Who is in the photo at right?
My name is Amanda Stern. I’m an author, and the founder/curator and host of the Happy Ending Music and Reading Series in NYC. My dog is Busy Stern, a rescue whose breed and age hasn’t been confirmed, but the best guesses find her to be around two years old (maybe a bit less), and a mix of Poodle, Havanese and possibly Spaniel.
To my right is Jenny, who lives directly across the street from me. She’s holding her dog Rita, who is not just Busy’s best friend, but her girlfriend. Possibly wife.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Every morning I take Busy to the park at around 8am where we see our dog park friends, and then at around 9am, we all head over to Bittersweet, our local coffee shop for coffee and dog treats. This is the only real routine I have.
[photo left: Busy on the way to the park]
I switch up my drinks, but my mainstay is the Fancy Amanda™, which is an iced red eye with steamed soymilk. Hot and cold together is the secret to happiness. Other times I have an iced soy latte (I’m lactose intolerant, hence all the soy), but they are too delicious and I drink them too fast. Bittersweet uses La Colombe Torrefaction Nizza for my coffee deliciousness.
Any treats for you or Busy on this occasion?
My coffee shop (Bittersweet, in Fort Greene) sells homemade dog treats. They’re the size of golf balls and the dogs are insane for them. Some dogs forgo chewing them altogether swallowing them whole in the hopes another one might fly their way.
How did Busy get her name? Any nicknames?
I have a weird name obsession (and have named ten babies) so I had a list of names all ready, and Busy was on the list, but I decided to feel her out a bit before choosing a name for her. On our walk from the shelter to Petco she was very curious about everything and everyone, licking people’s legs as we passed, peering into low-slung purses and as one woman passed us she looked down and said, “Oh, so cute, and so busy!” And that’s when Busy officially became her name.
[photo right: only a few of the dog park friends]
I have an exorbitant amount of nicknames for her. There are the obvious ones like sweetie, peanut, baby and sugar pie, but my specialty nicknames for her include: buggy (& bug/s), loves (and lovey), gugs, peanut, little face, rabbit, funny, the business, little bee, the girl, bell and belly.
How were you and Busy united?
I’d been wanting a dog for a long time, but I wouldn’t let myself get one until I finished a draft of my novel. I knew it’d be a long while, so instead of being rewarded with an actual dog, I went on Petfinder every night and scoured. As I closed in on my draft, I came across a dog I fell totally in love with and applied for him, but he was too big and too much of a puppy for me to truly handle and so I had to keep looking. The night before I finished my novel I was on Petfinder and I refreshed and there was Busy (then, Penny) and I thought she was cute as hell, but maybe too little and I was still sad about not being able to get the other dog I wanted, but I applied for Busy anyway, and it turned out I was the first of 23 applicants and so I got her. It was not love at first sight. I was nervous and thought she was too small and I wasn’t convinced but I took her anyway, and at around the two week mark I fell madly in love with her and not a day passes without me realizing how lucky I am to have her. I adopted her from Social Tees Rescue in the East Village.
Does Busy do more to help or hinder your writing?
I allow her to hinder it because I want to play with her, but she really is quite easy-going and leaves me alone when I’m working. She will however, let me know when she thinks I’m done working. She does this by standing on my laptop, usually while I’m using it.
Who are Busy's best pet-pals?
Busy has a whole community of dog friends and human friends. Her best pal (and wife) is Rita, a Brussels Griffon who lives directly across the street. She also loves Merle, Bajji, Gretl, Woodrow and Lupe, and Baxter who lives on our block. She has a real thing for kids and babies so there’s a group of children on our block she adores and loves to be belly-rubbed by [photo left].
Where is Busy's favorite outdoor destination?
Honestly? The pharmacy. A dog after my own medicated heart. (My heart is not technically medicated). They are so sweet and kind to her there, she just eats it up. She also loves going to other people’s houses and she loves the country. That said, she’s become quite the Brooklyn stoop sitter.
Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?
All of the above in this order: Squeeky toy (she removes the facial features of any animal toy, stitch by careful stitch. Then she disembowels the actual squeaker, and then finally, the stuffing). She loves sticks and will fetch any branchy thing you toss. She’ll also race after balls, but stops halfway to do other important work.
Cat, postman, squirrel...?
Squirrels and pigeons, but mainly squirrels.
What is Busy's best quality?
Busy is the most patient being on this earth. She entertains herself when she sees I’m not done working, or not nearly as ready to go out as she’d like me to be. When we do go out, I almost always forget things and have to rush back upstairs and into the apartment and she just calmly sits and waits while I go retrieve whatever it is I’ve forgotten. She’s very self-reliant, weirdly grounded and preternaturally calm, which are all qualities I aspire to possess.
If Busy could change one thing about you, what would it be?
I can be a little droppy and forgetful and she doesn’t like when things accidentally fall out of my hands and crash to the ground, or when I have to constantly race back into the apartment for something. So she’d change how in my own head I can get.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Busy could speak, which actor should do her voice?
Lili Taylor, without a doubt.
If Busy could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?
Do you understand that I am your forever mama, and this is your forever home?
Visit Amanda Stern's website and follow her on Twitter.