Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Rebecca Hodge & Tess and Kalen

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Rebecca Hodge, an author whose debut novel, Wildland, releases in February. I’m a veterinarian and have worked for the past twenty years in clinical research, focusing on drug development for metabolic disease in humans. The two crazy dogs who are ‘helping’ me unpack my Advance Reader copies of the book are Tess, the brown mixed breed, who’s twelve years old, and Kalen, the white mixed breed, who’s eighteen months.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Although I love the way coffee smells, I’m actually a hardcore tea drinker. It’s the way I start my day, and there’s usually a mug at my side when I’m writing. The dogs are my writing assistants and are generally underfoot at all times.

What's brewing?

My favorite go-to tea is Republic of Tea Vanilla-Almond Black Tea, but I also love their Golden Yunan.

Any treats for you or the dogs on this occasion?

They’re very good at giving me long pitiful looks to get Milk Bones.

How were you and Tess and Kalen united?

Both dogs were rescue puppies. At Tess’s age, I was hesitant to add a second dog, but it was a great decision--- she acts five years younger with Kalen around to keep her on her toes.

How did the dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Tess was named by my sons, and I picked Kalen’s name out of a baby name book. I occasionally mumble ‘idiot dog’ under my breath, but no true aliases.

Do your dogs do more to help or hinder your writing?

One of the best ways for me to get unstuck in my writing is to go for a walk, and since these two are firm believers in long walks, I think I have to admit they help more than hinder.

Have any actual dogs ever inspired dogs in your fiction?

My fictional dogs are truly fiction, but since I’ve been around dogs all my life, hopefully their characters ring true.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

All elicit strong interest if they come close to the house, but what really gets things going is if they spot a deer out front. [photo left]

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Balls and stuffed toys that can be dismembered are the favorites.

Where is your dogs' favorite outdoor destination?

Shelley Lake, a nearby city park with walking paths.

What is each dog's best quality?

Tess is the calm snuggler, and Kalen is the high-energy spring-loaded crazy dog—except when sound asleep in bizarre pretzel-shapes. [photo right]

If Tess and Kalen could change one thing about North Carolina, what would it be?

Too hot in the summer!

If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

What do you dream about at night?

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Tess and Kalen could speak, who should voice them?

Yeardley Smith, who does an awesome job with Lisa on The Simpsons.

What advice would Tess and Kalen give if asked?

They are not allowed on the furniture, so I think they’d advise it’s time for their own couch.

Visit Rebecca Hodge's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Arlene Gillo & Bruce Wayne and Jean Grey

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Arlene Gillo. I’m an acupuncturist for people and animals. But I’m also a writer of my Bruce Wayne books. The sweet boy with me is Bruce Wayne, age 9. He is an American Staffordshire or pit bull, and the main character of my book.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I’m here because I enjoy a good cup of coffee after taking these guys on a morning hike. We usually do at least 3 miles and then I get to relax with my coffee while Bruce Wayne and Jean Grey chill out with the treats and water that I bring for them.

What's brewing?

I’m having a cappuccino. I love a good cappuccino on special occasions, and today is a special occasion.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

The dogs will be having their beef jerky. My treat is the cappuccino...yum!

How were you and Bruce Wayne and Jean Grey united?

I adopted Bruce Wayne from the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation. I just fell in love with his adoption picture when I saw it on Petfinder. I adopted Jean Grey from the cattle dog rescue site. I wanted Bruce Wayne to have a sister so that the wouldn’t be alone when I went to work.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

When I adopted Bruce Wayne, he was just called Bruce. I told my boyfriend that his name was too ordinary. So, we thought of all the interesting people/characters named Bruce and we came up with Bruce Wayne. When I found out that Jean Grey was a red Merle, my boyfriend and I thought of a superhero who was a red head, thus Jean Grey from the X-Men. My last three dogs were also named after a superhero.

Please tell us about your book, Bruce Wayne Is Insane: Meeting Ninja Kitty.

It’s about Bruce Wayne, a young pit bull who is newly adopted and therefore, new to the neighborhood. He meets a cat in his backyard. They decide to be friends, and the cat ends up teaching him martial arts. It’s about acceptance, friendship and having fun while learning something new.

What is each dog's best quality?

Bruce Wayne is so patient and tolerant. He will let me do anything to him, i.e. brush his teeth, clean his ears, etc. Jean Grey won’t allow me to do those things to her. However, Jean Grey obeys the commands I give her. If I tell her to go outside, she’ll run out. If I tell her to wait, she will. Bruce Wayne won’t do that. He’ll look at me as if to say, “I’ll think about it.”

Tennis ball, stick, squeaky-toy...?

Bruce Wayne isn’t into toys. Jean Grey loves squeaky toys and tennis balls. She can play fetch for a long time.

Postman, cat, squirrel...?

Bruce Wayne is a natural predator. He likes to chase the squirrels and birds. Of course, both he and Jean Grey bark at the postman, UPS guy and any person near the front gate.

If Bruce Wayne and Jean Grey could change one thing about you, what would it be?

They would want me to relax. They know I work a lot. And, possibly, Bruce Wayne would want me to vacuum only once a day.

If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

I would ask Jean Grey if shares the food she finds on the kitchen counter with Bruce Wayne when I accidentally forget to put food away when I go to work. She jumps on the kitchen counter and sink when I leave for work to look for food. I’ve seen her do it.

Then I would ask Bruce Wayne to confirm her answer.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, who should voice them?

Seth Rogen would do Bruce Wayne, and Anne Hathaway would do Jean Grey.

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

They would say, “Have fun...stick your head out of the car window some time and feel how good it is.”

Visit Arlene Gillo's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Patrick Chiles & Frankie and Beanie

Who is in the photo at right?

Frankie is on the right, Beanie is on the left. They are both 10-year-old male dachshunds. Beanie is a purebred, long-haired mini and Frankie is a rescue dog. We thought he might be part Beagle but we’ve seen pictures of Basset / Dachshund mixes that are dead ringers for him. And he has kind of a Basset howl when he wants attention.

(I'm Patrick Chiles, author of Frozen Orbit.)

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Who needs an occasion for coffee and dogs? If I’m awake I’m never far from a cup of coffee, especially when writing. And these two follow me everywhere, Beanie in particular. Frankie can be hard to pull off of his blanket pile on the sofa. We attribute that to him having had a hard life on the streets before we adopted him.

What's brewing?

Starbucks French Roast is my go-to home brew.

Any treats for you or the dogs on this occasion?

The coffee is the treat!

How were you and Frankie and Beanie united?

We got Beanie from a couple we knew who bred Dachshunds. He was about six weeks old, which we found out later was probably too young for us to take in. It’s made him extremely attached to us and he probably has some separation anxiety. We found Frankie a few years later at the Franklin County (OH) animal shelter. He’d been a stray for most of the winter and was half-starved. When we brought him home, he immediately got settled in on a pile of sofa pillows and decided he was going to relax for the rest of his life. He’s pretty much the opposite of half-starved now.

How did the dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Beanie got his name because he was literally the size of a Beanie Baby. Frankie’s was a friend’s suggestion: “Franks and Beans, the Weiner Dogs.”

Do your dogs do more to help or hinder your writing?

Beanie thinks he helps. I can’t sit at the keyboard without him wanting to be in my lap or by my side. He’s been there for every book I’ve written. I should probably give him co-author credit at some point.

Have any actual dogs ever inspired dogs in your fiction?

Audrey, a character from Farside, has a dachshund named Wernher (for Von Braun, and she’s a rocket scientist. Original, I know).

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

We have a Maine Coon kitty named BeeBee (for Big Butt). She’s affectionate towards Beanie but doesn’t like Frankie. It’s quite sad.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Frankie doesn’t much care about toys as long as he’s got his blanket pile on the sofa. Beanie is obsessive about playing fetch with a Kong first thing in the morning. I toss it around until the first cup of coffee is done, then give him some peanut butter. That’s his signal that Dad needs a break for the second cup of coffee. He also has this ceramic chew bone he won in a Halloween pet costume contest something like nine years ago (dressed as a banana). He’s worn it down to the nub but is obsessively protective of it, like Gollum with The Precious. We just call it the Crack Bone.

Where is your dogs' favorite outdoor destination?

Anywhere we can take them for walks is pretty much their favorite thing.

What is each dog's best quality?

Both are very affectionate, sometimes too much so. Dachshunds like being close to their humans. And as a breed they’re hilarious by nature.

If Frankie and Beanie could change one thing about Ohioans, what would it be?

If we were still in Columbus I’d say obsessive Buckeye fandom. We live in Tennessee now so I guess that’s kind of a moot point.

If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

Why do you like digging through the bathroom garbage? Never mind, I probably don’t want to know.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Frankie and Beanie could speak, who should voice them?

Mel Blanc. He could do anything.

What advice would Frankie and Beanie give if asked?

Belly rubs are the key to inner peace and contentment.

Visit Patrick Chiles's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Carlie Sorosiak & Dany

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Carlie Sorosiak, author of I, Cosmo, a middle-grade novel told from the perspective of an ageing golden retriever who’s trying to hold his human family together through a tumultuous year. With me is Dany, my one-and-a-half-year-old American dingo. She doesn’t like the camera very much!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Every Tuesday, I take Dany to Starbucks. We go through the drive-thru, then have our goodies in the car before shopping at Hollywood Feed, her favorite pet food store. There, she picks out her treats for the week. Yes, she’s spoiled.

What's brewing?

I’m a sucker for chai lattes with almond milk.

Any treats for you or Dany on this occasion?

I always get Dany a pup-uccino with biscuit topper (basically, a cup full of whipped cream).

How were you and Dany united?

My husband and I picked her up from the Atlanta Humane Society. She was the last puppy left at 5 pm on a Saturday, because she looked terrible. Her face was bleeding. She had four different types of worms. And we said, we’ll take her!

On her forms, she was labeled “shepherd mix.” Turns out she’s a dingo. Who knew?

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

My husband and I are huge Game of Thrones fans. Dany’s full name is Daenerys Dogaryen, Queen of the Iron Bone. She also responds to “dingo.”

Does Dany do more to help or hinder your writing?

Hinder. One-hundred percent hinder. She wants to play, play, play, play… I do love this about her.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

All of the above.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Again, all of the above. Dany does not discriminate when it comes to playtime.

Where is Dany's favorite outdoor destination?

She really loves national parks. If I had to pick, I’d say that her favorite is Cowpens National Battlefield. Lots of great smells! Squirrels aplenty!

Who is Dany's best pet-pal?

A pocket-lab named Chloe. They love to stretch out in the sunshine together.

What is Dany's best quality?

Her intelligence. Funnily enough, that is also her worst quality.

If Dany could change one thing about Georgians, what would it be?

They always want to pet you! Dany is afraid of strangers, so I think she’d prefer if they were much more aloof.

If Dany could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?

I’d ask her what happened before I met her.

She was found alone on the streets of South Carolina. How’d she get there? What happened to her mother, father, siblings?

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Dany could speak, who should voice her?

Emilia Clarke, because it’s only fitting.

What advice would Dany give if asked?

There is no such thing as too much chicken.

Visit Carlie Sorosiak's website.

--Marshal Zeringue