Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lisa Goldstein & Bonnie

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Lisa Goldstein, a writer -- my latest book is Weighing Shadows. The dog is Bonnie, a female Labrador mix. She just turned five.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

No occasion -- I just like coffee and I like dogs.

What's brewing?

Just regular coffee, made with Costa Rica Estrella.

How were you and Bonnie united?
We were just at the point of looking for a new dog, and we saw Bonnie at an adoption event put on by the Milo Foundation, a local dog and cat adoption group. I liked her a lot, but unfortunately I had to go out of town for two weeks. The two weeks turned into four weeks, but when I got back she was still available for adoption -- inexplicably, we thought, given how beautiful she is. So we snapped her up.

How did Bonnie get her name? Does she have any nicknames?
Bonnie and her brother went through about four homes and foster homes together, and when they arrived at the Milo Foundation someone named them Bonnie and Clyde. I don't know if this was because of her anti-authoritarian streak, but in any case we didn't see it as a warning. Perhaps we should have…

Does Bonnie help or hinder your writing?

Help. Sometimes she'll lie under my desk and look up at me adoringly.

Has Bonnie inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Not yet, but I do think about it.

Tennis ball, stick, squeaky-toy...?

Tennis ball.

Postman, cat, squirrel...?

All of the above, unfortunately. If she saw all of them at once I don't know how she'd be able to chose.

Where is Bonnie's favorite place for an outing?

We used to go to Point Isabel, a terrific dog park with lots of trees, lots of dogs, water to swim in, old tennis balls lying around for the taking. Four years after we started going she suddenly decided to head off on her own, and she left the park, went out into traffic, crossed several streets, one of them fairly busy, headed into a parking lot where I lost her until some people pointed her out to me, and then finally returned to the drinking fountain at the park, where I caught up with her. So unfortunately we can't go back there until she shows she's under voice control, though I'm thinking about investigating fenced-in parks.

Who is Bonnie's best pet-pal?

She loves a dog that used to live next door, a Bernese mountain dog. The owners moved a while ago, but even now she'll try to pull me toward the house where they used to live. Sometimes the owner comes to the neighborhood to visit, bringing the dog, and Bonnie practically explodes with happiness.

What is Bonnie's most endearing quality?

Her affection. She comes up to us a lot, looking to be scratched. When she gives her heart to someone it stays there.

If Bonnie could change one thing about you, what would it be?

She'd definitely like me to be more generous with the treats.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Bonnie could speak, who should voice her?

There's an actor named Kristen Schaal who has the kind of goofy voice we imagine for Bonnie. And, looking at her Wikipedia page, I see she does voice work! Perfect!

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

Bonnie is -- how can I put this? -- not the most obedient of dogs. (See "Favorite Place," above, also "Postman, cat, squirrel?") However, she is very food-motivated. It seems strange to me that she still doesn't fully understand the basic dog-human interaction, where the human gives the dog a treat if the dog behaves well. So it's not really a question, but I guess I'd like to try to explain this to her, because I know she'd like the extra food.

Visit Lisa Goldstein's website.

The Page 69 Test: Weighing Shadows.

--Marshal Zeringue

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