Who is in the photo at right?
I’m Tracy Weber, the author of Murder Strikes a Pose, the first of the Downward Dog Mystery Series. The pretty one next to me is Tasha. Tasha is a 100-pound, nine-year-old purebred female German shepherd. I’m a forty-something-year-old, seven-eighths German, female yoga teacher/mystery writer. Unlike Tasha, I refuse to divulge my weight.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Every year Tasha, my husband, and I go to Cannon Beach, Oregon. This is our annual Tracy and Tasha vacation shot. Tasha looks equally gorgeous year after year. I appear to age in dog years.
My daily order at Starbucks: Double decaf iced Americano in a venti cup with a half-inch of soymilk and two Splenda added. Go light on the ice and fill the water all the way to the top. (Hey, I’m from Seattle. What did you expect?)
Any treats for you or your dog on this occasion?
What’s life without treats? Tasha loves elk or ostrich tendons. If those aren’t available, a piece of ostrich jerky will do quite nicely. Oh—and an oatmeal cookie, please.
How were you and Tasha united?
I got Tasha from a breeder when she was eight weeks old, but I first met her when she was a wee baby girl at just over three weeks old. It was love at first sight. A second visit when she was five weeks old [photo left] confirmed it. If I’d had my way, I’d have taken her home right then.
How did Tasha get her name? Any aliases?
Tasha is named after Tasha Yar, the head of security in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Tasha takes that name (and its job) very seriously. To avoid similar problems in the future, I plan to name my next dog Love Bug.
Tasha also goes by Tish-Tash, Tishy, Tashi, Monkey, Goose, Chotsky, Pumpkin, and Goofball.
Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your published work?
Definitely. Bella—the German shepherd heroine in Murder Strikes a Pose—is a composite of three dogs: Tasha (who has Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, the autoimmune disease Bella has), Duchess (the German shepherd my family owned when I was a child) and a Rottweiler mix owned by a homeless woman I befriended many years ago. The Rottweiler, like Bella, didn’t like other dogs. My second book has a Jack Russell terror—oops, I mean terrier—modeled after a dog I met at a retreat center several years ago.
Does Tasha do more to help or to hinder your writing?
Tasha helps me in everything I do, even when she hinders me. Some of my best scenes are Tasha stories.
Cat, postman, squirrel...?
It would have to be squirrel. Cats and postmen are much too scary for a 100-pound German shepherd. Squirrels, on the other hand, look tasty.
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?
Tasha’s answer is “Yes, please. But if I have to pick, what I really want is my teddy bear.”
Does Tasha have a favorite place to go for outings?
The beach! In particular, a special beach we visit on Whidbey Island, a small island in Puget Sound. When she’s on that beach, the answer to the question above is most definitively “stick.”
Who is Tasha's best pet-pal?
Her friend Evrette, who is a German shepherd who happens to live near that very same beach on Whidbey Island.
What is Tasha's best quality?
You expect me to pick just one?
I guess it would be loyalty. Many vets and trainers have told me that Tasha would die for me. Now, I never want that to happen, but it’s pretty amazing to think that any creature would love me that much. She’s also intelligent, playful, sweet, gorgeous, cuddly, discerning, stoic, trusting, fun, kind-hearted, mellow, stubborn, willful, mischievous, courageous, shy, forgiving…
If Tasha could change one thing about you, what would it be?
She would like me to spend less time on the computer typing about the dog and more time playing with the dog.
If Tasha could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?
What is it you’d most like me to know?
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Tasha could speak, who should voice her?
Tina Fey. After all, our life together is like one big Saturday Night Live sketch.
Visit Tracy Weber's website, blog, and Facebook page.