Who is in the photo at right?
I'm novelist Ellen Byron. My dogs are Wiley and Pogo. Wiley’s the white one, and I like to call him a Corgi-jack-huahua. I don’t know if he has any Jack Russell in him, but he might. He’s definitely part Corgi. The tan-and-white furbaby is Pogo. He’s a Chihuahua mixed with some kind of terrier.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
I was taking a break from trying to outline the fourth book in my Cajun Country Mystery series. The doggies are always good for a break.
I actually don’t drink coffee. I despise the taste of it. Most people who don’t drink it usually enjoy coffee ice cream or chocolates. Not me. I can’t stomach anything coffee-flavored for some reason. So my beverage of choice is a jasmine green tea that I order loose-leaf in bulk from Coffee Direct through Amazon. I drink it straight up, no milk or sweeteners.
Any treats for you or Wiley and Pogo on this occasion?
Oh, there are always treats for my boys!
How were you and your dogs united?
They’re both rescues we adopted from the Amanda Foundation, a Beverly Hills-based animal rescue. We had Wiley for five years before we adopted Pogo. I used the excuse that he needed a friend, but to be honest, I wanted a second dog. I just love them. I’d have a dozen of them if I could.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
Wiley came with his name. For some reason, we never bothered to change it. Pogo was named Snoopy by the family that had to surrender him due to financial problems, but our daughter renamed him Pogo because he jumps up and down like a pogo stick. It fits him much better than Snoopy in our opinion.
Do Wiley and Pogo do more to help or hinder your writing?
I find their presence in the room when I write very comforting. But if I make eye contact with Pogo, he either jumps in my lap for affection or brings me a ball to throw. So that can be a hindrance, but it can also force me to take a much-needed break.
Have your dogs inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?
Absolutely! Gopher, the basset hound in my Cajun Country Mystery series, was inspired by our late lamented basset hound rescue, Lucy. I featured a dog inspired by Wiley in a mystery I’ve yet to sell, and I used Pogo as a model for a stray that Maggie, my protagonist, helps save in Body on the Bayou, the second book in my Cajun Country Mystery series. Then I felt badly about Wiley being in a book that hasn’t sold, so I turned him into the pet of a supporting character in the third book in my series, which is currently with the publisher.
Cat, postman, squirrel...?
Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?
Who are Wiley and Pogo's best pet-pals?
Right now, their besties are two little black rescue mutts who live up the street. But their best pal was truly Sophie, a retriever mix who lived across the street. Sadly, she crossed the rainbow bridge about a year ago. We all miss her.
What is each dog's best quality?
Their best qualities are the opposite of each other, interestingly enough. Wiley is totally chill and sweet. Pogo is rambunctious and assertive. He loves to play and demands affection, but in the cutest, funniest way. He’ll jump on your lap and nuzzle, or crawl under the covers and park himself next to you. They’re both super-loving, which is really rewarding.
If Wiley and Pogo could change one thing about Angelenos, what would it be?
The fact that they ignore the stop signs in our neighborhood.
If Wiley and Pogo could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
What else do you need from me to live a happy life?
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Wiley and Pogo could speak, who should voice them?
I think Wiley might be Owen Wilson and Pogo, Joe Pesci.
What advice would your dogs give if asked?
Spend less time working and more time petting us.
Visit Ellen Byron's website.