Thursday, March 14, 2019

Elisabeth Elo & Freddie

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Elisabeth Elo, author of suspense novels, with Freddie, my three-year-old golden doodle (1/4 golden retriever, ¾ poodle).

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Freddie and I go out to get coffee every morning. We drive, and he usually sits on the middle console leaning into my shoulder. Or he sits in the passenger street paying close attention to dogs on their morning walk. By this time, he’s already had a good romp in the dog park.

What's brewing?

Large latte. I heat it up some more when I get it home because I like it very hot. Then I put it in the trusty pink thermos my daughter gave me, and it gets me through a few hours of work. I’m always sorry when it’s done.

Any treats for you or Freddie on this occasion?

Freddie has breakfast at this time. When he’s finished eating, he comes over to lick his chops at me and get patted. If I don’t pay attention to him right away, he swipes my leg with his paw. I think he likes to share the joy of a good meal.

How were you and Freddie united?

I was allergic to the last dog we had and spent twelve years sniffling and feeling scratchy whenever I got too close to him. It was OK because that dog was really my kids’ dog and he got lots of attention from them. I knew that our next dog would be mostly mine, and I couldn’t risk feeling uncomfortable around him, so I figured he would have to be a poodle or poodle mix. I did a lot of research and visited a number of breeders. In the end the search was entirely worth it because Freddie is a fabulous dog and I’m symptom-free.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Just out of the blue. Freddie feels like someone you’d like to hang around with—a friendly, low-maintenance kind of guy. However, he does have names for different facets of his personality. His formal title is Frederick the Great, and in certain circles he’s known as Freddie Wop.

As T.S. Eliot pointed out in his famous poem “The Naming of Cats,” an animal sometimes has a name known to him alone: “An ineffable effable / Effanineffable / Deep and inscrutable singular Name.” I have reason to believe that Freddie also possesses one of these secret mysterious Names, but of course I’ll never know for sure.

Does Freddie do more to help or hinder your writing?

He keeps me from working in coffee shops because I don’t want to leave him alone for too long. That may seem like a hindrance, but it’s actually not, because I think coffee shops were just a distraction for me anyway. Now that I have Freddie, I just sit at my desk in the morning without a lot of futzing around (but with coffee). We mostly ignore each other until about three-thirty in the afternoon when, without fail, he comes over and swipes my leg with his paw as if to say, “That’s enough. Take a damn break, would you?”

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Freddie loves all sentient beings with the exception of dogs larger than himself. He spends a lot of time resting on the couch looking out the window and, when he sees one of these possible aggressors on the street, he reacts with sudden, protective vigor. I can usually talk him out of this reaction, and he usually complies, but not before he’s looked at me as if I clearly have no idea what I’m talking about it.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Ball, unless there are other dogs around to play with. In the house, he tears up old T-shirts.

Where is Freddie's favorite outdoor destination?

Anywhere with my husband, who often takes long walks.

What is Freddie's best quality?

Unquenchable joie de vivre.

If Freddie could change one thing about you, what would it be?

He’s not judgmental at all. He likes everyone just the way they are, including me.

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

What can I do to make your life happier?

What advice would Freddie give if asked?

Don’t worry. We’re not meant to know everything.

Visit Elisabeth Elo's website.

--Marshal Zeringue