Who is in the photo at right?
That’s Lucky and me, Elsa Watson, sitting out in our front yard. Lucky’s 13 years old, and he’s a mix of Rhodesian Ridgeback and Black Dog of Mystery. I’m a 40 year old writer (breed undetermined.) My most recent release is The Love Dog, which features a dog named Apollo who was modeled largely after Lucky. (Except that Apollo is a golden retriever. You just have to roll with the inconsistencies.)
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
It’s Sunday morning, and our family is doing the usual. My husband and I are typing on our laptops, and the baby and both dogs (Lucky and Kota) are napping in their respective beds. Lucky had kind of an eventful night last night. He had a tough time getting his dog bed into the right shape and had to spend about an hour pawing and digging at it, and then he and Kota were positive that they heard a wild animal/intruder/alien attack outside, so there was a lot of barking. I’m guessing they’re both on the tired side this morning.
[Read: Coffee with a Canine: Elsa Watson and Kota]
I’m having jasmine green tea (my favorite) and my husband’s having a diet coke (he’s crazy!).
Any treats for you or Lucky on this occasion?
Lucky is snoozing rather than drinking or dining, but he did have a special snack this morning when the baby threw him two big handfuls of scrambled eggs and toast. It always pays to hover under the high chair….
How did Lucky get his name? Any aliases?
He came with that name – and yes, we do hear a lot of jokes from people like “I thought all dogs named Lucky had three legs.” Ha, ha. We adopted Lucky when he was three, and he’d had a full life before us with a family and two little kids. I’m guessing one of his kids named him Lucky. During the first year he was with us, he would whine and tug at the leash every time he saw a toddler, which was pretty heartbreaking. Now we have a toddler and I often catch Lucky with a look on his face that says “Tell me again why I thought this was fun?” Seriously, though, he and the baby get along really well – and they share an affinity for sitting on mats and small squares of carpet.
How were you and your dog united?
We adopted Lucky from a nonprofit rescue organization called Furry Tail Farm. There were a lot of dogs there (many of them were not adoptable), and I think he was pretty anxious to get out of there. From the second he arrived at our house, he seemed immensely relieved – and determined to do everything perfectly. He’s never once had an accident in the house and he follows all directions to the letter. He has a large sense of responsibility – it drives him crazy when Kota gets in trouble. I can just imagine what he’s thinking. “I know I was left in charge, but I couldn’t stop her!”
Please tell us about your new novel and Lucky's connection to it.
The Love Dog is about a dog (Apollo) who stars on a reality TV show called – you guessed it – The Love Dog. Apollo, like Lucky, is a very sensitive dog who desperately wants everyone to be happy. On the show, he works to help repair broken relationships. Then Samantha Novak arrives, determined to prove that the love dog is a hoax. It’s up to Apollo to help her see that true love really does exist and that he really is a “love dog.”
Who is Lucky's best pet-pal?
He’s good friends with Skylos, the Sheltie who lives with my writer friend Suzanne Selfors. They’re walking buddies. There are also a number of dogs he sees at work: Lucy, Annie, Chi Chi, Franny, Inky. When Lucky sees another dog, it’s crucial to him that he get to stop and sniff….but once he does, he’s generally ready to move on. He’s not one for chit chat.
He also has a love-hate relationship with Franco Pancake, the dog next door. Franco comes over almost every day and poops in our yard. Lucky loooves chasing him off. I think they both live for it, really. It keeps things exciting.
Does Lucky have any non-canine pet-pals?
I wouldn’t call them friends, per se, but he appreciates the chickens. He gets pretty riled when the chickens are upset (like, say, when one of them has to do something dangerous like….lay an egg!).
Squirrel, cat, postman...?
I’ve never seen him chase any of these. As my husband Kol, says, Lucky’s more of a lover than a fighter.
[photo right: Lucky and Kol competing for Pet and Owner Lookalike at a fundraiser for PAWS of North Kitsap and Bainbridge Island. They won!]
But one place where he really comes into his own is at the dog park. He considers it his duty to referee all questionable dog activity at the park. Out of control excitement? Not allowed! Mounting? Not appropriate!
He does a lot of barking.
What is Lucky's best quality?
He’s an amazing companion when you’re sick. I used to joke that he was getting his master’s in nursing (by correspondence course.) He has really strong natural empathy, and that just blossoms when someone feels bad. He’ll lie by your side for hours on end, just making you feel better. It’s amazing.
If Lucky could change one thing about you, what would it be?
More walks! More car rides! More adventures! No matter how much he gets, it’s never enough.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dog could speak, which actor should do his voice?
Someone with a really soothing, deep, melodious voice like Alan Rickman.
If Lucky could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?
“Lucky, can you hear me?” That’s only partly a joke. He’s started to lose his hearing this year, and we’ve been pretty puzzled trying to determine what he can and can’t hear. I’m convinced that most of it’s selective….
Visit Elsa Watson's website and Facebook page.
Read--Coffee with a Canine: Elsa Watson and Kota.