Who is in the photo at right?
I’m Con Lehane, a mystery writer. I live in Kensington, Maryland. But my books are set in New York, where my heart is. My pal here is Lola, an almost eight-year old Rottweiler, whom my son acquired when he was in college. Even so, she’s been with me over the past eight years more than with anyone else, since I’ve been retired and writing full-time for almost as long as she’s been around. We take a walk around the neighborhood early in the morning after everyone else in the household—except for the cat and the chihuahua—have gone to work and gotten out of the way. She’s friends with the kids at the bus stop and most of the dogs in the neighborhood. She’s picked up a touch of arthritis since she’s gotten older and doesn’t play in the park or with her friend the lab next door as much as she used.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
We have coffee at home after the walk, at least I do. I feed her and the rest of the crew and then me breakfast. After breakfast, I finish the newspaper and my coffee, and Lola chews a rawhide strip. Then I get to work and she goes to sleep.
Free trade French roast coffee, black, no sugar.
Any treats for you or Lola on this occasion?
Her rawhide and an occasional dog treat.
How were you and Lola united?
My son got the dog near the end of college and began leaving her here as he traveled (to law school for three years, for example). I was actually worried when he got a Rottweiler, based on their reputation as fearsome dogs, so I demanded that everyone in the family get to know her really well when she was a puppy, so she knew her place when she grew up to be ninety pounds or so. She turned out to be the sweetest dog imaginable, as I said, friends with kids, dogs, everyone but the mailman.
How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?
My son named her Lola.
Does Lola do more to help or hinder your writing?
When things get bogged down in my writing—fairly often—I like to walk. Lola’s pretty good at helping with that. We’re both the poking along, as opposed to the brisk, sort of walkers, though she does a lot more sniffing than I do.
Has Lola inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?
Actually, in my latest book—not Murder at the 42nd Street Library, which comes out in April—the one I just turned in, the second in the series, a dog enters the story near then end and he’ll stay around for future episodes.
Cat, postman, squirrel…?
Lola lives with a cat. She used to chase him once in a while. He’s an older, ornery sort and put her in her place early on. They’re not friends but they get along. The chihuahua has more battles with the cat. The cat’s pretty much undefeated in those also.
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick…?
She did all those in the old days, not so much these days. She’s content with her rawhide.
Who is Lola's best pet-pal?
I mentioned the lab next door whom she played with as a puppy. Later on, she fell in love with a really big lab named Murphy, who visited the neighbors frequently. She’d always know when he arrived next door. She’d run to wherever I was, whimpering and hopping around. At first, I had no idea what was going on with her. After a couple of times, I realized she only acted like that when Murphy arrived next door. Sure enough, I’d look out the window and there would be Murph, the true indomitable spirit. They’d growl and snarl and throw each other around the (neighbor’s) yard for hours. Fortunately, everyone—the neighbors, Murphy’s owner, me—was okay with their friendship.
What is Lola's best quality?
She’s absolutely loyal and amazingly protective, as gentle and sweet as she is. She’s also a peacemaker among dogs. Next door or in the dog park, if a couple of dogs start going at each other, she jumps on them and breaks up the fight. She’d make a good bartender.
If Lola could change one thing about you, what would it be?
She would have me give her more treats, more often and have me go the way she wants to go when we’re walking, rather than the way I want to go. The way she wants to go is always through the park and up the street to Petsmart, where she gets treats from the cashiers.
If Lola could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?
Does something hurt? Where does it hurt? She never really lets on if she’s in pain. You sort of have to figure it out because she’s being quieter than normal or something like that.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Lola could speak, who should voice her?
I really don’t know on this one, maybe Kate Winslet.
What advice would Lola give if asked?
Be nice to everyone, sort of walk softly and show them your big teeth.
Visit Con Lehane's website.