Who is in the photo at right?
I am Debbie B. We sold our house in NJ and moved into our 35' Cedar Creek 5th Wheel. My husband, Scott and I have been traveling full time for 2.5 years.
[Debbie and Lyla, photo right]
We originally were going to full time with 3 dogs. Ryley a 10 yr old Irish Setter. Pillsbury, an 11 yr old Irish Setter, and Lyla, an 7 yr old English Setter. Ryley was blind and had bone cancer, Pillsbury had no use of his back end and legs and used a dog cart (doggie wheelchair), and Lyla is deaf from birth. But fate had other plans that were difficult on our hearts but better for our transition to living in an RV. Pillsbury passed from a stomach tumor 4 months prior to our start. Two dogs were more manageable. Our blind Ryley, adjusted well to any situation even though he was blind. Three months after moving into the RV, we had to let Ryley go because of the pain from bone cancer. That left us with just 7 yr old deaf Lyla. Her deafness does not affect our circumstances other than she cannot be off leash. We have since adopted Devin, an Irish and English Setter mix. Two large dogs are our limit in an RV.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Every morning is my special time for "Coffee with a Canine" ...or two. I am the early bird and my husband sleeps in. This early time is my quiet time to enjoy coffee and a piece of toast with peanut butter & jelly and an extra piece with just peanut butter for my dogs to split.
[Scott and Lyla, photo left]
Bold dark roast beans, fresh ground and drip method in a cone making only one or two cups at a time and drinking black.
My "go to" brand is Peet's Major Dickason. When I first tried this it was only available via mail order or in California. Now it can be found in many major grocery stores. Since we travel, I now try different local brands. I'm currently finishing up Craven's Montana Jack.
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
As stated above, this is our breakfast ritual and whole grain toast with peanut is expected by my Setters.
How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?
Both our dogs are rescue dogs. Our English Setter Lyla came with name and we liked it so it stayed. Our Irish/English Setter Devin, came with the name Breslin, which we hated. We looked for Irish names and Devin popped out.
How were you and your dogs united?
Our English Setter, Lyla was born deaf as is unfortunately prevalent in English Setters. Any reputable breeder will BAER test their litter to ensure none are deaf. Since Lyla is completely deaf, she is no longer show quality and it was suggested she be euthanized. The breeder would not do that and gave her to rescue to find a good home. She was adopted through Above & Beyond English Setter Rescue, where I now volunteer.
Our English/Irish Setter Devin, is also a rescue dog with the help from Magnolia Setter Rescue. He was turned over to rescue because the owner did not have time for his energy and he was crated for most of the day. [Debbie and Devin, photo left]
You've traveled all around the country. Where have the dogs seem to have enjoyed it most?
Unlike humans, the dogs don't care about scenery. The are all into smells! I think their favorite area is at the Corps of Engineers Park, Sandy Creek in Jasper, TX. There is a reservoir for Devin to swim in, lots of squirrels for Devin to keep occupied with, and Lyla loves to sniff out the armadillos that come out at night.
Another place is Four Paws Campground in Rutherfordton, SC. This is an RV park that caters to dogs. There are 7 dog parks, a pond and hiking trails on the property. There are activities for the dogs, such as agility, sausage eating contest, etc. And just like their "Mom & Dad," they prefer cooler weather and get the crazies when the temperatures drop.
Another place they loved was near Diamond Lake, OR. There were all kinds of ground squirrels, and birds to entertain them and of course a beautiful lake to take dips in.
Do the dogs have any non-canine pet pals?
Oh yes, we just finished pet sitting for a pair of adorable rats. At first Devin was very, very interested, but eventually got used to them. After a while I would let him smell them without fear of his eating them. Their home is also shared by an African Grey Parrot, named Swayze. Swayze was name after Patrick Swayze. African Grey Parrots have bright red tail feathers just like Patrick Swayze had a red, hot bum! Swayze will growl when an unfamiliar dog passes the window.
Have the dogs encountered any exotic critters on your travels?
Hmmm, not really. The first time Lyla saw a horse, she was petrified and stayed very close to our legs and as we passed, she continued to look behind her until the horse was out of sight.
Devin met some miniature horses in Livingston, TX and he was so afraid of them he pulled me down and got loose. Lyla, our gentle girl went right up to them for a nose to nose encounter.
We've come across elk and mule deer in our campsite at the Grand Canyon, but they both handled it well. It seems they are becoming acclimated to meeting new critters.
While in Custer State Park, the wild burros stuck their heads in our truck hoping for treats and the dogs didn't even both to lift their heads.
Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?
Lyla likes to play tug of war once in a while, but normally, she is just a mellow dog. Devin will empty out his toy box looking for a specific toy and not always the same toy. He does tend to like squeaky toys and when he really gets a rhythm going, he'll howl in between squeaks all the time keeping the toy in his mouth.
What is each dog's best quality?
Lyla has an angel's face. She will sit in front of you and give you that special look which means, "I want a hug." We then get on our knees, she gently jumps up and puts her paws on our shoulder and gives us nose to nose kisses. Lyla was a Hospice Therapy Dog for a while and even attended a patient's funeral and sat with the family in the front row.
Devin best quality is he is able to settle down inside when Mom needs a lazy day.
If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?
That I would take them for more long walks.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?
Christine Baranski would play Lyla. Christine can sound sophisticated in the rich, snooty way. Lyla can be aloof at times and just give you a look that says, "Don't push it, this will do."
Jerry Lewis would be the voice for Devin.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
Lyla, do you have pain anywhere?
Devin, why are you afraid of children?
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