Thursday, November 6, 2014

Peg Kehret & Lucy

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Peg Kehret, children’s book author and a long time volunteer with animal rescue groups. My biggest claim to fame is that my books have won fifty state young reader awards. My dog, Lucy, is twelve, a mixed breed rescued dog.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We’re celebrating the release of my new book, Dangerous Deception (Dutton Children’s Books). I have to confess that the dog in this book plays no part in the plot, but my heroine rescues a cat that the bad guy has thrown in a Dumpster.

What's brewing?

I am a coffeeholic. Any kind of coffee, as long as it’s hot and black. Even in the summer, I want my coffee hot.

Any treats for you or Lucy on this occasion?

Lucy does not need a special occasion to want a treat. For that matter, neither do I. Her treats are kept in an old tin Borden’s malted milk container and she can hear the lid being removed from anywhere in the house.

How did Lucy get her name? Any nicknames?

Lucy was named for Lucille Ball, because of the red tint to her fur.

How were you and Lucy united?

She was picked up by Animal Control as a stray and taken to a county shelter where they decided she was too afraid to be adoptable. A rescue group agreed to take her and I adopted her from them. Before we even got home, I discovered that she was in heat and had kennel cough. My veterinarian thought she was about one year old. Lucy was terrified of any man in a baseball cap. She cowered and hid when my husband picked up a yard stick. It took a long time for her to trust people but now she is a happy, silly dog.

Are there any Lucy-inspired dogs in your fiction?

I didn’t need to make up a fictional Lucy because I wrote about the real dog in my memoir, Animals Welcome: A Life of Reading, Writing, and Rescue.

Does Lucy do more to help or hinder your writing?

Lucy has a bed in my office and is good about sleeping while I work, as long as she has received a treat from the dish in my desk drawer as soon as I sit down. If I forget the treat, I get constant reminders.

Who is Lucy's best pet-pal?

Otter, my daughter’s dog, is Lucy’s special friend. They celebrate every holiday together [photo right] and happily share my lap whenever they can.

Where is Lucy's favorite outdoor destination?

There’s a nature trail on my property. Trail is one of Lucy’s vocabulary words and when I say it, she runs to the entrance, eager to go. She often rolls in the grass while she waits for me to catch up. I call that schnerkling.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Although I have a whole basket of squeaky toys, rope tugs and balls, Lucy has never learned to play with a toy. If I throw a ball she runs after it, then stops and waits for me to fetch it and throw it again. I am very well trained.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

She is diligent about warning me if a squirrel comes too close to the house – or a deer, or a pigeon, or Mr. Stray, the feral cat that I’ve fed for fourteen years.

What is Lucy's best quality?

Lucy is loyal. When she looks at me, her eyes shine with love light. Although she weighs only ten pounds, I have no doubt that she would defend me against any peril.

If Lucy could change one thing about Washingtonians, what would it be?

She probably wishes people would quit inviting me to go places so that I’d stay home with her all the time. When I pick up my purse and car keys, her head hangs, her tail uncurls, and her whole body droops. My return – even if I’ve been gone only half an hour – means joyous barking and running circles around the dining room table.

If Lucy could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?

Could you please let me have a little more space in the bed at night?

Even though she doesn’t speak English, Lucy and I do communicate. I’m glad she knows she will always be safe and loved.

Visit Peg Kehret's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue