Who is in the photo at right?
I am Lisa Fleetwood and I’m an author and blogger from Sydney, Australia. I have three dachshunds. The black one is a male called Charlie and he is 6. His sister, Coco, died a few years ago and he was so lonely that we soon welcomed Rosie, the smaller dachshund on the left, and Barney, the bigger dachshund with the longer nose on the right. Mayhem then occurred! Charlie did not know what hit him with two puppies running around. They are both 2-1/2 now.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Today is a beautiful winters day in Australia today. Bright, sunny and ridiculously warm for winter at 26 degrees Celsius (78 in fahrentheit) so it is just too nice to be inside. We have a large yard and the dogs love being outside and sniffing around. Unfortunately while my son was taking pictures of me with the dogs I sat in dog poo, so that was fun...
White chocolate latte!
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
A rawhide chew for each. As you’ll see from the pictures they are actually sitting still for a change. It is very hard to get a nice picture of all three of them!
How were you and your dogs united?
Charlie (and Coco, his sister) came to us in 2010 after our two previous dachshunds died in their old age. We fell in love with them straight away. Even though both my husband and I had owned dachshunds our whole lives, I now realise that it was then that our true obsession with dachshunds began.
In my book Destination Dachshund, I discuss the tragic loss of Coco, and how hard it was to come to terms with her death. Made even more difficult that it happened just days before a long planned 3-month overseas holiday. We were devastated and instead of excitement about the holiday there was a lot a tears. In the end we left Charlie with our very good friends and departed on our holiday, still grieving.
On our return we welcomed Rosie and Barney into our lives – it was so hard to lose Coco, but these beautiful puppies certainly helped us come to terms with it.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
We just loved the name Charlie, although in truth I wanted to go with Pancho, as there had been 3 dachshunds named Pancho already in our extended family and I thought we were due for a Pancho IV. But the rest of the family did not agree, haha! So we went with Charlie. And we chose Coco because we loved the name too!
Again with Rosie we liked the name, but with Barney – one of our favourite characters on TV is Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother, and from the looks of this little cheeky dog we thought Barney would suit him and it does. He is a rascal! But so loveable!
What is each dog's best quality?
Charlie is such a good ‘big brother’ to the puppies it is so cute to watch. But also he is the most well behaved dog we have ever owned. He is calm and happy and loves cuddles.
Rosie is a ‘Mummy’s girl’ and follows me everywhere – she is so cute and she has such a tiny face! So lovely to hear her excited whine every time we return from an outing.
Barney is the funniest dog I have ever met. We literally laugh at his crazy antics so many times every day. He has the biggest personality, the loudest bark, but is so vulnerable and a little anxious as well. We can’t help but love him, and Rosie and Charlie so much.
Your travel memoir is titled Destination Dachshund: Three Months, Three Generations & Sixty Dachshunds. "Sixty?!" Please tell us about your book.
Destination Dachshund was inspired by a travel blog I wrote during the “trip-of-a-lifetime” my family was lucky enough to share with three grandparents a few years ago. As a writer, blogger, dog lover and keen traveler, writing a memoir combining all of these elements seemed like a natural thing to do.
It offers a unique twist on the travel memoir with an often hilarious global dachshund-spotting competition at the heart of my family’s journey – accompanied by my quite well-behaved in-laws – through Turkey, Russia, the Baltics, Europe and the USA. Just days before we left, Coco was bitten by a red belly black snake and died. It was so heartbreaking.
We are all crazy about dachshunds yet little did we know that our competitive search of the loveable sausage dog in each of the 15 countries we visited would leave such an indelible mark on all seven of us. We spotted sixty on the trip and it really helped with our grief over Coco.
Tennis ball, stick, squeaky-toy...?
All of the above! Barney is the only one who can play fetch successfully, and loves to play fetch with a tennis ball. All three love toys and it is so hilarious to watch the play by play between them when they all want the same toy. This is when the true hierarchy of the three dogs is revealed. Charlie is the King and if he has a toy he guards it and it is so funny funny trying to watch Rosie and Barney attempt to get it off him!
Postman, cat, rabbit...?
Cat, postman, gardener, any visitor, snakes, lizards, birds, possums, turtles…. The list goes on.
If your dogs could change one thing about Sydneysiders, what would it be?
They would bring them more food.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
For Barney and Rosie: why do you bark at people constantly, people that we have welcomed into our home many, many, many times before?
For Charlie: Why do you roll in bird poo?
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, who should voice them?
Well, I think Barney should be voiced by Neil Patrick Harris since we named him after one of his characters. He has the cheeky demeanor for Barney. He would nail it.
Charlie should be voiced by Tom Hanks because he is just my favourite actor, and would play Charlie so well. Rosie by Ginnifer Goodwin as she is just so cute, like Rosie.
What advice would your dogs give if asked?
Feed me every time I bark, it’s not that hard, Mum!
And the ball, when it goes under the lounge, don’t leave me hanging – get it out straight away - please for the love of dachshunds, get it out straight away!
Now, we need to have a discussion about the doorbell. When someone presses it, please allow craziness and barking to consume all three of us for a full five minutes with no interruption.
I love you, all the time, don’t ever leave.
Visit Lisa Fleetwood's website.