Who is in the photo at right?
The magnificent German Shepherd in the photo is Bridget. She’s a rescue, so no one knows her age for sure, but she’s probably about six. I, Kristin von Kreisler, am her devoted human. Every day she accompanies me to my office, where I write novels about dogs – and she never gets jealous. She loyally supported me through my first novel, An Unexpected Grace, about a golden, and my last novel, Earnest, about a yellow Lab.
What’s the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Bridget and I start every day with teatime. We commune in silence, or we “talk” – and anybody who loves a dog knows that words are not necessary for intense conversation. Sometimes Bridget mentions the raccoon who visited in the night or the neighborhood cat whom she hopes to teach a thing or two on our walk in the afternoon. I often bring up concerns about the workday I am about to begin: what to do with a certain scene, for example, or how to get a certain character out of trouble. Bridget and I are best friends. She understands everything.
I drink a London Fog, which is black tea, topped with skim milk and vanilla syrup, whipped into foam. Bridget sometimes slurps water from her bowl.
Any treats for you or Bridget on this occasion?
There is always a biscuit for Bridget. Currently her favorite flavor is gourmet peanut butter, but she will stoop to anything in biscuit form. I hate to admit that once in a while, I get distracted and forget to give her a biscuit at teatime, and she looks at me with desperation in her eyes. They say as clearly as anyone ever said anything, How could you?! Surely, you don’t intend to neglect me. Of course, I, the absent-minded brute, rush to her biscuit jar and feed her immediately. Thank goodness she is very forgiving.
How were you and Bridget united?
I found the Washington German Shepherd Rescue online, and their volunteer sent me to a man (well, a saint), who lives in Seattle and was fostering Bridget. She had been picked up in the San Bernardino desert – starving and infested with worms, fleas, and ticks. Someone took her to a shelter, where a vet decided that she should be put down. In the nick of time the Washington rescuers arrived and spirited her away, and then they brought her back to health. Without those people’s kindness, Bridget would have perished. Now she is confident and gorgeous. I’m not prejudiced or anything, but I think she’s a miracle.
How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?
She was named Bridget when I met her, so I kept the name to keep her from getting confused. Of course, I have endless pet names for her: Bridgie, Precious, Beauty Dog, Adorable Girl, Sweetie Pie, and the list goes on.
Does Bridget do more to help or hinder your writing?
She absolutely helps my writing. In my office she lounges on her bed and keeps a careful eye on me – and keeps me calm. If I get stumped on something, I turn to her and ask her opinion. She may not have a solution to my problem, but, far more important, she listens and seems to care. She radiates love, which travels across my office and feeds my spirit.
Please tell us about your new novel.
My new novel, Earnest, is about a couple who split up and fight over custody of their yellow Lab. Being a wise and sensitive dog, he has plenty to teach them about love and forgiveness, and he helps them grow in ways they never knew they could.
Has Bridget inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?
I am currently working on a new novel, Justice, about a German Shepherd K-9. I’ve had six Shepherds in my life so I know a lot about the breed! Justice, my new fictional Shepherd, has Bridget’s loyalty and devotion. But he also has the fierce courage of Logan, my Shepherd before her. Justice may be a combination of all the Shepherds I have loved.
Cat, postman, squirrel…?
Bridget’s archfoes are the raccoons who like to sit in my plum tree after dark and look down on her with amusement. I can’t blame her for barking at them because they are not so respectful as they should be. It’s her plum tree, after all, and they have trespassed in her yard. Fortunately, her arguments with them are not too ferocious.
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick…?
Bridget’s favorite possession is a rubber owl with secret pockets, where I stash tiny heart-shaped biscuits for her to eat before I leave her home alone. She also loves to gallop across the lawn in pursuit of her Frisbee, and she has a ball that she buried in her bed.
Who is Bridget’s best pet-pal?
Tula, a huge, galumphing Great Pyrenees. They like to romp on the lawn together.
What is Bridget’s best quality?
She is caring, kind, and loving. And loyal. And devoted. You can’t just ask for a single best quality when she is such a sterling dog!
If Bridget could change one thing about Washingtonians, what would it be?
I think she’d suggest that the winter rains stop. Since she came from Southern California, it took her awhile to get used to cold and storms.
If Bridget could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?
I have two crucial questions: What was your life like before I found you? And what can I do to make you the happiest dog in the world?
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Bridget could speak, who should voice her?
Hmmm. Maybe Maggie Smith for her elegance and spunk.
What advice would Bridget give if asked?
Chill! Enjoy! Life is just a bowl of biscuits!
Visit Kristin von Kreisler's website.