Who is in the photo at right?
My name is Brooks Benjamin. I'm an author and a fifth-grade teacher. The adorable ball of fur beside me is LeeLoo. She's a thirteen-year-old German Shepherd mix.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
On the weekends, I always make Cuban Coffee. It's a guilty pleasure of mine and LeeLoo always thinks she's going to get a cup even though she never does.
That Café Cubano I mentioned. It's Café Bustelo espresso mixed with a healthy heaping of Zulka Morena sugar. There's quite a process that goes into making it, but it's totally worth it.
Any treats for you or LeeLoo on this occasion?
The coffee itself is a treat, really. But I always enjoy some toast and jam with it. For LeeLoo, there's a rawhide strip--her absolute favorite treat.
How were you and LeeLoo united?
My wife and I found LeeLoo at Petco when they were showcasing rescued animals for adoption. We knew we wanted a dog and when she ran (waddled, actually) up to us, she attacked us with licks and cuddles. That was when we knew it was meant to be.
How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?
She's named after Milla Jovovich's character from The Fifth Element. Sometimes we call her Poops. You probably don't need to ask why.
Does LeeLoo do more to help or hinder your writing?
Oh, she's more of a neutral contributor. When I'm writing, she enjoys lounging by my feet. There's the occasional bark, but I'm sure she's chasing off some disgusting monster, so I can't really be too upset.
Has LeeLoo inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?
Not yet, but there's always the potential. She's a pretty fun character in real life, so I'm sure she'll eventually make it into one of my books.
Cat, postman, squirrel...?
LeeLoo loves cats, hates the postman, and is incredibly intrigued by squirrels.
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?
LeeLoo's not much of a chaser, but she loves a good game of tug o' war, so I'll have to go with the squeaky toy built for two.
Who is LeeLoo's best pet-pal?
Our next door neighbor's dog, Maverick. I like to pretend they're dating. Although I think she's more into him than he's into her.
What is LeeLoo's best quality?
Her affection. LeeLoo never passes up a chance to show us love and we never pass up the chance to show her some, either.
If LeeLoo could change one thing about Tennesseans, what would it be?
She'd definitely tell them to love more. Also to stop throwing trash out their car windows because that's just plain rude.
If LeeLoo could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?
I'd ask her how we could make her life better. LeeLoo's basically our daughter and there's nothing we wouldn't do for her.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which LeeLoo could speak, who should voice her?
Alfre Woodard because her voice is the auditory embodiment of warmth and compassion.
What advice would LeeLoo give if asked?
Never come home without a pack of rawhide strips. Even if there are some already in the house. They're that important.
Visit Brooks Benjamin's website.
The Page 69 Test: My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights.
Writers Read: Brooks Benjamin.