Who is in the photo at right?
That’s Taffi and me (Jass Richards) out kayaking. (Sure I’m there – see those feet? Those are my feet; ergo, I’m there! Knew that Philosophy degree would be useful one day!)
We’re on our way to Starbucks.
No, that’s a lie. There isn’t a Starbucks here for hundreds of miles. (Thank god.) We’re just out kayaking.
No, that’s a lie too. We aren’t out kayaking. I always think that’s what we’re doing, but we’re actually out muskrat hunting. Apparently.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
We’re letting people know about my new book, Dogs Just Wanna Have Fun. (People who will probably enjoy it. No point in letting the other people know about it.) It’s a collection of funny, feel-good, happy-ever-after dog stories (or a novel ... in any case, fiction) told by the ever-quirky, ever-sarcastic Brett from This Will Not Look Good on My Resume. Also featured are her own two dogs, Kessie and Snookums, and her four regulars, Chum, Hunk, Little Miss, and Spunky Doo. It’s available in print and as an ebook, at the usual online stores…
Iced chocolate mint coffee.
No, that’s a lie. I do have a drink, tucked in beside me on the right, but it’s a bottle of watered-down juice. Usually one part Dole’s Paradise Blend, one part regular iced tea, and one part tropical iced tea.
[photo left: muskrat hunting]
Any treats for you or Taffi on this occasion?
Yeah, there’s a bag of treats tucked in beside me on the left. I use them as bribes to get her away from the little goslings she wants to kill. Doesn’t always work.
No, that’s a lie. Doesn’t ever work. (That’s the nice thing about hunting muskrat: it satisfies her really, really strong predator instincts, but no one gets hurt: within minutes of her starting to dig at the front door, the muskrat swims out the back door. And I get to just sit there and stare at the pretty sparkles on the water.)
How did Taffi get her name? Any nicknames?
I just made it up; liked the sound of it; knew I’d like calling her that.
Actually, though, I initially called her ‘Tassi’ but I realized early on that that was too ‘fragile’ (tassel, glass), she needed something more mischievous, hence Taffi.
How were you and Taffi united?
After my first little sweetheart died, I wanted another small (portable), female (stay-at-home) dog, and I wanted a puppy because I really like to bond; I wanted to be there from the beginning…. But I discovered they’re really hard to find unless you want a little frou-frou dog. I just wanted a mutt. (Interestingly, the only mutt puppies I could fine were big breed mutts. There’s a hypothesis in there about people and whether, when, they neuter/spay their dogs…)
Finally I decided to adjust my wish list and consider a small, male puppy, and ended up finding one through the Moosonnee Pups – it’s a rescue operation for dogs way up north (where they’re so populous, often no one owns them or looks after them -- or neuters/spays them…). Had to wait, though, because they have to fly the dogs out, then put on a train, then—I dunno. I just know that one day, oh happy day, a van pulled into my driveway, and it was full of puppies! Imagine! A van full of puppies!
One cute little one trotted up the driveway like she was home at last, and I said ‘Please tell me she’s available’ (it wasn’t the small, male, puppy I was supposed to be looking at), and she was!! Available!!
I was so happy, moreso because when the van left, that little puppy was so perfectly content to stay, with me—she didn’t even try to join the others, going back into the van. And I thought ‘She feels the same way! She’s chosen me as much as I’ve chosen her!’ (I realized a couple months later that she suffers so acutely from motion sickness, she’d rather run in front of an oncoming snow plow than get into a car. Or a van. So even if I’d been the Psycho ax-murderer guy…)
Are there any Taffi-inspired dogs in your books?
Of course. Snookums is Taffi.
Does Taffi do more to help or hinder your writing?
I don’t think she knows I write.
Who is Taffi's best pet-pal?
She doesn’t have one anymore. She had several when she was younger, but they’ve all moved or died. She insists on saying ‘hi’ to all the dogs in the ‘hood, though. Well, not saying ‘hi’ exactly, more like subordinating herself to them. (Literally: she still rolls over belly up to kittens. I figure it’s part of the strong predation thing: she’s very aware of her role in the pack, and she’s a happy little beta dog. Even when we’re out walking, she walks behind me, she will not take the lead. She loves it when we have another dog with us, because then she’s part of a pack!!! And then she’ll go ahead of me, but always, always, behind the other dog.)
Where is Taffi's favorite outdoor destination?
Out our front door. The lake.
Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?
Squirrel, muskrat, rabbit…. And shoe.
What is Taffi's best quality?
When she buries her one of her dead bunnies, she chooses the perfect spot for it. Even if it takes half an hour and several ‘changed my mind’s to find it.
If Taffi could change one thing about you, what would it be?
Oh please. I’m perfect.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Taffi could speak, which actor should do her voice?
Bernadette from The Big Bang Theory alternating with Darth Vader.
Visit the official Jass Richards website.