Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Diane Kelly & Reggie, Junior, and Brownie

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Diane Kelly, author of the funny Death and Taxes mystery series from St. Martin’s Press. In my previous life as a CPA/tax attorney, I inadvertently worked for white-collar criminals - twice. Lest I end up in an orange jumpsuit, I decided self-employment was a good idea. So I became a writer. My brushes with white-collar crime gave me great fodder for my novels, which star a rookie criminal investigator for the IRS.

On the left is Reggie, a Dalmatian/Tasmanian devil mix. On the right is Junior, a shepherd/husky mix. In my lap is Brownie. She belongs to my daughter’s best friend, but she’s hanging out with us for a few days while her family is out of town.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We’re celebrating that the groundhog did not see its shadow, so spring will come soon. That means good weather at the dog park! Yay!

What's brewing?

We’re drinking chai tea lattes with soy. It tastes like liquid spice cake. Yum!

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Peanut butter dog cookies. They love them!

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Junior had been surrendered to the city shelter by his previous owners, so he was already named when we got him. Reggie was just a name we liked. It sounds more like a male name and she’s a female dog, but since she’s deaf she can’t hear her name anyway so we figured she wouldn’t mind. They both have several nicknames. Junior is also June-bug, Junie, and Justin Bieber. Reggie is also Reggers, Reginald P. Kelly, and Noodlebutt (I have no idea where that one came from!).

How were you and your dogs united?

I had a dachshund mix who lived to be 19 ½. I’d had him since I graduated from college and it was really hard when he passed away since he’d been with me my whole adult life. When he died 3 years ago, we knew we wanted to get more dogs. A house doesn’t feel like a home without a dog or two. I took my kids to the city shelter and let them each pick a dog. My daughter picked Reggie and my son picked Junior. The dogs are a good match. They get along great and love to play fight.

Are your dogs more help or hindrance to your writing?

As much as I hate to say it, they are definitely a hindrance! They want in, out, in, out, in, out all day long. It really interrupts my train of thought. Not that I blame them. I’d get bored being in one place, too. I take them to the dog park every morning it’s warm enough so they can run around and burn off some energy. Sometimes I even take my computer and sit at a picnic table at the dog park to write.

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

Squirrels! Especially a particular one that likes to sit on top of the back fence and flick his tail in challenge. We call him Taunty. He’s a jackass.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Nylabone. Reggie has had one particular bone since we got her and it’s really held up well. She gnaws on it constantly and has gorgeous white teeth as a result.

What is each dog's best quality?

Junior’s best quality is that he’ll round up Reggie for us. Since she’s deaf, we can’t simply call her into the house when she’s out moseying around in the yard. But if I tell Junior to “go get Reggie,” he’ll run over to her and somehow communicate that we want her to come in. Reggie’s best quality is her sweetness. She loves hanging out with us and always greets us with a wagging tail in the morning.

If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?

That I’d stop being so stingy with the Oreos.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?

Since Reggie is both deaf and cute, Marlee Matlin would be perfect to do her voice. Junior would best be played by John Krasinski who plays Jim on The Office. Junior and Jim are both basically nice guys, but they don’t tolerate a lot of BS, either.

If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

I’d ask Reggie what she’s dreaming about when she makes that whimpering sound and twitches her nose in her sleep.

Visit Diane Kelly's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: Death, Taxes, and Peach Sangria.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Free book: "Pukka's Promise"

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and the Campaign for the American Reader are giving away a copy of Pukka's Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs by Ted Kerasote.

HOW TO ENTER: (1) send an email to this address:
(2) In the subject line, type Pukka's Promise.

(3) Include your name (or alias or whatever you wish to be called if I email you to tell you you've won the book) in the body of the email.

[I will not sell or share your email address; nor will I be in touch with you unless it is to tell you you have won the book.  I promise.]

Contest closes on Thursday, February 28th.

Only one entry per person, please.

Winner must have a US mailing address.

Learn more about Pukka's Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs.

Visit Ted Kerasote's website, check out his book tour schedule, and follow him on Facebook.

Read--The Page 69 Test: Ted Kerasote's Merle's Door.

The Page 99 Test: Pukka's Promise.

Writers Read: Ted Kerasote.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 25, 2013

Katherine Bouton & Maxie

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me, Katherine Bouton, and Maxie, on a trip to Martha's Vineyard last summer, looking windblown. Maxie is two-and-a-half in this picture, a Tibetan terrier. Tibetans are not really terriers, and Maxie is not a typical Tibetan. He weighs 38 pounds and can outrun dogs twice his size.

I'm a writer and I"m also very hard of hearing. My book Shouting Won't Help, which is coming out this month, is about hearing loss. It's partly a memoir -- my hearing loss started when I was 30 and got progressively worse over the years. When I lost my hearing, I wanted to read a book that would help explain what I was going through, but I couldn't find one (except David Lodge's funny novel Deaf Sentence). So I wrote one instead.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I live in New York City on the upper west side. Maxie and I go for a long walk every morning, before 9, which is when dogs are allowed to run off leash in Riverside Park. I take along my coffee in a Copco carry-cup (the best -- I've tried them all). Sometimes, if we've had a very good walk we stop at Starbucks and refill the carry cup. Maxie is not allowed inside Starbucks, so no sitting and schmoozing for me.

What's brewing?

Plain old coffee with milk. No fluffy drinks for me. I live near Zabars and my favorite brand is Zabars French-Italian roast.

Any treats for you or Maxwell on this occasion?

Maxie (yes, same as Maxwell) gets a Milkbone when we get home. He is a hypoallergenic breed, which means he doesn't shed. That in turn means that if I don't brush him every day he turns into a giant knot of clumped dog hair. The Milkbone is his treat for standing patiently while I brush out the knots.

Does your dog do more to help or to hinder your writing?

Except when he insists that it's time to go out when I'm wrangling with a particularly difficult passage, he's mostly just a nice companion to have around. He's thinking of reading my book, as you can see in the photo [left]. But first, a nap.

How were you and Maxwell united?

I'm allergic to dogs, as I discovered with my last dog, a rescue named Pepper. For the eight or so years Pepper lived with us I had asthma. So this time I looked for a dog I wouldn't be allergic to. I went on line and came upon a picture of Maxwell as a puppy. I misread the information about the breeder and thought she was in New Jersey. Once I found out she was five hours away in Virginia, I had fallen in love with Max, so I got in the car and went to get him.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Squirrels and pigeons. He loves to jump into the middle of a flock of pigeons and send them fluttering.

And mud puddles [photo right].

How did your Maxwell get his name? Any nicknames?

My husband was reluctant about a new dog, so to ease the transition to a dog centered life (a puppy centered life, which is even more consuming), I suggested we name him Maxwell, after my husband's mentor, the New Yorker editor and writer William Maxwell.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Once he gave up chair legs as his favorite chew toy, he settled for sticks.

He doesn't like his own ball but one of his favorite games is to steal another dog's ball and then run with it.

Does Maxwell have a favorite place to go for outings?

The park mostly. But we also have a weekend house in Massachusetts and I let him run loose in the woods there. That's why he's wearing the orange reflector jacket in this photo [left]. I didn't want hunters to mistake him for a deer.

Who are Maxwell's best pet-pals?

He's pretty undiscriminating. Any dog that will get in a chase with him is fine.

What is Maxwell's best quality?

He's funny. And he goes absolutely bananas with joy every time I walk in the front door, which is gratifying. But he's pretty undiscriminating about that too -- my grown children, my husband, any of my friends, the guy delivering Chinese food. He's ecstatic to see them all.

If your dog could change one thing about you, what would it be?

Less typing. More dog walks.

If Maxwell could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

"What did he/she say?" I'd ask him this question over and over again because I'm very hard of hearing and generally can't follow most of the dog chitchat in the park and the dog run. It's very frustrating. People say, "What's his name?" And I answer "Tibetan terrier." If Max could serve as my ears that would be great!

Visit Katherine Bouton's website and blog, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mollie Green & Stickers

Who is in the photo at right?

The photo at the right features me and my dog Stickers trying to make up our minds at the Fido-to-Go dog food truck in our hometown, Chicago. My name is Mollie Green, and I own a greeting card company, La Familia Green.

Stickers is a white pit bull mix with spotted ears. She will be seven in April.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I do enjoy grabbing a vanilla latte during Stickers' long walk everyday. But most mornings, my boyfriend, Pete, makes coffee, and I enjoy two cups while returning emails---with Stickers at my feet. Unless she is still in bed! I work from home, and I love having Stickers (and my cat Lemur) hang out in the studio while I work.

What's brewing?

Dunkin' Donuts with Splenda and skim milk in an "M" mug.

Any treats for you or Stickers on this occasion?

I've been trying to keep Stickers from "sharing" food with me---she is particularly fond of Cheez-its. But sometimes those sad eyes just get to me! I just gave her a Kong Wobbler---which distributes treats when nosed around. I love watching her strategize how to free the treats.

How did Stickers get her name? Any nicknames?

I collected stickers as a child. And my brother suggested the name when I adopted her. It really fits her well---from the cute spots on her ears to her stubborn insistence that we not turn back home just yet on walks. Her nickname is snuggie, or snugs, since she is such a solid snuggler.

Does Stickers make any contribution to your creative work?

She is a huge inspiration. Both as a model and a muse. Her likeness is featured on many of my designs. And adopting her exposed me to amazing local rescues, which motivated me to donate a percentage of all sales to animal charities.

How were you and Stickers united?

Five years ago, I began visiting the dogs at PAWS Chicago no-kill shelter. One Monday morning, I saw Stickers looking out her suite door, and my heart melted. I adopted her that afternoon. Stickers had been rescued from death row at a shelter in Kentucky. PAWS transferred her to Chicago. Thank you, PAWS!

Who is your dog's best pet-pal?

Her best pal is my parents' dog Mattie. Mattie, my former foster dog, is also a pittie mix and a PAWS alum. She was found as a stray, and can be very fearful. But she adores Stickers. They love to wrestle and play tug of war and take over the entire bed. Stickers also loves her buddies in the Chicago SociaBulls---our dog pack walking group.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Stickers favors a plastic toy steer that I picked up at a grocery store in Lubbock, TX. She will fetch it on command. And it has has a squeaker that she seems to "speak" with. She also loves playing fetch with Pete and gnawing on braided rawhide chews.

What is Stickers's best quality?

Stickers is very friendly. She has a great smile and a waggy tail. She especially wags her tail when we see children and construction workers!

If Stickers could change one thing about you, what would it be?

That I stop spending so much time on Facebook and Twitter reading stories about other dogs.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Stickers could speak, which actor should do her voice?

I do a pretty good Stickers voice. But I think I would cast Emma Stone to voice her in a movie.

If Stickers could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?

"Are you secretly in love with your cat buddy, Lemur?"

Visit the site for La Familia Green greeting card company.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Drew Hadra & Charlie

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Drew Hadra, and I’m a documentary filmmaker. The cute little guy with me is my Chief Production Assistant (and also the chief of pretty much everything in our world), Charlie. Charlie is a six year-old male, Parson Russell Terrier.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Charlie and I are taking a break from the promotional schedule for our new documentary called Away To Me, a family-friendly, feature-length documentary about sheepdogs (Border Collies) and their handlers, and the cherished bond between Man and Dog. (Click here to learn about the movie and see the trailer.) Charlie’s been working hard helping me today, so he really deserves the break.

What's brewing?

It looks like it might rain today, so instead of walking down to Starbucks we’ve brewed our own pot here in our office. Charlie’s a real California dog and not so crazy about getting cold or wet in any way. He’ll no doubt let me know when the sun comes out and it’s time for a walk, though, so we might make it to Starbucks later.

Any treats for you or Charlie on this occasion?

Charlie’s mid-morning snack is half of a “Sam’s Yams Sweet Potato Dog Chew” (he just loves them!). I’m having a chocolate chip cookie (I just love them)!

How were you and Charlie united?

My girlfriend, Isabelle, and I have always been super crazy about dogs, and on January 1, 2007, our New Year’s resolution was to make a commitment to share our lives with either a Border Terrier or Parson Russell Terrier. Fourteen days later we drove to visit Annette Gilliam, a responsible, caring and reputable breeder (Blossom Valley Parson Russell Terriers) located just outside of San Diego. When we arrived, Charlie’s relatives were joyfully bouncing around, eager to get out and show us their stuff, but Charlie was quiet, sitting alone at the back of his kennel and watching everything and everyone carefully. His breeder had the intention of keeping him as a show dog, and so at four-months old all of his brothers and sisters had already been adopted, leaving Charlie behind. We enjoyed each dog we met, but we still wanted very much to meet Charlie. He was a bit timid at first, but once we made friends, he absolutely did not leave our side. He was clearly worried we might leave without him. Annette saw the strength of our bond and she couldn’t resist letting Charlie come home with us. We will be forever grateful to her.

How did your Charlie get his name?

We let Charlie pick his own name! On our way home in the car we held Charlie and suggested a few different names. It was really amazing because we said aloud at least 10 different names, and every time we said “Charlie” he’d look up, focus and wag his little tail. He didn’t do that for any other name, just for “Charlie”, so that was it!

Any aliases?

Boy, he has a lot, but there are some big ones. He is king of the castle, so he hears “King Charles” a fair bit. “Charlie Choo-Choo” and “the Chooch” and “Toot-Toot” are frequently heard in our house. And he has his own song called “Charlie-Barley, Harley-McFarlie”.

What did Charlie do while you were making your movie?

If Charlie were to answer this question directly, he would say that the actual making of the movie was his least favorite part. Away To Me took me on the road for a total of about 4 months off and on. I travelled to South Africa, Canada, Ireland, and across the US to film the uniquely fascinating lives of champion sheep herders and their amazing Border Collies, so Charlie had to stay home and guard his mom, all of his toys and beds (he has one in every room) and our house. Three of the competitors became the main focus of the movie, then I travelled to Utah where they compete against each other at the internationally renowned “Soldier Hollow Classic Sheepdog Championship”. We missed each other, but he did a great job of taking care of things in my absence. He was the man of the house while I was gone!

Has he made any contribution in promoting the film?

Charlie’s made a huge contribution! As an independent filmmaker I’ve foregone distribution offers to explore the model of “self-distribution”, and so Charlie’s role right now is Quality Control for Shipping and Handling [photo right]. Every morning we check orders from our website and from Charlie likes to carefully monitor where the orders are coming in from. He’s doing a great job – we finished the movie in 2012 and Charlie only started his Shipping and Handling role in January 2013, yet he’s already shipped our DVD to dog lovers in 26 countries around the world! Every day by 10:00 a.m., Charlie puts out a box full of DVDs, posted and ready to ship, then he waits at the window to let everyone know exactly when the mailman has arrived to collect them (thanks to Charlie, it’s very exciting around here when the mailman comes). Charlie’s convinced that his “vocalization” of our mailman’s arrival also ensures a speedy departure, which is most appreciated by those waiting to receive their orders!

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

If Charlie wasn’t in charge of Shipping and Handling, it would be “all soccer, all the time”. He uses his paws and holds one ball in his mouth (as an implement) to move another ball all over the house. He plays angles and blocks shots as well as any players (including the goalie) on Barca, his favorite team (from Barcelona, Spain). It’s amazing to watch him. We have to put something on YouTube soon to show you, because you have to see it to believe it – he’s a super soccer player. Charlie loves things that squeak, but he isn’t allowed to have squeaky toys because he maims them beyond recognition within 60 seconds of their arrival home.

Who are Charlie's best pet-pals?

Oh, that’s an easy one! Charlie loves the ladies! Two of his best girls, Ivy (Parson Russell) and then Lola (Yorkie) moved away, and for quite some time he was absolutely saddened when he’d walk by their house and they couldn’t come out and play. Once in a while Lola comes to visit her grandmother and Charlie is in heaven when he sees her. But when Layla (Labradoodle) moved into the neighborhood it was love at first sight. They like to play chase-game, walk side-by-side, and just lay around in the shade together taking the world in. Mind you, he’s happy to chase Annie and Abbey when they’re playing fetch (Golden Retrievers), and he likes to give Maui a little nose kiss (Black Lab). Snoopy is good for a sniff or two (Beagle), and Buddy who wags his whole body to say hello (Dachshund), but truly his best girl now is Layla. In contrast, the rabbits in our yard are his arch enemies, and he (like his mom) is very unhappy when they eat the peas, carrots or the radishes (his favorites).

If Charlie could change one thing about you, what would it be?

I can with all certainty imagine that Charlie would say I need to make more time to play more ball, more ball, more ball, and more ball, and that I would be a much improved person if I never ever left the house (so I could play more ball).

If Charlie could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

I’d ask Charlie if he knows how much we love him, and if there’s anything (besides more ball) that he can think of that we could do to bring him as much happiness as he brings us.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Charlie could speak, who should voice him?

The person who voiced Charlie would have to be super smart (Charlie is smarter than most people) and super good looking (like Charlie is) yet also someone who is concerned about world affairs (like Charlie is – he particularly likes the BBC), so “just maybe” we’d consider George Clooney. But we also both like the voice of Linus from the Charlie Brown animated movies – he’s smart, cute and wise beyond his years too! I guess we’d have to have them both read for the part, then let Charlie decide. Because truth be told, King Charlie-Barley Harley-McFarlie is basically the boss.

Learn more about Away To Me and view the trailer, and like the Away To Me Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sasha & Biscuit

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Sasha and I'm a freelance copywriter. This is my wonderpup, Biscuit.

She's a 4.5 year old mixed breed mutt and she's the best dog I've ever met.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I try to take Biscuit out with me wherever possible.

She loves going for a ride in the car [photo left] and is excited to sniff out new places. Also, she gets jealous when we have coffee (or tea) without her.

Any treats for you or Biscuit on this occasion?

Biscuit and I both love to eat. We'll take any kind of treat we can get our hands on. Today, it's a Greenie Bone. I don't want to say who, but someone has a bit of a breath problem.

How were you and Biscuit united?

I had always wanted to rescue an animal.

After having visited several shelters, I learned about a nearby store called Newbury Park Pet Supply. The owner of this store has saved the lives of over 2,000 pets by rescuing them from high-kill shelters and selling them for an affordable flat rate of $100 (which includes mandatory spay/ neuter, as well as high quality pet food).

It was on my first visit to this store that I found Biscuit. She was so sweet and held close to me the whole time I was in the store. It was love at first sight! Biscuit was my rescue pooch from that day forward.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Postman. She goes nuts when she hears the postman's truck pull up.

I would share photographic evidence of the damage she's done to the mail slot, but I don't want to embarrass myself.

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

She loves them all. As soon as she sees us come home, she runs to grab the nearest dog toy and runs up to us, prize in tow. She's such a show-off.

Who is Biscuit's best pet-pal?

Biscuit isn't too fond of other dogs; I think she thinks she's above them.

People, on the other hand, she loves. She wants to be where all of the action is and she makes herself known by nudging her nose under your hand. She wants to be petted, whether you like it or not.

If Biscuit could change one thing about you, what would it be?

I think she would change how much I walk her. I'm pretty lazy about that kind of stuff. Ha.

What is Biscuit's best quality?

Biscuit is great with children.

She's a great judge of how rough/ gentle she should be when playing around. She doesn't mind at all when kids try to ride on her or hug around her neck. In fact, I'm pretty sure she loves it.

If Biscuit could answer just one question in English, what would you ask her?

I would ask her what kind of dog she is. My guess is she's a mix of black labrador and some kind of shepherd, but I don't know for sure. I've always wondered where she came from and I think it would help us understand where she gets certain characteristic and traits.

To read more stories about Sasha and Biscuit, visit them at the Things I Like to Eat (...and Other Nonsense) blog, or on Facebook or Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 15, 2013

Elsa Watson & Lucky

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s Lucky and me, Elsa Watson, sitting out in our front yard. Lucky’s 13 years old, and he’s a mix of Rhodesian Ridgeback and Black Dog of Mystery. I’m a 40 year old writer (breed undetermined.) My most recent release is The Love Dog, which features a dog named Apollo who was modeled largely after Lucky. (Except that Apollo is a golden retriever. You just have to roll with the inconsistencies.)

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

It’s Sunday morning, and our family is doing the usual. My husband and I are typing on our laptops, and the baby and both dogs (Lucky and Kota) are napping in their respective beds. Lucky had kind of an eventful night last night. He had a tough time getting his dog bed into the right shape and had to spend about an hour pawing and digging at it, and then he and Kota were positive that they heard a wild animal/intruder/alien attack outside, so there was a lot of barking. I’m guessing they’re both on the tired side this morning.

[Read: Coffee with a Canine: Elsa Watson and Kota]

What's brewing?

I’m having jasmine green tea (my favorite) and my husband’s having a diet coke (he’s crazy!).

Any treats for you or Lucky on this occasion?

Lucky is snoozing rather than drinking or dining, but he did have a special snack this morning when the baby threw him two big handfuls of scrambled eggs and toast. It always pays to hover under the high chair….

How did Lucky get his name? Any aliases?

He came with that name – and yes, we do hear a lot of jokes from people like “I thought all dogs named Lucky had three legs.” Ha, ha. We adopted Lucky when he was three, and he’d had a full life before us with a family and two little kids. I’m guessing one of his kids named him Lucky. During the first year he was with us, he would whine and tug at the leash every time he saw a toddler, which was pretty heartbreaking. Now we have a toddler and I often catch Lucky with a look on his face that says “Tell me again why I thought this was fun?” Seriously, though, he and the baby get along really well – and they share an affinity for sitting on mats and small squares of carpet.

How were you and your dog united?

We adopted Lucky from a nonprofit rescue organization called Furry Tail Farm. There were a lot of dogs there (many of them were not adoptable), and I think he was pretty anxious to get out of there. From the second he arrived at our house, he seemed immensely relieved – and determined to do everything perfectly. He’s never once had an accident in the house and he follows all directions to the letter. He has a large sense of responsibility – it drives him crazy when Kota gets in trouble. I can just imagine what he’s thinking. “I know I was left in charge, but I couldn’t stop her!”

Please tell us about your new novel and Lucky's connection to it.

The Love Dog is about a dog (Apollo) who stars on a reality TV show called – you guessed it – The Love Dog. Apollo, like Lucky, is a very sensitive dog who desperately wants everyone to be happy. On the show, he works to help repair broken relationships. Then Samantha Novak arrives, determined to prove that the love dog is a hoax. It’s up to Apollo to help her see that true love really does exist and that he really is a “love dog.”

Who is Lucky's best pet-pal?

He’s good friends with Skylos, the Sheltie who lives with my writer friend Suzanne Selfors. They’re walking buddies. There are also a number of dogs he sees at work: Lucy, Annie, Chi Chi, Franny, Inky. When Lucky sees another dog, it’s crucial to him that he get to stop and sniff….but once he does, he’s generally ready to move on. He’s not one for chit chat.

He also has a love-hate relationship with Franco Pancake, the dog next door. Franco comes over almost every day and poops in our yard. Lucky loooves chasing him off. I think they both live for it, really. It keeps things exciting.

Does Lucky have any non-canine pet-pals?

I wouldn’t call them friends, per se, but he appreciates the chickens. He gets pretty riled when the chickens are upset (like, say, when one of them has to do something dangerous like….lay an egg!).

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

I’ve never seen him chase any of these. As my husband Kol, says, Lucky’s more of a lover than a fighter.

[photo right: Lucky and Kol competing for Pet and Owner Lookalike at a fundraiser for PAWS of North Kitsap and Bainbridge Island.  They won!]

But one place where he really comes into his own is at the dog park. He considers it his duty to referee all questionable dog activity at the park. Out of control excitement? Not allowed! Mounting? Not appropriate!

He does a lot of barking.

What is Lucky's best quality?

He’s an amazing companion when you’re sick. I used to joke that he was getting his master’s in nursing (by correspondence course.) He has really strong natural empathy, and that just blossoms when someone feels bad. He’ll lie by your side for hours on end, just making you feel better. It’s amazing.

If Lucky could change one thing about you, what would it be?

More walks! More car rides! More adventures! No matter how much he gets, it’s never enough.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dog could speak, which actor should do his voice?

Someone with a really soothing, deep, melodious voice like Alan Rickman.

If Lucky could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

“Lucky, can you hear me?” That’s only partly a joke. He’s started to lose his hearing this year, and we’ve been pretty puzzled trying to determine what he can and can’t hear. I’m convinced that most of it’s selective….

Visit Elsa Watson's website and Facebook page.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Elsa Watson and Kota.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pat Wahler & Indy

Who is in the photo at right?

There's nothing like cuddling up to a sweet Miniature Schnauzer. I'm Pat Wahler and this handsome guy is my best buddy, Indy. We've been together for quite a while. He'll be 13 years old in March. I won't tell you how old I'll be.

To keep Indy living in the style to which he's become accustomed, I write grants by day. At night, I write essays and fiction.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

The wind is howling outside and the temperature is in the teens. If that isn't a good reason to have a steaming mug in hand, I don't know what is.

What's brewing?

A soothing green tea is the only way to go, unless I decide to get wild and throw calorie-counting to the wind. Then bring on a sassy Chai.

Any treats for you or Indy on this occasion?

Would you believe popcorn? We're both extraordinarily fond of popcorn.

How were you and Indy united?

I fell in love with all-black Miniature Schnauzers after rescuing one from a shelter. Once I lost my first black mini, I searched every shelter in the area to find another one. I had no luck. Finally I gave up and found a reputable breeder about an hour's drive from home. Indy wasn't "show quality", so the breeder agreed to sell him to me when he was only 8 weeks old. Her loss, my gain!

How did Indy get his name? Any aliases?

His official name is Mr. Indiana Bones. What else could one call such a handsome and adventurous pup?

Does your dog do more to help or to hinder your writing?

Indy is a definite help. He sleeps beside my desk while I work. His job is to be my role model for calm relaxation. Now that Indy's become a senior citizen, he excels at that task.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

It takes a lot to rile up Indy these days. However, a squirrel that has the nerve to hang out in the back yard is an example of something that still ruffles his fur.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Yes, yes, and yes. Indy loves to chase a tennis ball, squeeze a squeaky toy, or chew a sturdy bone. Tug is also a great game. Indy has a strange penchant for empty water bottles. He loves to carry them around and scrunch them just enough to make them crackle.

Does Indy have a favorite place to go for outings?

Indy enjoys walks around the neighborhood, but he especially loves to ride in the car. It doesn't matter where we go. Even the V-E-T. doesn't bother him, as long as he gets to be part of the action.

Who are Indy's best pet-pals?

Indy's best buddy is his cat, Bogey. Bogey is a dog in a cat suit. They have a favorite game that we call Surprise Attack. Someone gets surprised, and then someone gets attacked.

What is Indy's best quality?

He's a sweet old gentleman and extremely patient with the craziness that goes on all around him. As instigator of most of the craziness that goes on all around him, I appreciate that.

If your dog could change one thing about you, what would it be?

He'd want me to stay home more so he could increase his warm lap time. H'mm. Maybe I can convince Hubby that's a good reason to take early retirement.

If Indy could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

What did I do to deserve such complete love and devotion from you and why can't I have more than one question? (Does that count as one question?)

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Indy could speak, who should voice him?

With a name like Indiana Bones, only one actor would do. Harrison Ford.

Visit Pat Wahler's Critter Alley blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cathy Kelly & Dinky, Licky and Scamp

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Cathy Kelly, I’m an Irish writer. I have three Jack Russell sisters called Dinky, Licky and Scamp. They are nearly three but I call them the Puplets of Loveliness.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I work from home and when I am writing, I frequently need to stop for coffee to give me a boost, stretch my neck, get away from the computer, etc. So the opportunity for coffee with a canine comes many times a day. I have tried working with the girls but they all want to sit on my lap at the same time. Because I am a petite person who sits close to the desk, there is no room for even one small dog, so they generally stay out of the study. Finishing my last book, though, I wrote the end at the dining room table and had to arrange the seats alongside me so they could all sit in a line and help. Dinky is particularly keen on coffee and is mad to have some of mine but I feel she is energetic enough without caffeine.

What's brewing?

I used to have a heavy coffee habit and went to our lovely village cafĂ© called Kennedy’s or Santina’s to all locals, as it’s run by Santina and Andrew, and I love their Kenyan blend which I have as a small skinny cappucino. But lately, I am trying to cut back, so at home, I have Rombout’s filter coffee. My husband is mad for the Nespresso machine but I can’t seem to find one I love…. Dinky would probably love them all.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

A decent chewy doggie shoe is a nice treat: for them, not me. Or those chews for their teeth. I did buy toothbrushes when they were small and never did it. I feel so guilty…

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

My twin sons, Dylan and Murray, who are now nine and a half, my husband, John and I went to see these three puppies. You never go to just see puppies, do you? The boys each picked a dog and a name. Licky (white with a caramel heart) is actually the lickiest dog on the planet. Scamp (caramel and amber-eyed) just suited this adorable name, and two days later, I drove back because I couldn’t help it and got the last puppy, Dinky, a name which came out of nowhere. She is caramel with black eyes and a black nose.

How were you and your dogs united?

I hadn’t had a dog since my beloved Tamsin, a Labrador, died when I was pregnant with my sons. She was my child and I didn’t dare love another dog because losing her had hurt so much but almost seven years to the day since her death, my vet friend told me about a litter of beautiful Jack Russells. It was a bank holiday and we drove down to see them instantly, got Licky and Scamp, and then two days later, I got Dinky. I just couldn’t leave her.

Are your dogs more help or hindrance to your writing?

Dogs are a gift from heaven. Animal companions, magical, loving creatures, they help everything in our lives by their existence. Even when I was finishing my last book and they were arguing over who got to sit next to me, they were helpful.

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

We live in a beautiful part of the Irish countryside in a county called Wicklow and there are sometimes horses in the field beside our house. From the sanctity of the fence, the girls bark at them.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Squeaky toys. Duck is the current favourite although I don’t think I can sew him up anymore.

What is each dog's best quality?

Scamp is so wise and steadfastly loyal, she knows what you’re thinking. Licky is so deliciously enthusiastic about everything and is the questing adventurer, while Dinky is so brave in the face of danger, even though she is scared.

If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?

They’d probably want me to get up at six, feed them and instantly take them for a walk instead of all the shenanigans about getting children to school.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?

Reese Witherspoon for Dinky, Cameron Diaz for Scamp and Amy Adams for Licky.

If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

I do anthropomorphise them with the boys and we have great fun with it, but it’s only fun and we all know that they are these glorious, perfect mammals – like ourselves – and they communicate in a way that we might have lost because humans have lost so much of our intuitive skills. So I never think of them speaking to me in language – I do my best to understand them through body language and only wish I could intuit everything about them.

Visit Cathy Kelly's website, and learn more about her novel The House on Willow Street.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, February 8, 2013

Linda Jones & Zorro and Rocco

Who is featured in the first two photos?

My name is Linda Jones, and I’m a new author of the children’s book, Alphabet Anatomy: Meet the Capital Letters, which is the first in a planned series. I’m a mom to four amazing sons and I also work part-time as a Legal Assistant. Alphabet Anatomy helps children learn letter and writing concepts by exploring what the letters do behind the scenes when they’re not busy making words.

We have 2 dogs, Zorro and Rocco, both males.

[photo right: camera-shy Zorro and Linda; photo below left: not-so-camera-shy Rocco and Linda]

Zorro is a mix of golden retriever, Australian shepherd, and cattle dog. He is 11 years old, but still very agile and young at heart. Rocco is 2 years old and a mix of Catahoula and, we think, pit bull.

Zorro is an excellent role model for Rocco as he evolves from a tumultuous puppy and tries to emulate Zorro’s good behavior.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Zorro and Rocco accompany me into the kitchen each morning and watch my every move as I brew the coffee, knowing they will soon be receiving their puppy biscuit breakfast snacks. Today we’re having coffee on the front patio because it’s a beautiful Arizona morning and the warm January sun was beckoning us outside.

What's brewing?

This morning we’re brewing Gourmet Caramel Drizzle from good old Folgers. I drink my coffee black, no sweeteners, but I like just a hint of flavor, and I love how it smells.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Oh, yes, this is a special occasion to share our morning at “Coffee With A Canine,” so Zorro and Rocco have their favorite peanut butter biscuits and I’m splurging on a sesame bagel with cream cheese, a nice diversion from the usual oatmeal.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Zorro got his name because he had a mask when he was a puppy, but his coat and markings have actually changed a lot as he’s gotten older. He used to have much more defined spots, but they have kind of blended all together over the years. My son, Eric, is the one who named Rocco, and says he just thought it was a pretty cool name and fit him well. Both Zorro and Rocco have several endearing nicknames. Zorro is also known as Z-man, Z, and Zippity. He’s also been deemed a super hero by Branson, who created and illustrated an original Z-Man comic book. Rocco also answers to Rocco/taco, Rockus, and Rockford.

How were you and your dogs united?

I brought Branson to pick out Zorro from a litter by our home after seeing a sign in the neighborhood. Branson says that Zorro got his attention because he was the only puppy that looked up at him amid his 8 brothers and sisters, with those irresistible puppy eyes of course. It wasn’t long before Zorro dutifully commenced his role as the ever watchful kid protector, often scaling the 8-foot high backyard wall or jumping through the front window screens to practice his herding skills and ensure the boys’ safekeeping.

[photo left: Rocco as a puppy, with Zorro]

A few years ago, Zorro must have sensed the boys were big enough to look after themselves and since redirected his energy to guarding and escorting me from room to room. He is also a great snuggler. As for Rocco, Eric bought him from a private owner after falling in love with his on-line photo; however, he got sick about a week later. Rocco is proud to say that he’s a Parvo survivor, having victoriously survived the dreaded killer with the help of daily doses of Pedialyte and a thousand tons of TLC from his newly-adoring family, in addition to the fact that he undoubtedly sensed he had a good thing going and wanted to stay with us for a very long time.

In your book Alphabet Anatomy--Meet the Capital Letters, I notice 'C' is for Cat; is 'D' for Dog?

No, I’m afraid letter D is for “Dive,” but letter D does have a pet Dalmatian, who is very dear to him and always accompanies him to daily diving practice. They have dinner together every night and especially love to share delectable desserts, their favorite being deep-dish apple pie.

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

Anything and everything! Zorro and Rocco are both vigilant watchdogs who never fail to faithfully engage in very shrill and high-pitched unison barking at the slightest detection of a visitor/invader coming anywhere close to our premises. As for animal invaders, we sometimes see jackrabbits running through the backyard, but luckily they can run faster than Zorro and Rocco. Between the two of them, I do wish they would devise a plan to circumvent and exterminate the pesky gophers that lurk underground. Zorro and Rocco also love to go to the park and jump in the lake, where they sometimes engage in a swim competition with the ducks.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Oh, they love to play and are not picky about toys, and other items which in their eyes qualify as “toys,” especially socks! They will fetch, chew, and quickly demolish any form of squeaky toys, balls, Frisbees, and stuffed animals. The only item that can sustain their unbridled chomping seems to be those really thick rope toys. Fortunately for Rocco, he has outgrown his shoe fetish (after eating 20+ of mine, which earned him the additional not so endearing nickname, “rat-boy”); he now realizes that shoes are unequivocally not toys.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Really their only pet playmate is Eric’s dog, Ryder, who usually visits once a week and instigates plenty of fun and games for both Zorro and Rocco. They especially love to play chase and I think they have an ongoing contest to see who can run the fastest. I would say Rocco looks forward to Ryder’s visits much more than Zorro, who is happy to join in at first but then seems to just tolerate the constant ruckus. I imagine Zorro just dismisses them as crazy youngsters.

If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?

I think it would be a tie between allowing them to sit at the table with us for every meal or taking them everywhere we go. On second thought, I think the food would win out, hands down, even though their complete devotion to us is undeniable.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?

I had to get some help from my sons for this question. According to the boys, Ryan Reynolds would be able to capture Rocco’s [photo right] fun-loving and free-spirited personality. Zorro’s wise and level-headed narrations would resonate well through Clint Eastwood.

If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

I would ask them what dogs think about all day long, especially about us humans. What do they really think of us? I have no doubt they could share some very insightful observations.

Visit the Alphabet Anatomy website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Georgia Barbush & Remy

Who is in the photo at right?

This is me, Georgia Barbush, and my pup Remy. I am a Registered Vet Tech and my husband and I also have a pet furniture business called Peach Industries. Remy is neutered male Staffie mix, probably about one and half years old.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

It’s been chilly all day – perfect weather for cuddling up with something hot to drink and my personal heater (aka: Remy).

What's brewing?

I usually prefer tea to coffee. Today I’m drinking jasmine green tea.

Any treats for you or Remy on this occasion?

Remy got some special peanut butter puppy cupcake treats for Christmas, so he’s enjoying one of those.

How were you and Remy united?

I was working in the medical department at the spcaLA. Remy came in as a stray. I wasn’t even supposed to be working that day, but a co-worker was not feeling well. I brought Remy in to our treatment room to do a physical exam, vaccinate, and deworm him. He was calm, obviously clever, and wanted nothing more than to curl up in my lap; I just had a feeling that he was the dog for me.

How did Remy get his name? Any aliases?

At the shelter he’d been called Rudy, but that name always makes me think of the Cosby show. We went through a long list of names, but Remy just sounded right. It’s sort of cute and a little sophisticated at the same time. My husband calls him Remington a lot. My aunt calls him Remington Steele. I call him Remy Roo or Remy-O or a whole host of baked goods and sweets.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Squirrel, without a doubt. We’ve made great progress curbing Remy’s once strong prey drive, but the squirrels still pique his interest.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

All of the above, depending on location and mood. Remy adores playing fetch with a tennis ball. He bounds around the house with his squeaky toys. And he would chew every stick he finds, but I have to take those away as he will swallow the splintery bits if left to his own devices.

You've got some great photos on your blog of Remy at Christmas. What were some of the gifts he had under the tree?

Well, there were the puppy cupcakes I mentioned, a menagerie of furry squeaky toys, a great book called The Mischief Master Class by a blogging buddy named Snoopy, and a treat puzzle, which Remy figured out in about two seconds flat.

Does Remy have a favorite place to go for outings?

I like to take Remy to a lot of different places for walks, but I think his favorite is the lake near our house. This is probably because most of our pack walks take place at the lake.

Who are Remy's best pet-pals?

Remy’s absolute favorite buddies are our trainer’s dogs. He especially likes Smudge, an 11 year old cattle dog/Dalmatian mix and Leo, a 6 month old terrier mix who comes over for sleepovers sometimes.

If Remy could change one thing about you, what would it be?

He would make me a little more generous with the treats. I like to keep Remy pretty lean, but I think he’d be quite fat if he had is his own way.

If Remy could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

I would be tempted to ask him how on earth he can stand eating duck poop, but that would be wasteful. Instead I think I would ask him what I do that confuses him. Of course I always think I am being perfectly clear, but really I know that is impossible.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Remy could speak, who should voice him?

Hmm, tricky…I think maybe Remy would sound like Rico Rodriguez (the young man who plays “Manny” on Modern Family).

Learn more about Remy at the OneBlueDog blog, his Twitter perch, and Facebook page; visit the Peach Industries website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ty & Ollie

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Ty, and I'm currently working on a few projects...other than blogging I draw cartoons--and am starting school in March for Game Art. In "real" life, I work at the family ranch in Montana, but since my Bride took a contract in Hawaii, I have the opportunity to mess around with some other things. Sure miss the ranch though.

My canine bud is Ollie, my "loaner" dog. She is a 4 year old mix. She is our friends' Drew and Sarah's dog, and since Drew travels extensively for work, we end up with her quite often--which is a treat for us since our dog Scout, is living at the home place. The Father-In-Law needed him to help out with the cows, and Hawaii (rightly so) has very strict quarantine/import laws on creatures--so it's a bit of a process, and we weren't sure how long we'd be here.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Ollie and I are headed to Morning Brew. It's a great little local coffee shop in Kailua Town. Kitty-corner from Starbucks, so we feel like we're really stickin' it to the Man when we go there.

What's brewing?

Tall latte, with whole milk. Sometimes if we're headed to the beach, we'll grab an iced latte, but--not very often.

Any treats for you and Ollie on this occasion?

If were really feelin' it, we'll hit Coldstone for some ice cream, but not being as active...( ranchwork), both Ollie and I (ok, just me) may be packin' on a few extra lbs...

How did Ollie get her name? Any aliases?

Not really sure. She's just Ollie. Sometimes I call her Olls, but--it's kinda hard to shorten up Ollie...

How did you and your canine friend meet?

I met Ollie through an online canine dating site. Since we left Scout [photo right] in Montana, I was looking for some canine companionship, and really liked her profile. The rest, is history. (Really, my wife works with Ollie's dad: Drew).

What's a bigger distraction for a Hawaiian dog: squirrel, postman, cat....lizard?

Ollie really dislikes skateboarders. For whatever reason, she really gets after them. If one happens to pass when we're on a walk, she gets pretty intense. Secretly, I think it's fine--since most skateboarders are just punk kids--but I'm sure there are nice skateboarders too. But, if it comes down to the brass tacks, I trust Ollie. There has to be something wrong with them.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Ollie isn't picky. Tennis balls, a Papa Smurf stuffed toy, her squeaky dino... Ollie loves to play.

If Ollie could change one thing about you, what would it be?

She would want me to drop the leash when skateboarders were about.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Scout and Ollie could speak, which actors should do their voices?

Hmmmm, for some reason my first instinct was to put Morgan Freeman doing Scout's voice. But, we may have to resurrect Barry White--but a zombie Barry White might be too much, so James Earl Jones would suffice. Scout [photo left] is so frenetic, and crazy, that a deep, resonating voice-over would be spectacular.

Ollie is very playful, and proper...well, if you exclude her begging for belly rubs--so something along the lines of Rachel McAdams. Proper, playful, and cute.

If your dog Scout could say one thing in English about you wintering in Hawaii while he endured the season in Montana, what do you think it would be?

This is a family blog, right?

Visit the Cowdog blog.

--Marshal Zeringue