Who is in the photo at right?
I’m Sara Nickerson. My middle grade novel, The Secrets of Blueberries, Brothers, Moose & Me was just published by Dutton Children’s Books. My companion here is Pico - he’s a 7 year-old Chihuahua mix (we think Rat Terrier). He’s a great dog.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
It’s our afternoon coffee break, in the backyard. I usually get away from the computer in the afternoon, at least for a while, and make notes on paper. Pico likes to be in the backyard, but only if one of us is there, too. On lucky days, there will be a squirrel to chase. On rainy days, we will do this inside.
Regular drip made with a cone and filter. Coffee is Back Pedal Brew by Middle Fork Roasters, a local company. I add milk.
Any treats for you or Pico on this occasion?
My treat is coffee. Pico often has a chew stick. He likes to bury it.
How were you and Pico united?
My husband and youngest son were walking back from the park. They passed our local pet store, where an adoption event was taking place – mostly Chihuahuas sent up from California. The sign on Pico’s crate said, “Four year old Chihuahua mix – crate and house trained, good with cats and kids.” And there was just something sweet about him. My husband called me and said, “There’s a nice Chihuahua here.” My husband is more of a Retriever type, but I’d been talking Chihuahuas since we’d met and I guess I wore him down. And for my son it was love at first sight. I walked up to the pet store and sat with Pico for about an hour. Then I signed some papers and walked him home. He’s our first family dog, and my first dog as an adult.
How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?
He’d been in foster care for several weeks, going by the name Piccolo. We thought it was a good name for him, and we also thought he might be used to it, so we kept it. But we call him Pico. And Mr. Peeks. And Snorts.
Does Pico do more to help or hinder your writing?
Even though it doesn’t always seem like it, taking breaks to go for walks is incredibly useful, in every way. So he’s a big help.
Has Pico inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?
When we’d had him for about a week and all he did was stand in the middle of the room and shake, I started working on a picture book called, “Everyone’s Chihuahua Is More Fun Than Mine.”
Cat, postman, squirrel...?
Cats are good, a little puzzling, but nice companions. Squirrels are thrilling to chase, as are crows. The mail carrier is a daily, deadly threat.
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?
A squeaky toy named Weasel is the most fun.
Who are Pico's best pet-pals?
Our two cats - Peach and Scout [photo right]. The three hang together very nicely.
What is Pico's best quality?
Even though he’s a serious dog, he has this delightful, playful side. When we tell him it’s time for a walk, he prances and dances around the house.
If Pico could change one thing about Seattleites, what would it be?
Seattleites insist on going outside every day, even in the rain. Pico would like people to consider staying inside when it rains, so their feet don’t get wet.
If Pico could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?
How did you end up here, little dog?
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Pico could speak, who should voice him?
Steve Buscemi. It would be a good fit and he’s one of my favorite actors.
What advice would Pico give if asked?
No matter what is going on in your life, a good long walk will make everything better. If you just keep moving, you will find your way to a new place.
Visit Sara Nickerson's website.