Who is in the photo at right?
My name is Silvie Goldstein. I am a retired lawyer and rescue volunteer and I share my life with JD, a Male 12 year year old Bichon, "The" Wendy, and 11 year old female Bichon, Silvieon4, an eight year old Bichon girl and our latest, Cosmo, a male Bichon, age unknown, but we are guessing between 4 and 5 years old.
[photo right: Slivieon2 and Silvieon4]
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
We live very busy lives and each day we try and carve "special time" with each dog. As it so happens, Silvie on4, is my breakfast buddy and we usually share a morning cappuccino. She is fond of foam and I am fond of the coffee.
Our usual is brewing in my Pasquini espresso machine, a blend of Harrar, Ghimbi, and Sidamo coffees from Ethiopia. I was born in Eritrea and my taste in coffee is firmly seated in that part of the world.
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
I am what my husband describes a "serial baker" so there are always goodies in the house. Right now my cookie jars are filled with pumpkin biscotti, which we bake and sell for rescue at rescue events, frittelle, and apple chips. Silvieon4 is fond of pumpkin biscotti and will share. But her absolute favorite is the foam that I skim off my coffee.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
JD- He was a sickly puppy who arrived at our home the same day my daughter was accepted into law school. Ours is a family of lawyers. My husband is a federal judge, my son is a lawyer, and my daughter is a lawyer. At that point we realized that this puppy would be the only one without a "JD" [Juris Doctorate] so, of course we gave it to him as his name. Lots of people speculate that JD stands for many other things- but they are wrong. JD is also known as "The King". He rules this house with his tiny paw, demanding a seat at the dinner table, his own glass, and lots of little perks that other dogs would never expect. He is the king.
Wendy- renamed Wendy after her rescue. She is the magical Wendy. Earned the "The" Wendy when she learned to trust us. Hers has been a journey of redemption. We had to show her that humans could be good. Her past had shown her that humans were greedy, mean, unfeeling and painful. While she fears women, this year she showed me that she does love and trust her momma. We were at the vet. My husband and daughter were present and we were all trying to comfort Wendy who was scared. I anticipated that she would go to my husband and feel comfort. But The Wendy surprised everyone and she bypassed everybody and came to me. I was in shock. I have been working on Wendy's trust issues with women for 8 years. My baby girl is finally at home. She has my heart. She is The Wendy.
Silvieon4 was named Silvie by Tidewater Bichon Frise Rescue. I am told that she was named Silvie because she is small and mouthy...which is how I am often described. She was puppy and I fell madly in love with her under bite and feisty personality. Of course she had to come home. She has been a blessing in every way. She forced Wendy to come out of her shell, she taught JD to be a dog, she broke every single boundary and challenged every bit of conventional wisdom about dogs. She "talks" she is known to be a mad cuddler, and she loves fiercely and completely. She is a diva who loves the camera, loves clothing, loves shopping and loves wearing a crown. She is empress for life and dismisses all princesses. She hates grass, loves elevators and prefers to swim without wearing a life vest.She has a blog- Silvieon4.com and rescue is her platform. For some reason she responds to the name "Baby" and anything said to her in Italian or French sends her melting.
Cosmo. We have only had Cosmo for about 2 weeks. We have no idea why he was named Cosmo. But so far what we noticed is a happy boy who is always hungry and who loves, no loves to cuddle and be held. I have been calling him Limo, because he is so long in his torso. He is proving to be a real sweetie.
How were you and your dogs united?
Tidewater Bichon Frise Rescue! All of our dogs are rescued. We love TBFR. We work and support the incredible mission they have been performing for over 20+ years.
Cat, postman, squirrel.... ?
Easy: yellow cat. We have no idea whose cat it is. It roams the neighborhood and occasionally invades our backyard. It is a big, older yellow cat who loves sauntering by and tormenting the dogs who will bark all manners of threats. As far as the squirrels, a truce of some sort was brokered apparently. There used to be mutual hate. I think age mellowed everyone. The dogs ignore them and they ignore the dogs. But the real excitement happens every spring when we open the pool and the ducks arrive. Ever see a Bichon blitz around the pool while the ducks leisurely float? It is epic. And apparently duck poop is to be rolled into. So, yes, lots of baths and lots of grooming...
Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?
Splish Duckworth- a white stuffed duck that each dog got from TBFR. Wendy and JD are really not into toys. Silvie is a hoarder of toys, but she only really plays with a pulley monkey. Cosmo... he is toy obsessed and will suckle his Splish while rocking as he falls asleep. He does this every single night.
Where is your dogs' favorite outdoor destination?
The boardwalk. They love going to Virginia Beach and walk the boardwalk. They love the ocean, the smells, the beach, the variety of "petters" and they love sitting in the outdoor restaurants having a snack.
Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?
Wendy and Silvie are bonded. Silvie also adores JD who is really into showing her he is boss. The Wendy worries about everybody. She is a little momma. So far Cosmo has been crazy playing with Silvie who pretty much has been using him to make JD jealous.
What is each dog's best quality?
JD is a "cosmopolitan" well-traveled dog who loves meeting new people. He simply does not understand anyone who does not stop and pet him. He actually gets this "What the heck?" look if people simply walk by without acknowledging him.
The Wendy wears her heart on her paw. She will find the person who is most broken and simply sit by them and give them quiet comfort. I call her the heart healer.
Silvieon4. She thinks her job is to cuddle and she is terrific at her job.
Cosmo. He'll eat anything, will fall asleep at the drop of a hat, if you can hold him. The interesting thing we have seen is how each dog learns from the others. With Cosmo, we have watched him watch and learn how to fit in our routines. He is a fast learner!
If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?
They would have me "calm down" and not freak out when one of them swallows a live frog, which ends up hopping all over my bedroom, once it is regurgitated... or not completely lose it when they bring me a dead bird as a "gift"... or cry when one of them is limping because they pulled a muscle.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?
JD - Sean Connery. He has that edge to him.
The Wendy - Annette Bening.
Silvieon4 - Drew Barrymore.
Cosmo - Robert Downey Jr.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
What can I do to make your life better?
What advice would your dogs give if asked?
Make the moments count, It's about the relationships not about things, place, stuff....
Visit the Silvieon4 website.