Who is in the photo at right?
That's me, Melissa, with my two fur babies - Gigi and Diego. Gigi is a 2-year-old toy Poodle and Diego is a 3-year-old Chihuahua! During the day, you can usually find us in this position - dogs on lap, laptop on knee, and coffee in hand. That's because I work from home as a writer and social media manager. I also run my own blog, Proud Dog Mom, where I share training tips, health advice, DIY dog project ideas, and original homemade dog treat recipes. My pups definitely enjoy their official day jobs as treat taste testers!
When we're not busy on the computer or creating healthy biscuits in the kitchen, you can usually find us on hikes, playing at the park, or on a road trip!
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Diego and Gigi wake me up every morning at 7:20 like clockwork (I really don't need to set an alarm clock with these two)! Once we're up, it's over to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee and get to work. Right now, my morning coffee is accompanied with a few dog treats because I'm in the middle of creating and testing new recipes for our upcoming cookbook, Proud Dog Chef! Our book will have everything from gluten-free biscuits to flourless pupcakes, jerky chews, frozen snacks, and even safe icing recipes.
In the morning, I love a breakfast blend. Since I'm all about quick and easy when I first wake up, I usually reach for a Green Mountain Keurig K-Cup. I like it black - no milk or sugar.
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
Right now my dogs are munching on my latest treat recipe, which is made from free-range chicken and a little turmeric. They are going crazy over them and I can't wait to share the recipe with everyone!
How were you and your dogs united?
When I moved half-way across the country for a job, it was the first time I didn't have a dog in my life. At first, I thought I would enjoy the quiet and lack of responsibility. That lasted two weeks! I very quickly realized that a house isn't a home without the sound of paws hitting against the floors and a wet nose waking you up in the morning. So I started searching for the perfect Chihuahua. Online, I came across a family that was looking to re-home their 2-month-old Chihuahua because they couldn't afford him. It was their last effort before taking him to the shelter. I met Diego the next day and we immediately clicked. I knew he was "the one!" He's been bringing my life joy ever since.
About a year later, I started working from home. That's when my boyfriend and I began toying with the idea of getting a second dog. We thought it would be fun for Diego to have a friend and I had the time to take care of another pooch. After a few weeks of searching with no luck, we stopped looking. Then, one of my boyfriend's co-workers came into their office with a photo of a toy Poodle puppy. The woman who bred her had passed away and he was trying to help find the puppy a home. We fell in love! We met her a few days later and immediately knew she was meant to be our next family member.
We've been one big happy family every since!
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
When Diego came into my life I wanted to honor his Mexican heritage. One of my good friends, whose family is from Mexico, turned to me and said, "How about Diego?" After a lot of online searching for the perfect name, it just clicked. A lot of times, though, I call him "Little Man." He responds to both!
Gigi has a similar story. Being a French dog, I wanted to give her a French name. I immediately came up with the name "Gigi" and my boyfriend thought it fit her perfectly. Since she is always smiling, I also call her "Happy Girl." I have a long list of nicknames for Gigi and she responds to all of them. I think she just assumes if I'm speaking then I must be talking to her!
Do your dogs have a role at your branch of Proud Dog Mom headquarters?
Diego and Gigi were the inspiration behind Proud Dog Mom. I often share our experiences with our readers. Also, the Proud Dog Mom Instagram is basically their personal photo album!
What is each dog's best quality?
Gigi has a heart of gold. She seriously loves everyone, wants to kiss all the time, and loves to play!
Diego is pretty much a human child trapped in a dog's body. Since I've been dressing him since he was a little puppy, he actually looks forward to getting dressed every morning. He also eats at the table with me. I put his plate at the edge of the table and he jumps up on a chair to keep me company. He truly is my best friend.
Tennis ball, stick, squeaky-toy...?
Definitely squeaky-toys. We have upwards of 50 plush toys in my house and Diego and Gigi are always playing with them. Tug-of-war and fetch are their favorite games.
If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?
They would come everywhere with me! While I work from home and try to take them out of the house as much as possible, there are certain places that I can't bring them (like the grocery store, yoga class, or movie theater). If it was up to them, though, they would be allowed wherever I go.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
This is a really funny question because so many times I look at my dogs and say to them: "I wish you could speak English!" After I pick Gigi up from the groomer I always ask her, "Were they nice to you?" And when Diego curls up in a little ball, I ask him, "Do you feel okay?"
I think my dogs and I communicate very well, but there are some things I really wish they could tell me in English.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, who should voice them?
My little man has a lot of attitude and is very confident, so I think Al Pacino would play a good Diego. Gigi is more fun and outgoing so probably someone like Isla Lang.
What advice would your dogs give if asked?
Spend less time working and more time playing!
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