Monday, October 19, 2009

Yona Zeldis McDonough & Queenie and Tallulah

Who is in the photo at right?

I am Yona Zeldis McDonough, a novelist, children’s book author and essayist living in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The dog I am holding in the photo is my Pomeranian, Queenie. She is almost five. I also have another Pom, Tallulah [photo below left, yawning in an antique doll bed]. Since I got her from a shelter, I am not sure of her exact age. But the vet guesses she is now about thirteen.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

In truth, both of my dogs are couch canines, and are not too interested in long walks of any kind. But occasionally we stop in for something hot or cool at a charming little place around the corner called Trois Pommes.

What's brewing?

I love coffee but even decaff keeps me up. So I have switched to tea. Twining’s English Breakfast w/milk is a cool weather favorite; Twining’s Black Currant is best on ice in the summer. I also drink Red or Lemon Zinger when I feel a cold coming on. And for a bit of Paris right in my own backyard, I go for the chocolate rose tea sold by Marie Belle, a French chocolate shop in Manhattan, or the rich, delicious hot chocolate from Jacques Torres in Brooklyn.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Tea cries out for biscotti, a crisp cookie or a muffin.

Any treat for Queenie and Tallulah on this occasion?

Yes, I might give them a little taste of a muffin. And I usually have one of their biscuits in my pocket. Who likes to eat alone?

How did your dogs come to be united with you?

I bought Queenie from a lovely breeder in Ronkonkoma NY. Tallulah came from a local shelter called the Brooklyn Animal Foster Network.

How did they get their names?

Queenie was about six months old when we got her, and had been given a name to which she already answered. We liked it, so we kept it. Tallulah was named by my daughter Kate, who was ten at the time.

Tennis ball, stick, frisbee...?

Queenie loves balled up socks, loose socks, socks, socks, socks. Tallulah is not frisky at all; she does not show any interest in toys.

What's an ordinary day like for your dogs?

A lot of snoozing: on the bed, couch, chair, rug, in a favorite sunny spot in the dining room. Short walks around the ‘hood. A bit of romping and a few belly rubs (for Queenie). If the weather is nice, I take both dogs out in the our very small, urban backyard. They like to sniff.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pal?

Each other.

What are their best qualities?

Queenie is adorable, frisky, affectionate. Tallulah has a kind patience and acceptance that are very touching.

What is each dog's proudest moment so far?

Tallulah has learned to push her food dish into the center of the room with her snout to indicate that it is chow time; I think she is very pleased with herself for having figured this out. Queenie is most proud, I think of her athletic prowess: she can leap, prance and run like the wind, despite her very short legs.

Their most embarrassing?

Having an “accident” indoors; both dogs seem so ashamed when they slip up.

Yona Zeldis McDonough is the author of the novels The Four Temperaments, In Dahlia's Wake, and Breaking the Bank.

She is also the editor of the essay collections The Barbie Chronicles: A Living Doll Turns Forty and All the Available Light: A Marilyn Monroe Reader. Her short fiction, articles, and essays have been published in anthologies as well as in numerous national magazines, and newspapers.

Visit Yona Zeldis McDonough's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue