Who is in the photo at right?
That’s me, Diane Rose-Solomon, in the middle; I’m a humane educator. I also write books about animal rescue. Gonzo is the studly blonde guy (whose face is partially hidden), he’s 7 and your guess about his breed is as good as ours. We think he’s some type of terrier, maybe some Whippet or Italian Greyhound and maybe Chihuahua? Ninja is the raven colored dapper dude, also 7 and from the side he looks like a Labrador, and from the front, some type of Pit Bull. Someone once asked me if he’s a Labrabull.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Considering Ninja is my Velcro dog, if I’m home and drinking coffee (or water, or tea, or wine) he’s generally nearby. We start the day in my home office predawn before the family gets up. He goes back to sleep on the daybed while I drink green tea, stretch, meditate and journal. When Gonzo hears the leashes come out of the drawer, he extricates himself from the warm bed upstairs.
Morning time is Genmaicha green tea and some days I’ll have a decaf Groundworks or Peets coffee. Iced in the summer.
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
I carry a bag of treats on our daily walks and use them for training purposes. Fun for them and they no longer go ballistic when they see other dogs. But if they just look at me they get a treat, so we connect a lot. They also get a treat after the walk too. Lucky dogs.
How were you and your dogs united?
We had heard about a boxer red listed to be euthanized who was pulled from the shelter by a local rescue group. By the time we got to the shelter to meet him he had already been adopted. They asked if we wanted a puppy instead and I said “no puppy!” You know what they did? They opened the door to the puppy room and let this six month old puppy out to greet us. My kids shrieked “A Puppy!” I lost. The puppy came home with us.
We found Ninja on Petfinder.com. Our gorgeous dog T-bone had just crossed the Rainbow Bridge and my son wanted a black lab. I wanted a Pit Bull type dog and we found Ninja. Something for everyone.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
Gonzo is named for the muppet and also Gonzo journalism. We call him Little Man because he’s a Little Man! Often pronounced “Leetle Man”.
Ninja came with the name Jay because he had a big white “J” on his chest. That didn’t work for us because our first dog (and the namesake of my children’s book series) was JJ. It also didn’t fit. We soon realized that he was very stealthy. Seriously- how does a 65 pound dog with jingly tags sneak up on me while I’m washing the dishes every single time.
Please tell us about your new book.
What to Expect When Adopting a Dog, my newest book, is a guide to successful dog adoption for every family. In five modules, I lead the reader through the steps they should take to decide on a dog, then through the adoption process, as well as lifelong care.
What is each dog's best quality?
Gonzo is great at sitting in your lap, curling up with you while you are sleeping and making a part howl part bark sound when you come home. It sounds like “Rooo” and we call it Rooing.
Ninja is just funny. He’ll get up on the banquette after dinner and put his face on the table. Nothing cuter.
They both make coming home the greatest thing in the world. There’s an imaginary red carpet when I open the door. I feel special and loved.
Tennis ball, stick, squeaky-toy...?
Ninja would play with them all, but he destroys everything and then the dogs get into a fight, so only sometimes do they get balls, and it’s always supervised. Since he loves greeting us with something, when we walk in the door, he grabs one of his light dog beds and shakes it and runs around the house with it. Very proud.
Postman, cat, rabbit...?
All of the above. Squirrels too. Keeps me on my toes on a walk.
If your dogs could change one thing about Angelenos, what would it be?
My dogs would simply want everyone to love each other for their unique beauty, kind of like the way we love them for their unique mutt beauty.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
Ninja: Why must you bring possums in the house?
Gonzo: What in the world did you eat to elicit that smell from your body?
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, who should voice them?
Ninja alternates between Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle, and Jack Black as Kung Fu Panda and Gonzo is sometimes Bert Lahr who played the cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, and Clint Eastwood. Mostly Bert Lahr.
What advice would your dogs give if asked?
Ninja would highly recommend laying on ones back, with legs splayed as a means of relaxation and stretching whilst soliciting belly rubs. He would also suggest sloppy dog kisses as a means of makeup removal.
Gonzo would recommend turning off the heat in winter and sleeping as close to a human as possible instead.
Visit Diane Rose-Solomon's website and learn more about What to Expect When Adopting a Dog.