue pugs. She started a treat contest a month ago, and all the treats we have received will be sent on to SERPA, a pug rescue in Southern Missouri.

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

If Stella could change anything about me it would be that I would never have to go to work. She and Sam wish we could just stay home all the time with them.

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

Sam would be grumpy Walter from Jeff Dunhams comedy review and Stella would be Audrey Hepburn.

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

The question I would ask them is about all our furry kids at the rainbow bridge. I would want to know just what they know about seeing us and being together in the future.

Visit the Three Little Pugs website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 12, 2012

Barbara Mariconda & Little Man

Who is in the photo at right?

Every author should have a dog like mine. I'm Barbara Mariconda, and I write children’s books – my most recent an historical fantasy novel for middle grade readers titled The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons (Harpercollins). My quirky dog, Little Man, has been by my side throughout the entire process. He’s an eleven-year-old male shih tzu mix, who has a good-natured, captivating personality. Writing can be an isolating, solitary pursuit. Little Man provides the companionship, heart, and humor that I need to keep at it. He also forces me off the couch when I’m immersed in a project, gets me out of the house for a breath of fresh air and a little exercise.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?  What's brewing?

I get up around 5:45, and begin writing. Get comfy on the couch with a cup of coffee, and Little Man gets right in the act. He’s usually in front of my laptop with me, generally nosing between my cup of Jamaica Me Crazy, Vermont Country Blend, or maybe Gloria Jean’s Hazelnut, brewed up in my Keurig. Later, on the way to the office, Little Man and I stop at the drive-up window at Starbucks for a Nonfat Chocolate Vivanno with a shot of espresso. (Little Man sometimes gets a biscuit that he snubs his nose at.)

Little Man takes his place in the conference room at my company, Empowering Writers. His other favorite office activity (besides checking out our employees’ lunch bags) is napping in a cozy spot he claimed on one of our bookshelves.

How did Little Man get his name? Any aliases?

People chuckle at the name “Little Man” – it wasn’t the name I gave him when I acquired him as a tiny, adorable handful of fur, no bigger than a guinea pig. I’d named him “Cucciolo” which means “puppy” in Italian. The problem was, no one could remember it. So, affectionately, I’d referred to him as “Little Man”, and honestly, he has such an expressive little old face, that the name stuck.

How were you and Little Man united?

Little Man came to me after a period of grieving over the loss of my eighteen-year-old standard poodle, Baxter. I knew I’d want a new dog, but couldn’t bear to have another poodle – it would be too painful to be reminded of my beloved Baxter. So, I set out to get a pug, went to a wonderful woman who worked with a variety of breeders. When I got there to meet the potential pugs I spotted this itty-bitty buff-colored puppy, cute as a button. He was calm and loveable - one look and he stole my heart.

Does Little Man make any contribution to your writing?

My writing is sometimes interrupted by the sound of the big, old wooden Chinese water bucket that houses Little Man’s collection of chewed and ravaged stuffed toys. He paws the side until it tips, and his collection of toys spills out. These include De-Beaked Hen, One Armed Bush-Baby, Wingless Goose, and Gutted Bunny.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Little Man's favorite toy is Chittering Squirrel, won by a friend’s mom at the nursing home Bingo tournament. When squeezed, the squirrel chatters. Little Man throws it in the air, places it on the rug and rolls over it for a satisfying massage.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

My house borders the woods, and squirrels, chipmunks, deer, fox, coyotes, and ground hogs are common. Little Man is aloof, mostly ignoring all of these. He has, on occasion, sniffed out and frightened toads into paralysis alongside the driveway and chased some slow-moving wild turkeys across the backyard.

What is Little Man's best quality?

My dog’s best quality is the pure joy he takes in sharing my space and my life – he is the perfect companion. When I arrive home he greets me at the door, presenting me with one of his ragged toys, wagging his tail in large circles.

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

He would have me willingly participate in a game he enjoys - sitting on the couch, repeatedly throwing his mushy, smelly bully stick on the floor, and barking at me to retrieve it. “Fetch!” he seems to say. “Come on, fetch!”

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

If Hollywood made a movie about “Little Man” actor Bill Murray would provide the voice-overs.

If Little Man could answer only one question in English what would you ask him?

I’d ask him to tell me the one thing I could do that would bring him the greatest happiness. And, then I’d do it.

Barbara Mariconda is the author of over thirty books for children and teachers, her latest, The Voyage of Lucy P. Simmons, a middle grade historical fantasy novel, the first in a trilogy published by Harpercollins. She is co-founder of Empowering Writers.

Visit Barbara Mariconda's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yona Zeldis McDonough & Queenie, Willa and Holden

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Yona Zeldis McDonough, author of four novels; the most recent, A Wedding in Great Neck, just came out this month.

The dog on my lap is Queenie, a seven-year old female Pomeranian.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I sit with the dogs in the morning when I have my coffee. If the weather is good, I’ll go out in the yard and let them sniff and scratch while I sip.

What's brewing?

We have a nifty Nespresso maker and I use it to make a latte with steamed milk and a dash of cinnamon on top.

I use a small bowl instead of a mug or cup, so I can pretend I’m in Paris.

[photo left: Willa]

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Yes, everyone gets a post-breakfast biscuit in the morning. I might have half of an English muffin or a couple of biscotti.

You have a new novel that's just hit the bookstores. Are there any dogs in it?

Yes, there is a nervous, yappy Pomeranian, and the Pom plays a pivotal role in the story.

[photo right: Holden]

In fact, if Queenie were literate, I might find myself being sued for libel or slander—she just might not like the portrait I’ve created!

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

They would want me to give them more treats!

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

Queenie—Bette Middler

Willa—Nicole Kidman

Holden—Tom Hanks

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

Are you happy?

Learn more about the author and her work at Yona Zeldis McDonough's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Yona Zeldis McDonough & Queenie and Tallulah (October 2009).

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wendy Welch & Zora and Bert

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.

What's brewing?

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.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 5, 2012

Kris & Hope

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me, Kris, hanging out with my 3-year-old Boston terrier, Hope. I write a home decorating blog called Driven by Décor where I blog about my DIY projects and share the decorating inspiration and great buys that I find as I work on updating and decorating my own home. I also work part-time as a prenatal and cancer genetic counselor and am a wife and a mom of two girls.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Hope and I have coffee together every morning that I am home. After we've walked Hope's human sisters down to the bus stop, I grab a cup of coffee and head to the couch with my laptop to blog and catch up on e-mails. She always snuggles in right next to me and takes a morning nap.

What's brewing?

Most mornings it's Bruegger's coffee. I love their Hazelnut and seasonal coffees - my favorite is Pumpkin Spice! My husband and I are both lovers of Bruegger's coffee so we buy their bottomless mugs and get unlimited coffee all year. My husband's an early bird so he runs down the street to Bruegger's soon after they open and comes back with coffee for both of us.

Any treats for you or your dog on this occasion?

Hope has a very sensitive digestive system (I'll spare you the unpleasant details) and we've found the only way to keep her healthy is to not give her anything other than her dog food. Sadly, this means no treats!

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

We adopted Hope from a rescue organization and kept the name that she had already been given. We also call her Hopers and Hoper Dopers.

What is your dog's best quality?

Hope is incredibly sweet and loving, not only tolerating but enjoying when the girls scoop her up and carry her around the house with them.

How were you and your dog united?

We found Hope on Petfinder - she had developed mange and instead of having her treated by a veterinarian, her previous owner subjected her to several horrible "home remedies" that were entirely ineffective. After having lost every hair on her body (she looked like a pigmy pig!) and still itching like crazy she was turned into a rescue organization. The rescue organization started her mange treatment and put her up for adoption - after reviewing our adoption application and checking our references (I felt like we were adopting a baby!), we were thrilled when the rescue group called and told us that they thought we were a great match for Hope! We met up with her the next day and the whole family fell in love with her instantly!

Who are your dog's best pet-pals?

Hope's best friends were a small cairn terrier mix named Coco and a large black lab named Chap. Sadly, both Coco and Chap moved away a few months ago so she's in search of a new BFF.

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

Although Hope loves to chase squirrels, her arch enemy is the postman. The second that Hope hears the sound of mail coming into our house through the mail slot, she runs to the front door where she tries to grab the mail before it hits the catch basket. Almost every day she gets at least one piece of mail, which we find ripped to shreds when we get home. 95% of the time it's just junk mail that she gets to but she did put several teeth marks in our last tax refund check (the bank gave me some weird looks but they did cash it!).

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Hope's favorite toy is a small stuffed orange fox. She also likes to run after tennis balls but she's not so great about bringing them back!

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

Hope would want me to quit my genetic counseling job so that I could be home with her more.

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

Kristin Chenoweth - the teeny but sweet voice would fit Hope perfectly!

If your dog could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?

What would you do if you actually caught one of those squirrels that you chase after every day?

Visit the Driven by Décor blog and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Jane Tesh & Winkie

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Jane Tesh. I write mystery novels, and when I’m not writing, I enjoy playing the piano and conducting the orchestra for musicals at the Andy Griffith Playhouse in my little town of Mt. Airy, NC. Yes, folks, I live in Mayberry. My dog is a four-pound, seven-year old female Chihuahua named Winkie.

How were you and Winkie united?

A friend of mine raised Chihuahuas and thought I’d be the right person for Winkie. Winkie’s mother was not a good mother. We think she bit her puppies, so Winkie’s eye became infected and had to be removed when she was very young. But this hasn’t slowed her down! The first time I saw her, I knew she was the dog for me. My sister and brother and I had many dogs growing up on the farm, beagles, collies, mutts – but Winkie is the first dog that is all mine. And she is just like me! We both have trouble with our teeth and our knees, and we have strange folds of unwanted neck skin that just suddenly appeared one day.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

When I travel, Winkie gets to stay at grandmother’s house on the family farm in Summerfield, NC.

Here we are [photo left] on the back porch enjoying some coffee.

What's brewing?

Maxwell House with loads of cream and sugar.

Any treats for you or Winkie on this occasion?

We are always up for treats. I enjoy anything chocolate, and Winkie is wild for cheese.

How did Winkie get her name? Any aliases?

My friend had named her Mindy, but this little dog had too much spunk for that name.

My mother suggested Winkie since with one eye, it looked as if the puppy was winking at you. As a name, Winkie also has literary ties, from The Wizard of Oz to Harry Potter.

As for aliases, she is occasionally called Winklet, and my niece calls her Winkus Maximus because like most small dogs, Winkie thinks she is huge.

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

Winkie’s too small to walk on a leash, so I found a stroller at a yard sale, and she loves to ride around the neighborhood.

Does Winkie make any contribution to your writing?

Winkie’s a great listener whenever I need to read a chapter to see if it makes sense.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Any other dog. And she actually tried to chase a truck one day.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

She has a toy frog she used to shake viciously.

What is Winkie's best quality?

Her loyalty. Winkie’s a one-woman dog.

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

My lap would have to be available 24/7.

What is Winkie's proudest moment?

Winkie won Smallest Dog in a local dog show. The prize, a bone, was bigger than she was.

If Winkie could speak in the movie about your life, who should do her voice?

Ksenia Solo, Kenzie on Lost Girl, tiny, feisty, and glamorous in a punk way.

Visit at Jane Tesh's website. Tesh's latest novel, Mixed Signals, is the second installment of the Grace Street Mysteries.

The Page 69 Test: Mixed Signals.

Writers Read: Jane Tesh

--Marshal Zeringue