Who is in the photo at right?
My name is Cathy Kelly, I’m an Irish writer. I have three Jack Russell sisters called Dinky, Licky and Scamp. They are nearly three but I call them the Puplets of Loveliness.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
I work from home and when I am writing, I frequently need to stop for coffee to give me a boost, stretch my neck, get away from the computer, etc. So the opportunity for coffee with a canine comes many times a day. I have tried working with the girls but they all want to sit on my lap at the same time. Because I am a petite person who sits close to the desk, there is no room for even one small dog, so they generally stay out of the study. Finishing my last book, though, I wrote the end at the dining room table and had to arrange the seats alongside me so they could all sit in a line and help. Dinky is particularly keen on coffee and is mad to have some of mine but I feel she is energetic enough without caffeine.
I used to have a heavy coffee habit and went to our lovely village café called Kennedy’s or Santina’s to all locals, as it’s run by Santina and Andrew, and I love their Kenyan blend which I have as a small skinny cappucino. But lately, I am trying to cut back, so at home, I have Rombout’s filter coffee. My husband is mad for the Nespresso machine but I can’t seem to find one I love…. Dinky would probably love them all.
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
A decent chewy doggie shoe is a nice treat: for them, not me. Or those chews for their teeth. I did buy toothbrushes when they were small and never did it. I feel so guilty…
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
My twin sons, Dylan and Murray, who are now nine and a half, my husband, John and I went to see these three puppies. You never go to just see puppies, do you? The boys each picked a dog and a name. Licky (white with a caramel heart) is actually the lickiest dog on the planet. Scamp (caramel and amber-eyed) just suited this adorable name, and two days later, I drove back because I couldn’t help it and got the last puppy, Dinky, a name which came out of nowhere. She is caramel with black eyes and a black nose.
How were you and your dogs united?
I hadn’t had a dog since my beloved Tamsin, a Labrador, died when I was pregnant with my sons. She was my child and I didn’t dare love another dog because losing her had hurt so much but almost seven years to the day since her death, my vet friend told me about a litter of beautiful Jack Russells. It was a bank holiday and we drove down to see them instantly, got Licky and Scamp, and then two days later, I got Dinky. I just couldn’t leave her.
Are your dogs more help or hindrance to your writing?
Dogs are a gift from heaven. Animal companions, magical, loving creatures, they help everything in our lives by their existence. Even when I was finishing my last book and they were arguing over who got to sit next to me, they were helpful.
Squirrel, postman, cat....?
We live in a beautiful part of the Irish countryside in a county called Wicklow and there are sometimes horses in the field beside our house. From the sanctity of the fence, the girls bark at them.
Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?
Squeaky toys. Duck is the current favourite although I don’t think I can sew him up anymore.
What is each dog's best quality?
Scamp is so wise and steadfastly loyal, she knows what you’re thinking. Licky is so deliciously enthusiastic about everything and is the questing adventurer, while Dinky is so brave in the face of danger, even though she is scared.
If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?
They’d probably want me to get up at six, feed them and instantly take them for a walk instead of all the shenanigans about getting children to school.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?
Reese Witherspoon for Dinky, Cameron Diaz for Scamp and Amy Adams for Licky.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
I do anthropomorphise them with the boys and we have great fun with it, but it’s only fun and we all know that they are these glorious, perfect mammals – like ourselves – and they communicate in a way that we might have lost because humans have lost so much of our intuitive skills. So I never think of them speaking to me in language – I do my best to understand them through body language and only wish I could intuit everything about them.
Visit Cathy Kelly's website, and learn more about her novel The House on Willow Street.