Who is in the photo at right?
I am Lorraine Pestell and this handsome old boy is Jed. I am an IT professional living in Melbourne, Australia, and am also a determined author of contemporary fiction. Jed is in his 14th year and we have no idea what he is! Perhaps some Great Dane, some Greyhound and plenty of Black Labrador, given how much hair he loses and that he scavenges after the smelliest thing imaginable!
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Today we met our great friends, Maggie and Archie [photo right], for a coffee and a slow amble around the park. When Jed was younger and we also had Amber, his gorgeous German Shepherd companion, Maggie and I belonged to a much larger group of dog-and-coffee lovers. Since most of these dogs are now dearly departed, we met today to reminisce about the wide-ranging conversations we shared and the funny scenes we caused.
Maggie’s coffee is a “hot skinny latte” and mine is a “skinny long macchiato”. Having lived all over the world, I am always entertained by the different coffee descriptors used in each country. “Skinny” refers to no-fat milk, and in eastern Australia the long macchiato is analogous to a double-shot latte (although I don’t dare say this in front of a barista!)
Any treats for you or Jed on this occasion?
We are all partial to a raspberry and white chocolate muffin with our coffee. Much too partial, in fact. The café we frequented for our larger walking group used to bake an extra tray on Saturdays just for us, such was the tradition we created!
How were you and Jed united?
Jed, Amber and I [photo bottom left] were united in 2001 at the Save-A-Dog Scheme, which is a rehoming centre founded by a friend of Maggie’s. I had been in Australia for two years and had bought a house with a yard that was just yearning for paws and noses. Amber took a little longer to settle, since she had been mistreated, but it was love at first sight for Jed and me!
How did Jed get his name? Any aliases?
Jed was the name given to him by the fantastic volunteers at the pound. It suited him well, so I saw no point in changing it.
Aliases vary with how naughty he has been. “Houdini” springs to mind, because I have lost count of the number of times I had to bail him out of jail after he scaled the fence while I was at work, easily spooked by thunder storms or fireworks! No matter how high the fence, his motivation was always higher in times of panic.
Does Jed do more to help or hinder your writing?
Jed is my constant companion while I’m writing. In recent times, his contribution is limited to peaceful snoring in the background. Sometimes he makes me feel guilty for ignoring him, nudging my elbow or giving a disgruntled snort or two. These interruptions have mutual benefit however, because it encourages me to get up and walk around the garden for a few minutes! Otherwise, I would probably not move for hours and end up with really sore shoulders and a headache.
You used to be part of a larger group of coffee-drinking canine-lovers. What was that like?
Jed, Amber and I were part of a group of six humans and eight dogs who met every Saturday morning at Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens for a walk and a long breakfast. It was a great forum to discuss the events of the week and to air our views on changing the world. Our numbers would often swell to as many as 12, depending on who had visitors at the time. This is also where the muffin tradition first began!
We were often the centre of attention, particularly with children, who had never seen such a diverse bunch of dogs in one place before. Because Jed and Amber were so big, we needed lots of space, and other regulars were often kind enough to move so that we could arrange the tables.
There was even one occasion when Jed decided to blaze his own trail towards the muffins. He managed to nonchalantly stroll several metres inside the café before I realised and went scrambling after him, much to most people’s amusement! A few black looks from non-dog-lovers too, of course.
Cat, postman, rabbit...?
Postman, definitely! Ours arrives on a whining motorcycle which is instantly recognisable. In fact, when I used to buy huge bones for Jed and Amber, I always referred to them as “Postman” and “Milkman”…
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?
Ball, and always someone else’s! No toy ever lasted too long though.
Who is Jed's best pet-pal?
Jed used to be very social and loved Max, Maggie’s previous dog. Nowadays he’s more a solitary fellow, even though he and Archie get on well. Everything’s a bit too much trouble these days, especially young, bouncy puppies. Amber was the dominant one at home, so now that Jed has me all to himself, I think he’s happier!
What is Jed's best quality?
Jed is my best friend, always loving and gentle. I would say his worst quality is his overactive digestive system, which is becoming increasingly unpredictable as he gets older!
If Jed could change one thing about Melburnians, what would it be?
I’d guess that Jed’s greatest wish would be to have more space between tables at cafés, but otherwise I think he’s quite happy. Melburnians are a dog-friendly community, on the whole.
If Jed could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?
I would ask him whether he would recommend a dog’s life.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Jed could speak, who should voice him?
Even though he’s not originally from Australia, I would choose Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, The Dish, The Omen) to be Jed’s voice. Relaxed, sophisticated and sexy!
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