Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Annie Tupek & Dinah

Who is in the photo at right?

Princess Dinah, she’s a four-year-old English Mastiff, and me, Annie Tupek. I write SF/Fantasy and am also the Assistant Manager and Buyer at Gulliver’s Books, an independent bookstore. I’m currently shopping around a first novel, which is an adventure in itself.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Winter is in full force in Fairbanks, Alaska and my coffee intake is inversely proportional to the amount of daylight. I’m on two cups a day right now, in January I’ll be pounding down three or four, and at the height of summer (when we have almost 24 hours of sunlight) I don’t drink coffee at all.

What's brewing?

What my Barista, Sarah, calls a Chocolate Monkey Mocha. North Pole Coffee Roasters medium roast espresso with banana and coconut syrup, bring a little of the tropics to the arctic.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Homemade banana bread with lots of walnut chunks.

Any treat for your dog on this occasion?

A Greenie. Dinah loves ‘em. Can’t say green around her without her tail wagging and drool dripping from those jowls.

How did Dinah come to be united with you?

A friend of mine adopted a dog from Homeward Bound, a rescue organization, and told me that they had an English Mastiff. I called them the next morning and made an appointment to meet Dinah. My husband and I were the first potential parents that she didn’t growl at. Linda, the rescue agent, was amazed; Dinah had been to two different homes that hadn’t worked out and Homeward Bound had housed her for a year. The next day she came to live with us and we’ve had her for about two years now.

How did she get her name?

She came with it; we didn’t want to change it since she wasn’t a puppy anymore. Princess is a honorific that we added because she’s a spoiled, snobby dog.

Does she have any influence on your writing?

She listens when I read aloud and wrinkles her forehead in appropriate places. She also likes to go outside within five minutes of when I sit down to write. I’ve got a couple of story concepts percolating in my mind involving a snotty English Mastiff, but nothing too solid yet. She’s also great fodder for my blog, specially on her ‘naughty’ days.

What's an ordinary day like for your dog in the summer? In the winter?

Dinah likes to nap year-round and we go for a walk every day. In the summer she likes to chase bees and birds. In the winter she hunts the shrews that live under the snow and whines about the cold.

Does Dinah have a favorite place to go for walk?

We normally walk around the neighborhood, it’s a rural area and there are lots of interesting smells for her. There are also several dogs and she likes to strut past them wagging her tail high as though she’s saying ‘Look at me, I’m out on a walk.’ She also likes the trails around Creamer’s Field, a former dairy that has been turned into a wildlife preserve. It’s a stop for Sandhill Cranes during their migration and leashed dogs are allowed when the cranes are visiting. I think she likes the excited energy of the birds and other lucky dogs that get to see them.

What's Dinah's best quality?

Her desire, and ability, to sleep twenty hours a day. She’s a big, cuddly pillow and has inspired me to take many a nap.

What's her proudest moment? Her most embarrassing?

Her proudest moment was when she faced down a moose that had entered our yard. Her bark sent it running across the street into the woods. Dinah’s most embarrassing moment was last winter when an off-leash neighborhood dog went running by. Outside on a potty break, she let out a play bark and scrambled to give chase, but the ground was icy and she slipped and slid in the opposite direction. Her big eyes looked to see if I was watching and I had a hard time not laughing at her.

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

She would want me to allow her on the bed. She has her own memory-foam toddler-sized beds in almost every room of the house, but she covets the center position on the master bed. But with a 150 pound dog there would be no room for me or my husband. No doggy on the bed, but she sneaks onto it whenever she gets the chance.

Visit Annie Tupek's website and blog. Her short story "Aldevowering Chesterfield" appears in the newly released Courting Morpheus, a New Bedlam title.

--Marshal Zeringue