Monday, August 1, 2016

Michelle Schurman & Charlie

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Michelle Schurman and I am a freelance writer and blogger living in Calgary. This is my 4-year-old chocolate lab Charlie. I write for several parenting websites and magazines and have my own blog called Party of Five.

What’s the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

A trip to the dog park is a daily ritual for Charlie. Calgary has many wonderful off-leash dog parks; some of them have access to the river so the dogs can swim - and like most labs, Charlie is a water dog!! It’s a great spot for him to run and play with other canines.

What’s brewing?

My favorite coffee is a Starbucks non-fat light foam latte with cinnamon on top. That’s a mouthful isn’t it? If it’s hot out, I will have an iced latte with one Splenda. Some Starbucks locations will make Charlie a puppy latte, which is a mini-cup full of whip cream - he loves it!

Any treats for you or Charlie on this occasion?

Warm banana bread is one of my favorite treats to have with coffee. As for Charlie, he loves cheese, carrots or a Kong filled with peanut butter.

How were you and Charlie united?

In the fall of 2011, we decided to get a family dog. I was raised with labrador retrievers and I knew this would be a friendly athletic dog and perfect for our family. I found a wonderful breeder outside of Edmonton who raises beautiful chocolates and we waited several long months for the pups to be born. We finally got to see the litter and my kids picked our dog at 6 weeks old. Back then he was known as Blue Collar Male…we chose him because he was unique with a tuft of white fur on his chest.

How did your dog get his name?

I remember driving with the kids one day and we were trying to think of a great names for the dog. Their favorite show at the time was called Good Luck Charlie. They kept suggesting names of the characters in the show - Toby, Teddy, Gabe and Charlie. We liked the name Charlie the best and thought it would be cute to call him Charlie Brown.

Cat, postman, squirrel…?

There are a few rabbits in our neighborhood and if he sees one he can’t help but run after them. Charlie also loves to retrieve tennis balls…he can fit two in his mouth and we wonder if some day he’ll get three in there.

Charlie was a Texan for a while and is now back in Canada. What do you think he makes of the change?

Charlie is so easy going and has done great with the move. I think he loves the cooler weather here in Canada; the heat and humidity in Texas made daytime walks almost unbearable. However, I know he misses our backyard pool.

Who is Charlie's best pet-pal?

Charlie’s best friend these days is a female lab mix named Hula. He also has loads of fun with his golden retriever cousin Oakley when they get to visit each other.

What is Charlie's best quality?

He has so many, but I think his best quality is that he is so friendly and social. He loves being where we are all the time, and he’s great with other dogs and kids.

If Charlie could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

Why, why, why do you eat crazy things like hair elastics, socks and food wrappers??

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Charlie could speak, who should voice him?

It’s funny you ask, because my husband and I often talk in what we imagine to be Charlie’s voice. It’s deep and kinda goofy. I think Don Messick, the original voice of Scooby Doo, would be the perfect voice for Charlie.

What advice would Charlie give if asked?

I think he would tell all of us to just “chill” and relax more. We are all so busy and stressed these days with work, kids and commitments. I think we all need to be more like dogs - happy go lucky and carefree!

Visit Michelle Schurman's website and the Party of Five blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

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