Who is in the photo at right?
Jelena Louie and Gage. I, Jelena (pronounced Yeh-leh-nah), am a language teacher and textile designer by education, but currently work part-time grading language arts tests and use the other half of my time for running a small handmade jewelry business. When I have time and inspiration, I also write the hART Sense Design blog on Wordpress.
Gage is a male, field English Setter, approximately 6 years old, and we have had him for about 4.5 years now.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
We decided to take advantage of a nice fall day and enjoy some of the Pumpkin Bog Festival events at a local winery. Gage likes to go for rides in a car, and the picnic area by the winery offers plenty of grass for him to do all that dogs do with and on the grass.
Mulled Legacy Rimrock wine from Prairie Berry Winery.
Any treats for you or Gage on this occasion?
Gluten-free pecan shortbread for me and an organic banana for Gage. He does have a sweet tooth and is particularly fond of bananas and apples.
How were you and Gage united?
My husband and I adopted Gage through a breed specific rescue group, Above & Beyond English Setter Rescue, when Gage was approximately 18 months old. He was dumped by his original owner to a shelter in North Carolina at the tender age of about 6 months. The rescue group pulled him from the shelter, placed him in a foster home, had him neutered and treated for heartworms, and then, he waited and waited for his forever home for months on end, until we decided we wanted to get a companion for our old Irish Setter girl. He was a perfect fit for our family both personality wise and in all other ways. To transport him to us all the way from North Carolina, the rescue group organized a number of volunteers, who each drove one or two legs of the transport route, with us picking up the last one. That was quite the trip for Mr. Gage, but we are sure it was absolutely worth the effort.
After his Irish "sister" passed last year, Gage became an only pet, and a rather spoiled one for that matter.
How did Gage get his name? Any aliases?
Gage was named by his original owner, and we didn't want to cause an identity crisis by renaming him. He also responds to Gagey-boo, Bug, and Bugsy. He is a very affectionate fellow, sometimes to the point of bugging people until they finally relent and give him some pets.
Does Gage do more to help or hinder your art and jewelry design?
He neither helps nor hinders. He only supervises. After all, our house and everything in it operate only for the benefit of the dog.
Cat, postman, squirrel...?
While friendly to most humans, Gage definitely has it for many different kinds of critters. This summer alone, he has caught 4 birds. In the past, he used to catch bunnies, and he considers cats his nemesis. However, squirrels that come to our backyard feeder are one of his yet unattained hunting goals. They tease and torment him all the time, and we are just waiting for the day when he comes in from the yard with some red fur in his mouth.
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?
Gage is an equal opportunity toy user. If you toss a ball or a stick for him, he will catch it but not bring it back. He will entertain himself with chew toys often, and he could at times drive one crazy by squeaking his numerous squeaky toys.
Does Gage have a favorite place to go for outings?
Gage doesn't mind where he goes as long as the outing includes a ride in the car. He is even excited to jump into the car for a visit to the vet's office.
Who is Gage's best pet-pal?
While our Irish Setter, Susie, was alive, she and Gage were inseparable. Now that he is an only pet, he despises other dogs and only wants to socialize with humans.
What is Gage's best quality?
Gage has a soft temperament and a very loving personality. When my husband or I feel tired or ill, he lays his head in our laps and melts our hearts with one look from his brown eyes. He is canine love personified, and he is not afraid to show it.
If Gage could change one thing about South Dakotans, what would it be?
He'd want them to either build some fenced-in dog parks or keep their dogs on leashes when out for a walk. He simply doesn't think it fair that most dogs get to run loose all over the neighborhood, while he always has to be on a leash when out of his yard.
If Gage could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?
Why can't you just get along with all of our little bird, squirrel, and bunny friends that like to visit the yard?
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Gage could speak, who should voice him?
Laurence Olivier - the epitome of a handsome English gentleman.
Visit Jelena Louie's handmade jewelry website and the hART Sense Design blog.