Friday, November 6, 2009

Monica Holloway & Buddy and Leo Henry

Who is in the photo at right?

The first picture is my 12 year old son, Wills, and our three year old golden retriever, Buddy Rose. The green foot is Buddy’s enormous dinosaur she drags around the house like a corpse. They’re inseparable—the three of them.

The next picture is our brand new puppy (13 weeks), Leo Henry. Now there are four of them, Wills, Buddy, the dinosaur, and Leo Henry.

The third picture is of Buddy, a girl, and Leo, a boy, lovin’ life (and each other.)

I am Monica Holloway and I’m an author.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Leo Henry and Buddy go everywhere I go. Since I’m a writer and work from home, we spend our days together, and when I need to go out, their leashes and water bowls are always waiting in the car.

The three of us often hold court outside the Coral Tree CafĂ© in Encino, California. I’m meeting my friend, Linda, who is bringing her King Charles Spaniel, Murphy. Murphy is their very best friend and when he arrives, they slurp and lick and wag ALL over each other.

What's brewing?

I always order a nonfat, double vanilla latte. The latte comes with the most gorgeous leaf design etched into the foam and the smooth, beige cup is so large that my entire face disappears inside with every sip.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Again, a creature of habit, I always (and I mean every time) order the eggs in a hole on toasted olive bread with a side of greens.

Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?

All three dogs get a Mellow Mutt chicken breast. When they’re done with those (in under a minute), they play with various plushy toys. Their favorite is a plushy tree trunk with soft squeaky squirrels inside.

Please tell us about Cowboy of Cowboy & Wills fame.

I just launched my favorite book I’ve written so far, Cowboy & Wills, about my son Wills, who has autism, and his remarkable golden retriever, Cowboy. (Cowboy Carol Lawrence, to be exact. Wills is very specific when he names his animals.) The book takes place when Wills is between six and eight years old.

Unfortunately, Cowboy develops Canine Lupus and only lives for two and a half years. But for having such a devastatingly short life, it is a BIG life.

The book follows the story of how Cowboy changes Wills’s life forever and the “miracles that continue, long after there is no one to toss the ball to.”

Cowboy was an incredibly generous, wonder of a dog, who we’ll miss for the rest of our lives.

How did Buddy and Leo Henry come to be united with you?

Buddy joined us only two months after Cowboy died. We got her from a very respected breeder, making sure there would be no terrible health “surprises.” When we visited Buddy for the first time and met the entire litter, we found out that Buddy’s father name was Cowboy. We visited Buddy every weekend until she was eight weeks old and ready to come home.

In terms of our little Leo, we literally stopped by the breeder to show off how big Buddy had gotten and found out that she had one dog left in a litter that had just gone home with other families. We took him on the spot, having her hold on to him while we raced to the pet store to get puppy supplies.

Luckily, Buddy was instantly thrilled with Leo—as thrilled as we were!

How did they get their names?

Wills names everybody who comes through.

Tennis ball, stick, frisbee...?

A bright green softball with red stitching. I throw this in the pool and they both jump in to get it.

Cat, squirrel, postman, car...?

Buddy definitely has a squirrel obsession, but Leo hasn’t been bogged down by this yet. Leo sits patiently and waits for Buddy to stop running the full length of our white wooden fence, chasing squirrels.

What's an ordinary day like for your dogs?

Buddy and Leo play and swim in our pool every single day.

Every afternoon during the week, they take a hike with a very good friend of ours. At night, they chase tennis balls that Wills hits with his bat.

On the weekends, we’re all crowded into the car for a trip to the park or the beach or the mountains. We love hiking in Wrightwood.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Each other—and, of course, Murphy.

What are their best qualities?

These two goldens are the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met. They love everyone, and, it seems, most everyone loves them right back. They are so generous—always wanting to please! And they are so much fun! I spend most of my day laughing, covered in dog hair, as they roll around right on top of wherever I’m working or sitting. And Buddy snores, which I adore, and Wills says that Leo has an overbite. (And he kind of does.)

What is each dog's proudest moment so far? Their most embarrassing?

We brought Leo onstage at my book party. We wanted to bring Buddy but the restaurant would only allow a small dog. Leo was brilliant as he was passed from guest-to-guest as if he were a beach ball in a mosh pit. Lots of kisses on his head and cheeks.

I’m always proud of my girl, Buddy. She’s polite and tender-hearted.

I don’t recall being too embarrassed. Since Leo just arrived, he hasn’t built up “embarrassment time,” but Buddy used to drag me around the block like I was a kite at the end of her leash. But now that she’s had classes, she has better manners.

Monica Holloway is the critically acclaimed author of the memoir Driving With Dead People, which Newsweek called “unforgettable,” Glamour christened “a classic,” and the Washington Post deemed “irresistible.” She contributed to the anthology Mommy Wars, from which her essay “Red Boots and Cole Haans” was described by Newsday as “brilliant, grimly hilarious.”

Among the early praise for Cowboy & Wills:

"A boy and his dog -- that is sacred stuff. Layer onto that autism and the singular love of a mother and you've got the makings for deeply worthwhile reading. Monica Holloway is any one of us, doubled over with hope and pain and wishing."
--Kelly Corrigan, New York Times bestselling author of The Middle Place

"A young boy with autism is able to make friends with the aid of his pet dog named Cowboy. Pets can help open up social doors."
--Temple Grandin, New York Times bestselling author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human
Visit Monica Holloway's website, become a fan of Cowboy & Wills on Facebook and a friend on MySpace.

--Marshal Zeringue