Who is in the photo at right?
I’m Yona Zeldis McDonough, a novelist and children’s book author. With me is Holden (left) and Willa (right). He is nine and she is ten; both are purebred Pomeranians. Before I adopted them they belonged to a breeder and were bred together, so I call them husband and wife. They had a puppy named Beebee. I got to meet her and she was darling!
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Unless I have an early appointment and have to race out, we have coffee together in my dining room every morning.
We have a snappy new Nepresso maker in lipstick red and I love it. Every morning I use it to make a vanilla latte with an extra hit of steamed milk. I call it Heaven in a Mug.
Any treats for you or Holden and Willa on this occasion?
I might toast a slice of my favorite spelt bread and spread it with apple or pear butter that my daughter brings me from a farm stand near Tivoli, New York; the dogs get bits of dried lamb lung, which they adore. The pet store owner where I buy it refers to it as “puppy crack.”
Are there many dog-friendly cafes in Park Slope?
Not nearly enough! Dogs are not welcome at most, which means I can’t stop in if I’m with them. I would never leave them tied up on the street—perish the thought!
[photo left: Willa]
You have a new novel that's just hit the bookstores. Are there any dogs in it?
Yes, there is an elegant and very well-behaved black standard poodle named Emma; she has a significant presence in the story. And there is also a brief, cameo appearance of brindle Pom pup named Panda.
What's the latest thing that Holden and Willa did to help your writing?
Just having them in my presence helps my writing. I feel good when I see them, and if I am stuck with a scene or a chapter, there’s always a little dog time to distract me.
How about to impede your writing?
When they bark hysterically at someone walking by!
Who are Holden and Willa's best pet-pals?
Holden [photo right] is not really into other dogs much though on occasion, he spends time in upstate New York with my daughter and she says he’s met some new doggy friends up there. Willa has no interest in other dogs.
And their favorite humans?
I am by far Holden’s favorite in our household. He seeks me out and wants to chill with me wherever I am. I often look deeply into his dark, soulful eyes; I feel we are communing.
For Willa, it’s my husband Paul. She circles, coughs, and whimpers to get his attention and she wants to sit in his lap or be held by him 24/7. She’s also very coy and even flirtatious (if a Pom can flirt!) in his presence—I think she’s in love with him!
What advice would Holden and Willa give if asked?
Willa: More belly rubs please!
Holden: Ignore the vet when he says I’ve gained weight and have to cut back on my portions.
Learn more about the author and her work at Yona Zeldis McDonough's website.
Coffee with a Canine: Yona Zeldis McDonough & Willa and Holden (October 2014).
Writers Read: Yona Zeldis McDonough.
The Page 69 Test: The House on Primrose Pond.