Monday, March 27, 2023

Margaret Fenton & Roly, Lady and Mimi

Who is in the photo at right?

Hello! My name is Margaret Fenton, and I am a mystery writer from Birmingham, Alabama, USA. I write the Claire Conover social work series, which starts with Little Lamb Lost, followed by Little Girl Gone, and then Little White Lies. I have three dogs, and they are all Papillons. I have a male named Roly, and two females named Lady and Mimi. In the picture, Roly is in my lap, Lady is on the back of the chair, and Mimi is on the armrest to my right. Roly and Mimi are ten years old, and Lady is nine.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I drink coffee every day with my canines, or anyone else who shows up.

What's brewing?

I’m going to be totally honest: My husband is the coffee snob. He buys whole bean coffee and grinds it himself daily. We went through a time where he tried every brand of coffee, and he says the best is the stuff he gets at Sam’s Club. It’s called Pablo’s Pride and it comes from Guatemala. Honestly, I’ll drink anything but this is good stuff. And I like it black black black.

Any treats for you or the dogs on this occasion?

Not usually. I drink coffee in the morning and we don’t eat until lunch.

How were you and your dogs united?

Ten years ago, I wanted a dog. I’m allergic to cats so a dog was kinda the only option for a furry pet other than some form of rodent (no, thank you). My husband said he wasn’t a dog person and we couldn’t get one (Ha! So wrong). I literally begged and begged until he gave in, but his only stipulation was to get one like my brother had. At the time, my brother and his (now ex-) wife had a Papillion named Cinderella who was so beautiful and smart. So I found a lady here in Alabama who had Pap puppies for sale. I knew I wanted a male and she had three four-month-olds that were available. I went to her house and she took all the females out of the room and I sat on the floor with the three males. Roly walked over and sat in my lap. His birth-owner said, “I think that’s your dog.”

No truer statement has ever been uttered. So I bring Roly home and it takes, oh, about a month before my husband falls deeply, madly and truly in love with Roly. He looked at me and said, “Go get another one!” I called Roly’s birth-owner and she had Roly’s half-sister for sale, so we got her and that’s Lady. Mimi was my above-mentioned brother’s dog. He was very sick with diabetes and complications so we took Mimi in several years before he passed away in April of 2022.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Roly came out of his mother nice and round and plump, so they called him “the roly-poly one” and the name just stuck. He’s always been very food motivated. I was going to change his name to Doodlebug, and his birth-owner told me to call him by the name his knows, Roly, and then say Doodlebug after that and eventually drop the Roly and he will respond to his new name. Well, in all the chaos of being new pet parents and potty training and everything, we got lazy and he just became Rolybug. So the name change thing didn’t go very well. Lady was named by my two best friends. I told them we were getting a female puppy and they said to name her Lady, and then we’d have Rolybug and Ladybug. Brilliant! Mimi was named by my brother and mimi is the Japanese word for ears. Not hard to see why that name was perfect.

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

I don’t think they do either. They sit on a chair and I take breaks to be a Dog Butler and get the door for them. I swear I’m putting that title on my resume.

Have your actual canines inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Not yet. I have dreams of writing a cozy, so we’ll see.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Squirrel!!! I encourage the chasing of those rat-bastards who chew on the wood of my house.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Lady will chase a small tennis ball for days. Just say “ball” and she goes nuts.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Each other, I think.

What is each dog's best quality?

Rolybug is the sweetest dog ever. Really. He loves all people and is your friend instantly. Lady doesn’t have any good qualities. Just kidding. They are all really sweet, but Lady is the loudest dog ever. Her bark is high pitched and just…loud. I don’t know if that’s a best quality or not, but nobody is walking into my
house unnoticed. Mimi is my back-of-pack caretaker and will stop everything to make sure you are okay.

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

I’m sure they’d love for me to get up from this computer and walk them more often.

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

You know there’s a dog door, right? Just push with your nose.

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

Yeah, so truthfully, I’m not much of a movie watcher. I’m a reader. I have zero idea what actors/actresses are out there now. Roly would be someone kind. Lady—someone loud. Mimi—someone friendly.

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

Take time to smell the world.

Visit Margaret Fenton's website.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. Cute idea for a blog! Love this author! She is amazing! I strongly recommend you pick up one, if not all of her books.