Who is in the photo at right?
I’m Warren C. Easley, the author of the Cal Claxton Oregon mystery series. The second book in the series, Dead Float, is now out from Poisoned Pen Press. That little guy is Theo, a Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix, although he doesn’t know he’s a small dog. He’s seven years old and feisty as ever!
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
We always snack before going on our daily walk—a double cappuccino made from freshly ground beans for me and a Milk Bone for Theo. I taught him to stand up for his treat, but he really doesn’t like dog tricks at all. He’s way too cool for that. If it’s nice, we sit on the side deck, which affords a view of the Willamette Valley to the south.
How were you and Theo united?
Theo was my daughter’s dog. She saw him at a pet store and it was love at first sight. A dead ringer for a small red fox, he was supposed to be a five-pound lap dog, but he didn’t get the memo. He weighs in at 19 pounds, mostly muscle. The daughter went off to college and, well, it’s a familiar story…
How did Theo get his name?
Theo is named for Vincent Van Gogh’s brother, to whom the artist wrote many beautiful letters. My daughter was in her Van Gogh period.
Does Theo do more to help or hinder your writing?
Theo is absolutely essential to my writing. I write “organically,” a fancy way to say I don’t outline. A good mystery requires a tightly woven plot, and when I get stuck, it’s usually over a crucial plot point. My remedy is to walk, and that’s where Theo comes in. He keeps me company on my treks, which can cover five miles if I’m really flummoxed. He’s right there the whole time, cheerfully keeping me company.
Cat, postman, squirrel?
In addition to taking me for walks and generally looking cute, Theo sees his job as patrolling our yard of nearly 3 acres and to chase away all manner of critters, including skunks, coyotes, and deer. I watched him bark a coyote right out of the yard once, but he’s never quite figured out how to handle skunks without getting sprayed. If he gets whacked at night, he’s banished from the castle until we can bathe him in the morning.
What is Theo's best quality?
Theo’s a tough little country dog who’s not yappy, keeps deer out of the garden, and is always up for a walk.
If Theo could change one thing about Oregonians, what would it be?
Theo would love it if Oregonians wouldn’t make such a fuss over how cute he is. And don’t pick him up and try to cuddle him, either. He’s really not much of a people-dog…
If Theo could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?
Theo, when are you going to learn that skunks are not black and white cats?
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Theo could speak, who should voice him?
If it were up to Theo, he’d probably pick Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson.
Visit Warren C. Easley's website.