Who is featured in the first two photos?
My name is Linda Jones, and I’m a new author of the children’s book, Alphabet Anatomy: Meet the Capital Letters, which is the first in a planned series. I’m a mom to four amazing sons and I also work part-time as a Legal Assistant. Alphabet Anatomy helps children learn letter and writing concepts by exploring what the letters do behind the scenes when they’re not busy making words.
We have 2 dogs, Zorro and Rocco, both males.
[photo right: camera-shy Zorro and Linda; photo below left: not-so-camera-shy Rocco and Linda]
Zorro is a mix of golden retriever, Australian shepherd, and cattle dog. He is 11 years old, but still very agile and young at heart. Rocco is 2 years old and a mix of Catahoula and, we think, pit bull.
Zorro is an excellent role model for Rocco as he evolves from a tumultuous puppy and tries to emulate Zorro’s good behavior.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Zorro and Rocco accompany me into the kitchen each morning and watch my every move as I brew the coffee, knowing they will soon be receiving their puppy biscuit breakfast snacks. Today we’re having coffee on the front patio because it’s a beautiful Arizona morning and the warm January sun was beckoning us outside.
This morning we’re brewing Gourmet Caramel Drizzle from good old Folgers. I drink my coffee black, no sweeteners, but I like just a hint of flavor, and I love how it smells.
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
Oh, yes, this is a special occasion to share our morning at “Coffee With A Canine,” so Zorro and Rocco have their favorite peanut butter biscuits and I’m splurging on a sesame bagel with cream cheese, a nice diversion from the usual oatmeal.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
Zorro got his name because he had a mask when he was a puppy, but his coat and markings have actually changed a lot as he’s gotten older. He used to have much more defined spots, but they have kind of blended all together over the years. My son, Eric, is the one who named Rocco, and says he just thought it was a pretty cool name and fit him well. Both Zorro and Rocco have several endearing nicknames. Zorro is also known as Z-man, Z, and Zippity. He’s also been deemed a super hero by Branson, who created and illustrated an original Z-Man comic book. Rocco also answers to Rocco/taco, Rockus, and Rockford.
How were you and your dogs united?
I brought Branson to pick out Zorro from a litter by our home after seeing a sign in the neighborhood. Branson says that Zorro got his attention because he was the only puppy that looked up at him amid his 8 brothers and sisters, with those irresistible puppy eyes of course. It wasn’t long before Zorro dutifully commenced his role as the ever watchful kid protector, often scaling the 8-foot high backyard wall or jumping through the front window screens to practice his herding skills and ensure the boys’ safekeeping.
[photo left: Rocco as a puppy, with Zorro]
A few years ago, Zorro must have sensed the boys were big enough to look after themselves and since redirected his energy to guarding and escorting me from room to room. He is also a great snuggler. As for Rocco, Eric bought him from a private owner after falling in love with his on-line photo; however, he got sick about a week later. Rocco is proud to say that he’s a Parvo survivor, having victoriously survived the dreaded killer with the help of daily doses of Pedialyte and a thousand tons of TLC from his newly-adoring family, in addition to the fact that he undoubtedly sensed he had a good thing going and wanted to stay with us for a very long time.
In your book Alphabet Anatomy--Meet the Capital Letters, I notice 'C' is for Cat; is 'D' for Dog?
No, I’m afraid letter D is for “Dive,” but letter D does have a pet Dalmatian, who is very dear to him and always accompanies him to daily diving practice. They have dinner together every night and especially love to share delectable desserts, their favorite being deep-dish apple pie.
Squirrel, postman, cat....?
Anything and everything! Zorro and Rocco are both vigilant watchdogs who never fail to faithfully engage in very shrill and high-pitched unison barking at the slightest detection of a visitor/invader coming anywhere close to our premises. As for animal invaders, we sometimes see jackrabbits running through the backyard, but luckily they can run faster than Zorro and Rocco. Between the two of them, I do wish they would devise a plan to circumvent and exterminate the pesky gophers that lurk underground. Zorro and Rocco also love to go to the park and jump in the lake, where they sometimes engage in a swim competition with the ducks.
Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?
Oh, they love to play and are not picky about toys, and other items which in their eyes qualify as “toys,” especially socks! They will fetch, chew, and quickly demolish any form of squeaky toys, balls, Frisbees, and stuffed animals. The only item that can sustain their unbridled chomping seems to be those really thick rope toys. Fortunately for Rocco, he has outgrown his shoe fetish (after eating 20+ of mine, which earned him the additional not so endearing nickname, “rat-boy”); he now realizes that shoes are unequivocally not toys.
Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?
Really their only pet playmate is Eric’s dog, Ryder, who usually visits once a week and instigates plenty of fun and games for both Zorro and Rocco. They especially love to play chase and I think they have an ongoing contest to see who can run the fastest. I would say Rocco looks forward to Ryder’s visits much more than Zorro, who is happy to join in at first but then seems to just tolerate the constant ruckus. I imagine Zorro just dismisses them as crazy youngsters.
If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?
I think it would be a tie between allowing them to sit at the table with us for every meal or taking them everywhere we go. On second thought, I think the food would win out, hands down, even though their complete devotion to us is undeniable.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?
I had to get some help from my sons for this question. According to the boys, Ryan Reynolds would be able to capture Rocco’s [photo right] fun-loving and free-spirited personality. Zorro’s wise and level-headed narrations would resonate well through Clint Eastwood.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
I would ask them what dogs think about all day long, especially about us humans. What do they really think of us? I have no doubt they could share some very insightful observations.
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