Who is in the photo at right?
That's me, Kristen Hansen Brakeman, and my dog, Buddy. He is about 7-years-old and he's a German Shepherd/Hound mutt.
The second photo [below left] is of me and Chopper, the stinky geriatric dog we inherited from my in-laws. We don't know what he is, but I've guessed that he's half German Shepherd, half hedgehog, and I believe he's about 112.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
We have coffee every morning. I like coffee.
That's some Peet's Italian Roast I'm enjoying. Santa put it in my stocking.
Any treats for you or Buddy on this occasion?
Yes, we had to get him some dinner kibble to cooperate. He doesn't like paparazzi.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
Buddy came to us from Downtown LA Rescue and they had named him Aldo. We didn't like that much so we changed it to Diego. But after a few days we realized he wasn't manly enough for that name (since he peed whenever we looked at him crossly) so we changed it to Buddy.
Chopper - we have no idea. I sometimes call him "Stinky" but my kids get mad at me.
How were you and your dogs united?
The rescue organization said the Buddy was mild-mannered and probably good with kids and cats. We have a surly cat, Mario, who needs to be in charge so that was key. Mario is the alpha dog in the house.
Chopper came to us after my in-laws' passing. He's pretty old and is pretty arthritic, but the kids love him - and he's the last connection to their grandparents.
Are your dogs more help or hindrance to your writing?
They are a big help, as long as it's just them and me. I tend to speak in Buddy's voice a lot and also, I like to read my stuff out loud - so I don't feel quite so insane when I pretend that the dogs are listening.
Squirrel, postman, cat....?
Buddy loves squirrels. That is an understatement. The voice we do for him is the one of Dug from the movie Up mostly because he becomes singularly obsessed with watching the squirrels.
Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?
He loves to chase tennis balls, but he gets easily distracted (doggie ADHD) and tends to drop the ball out on the street. We're at the top of a hill so the ball then rolls down the street and is lost forever. We've probably lost about 85 tennis balls this way and likely have polluted the Pacific Ocean with them.
What is each dog's best quality?
Buddy is friendly to everyone, and he doesn't beg much, bark much, or steal food. Even non-dog lovers say they like him. Chopper's best quality - hmm. May have to think on that one.
If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?
Buddy would like it if I never left the house.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?
Well, Buddy would have to be done by the guy who voiced Dug in Up and my husband does Chopper's voice as an old Jewish man so maybe Topol, the star of Fiddler on the Roof.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
I wish Buddy could tell me where and how he spent the first two years of his life.
Visit Kristen Hansen Brakeman's website.