Who is in the photo at right?
That’s me, Kerry Alan Denney aka The Reality Bender, multiple award-winning published author of various horror, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, and supernatural novels and short stories, with my Golden retriever Holly Jolly the professional Therapy Dog. In the photo, we’re disguised as Holly Jolly Claus and SuperSanta. Look at the expression on Holly’s dog-face: I swear I believe she actually knows when she’s being photographed. She’s such a ham for the camera! She’s so photogenic.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Any chance to share Holly’s unique unconditional love, affection, playfulness, and joie de vivre with others is a good occasion. As a fully trained and well-behaved Therapy Dog for six years now, Holly loves people and dogs of all sizes and ages, and loves making others happy... and making Holly and others happy makes me happy.
For me, hot chocolate with marshmallows; for Holly, a bowl of fresh, clean water.
Any treats for you or Holly Jolly on this occasion?
I may be allowed a few double-chocolate fudge brownies, or some chocolate chip cookies. Holly gets 100% all-natural chicken jerky treats—no preservatives added!
(An important note for dog owners: Always check the list of ingredients on packaged treats you buy for your dog, and never give them anything with propylene glycol in it! That’s basically anti-freeze. It’s poison, and will shorten the life of your furry friend, and eventually kill them. I believe it should be illegal to put this preservative in dog treats, and that packages should be clearly marked with a warning when it’s used, but the companies that use this preservative to extend the shelf-life of the treats aren’t regulated by the FDA, and don’t care if they shorten the lives of our canine friends. It’s up to us to be the watchdogs for the health of our furry buds!)
How were you and Holly Jolly united?
In the late Fall of 2006, I searched Petfinder.com for reputable breeders of Golden retrievers. I found a mother-and-son combination in Michigan who occasionally bred them (not a puppy farm!), and they had posted photos of a litter of Golden pups all dressed in various Christmas regalia: festive bows, Santa caps, decorative ribbons, etc. They were irresistibly cute. After personally contacting the breeder and determining that she and her son were respectable and legit, I submitted my request just in time, and got the last pup of the litter, a female they had named Sandy.
On December 21, 2006, I went to the cargo pickup warehouse at Atlanta, Georgia’s Hartsfield International Airport and picked up Holly as a nine-week-old puppy. She was so cute it made my chest ache. It was love at first sight for both of us, and we’ve lived happily together here in Stone Mountain, GA ever since that unforgettable day. Holly is nine now, and still happy, healthy, and as playful and energetic as a puppy.
How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?
On the evening of December 20, 2006, I went to bed early still trying to come up with the perfect name for my new furry friend. At 3 a.m. the next morning—the morning I was scheduled to go pick her up—I jerked fully awake with the famous Burl Ives tune “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” playing in my head as if it were blaring out of my stereo, and I thought, “Eureka! Of course!” After that, there was never any doubt: Holly Jolly she was. And the name fit her personality perfectly.
Does Holly Jolly do more to help or hinder your writing?
Definitely help! She is the best writing companion I could ever hope or ask for. Her unique joy for life and unbridled enthusiasm inspires me endlessly.
Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your writing?
Absolutely! Holly herself inspired my short story “Old Coot,” about a remarkably gifted Therapy Dog. It was published online at Page & Spine to critical acclaim on November 1, 2013.
Additionally, Holly and several of her canine buds have inspired me to write about amazing and remarkable dogs in all of my published novels, as well as a few not published yet (and one coming out in 2016). I love writing about dogs, and believe they are the greatest gift our creator has ever given us. Treat your canine friends well and they will shower you with unconditional love all their lives!
Cat, postman, squirrel...?
Amazingly, Holly has never been the type of dog to chase or be aggressive or defensive over any creature. Plus, because of her thorough training, she is so well-behaved that she knows better than to leave my side without permission. We’re constantly complimented on her excellent behavior and obedience. In our interaction with other dog owners with Golden retrievers, I’ve noticed that the breed is so eager to please that most people who own them have commented on how easy they are to train.
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?
All three! She is an excellent “play fetch” companion, and has been since she was just a puppy.
And she loves to swim. We go to the lake at Stone Mountain Park two to three times a week, where she plays tennis ball fetch in the lake. And she loves her plush stuffed toys too: She even identifies several of them by name when I ask her to choose one (doggie, froggie, bear, seal, turtle, leopard).
Who is Holly Jolly's best pet-pal?
Definitely Josie, a beautiful half-Golden retriever half-German shepherd owned by my great writer friend Lynda Fitzgerald. Holly and Josie play so well together, and have from the moment they met. Lynda and I believe they were best buds in a past life, reunited in this one.
What is Holly Jolly's best quality?
Definitely her joie de vivre (exuberance; energy and love of life). She has many remarkable qualities: affectionate, loyal, sweet, enthusiastic, gentle, playful, endlessly happy. But her joy of life is her shining star.
If Holly Jolly could change one thing about Georgians, what would it be?
That’s a tough one! My best guess would be that we would love cold weather more. (Native Georgians by and large can’t stand the cold, and being a native Floridian, I’m no exception.)
Holly absolutely loves cold weather and especially snow. See for yourself in her YouTube video.
If Holly Jolly could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?
Another tough one. I may change my answer to this question ten times or more after I’ve answered it. I would ask her what I can do to make the world a better place for us all to live in, but she’s already answered that many times before just by her sheer nature, which I put as the answer to the last question here. There are so many questions I’d love for her to answer! Such as:
Will I see you on the other side? (If there is a God, I surely will.) But I’ll go with this one: What can I do to make her live a longer, happier, healthier life?
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Holly Jolly could speak, who should voice her?
If Hollywood made a movie about my life in which Holly could speak, I’d let her choose who would do her voice, and then we would Snoopy dance together on the ceiling. However, my choice would be the talented voice-over actress Mila Kunis. Because of her past experience in voice-over acting, I believe she would create the perfect voice for Holly.
What advice would Holly Jolly give if asked?
Easiest question yet. She would share her motto, her creed, which she has shared all her life by example: Live your lives with wind-in-fur.
Visit Kerry Alan Denney's website.