Who is in the photo at right?
In the photo is myself, Peter Hutson-Jones. I am a crime thriller writer represented by "A for authors" agency. I am also a dog walker (to pay the rent!). My dog Skipper is a 9-year-old female Airedale terrier. She was born in Utah, and came to us via Boston when we lived in Nova Scotia. She is a well travelled woofer. We currently live near Warrington in Cheshire, UK.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
We regularly have a coffee at the Dingle Farm tea shop, Appleton after my wife and I have finished our dog walking day. Any excuse for me to refuel on the staple of any writer, and Skipper looks forward to any left over dog treats I have in my pockets.
On most days I enjoy just a shot of espresso - preferably short and strong - on today's visit I opted for the in-house latte as I had skipped lunch!
Any treats for you or Skipper on this occasion?
I had a toasted teacake and shared a slice of spiced pumpkin cake with my wife Andrea, usually I just have coffee. Skipper had half of my treat, as usual, I just can't deny her anything. For the record she even has a roast dinner with us every Sunday.
How were you and Skipper united?
Skipper was destined to be our dog. As I previously stated, she was born in 2006 in Utah. (I've never been but I believe it gets hot there.) We were living in Nova Scotia, Canada at the time and had lost our first dog "Buddy" just before we left England. Buddy was 18 when he passed, and after a short time we realised that our house was not a home without a dog. I had always wanted an Airedale - 'the king of the terriers'- but couldn't find a local breeder. After a long search I came across a recognised breeder in Utah who had just one of the latest litter left. Initially I was sceptical about flights, travel time and the like, but after reassurance from the breeder that it would be OK, I drove 18 hours to Boston to meet her and Skipper at Logan. When I arrived Skipper was already a huge hit with the cargo personnel, so much so that she had been taken to their staff room for everyone to get 'their Airedale fix'.
Fast forward 2 years and we returned to the UK and naturally Skipper came back with us. Fortunately we managed to arrange for her to stay with friends in Canada whilst her rabies shots were given - this enabled her to fly in without having any time in quarantine. I'm certain she would have hated that.
How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?
When we first decided to get another dog we had moved to a house right on the ocean and had a boat. Our young daughter, Freya decided on the name Skipper as she wanted her to go on the boat with her. It mattered little that our new dog was female. For my part I was happy that Freya had chosen a name normally associated with male dogs rather than Tinker Bell or something similar.
Does Skipper do more to help or hinder your writing?
Funnily enough I seem to write better when Skipper is at at my feet in my office. Apart from her gentle snoring, she appears to have a very positive influence on my work.
Has Skipper inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?
In my first novel Jacob's Dory I actually included a dog called Skipper - rather tragically my main protagonist killed the dog and then her carcass was fed on by rodents - a bit gruesome but totally fictional!
Cat, postman, squirrel...?
Definitely squirrel - a terrier thing. She loves our postman too much to bark at him.
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?
Squeaky toy - although she prefers my socks to anything other than something edible.
Who is Skipper's best pet-pal?
Being dog walkers she comes into contact with many different dog breeds, all shapes and sizes - her favourite is a cavapoo called Kip. We use Skipper whenever we take on a new puppy as a client, she's so gentle with them, even if the dog's owners look at her mouthful of teeth (she has an unnerving propensity to smile) with a degree of horror!
What is Skipper's best quality?
Despite Airedales having a reputation for being stubborn and aloof, our Skipper is the most loving dog I've ever come across. She is loyal, funny and is happiest when she sits on the sofa between us all. She is our baby, no doubt.
If Skipper could change one thing about the English, what would it be?
The thing she would change about the English is she would tell us "Get some sunscreen on, you know you burn at the first sight of the sun." She would also change anyone who is uptight about dogs.
If Skipper could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?
I would ask Skipper "Are you happy and contented little woofer, and if not, what can I do to make it better?"
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Skipper could speak, who should voice her?
Now if Hollywood came knocking I would want - despite her being a female dog with a male name - either James Mason or Orson Welles to speak her part.
What advice would Skipper give if asked?
Her advice would be "Eat, Love and bazz about that's what will make you happy."
Visit Peter Hutson-Jones's website.