Who is in the photo at right and just below?
That’s Mitzi and Lizzie. They’re two rescued mutts. I mean, princesses.
Oh, you mean me? I’m Amy Sue Nathan—an author, editor, blogger and mom of two college kids.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
I have coffee with Mitzi and Lizzie every morning, when it’s still dark, on most days.
I take my coffee with half and half even though I know I should use skim milk. During the week I drink all-American Folgers. On the weekends I treat myself to Starbucks Blonde Roast brewed at home.
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
Absolutely! They’re sitting in front of the treat cabinet waiting. What? Not everyone has a treat cabinet? Lizzie and Mitzi say, “Aw, too bad.”
How were you and your dogs united? And how did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
Lizzie is over eleven years old. She was rescued by our vet from owners who neglected and abused her as a tiny puppy—because when we got her she was only 12 weeks old. She went to the vet with the name Phoenix but the office staff renamed her Lizzie and we kept it.
My family adopted Mitzi after she’d spent a few weeks with another family who’d rescued her from a trash can, but couldn’t keep her. We couldn’t bear the thought of them taking her to a shelter and at that time we already had two dogs. The name Mitzi is short for Mitzvah, which in Hebrew means commandment or sometimes “good deed.”
Both dogs answer to their names, to being called Princess, and they both come running when the refrigerator opens.
How do your dogs help, and how do they hinder, your writing?
Lizzie sleeps on her, I mean, my, I mean her, bed all day. Mitzi is my shadow. She is wherever I am and is good company, until she wants to play. And then, she’s a good playmate!
Squirrel, postman, cat....?
Dog next door. Don’t get me started.
Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?
Ball. Ball ball ball. And by ball I mean anything that can be thrown across the yard and retrieved.
What is each dog's best quality?
Lizzie is sweet and subdued (except when she’s not). Mitzi is sweet and totally loyal. Almost guard dog loyal. I feel very safe with Mitzi in the house. I think Lizzie would show an intruder the goods. (You know, the stash of chocolate.)
If your dogs could change one thing about Chicagoans, what would it be?
Chicagoans love their hot dogs, and don’t usually share. The dogs would totally change that if they could.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?
You mean my dogs don’t really speak? I should get my ears checked.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
I’d ask Lizzie if she was okay now. She’s a happy dog but was really mistreated. When she was tiny I carried her around with her head on my shoulder. She didn’t bark for two years. I’d just like to know for sure that we did a good job making her feel safe, since she can still be a little timid.
I’m pretty sure Mitzi is happy and well-adjusted, I’d ask her why she insists on dropping the ball anywhere but right in front of me when we play fetch. I always make her get it and bring it to me, so maybe it’s just part of the game. I’d like to be sure. And find out where she put all those socks I’m sure she’s hidden.
Visit Amy Sue Nathan's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch, and learn more about her forthcoming novel, The Glass Wives.