Thursday, January 22, 2015

Shannon FitzGerald & Sienna

Who is in the photo at right?

Shannon FitzGerald, I’m a producer for Tokala Studios – we create video biographies for people and pets. I also have a blog where I write about dog training and other things. With me is my pal Sienna. Sienna is a Sheltie mix (I think), she’s seven years old and my best buddy.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Just a regular weekday morning, getting back into the swing of things after the holidays.

What's brewing?

Trader Joe’s French Roast, latte style with lots of cream, sugar and vanilla.

Any treats for you or Sienna on this occasion?

Homemade bread with butter and jam for me, and a Greenie for Sienna.

How did Sienna get her name? Any nicknames?

She’s named for her reddish-brown color – it’s a crayon. She also goes by Pup, Puppy, Puppers…see a theme here?

How were you and Sienna united?

It was fate, and I was the last to know. I wanted a dog, but didn’t think I could have one with my living situation at the time, so I was volunteering for a rescue group, handling dogs at adoption events. At this one event, the county animal control shelter was there with some of their dogs. I didn’t have a dog to handle at that moment, so I went over to visit with the county folks and their dogs – one of which was Sienna. She had just been spayed that morning and was still heavily drugged, so she was pretty much flat out asleep on the grass. “What’s wrong with your dog?” I asked her handler. An auspicious start…

Due to her being doped up, we didn’t really connect, nor did I fall in love with her there. What did happen was that I had a momentary vision of what would happen to this little red dog if nobody took her home – and I was told by (God, the universe, fate?) that in no uncertain terms, I was not allowed to let that happen. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before, nor has it since. I know when to listen to that voice, so I made it my mission to find her a home.

After the adoption event was over, I kept track of her at the shelter. I shared her photo with all of my friends, posted her on pet adoption sites, etc., but nobody came for her. Finally one of my friends agreed to foster her, so the day before she was to be euthanized, I went and got her. At that moment, she decided that she was my dog. My friend fostered, but every time I visited Sienna was over the moon to see me. I took her to see several potential families, and each and every person told me the same thing: “Boy, that dog sure loves you!”

I brought her to work with me, and one of my coworkers had some sage advice: “You know, every once in a lifetime you might find a dog like that. If you’re lucky.”

Well, I know when I’m beat. I talked my then roommate and her cats into letting the little red dog stay (it wasn’t difficult – they already loved her.) I finally allowed myself to love her back, since she was here to stay. And my life has never been the same since. I can’t even begin to imagine it without her.

You create video biographies for people and their pets. I enjoyed the one of Sienna at your site. Do you have other favorites that are available online?

We're just starting out, so we don't have a lot of samples yet. We have a pet memorial video here. And a personal history/biography video (of a person) here.

Who is Sienna's best pet-pal?

Sienna is more of a people person – dogs she merely tolerates. Also her best friend is every cat she ever met. Sadly, the cats don’t usually return the sentiment.

Where is Sienna's favorite outdoor destination?

She loves hiking in the mountains.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Ball, which took me two years to convince her was fun. She also loves her dumbbell (we train & compete in competition obedience trials.)

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Squirrel?? Where??

What is Sienna's best quality?

She’s very adaptable – when things are mellow she’s content to lay around and relax, but she’s also always ready to go on an adventure.

If Sienna could change one thing about Californians, what would it be?

She would tell them to stop working so hard all the time, have some fun, chase some squirrels!

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Sienna could speak, which actor should do her voice?

Anne Hathaway.

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

What was your life like before you ended up in the shelter? And how did you end up there? (She was an owner surrender, but I can’t begin to imagine how or why anyone would give up this dog.)

Visit The DIY Dog blog, and the Tokala Studios website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

1 comment:

  1. Oh, what a sweet little girl, Sienna! I bet we would have lots of fun chasing squirrels together. If you ever visit South Dakota, come see me. My mommy has a squirrel feeder in the backyard, so there are sure to be some squirrels around to chase. Woofs and tail wags, Gage