Who is in the photo at right?
Margaret Dilloway, author of The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns and How to Be an American Housewife, with my dog, Gatsby. He's about 8.5 months old and is a Goldendoodle we adopted a few weeks ago.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
I usually have my coffee with Gatsby at my feet while I work at home, but today I stopped at Starbucks with the dog for an afternoon fix.
An iced decaf latte with sugarfree caramel. In the afternoons, I go decaf.
Any treats for you or Gatsby on this occasion?
How were you and Gatsby united?
Someone was adopting him out via Craigslist. His previous owner was too ill to care for such a rambunctious puppy, and the owner's friend decided my family was a good fit. I guess he'd had a pretty circumscribed life-- kept mostly in a kennel, let out only in the middle of the night to run the apartment building where he lived. He needs a lot of socialization and training-- he's still super mouthy for an older pup-- but he's a sweet dog and super smart.
How did Gatsby get his name? Any aliases?
The Great Gatsby is my all-time favorite novel. The kids came up with other names for him-- Samwise (from Lord of the Rings), Peter, Snickerdoodle. It took a Herculean diplomatic effort to get everyone to agree-- everyone was set on their names, except my husband, who just sided with me. My youngest daughter thought I was saying, "Cats pee" instead of "Gatsby," so that had turned out to be her main reason for dissenting.
You published your latest novel, The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns, before Gatsby joined the household. Is there any chance a Gatsby-inspired dog will make it into your future work?
Does Gatsby do more to help or to hinder your writing?
It's a 50/50 shot. Right now he's just lying at my feet. He was outside barking at phantom people earlier and I had to shush him. But it's definitely nice to have the company, especially when I need a walk to clear my head; and he always likes the ideas I bounce off of him. I think.
Cat, postman, squirrel...?
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?
Does Gatsby have a favorite place to go for outings yet?
The dog park. He was overwhelmed at first, but he loves going to play with other dogs now. And he loves riding in the car, even if we're just dropping off kids.
Who is Gatsby's best pet-pal?
He believes it is our cat, Richard Parker. Richard Parker disagrees. Gatsby thinks the cat smells divine and tries to lick him.
What is Gatsby's best quality?
His exuberant curiosity about everything.
If Gatsby could change one thing about you, what would it be?
He would make me understand that he needs his own chair at the dinner table, and also his own bedroom.
If Gatsby could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?
What can we do to keep you from being bored?
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Gatsby could speak, who should voice him?
Leonardo DiCaprio, of course!
Visit Margaret Dilloway's website and blog.
My Book, The Movie: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns.
The Page 69 Test: The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns.