Who is in the photo at right?
Shogun (gone to Rainbow Bridge) and Zia (now three) surround Friday, the blind mini-poodle. The other pic [below left] for your curiosity is Nikon, the GSD, and His Girl Friday on our lake in N Ontario. I'm Lou Allin, a retired college English teacher.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Friday insists on shepherding her border-collie sisters Zia and Zodie for a trek to Tugwell Creek, near where we live on Vancouver Island. Fresh, cold water from the mountains is her favourite libation. The silly border collies chase sticks while she kicks back pawing gravel and I enjoy a travel mug of our locally roasted coffee from The Stick in Sooke. It's named after our last postal code VOSINO, which has now been changed to V9Z 0K6, which doesn't work as well.
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
The collies are chowhounds and will eat anything, polishing off plain chow after their icy swim. Friday agrees that outdoors "everything tastes great," so she gets a few kibbles, too. As for me, how about some cranberry-water buffalo sticks? Somehow I don't think they are made here in Canada's Caribbean.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
The late Shogun was a BC rescue named Hogan, later changed to Logan. When we got him, his huge bark gave him the commanding name of Shogun, and he lived up to it, using his Karelian bear-dog heritage (think border collie with short hair and a flowing plumed tail curved over the back to be vampirish in enveloping other dogs. "Do you drink....pond water?") He chased off many bears for us. Zia's name came from New Mexico and the zia four-corners sign, a state we have visited many times hunting for Anazazi-Fremont ruins. Zodie comes from Zodiac and follows the Z idea. Of course they are Zo and Zee and ZeeBean in the usual nicknames. Friday got her name because she was "his girl Friday" for a German shepherd Nikon, also gone to Rainbow. He was her mighty protector, not that she needed much protecting, with her speed and agility.
How were you and your dogs united?
Friday came from a breeder in Ontario. Her original name was Chile Pepper, which she's lived up to, a fierce little lion in bark and posture. Zia came from Washington State and Zodie from middle Oregon. So we celebrate both holidays, July 1 and 4th.
How do your dogs help--or hinder--your writing?
My dogs love everything I write. Of course! They want to be in all the books and even have one to themselves, preferably with their name, like Friday's in Bush Poodles are Murder. She insists that the pup in that book was nothing like her because it was spoiled, and its silly name was Strudel, because its owner said it was "cute enough to eat." Friday replies, "Spare me."
Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your writing?
All the dogs in my book come from my own animals and act like them. They are integral parts of each book and not mere window dressing. Don't ask me about kids, though.
Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?
We are our own little pack out here in the boonies and walk mostly where there are no other dogs, like clear cuts and the bush. The border collies are set up to "protect" Friday.
What is each dog's best quality?
Friday= intelligence. She is blind but you'd never know it. Problem solving has always been her strength. She finds her way up and down and around our two-storey house. Outside, with a "pup pup" from me, she navigates over logs.
[photo left -- Shogun]
Zia=seriousness, a reluctant mother hen.
Zodie=comedy and a true concern for her blind sister.
If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?
I'd like to run agility with the border collies like my partner does, but I am too lazy and have my writing instead. It takes years and years to learn the tricks of the agility trade. Then you need your own place, preferably a covered barn to run them all winter. We rent a farm field down the street.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?
I'm a classic film buff, so your readers may not recognize two of these names.
Friday [photo right] would be Gloria Swanson, as in "I'm ready for my close up, Mr. DeMille."
Zia would be Deborah Kerr, the moral compass in Night of the Iguana.
For the youngsters under thirty, Zodie would be Gwen Stefani, "All the girls stomp your feet like this!" Life of the party and up for anything.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
Why won't you use the expensive dog beds we bought for you?
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