Who is in the photo at right?
I’m Andrea Lochen, the author of the novel The Repeat Year. My dog, Maddy, is an 8-year-old Teddy Bear, a mix between a Shih Tzu and a Bichon Frise.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
We decided to spend an hour in our backyard soaking up the sun, reading (me), and sniffing out unusual smells and rolling in the grass (Maddy).
OK, no coffee for you and Maddy--but are you sharing any treats on this occasion?
Chilled lemonade for me and water and a rawhide bone for Maddy.
How were you and Maddy united?
Maddy was a wonderful surprise gift from my husband on my golden birthday (when I turned twenty-three on December 23rd). I had wanted a dog for a long time, but it seemed like an impractical undertaking since we were living in an apartment at the time with busy work schedules. So on my birthday, resigned to a few more painfully dog-less years, I was instructed to close my eyes and hold out my hands, and when I did, a wriggling, six-pound puppy with a golden bow tied around her neck was placed in them. I immediately fell in love. My husband and I like to say that she’s the gift he’ll never be able to top and the gift that keeps on giving.
How did Maddy get her name? Any aliases?
Maddy is short for Madison, Wisconsin, a city that I adore (and where The Repeat Year is set). The better question would probably be are there any aliases or pet names I don’t use for her because there are so many of them, but most are too embarrassing (for both me and Maddy) to list here: Maddy Madkins, snuggle bug, bunny bear, cutie bean… You get the picture!
Have any Maddy-inspired dogs appeared in your published work?
In The Repeat Year, Phil’s dog, Cashew, is loosely based on Maddy. Cashew is a tan Shih-Tzu, so he looks different than Maddy, but his energetic, enthusiastic behavior is pretty similar. And one of the lines I wrote about him, “[A dog is] a bundle of pure love, gift-wrapped in fur” was definitely inspired by her.
Does Maddy do more to help or to hinder your writing?
She’s a great writing companion. She has a little doggy bed next to my desk, and if she’s not laying there while I’m writing, it’s because she’s laying across my lap with her chin perched on my hard plastic armrest. Sometimes she gets bored with my writing and demands we play, and it’s usually the much needed break and distraction I need, so I can come back to whatever chapter I’m working on feeling revived.
Cat, postman, squirrel...?
One of Maddy’s best friends is our mail carrier because every day she leaves a Milk-bone treat in the mailbox for her, so that Maddy is now conditioned to lick her lips and expect a treat every time we get the mail. She likes our mail carrier so much that once she even tried to get in the postal truck with her (although I suspect it had more to do with the open box of Milk-bones on the floor). In case you can’t tell, my dog is extremely food-motivated.
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?
Plush squeaky toys—she loves to rip the stuffing out of them and dig out the plastic squeaker. We have several deflated, sad-looking squirrels and raccoons she still plays with. For her seventh birthday, we bought her the mother of all plush squeaky toys—a long red dragon with twenty squeakers sewn into it! She was in heaven, and almost a year later, some of the squeakers still function.
Does Maddy have a favorite place to go for outings?
Basically anywhere we go, she’s game. Maddy adores riding in the car (especially through drive-throughs, because she sometimes get a treat), going for walks in our neighborhood and to parks, and visiting my parents and my in-laws.
Who is Maddy's best pet-pal?
My in-laws’ dog, Lacci, who is the same breed as Maddy, but a few years older. They look almost like twins when they’re together!
What is Maddy's best quality?
Her unconditional love. Her joy and enthusiasm for life. The way she makes me laugh.
If Maddy could change one thing about Wisconsinites, what would it be?
She would mandate that we all carry cheese or other treats in our pockets to give to her at regular intervals.
If Maddy could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?
I would ask her to describe her perfect day for me and then I would recreate it for her.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Maddy could speak, who should voice her?
It would have to be me or my husband because we do her voice all the time! She sounds high-pitched, cheeky, and occasionally has a Southern drawl.
Visit Andrea Lochen's website and Facebook page.
Writers Read: Andrea Lochen.
The Page 69 Test: The Repeat Year.
My Book, The Movie: The Repeat Year.