Who is in the photo at right?
I'm Michelle and my fiance's name is Joel-- I'm a portrait photographer by day and Joel's a graphic designer by day... by night we're both obsessed with our dog, who is a male Shiba Inu named David Bowie the Dog. We added "the Dog" just so no one confuses him with David Bowie the Human. Bowie turns 5 on October 1st.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
We just had our engagement photos taken and had to include Bowie since he's such a big part of our lives-- so we asked a fellow photographer [ed. note: credit all images for this entry to Sally O'Donnell Photography] to join us at the park for some photos... which were mostly of Bowie and we were just props. And we're okay with that.
I'm a tea drinker all the way and my latest obsession is decaf green tea with some mint leaves from my little backyard garden.
Any treats for you or Bowie on this occasion?
Any occasion is an occasion for Bowie treats! To get him to look at the camera for these photos we gave the photographer a handful of tiny chicken-flavored training treats to pull out of her pocket now and then and say "Bowie, want noms?" It definitely worked. He's a spoiled, grain-free pooch and sometimes I make his own treats. One of his favorites is dried sweet potatoes. I slice a peeled sweet potato really thin and then put the slices in a food dehydrator to make crunchy chips. They last a long time, are good for his digestive system, and are really cheap!
How were you and Bowie united?
I knew I wanted a Shiba Inu but I also wanted a rescue dog so I found a few breed-specific rescue associations in my area and watched their adoptable dogs. I adopted Bowie from the Shiba Inu Rescue Association on March 22nd, 2011 when he was about 6 months old-- he was rescued from a puppy mill at 3 months old. He had 9 applications in for him and I was worried that someone else would get him, so the night before the decision was to be made, I sent a quick email to the forever home choosers to remind them of how awesome a life he would have with me. I told them what food I'll feed him, which vet I'll take him to, that I work from home most days so I'll be with him more often than away from him, and that he'll romp around the dog park several times a week. It worked and they picked me! I couldn't be luckier- he's the best dog ever.
How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?
I'm a big fan of David Bowie the Human so I just had to name my dog after him. We call him Bowie, though his full name is David Bowie the Dog. He also responds to BoBo, BooBoo, Fuzzypants, Bowiemonster, and sometimes Numbnuts.
You're a professional photographer. Do you think your clients tell their friends, "Hey, David Bowie's personal photographer took photos of me today!"?
Oh definitely. When I'm taking headshots of my clients sometimes he'll sneak into the photo and sit on their feet or lie down on the ground to distract them. He was actually recognized on the street one day at a festival we went to. Someone stopped us and said "is that David Bowie the Dog? I follow his Facebook page!" If he could write, he would have signed an autograph.
Cat, postman, squirrel...?
Sometimes Bowie will chase the occasional cat or squirrel, but mostly to say hi. Shibas are hunting dogs but he's so used to seeing other critters on the street that he doesn't really care to hunt them anymore because they never give him bacon. He did once see a slice of pizza on the sidewalk. I've never seen his prey drive come out that strongly until that day...
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?
Balls. Bowie is an absolute fetch-aholic. He also loves squeaky toys and plush toys but he hardly gets to play with them because they only last about 5 minutes until he shreds them to bits and yanks out the squeakers.
Who is Bowie's best pet-pal?
Our neighbor has a Boston Terrier named Little and they'll sniff each other through the fence and run back and forth to play. He used to have a girlfriend but we moved last fall so he doesn't get to see her that often anymore. I think they might have broken up or are seeing other dogs now so he's single and ready to mingle.
What is Bowie's best quality?
Bowie is really smart and very communicative. I taught him to ring a bell when he has to go outside and he'll sometimes also ring it to alert us of his other needs-- like if he wants us to pull back a window shade so he can have a sunbeam to lie in, if we wants to go out and play fetch, or if we've got dinner in the oven and he thinks it's done and we should check on it. He seriously knows when dinner is ready and lets us know- I don't even own a kitchen timer anymore.
If Bowie could change one thing about Chicagoans, what would it be?
I think he would change the contents of their pockets to bacon. Every time he meets someone new he checks their pockets and any bags they have and when he doesn't find bacon he walks away.
If Bowie could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?
I think I would ask him why he eats his poo now and then. About once every year or so he'll randomly eat his own poo once or twice and I thought he was smarter than that. It baffles me.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Bowie could speak, who should voice him?
You would think David Bowie the Human would voice him, but I have to honestly say that I think Sir Patrick Stewart would be a better fit. His voice is confident, authoritative, but every so often perfectly silly and always classy.
What advice would Bowie give if asked?
I think Bowie would tell people not to take things too seriously and that sometimes you need to take care of yourself-- take time off when you need it, even if it's just for an afternoon to go to the park or lie in a sunbeam. Also I think that if he were given the opportunity to hand out unsolicited information, he would just list a whole bunch of recipes that use a lot of bacon.
Visit the Organic Headshots website and the David Bowie the Dog Facebook page.