Who is in the photo at right?
That's me, Margaret Simon, and my male schnoodle Charlie, 5 years. I teach gifted elementary students. I released my first novel for young readers, Blessen in April 2012.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Charlie and I have early morning coffee every morning. He warms my lap while I wake up and warm up.
I start with warming organic milk in the microwave, froth it, and add Community Coffee, Between Roast.
Any treats for you or Charlie on this occasion?
While I go through my coffee making routine, Charlie sits and stares at the cabinet where his treats are kept. He gets an organic doggie biscuit.
How were you and Charlie united?
Charlie is my “empty nest’ dog. My third daughter was a senior in high school when we found an ad for schnoodles in the Quick Quarter. I was looking for a poodle mix. When we went to pick out a puppy, Charlie was the one who completely calmed down in my arms. It was meant to be.
How did your Charlie get his name?
My husband and I have three daughters. We had picked out boy names, but never had the chance to use them. When we were brainstorming names for our new puppy, we said aloud the boy names. Charles was my maternal grandfather’s name. Charlie was just right. Charlie loves his name. You can make the “ch’ sound and he comes running with his tail wagging.
Does your dog do more to help or to hinder your writing?
Charlie lies on my lap when I write. He usually sleeps warming and comforting me.
Cat, postman, squirrel...?
Charlie loves cats. We adopted two grey kittens a few years ago and Charlie treated them like his own babies. They would even try to nurse on him. (He was not too tolerant of that, though.) Last May I came home with another rescue kitten [photo left, with Charlie]. Mimi and Charlie play together, cuddle together, and love each other.
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?
Charlie plays ball. He will drop the yellow tennis ball at your feet 24 hours a day. When I am on the sofa watching TV, he will jump up and drop the ball right in my lap. Anyone who visits is invited by Charlie to play ball. We have a balcony overlooking our living room. He made up a game. He goes upstairs and tosses the ball off the balcony. If you play, you get more exercise chasing the ball and throwing it upstairs trying to get it between or over the railing.
Does Charlie have a favorite place to go for outings?
Charlie loves to go walking. He knows when I put on my tennis shoes. He gets excited and runs to the door. We walk with my mother-in-law and her dog, Petey, a poodle. They are best friends. We often walk to the park.
Who are Charlie's best pet-pals?
If Charlie is being stubborn about coming to me, I just say “Petey’s here!” and he comes running hoping to go for a walk with his best pal.
What is Charlie's best quality?
Charlie is the perfect dog. Over the years we have had many dogs, a beagle, a mutt, a greyhound, and a miniature dachshund. Out of all these dogs, Charlie, the schnoodle has been the easiest to train and the best behaved. His best quality is how he immediately melts in your arms. He loves to be held.
If your dog could change one thing about you, what would it be?
He would want me to stay home all day, so he could be near me.
If Charlie could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?
Charlie’s one vice is he eats fabric. Any bedding we give him gets eaten to shreds. I would ask him and I do often, “Why do you eat your bed?”
Visit Margaret Simon's blog, Reflections on the Teche.