Who is in the photo at right?
These are my two-year-old girls: Alfie, my fawn pug and Waffles, my black pug. My name is Kim Gifford and I’m a writer, photographer and memoir-writing instructor. I also create digital collages, often featuring my pugs. I love sharing stories in a variety of forms.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
We stopped to take in this scenic vista by Schroon Lake after attending the annual Halloween Pug Party and Parade in Chestertown, NY. My two girls and I donned pink wigs and rhinestones so they could pose as Pop Stars in the parade.
The mug proclaims Dunkin Donuts, but I’m afraid the coffee was a generic black blend from a local gas station.
Any goodies to go with the coffee?
I had a convenience store donut.
Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?
The pugs enjoyed a feast of cheeseburger and string cheese provided by my traveling companions who attended the pug parade with me.
How were you and your dogs united?
Alfie was a true gift following the death of my 1.5 year-old pug Mira, who died from anaphylactic shock following her distemper shot. Though it was not the fault of Mira’s breeder in any way, she felt bad enough to gift me with another pug. She had no puppies on hand so she worked out a deal with a friend to get me one in her next litter. Shortly after, I learned that my good friend, another pug breeder, also had a litter of black pugs about to be born. I couldn’t take another puppy at that time, but Waffles and I bonded from the get-go as did she and Alfie and a year later when my elderly pug Vader died, Alfie and I finally claimed Waffles as our own.
How did your dogs get their names? Do they have any nicknames?
I often call them “My Girls.” Alfie was born on January 8, Elvis’s birthday. Her full name is NW Elvis’ Birthday Girl. Her call name is “Alfie” after my good friend, mentor and counselor, Alphonse, who passed away a few weeks before her birth. My family calls her “Alf-i-nator.” Waffles, whose full name is I.W. Waffles received her name from her breeder. She was named after a friend of a friend, I.W. Wackernagel. Ms. Wackernagel used to talk about her dog Waffles, whom she considered the dog of her lifetime. Waffles’ breeder loved the name and thus dubbed her in Ms. Wackernagel’s honor. I typically call her Waffi.
Cat, squirrel, postman...?
All of the above. If something’s in their backyard, my girls will chase anything!
Tennis ball, stick, squeaky-toy...?
Ball for Alfie, Squeaky-toy for Waffles. Waffles didn’t have many toys at her breeders’ house and thus, now hoards them, sometimes carrying them in and out with her when she goes potty. Alfie loves to bat tennis balls and ball-shaped objects around.
Where is your dogs' favorite place for an outing?
They love the local dog park and visiting Mama Joan’s, Waffles’ breeder’s house.
Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?
Definitely each other. From their first meeting as puppies these two have mostly had eyes for each other. They also enjoy playing with Waffles’ sister, Griffles, when they see her.
What is each dog's most endearing quality?
Alfie watches me all the time. We have this game. I will blow a puff of air in her direction and she charges me cuddling her head in my armpit and making gentle nibbling gestures as if she’s eating corn on the cob. I’m not sure what it means, but she is so gentle it’s like tender love bites.
Waffles is more independent and restrained, kinda’ cat-like, but when she’s happy she will roll over on her side and expose her belly wanting to be loved. It’s endearing because she seems to be saying, “I trust you.”
If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?
They’d have me stay home more!
What is each dog's proudest moment?
Alfie is a show dog. Last year she showed at Pug Nationals. Waffles made the Dog Wall of Shame for tipping over trashcans. Both received a medal and certificate for being “The Prettiest” costumed pugs at the Pug Parade. But Waffles’ would probably consider her proudest moment anytime she can sneak upstairs and get some garbage without me catching her.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?
Oh, Waffles’ would sound smart and low like Jodie Foster in The Silence of the Lambs. Alfie? She’s more like Renée Zellweger.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
Why? Why did you chew up my glasses? Why did you just come in from outside and pee on the rug? Why are you so damn cute? Why???
Visit Kim Gifford's Pugs and Pics blog and Facebook page.