Who is pictured in these photos?
That's me, Gail Pyne, Bella Blue and Seamus O'Malley. I'm a certified Fitness Professional and a Running and Wellness coach. I blog at Capablefitness.com. It's not all about fitness. I'm quite opinionated on many issues, as it turns out. Bella Blue is a Blue Tick Coonhound mix. She turned 11 this year. Seamus O'Malley is an Irish Setter who just turned 5.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine? What's brewing? Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
In Canada, it is your civic duty to stop at Tim Hortons every morning for a cup of Joe. I'm not kidding. There is a Tim Hortons on every corner in most urban areas. I have one that I walk to. Tim Horton was a Canadian hockey legend, and we take hockey pretty seriously here in Canada. The shop that I go to has a convenient area that the dogs can be tied to and be admired by patrons as I purchase my medium coffee, double cream, single sugar. I rarely have anything other than my coffee, as I eat a pretty healthy breakfast every day at my home, but both dogs get a plain Tim Bit. They are given free to dogs, if you ask. If either of my dogs ever get lost, this Tim Hortons is where I would look first. They'd likely be sitting by the doors....
How were you and your dogs united?
Bella Blue was found wandering the streets as a puppy in 2005. She was promptly turned over to a local shelter which is where my husband and I found her. No one at the shelter had any background on her. We just call her awesome. It fits pretty nicely. Seamus O'Malley hails from North Carolina. We got him as a two month old puppy in 2011 when we were living in Raleigh. He turned 5 a few months ago. As a puppy he loathed being cuddled and would try and nibble my ears and then squirm out of my arms. Now that he is 80 pounds he absolutely insists on being cuddled and disregards his size as an obstacle to that. On the bright side, he has discontinued his ear chomping. He's our third Irish, so clearly we are obsessed.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
Bella Blue was named by a neighbor. Seems rather "hands off" of me, I know. In my defense, I wanted Blue to be a part of her name. I could not just call her Blue because it was too male sounding. A neighbor suggested Bella Blue, and as it rolled off the tongue nicely, I jumped on it. I did not realize at the time that the Twilight series of novels were extremely popular and that Bella was about to become the most fashionable dog name ever. Thank goodness I had the Blue part.... Her alias is Basement Bella. She is terrified of storms and when one is brewing she bolts for her crate, which is in the basement. Lately she has been forgoing the basement and heading to a spare bathroom off our offices. We may have to change her alias to Bathroom Bella.
Seamus (pronounced Shay-mus) O'Malley was named by my husband and I, after we had a hotly debated back and forth Facebook post to my friends and family. I had thrown out the names Clancy, Seamus and Finnegan. Seamus won by a landslide. It was my favorite as well. I chose the O'Malley part. We've had second names for all our dogs and I didn't want to stop with Seamus. His alias is Shameless O'Malley because he's pretty much shameless. He's embarrassed by nothing and assumes he is always the center of attention.
You're a fitness professional and a runner; do your dogs run with you?
Sadly, Bella Blue's running days are far behind her now. She gets a daily walk, but that is all her arthritic hind legs can tolerate. Seamus O'Malley is my eager running partner. He's always game for a run, though in our hot summer months he can't come with me. His running alias is Sir Poops-a-Lot. I just look at our frequent poop stops as interval training. Heart rate up...heart rate down...heart rate up....the kids in the neighborhood call him The Big Red Dog. My favorite running loop takes us through the village of Bronte where the children love to watch him drag me along!!
Where is the dogs' favorite outdoor destination?
Lake Ontario. We are lucky to live within a couple of blocks of it. They love the water, the geese and the ducks.
What is each dog's best quality?
Bella Blue's watchdog skills and Seamus O'Malley's kindness. When I was diagnosed with cancer, and while recovering, Seamus seemed to know how sacred I was and would just be there for me. When I was at my lowest, he was there to remind me that wallowing in self pity was not going to help. Plus, even though I had cancer, Seamus still needed to go outside to pee....
Tennis ball, stick, squeaky-toy...?
For Bella Blue it is the tennis ball. Seamus? All three. He's never met a ball, stick or squeaky toy he didn't like.
Postman, cat, squirrel...?
For both dogs it's all three, but while Bella Blue wants all three dead, Seamus just wants to be friends.
If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?
Bella would erase from my mind all knowledge of nutrition and my belief in food portion control. There are days where I'm sure she thinks I'm starving her. Seamus O'Malley would change my attitude towards training and tell me that some runs don't need a Garmin GPS watch and proper pace....some runs can just be for fun.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
I would ask Bella Blue why she loves to eat Kleenex and toilet paper. I would ask Seamus O'Malley why he is terrified to step on wet stones.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, who should voice them?
Dame Maggie Smith for Bella Blue. She has the right amount of imperiousness. Rupert Grint for Seamus O'Malley. I feel only a red head can get another red head.
What advice would your dogs give if asked?
To appreciate the now, rather than fret about the future. Also, always scrape the poop off the bottom of your paws, and then move on.
Visit the Capable Fitness website and Facebook page.