Who is in the photo at right?
Harper (Boxer, girl, almost 3) and Thor (Rhodesian Ridgeback, boy, almost 3).
Janelle Fitzpatrick, creator of The Stair Barrier and owner of Better Options Company.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Working on the back porch with a little help from my 4 legged babies…who don’t quite fit on the couch.
Starbucks vanilla coffee with vanilla creamer frothed!
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
Harper has been very sick the last few weeks and pretty much refuses to eat anything but fresh roast beef….so breakfast for her was roast beef and medicine. Thor got the leftovers.
How were you and your dogs united?
My husband and I actually met while he was walking our old ridgeback (Harley) when she was just a puppy. It is a solid and true way to pick up the chicks! We got a boxer (Olivia) a year later. Olivia died way too young and Harley was set in her ways—she was used to being first kid and when we had our children, she just never attached to them the way they wanted. About 6 months after Harley passed (my kids had been asking for years, every letter to Santa, birthday wish, etc. for a puppy), my husband and I decided to surprise our children with a puppy for each of them. It was one of the best days ever! We said we were going to the apple orchard to pick apples, but we got lost and stopped at a house for directions (with GPS, my kids weren’t buying it…but nevertheless it was all I had) and I walked out with Harper. They were absolutely freaking out. Then I said, “Now we are going to pick apples” and then we drove to get Thor and there were Ridgeback puppies running everywhere—the kids were on to me at this point. Harper and Thor were actually born on the same day, 20 minutes apart. My husband and I had already met both of them prior. Thor was the biggest, calmest (at the time) lover—he just kept coming over for attention. Harper—just that face, it was love at first sight.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
Harper is named after Bryce Harper (my son’s favorite baseball player) and Thor is after…the almighty Thor/Chris Hemsworth movie, because he was so big. The funny thing is Thor is the biggest baby ever. He literally cries all day about everything; it is exhausting, but funny. He is a huge wimp; Harper is half his size and just rules his world. She rules all of us. It is her world and we just live in it. Harper is called Slumpy and Slumpster, because with her sad eyes she looks sad and it is just fun to say.
Do your dogs have a role at The Stair Barrier headquarters?
When I worked out of my house, I would say Harper was head of HR and Thor was my IT guy. We are currently looking for more space and something closer to my house. I am hoping to be able to bring at least one to work daily.
What is each dog's best quality?
Thor is just a huge lover and very protective of the family. He is the biggest baby except when he thinks someone is being hurt. Harper is so smart and feisty, such a huge personality.
If your dogs could change one thing about about you, what would it be?
That I worked less and was home more. Luckily my husband works from home and takes such great care of them.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
Thor—why do you cry all the time? Harper—Do you really think you are the boss around here? I don’t know the answer to Thor, but Harper would say Yes!
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, who should voice them?
So funny….we talk for our dogs all the time in the craziest voices. I am not a naturally funny person, but my kids crack up when I talk for the dogs (which I do daily). Thor—would be Scooby Doo or Owen Wilson (I think he did the voice for Marmaduke). Harper, would be Martin Lawrence as Big Momma (in Big Momma’s House).
What advice would your dogs give if asked?
Thor would say to “eat more beef” and Harper would say, “work less, play more.”
Visit The Stair Barrier website.