Friday, December 18, 2009

Shari Margolin & Cali

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s Miss Cali, our 8-year-old black lab mix. She’s posing as a reindeer for our holiday cards. My husband’s a photographer, so she has a standing gig as a model.

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Shari Margolin, and I’m a graphic designer and writer. I design full time for Cartoon Network, part time as a freelancer, and I also freelance write for Daily Candy Atlanta.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I’m not a regular coffee drinker, but I love iced coffees and have a bit of a weakness for pumpkin lattes this time of year. Cali has a fondness for walks and outings any time of the year, so she’s always up for a quick trek to the neighborhood coffee shop. And so am I when I’m procrastinating on this project I’m working on….

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Nope! We’ve actually tried to be strict about not giving Cali too much people food or extra snacks. Even though she’s a skinny girl, she’s gained more weight than she should have in the last couple of years. So it’s pretty much a milk bone before bed if we don’t succumb to the puppy eyes at dinner!

How did your dog come to be united with you?

I’ve had dogs all my life, but had just graduated from college and moved back home to Philadelphia to figure out the next step. Our family dog had passed away about a year before that, and it was a little disarming to me how empty the house felt. I kept dragging my mom to animal shelters where we would cuddle puppies and then she’d say no – she and my dad had just moved to a brand new house and didn’t want a puppy chewing on or ruining anything. Eventually we wound up at a humane society that had just got in a litter of ten black lab mix puppies. They were so tiny and sweet, and the longer we held the runt, the harder it was to give her back. So my mom said, Your dad will get over it. (Shortly after I moved out, my mom decided they needed to get their own puppy - oops!)

How did she get her name?

I was planning on moving to California after college, but things didn’t work out that way. My mom joked that that little puppy was my consolation price for moving home instead. So we called her Cali.

Tennis ball, stick, frisbee...?

Oh, tennis ball for sure! Every morning for at least twenty minutes. Although sticks do make a good substitute when we’re walking. Frisbees are a hard concept to grasp apparently.

Cat, squirrel, postman, car...?

Bus, leaves, neighbors, friends, us. When Cali’s in the house, it is her house. And if anything moves outside of it, she makes sure everyone knows. Funnily enough, she doesn’t make a peep when she’s outside of the house.

What's an ordinary day like for Cali?

She comes to visit me when my alarm goes off and then goes back to sleep until I’m showered and dressed. Next, she fetches the tennis ball for 20-30 minutes. Then eats breakfast. Wakes up my husband. Plays with her treat ball (oh wait, maybe that’s why she’s gained some weight…) or her favorite toy, her hedgehog. Naps until everyone’s home for dinner. Silently wills us to give her table scraps, goes for a walk, and then hangs out with us until it’s time for bed.

Who is Cali’s best pet-pal?

Cali isn’t much of a dog-dog. When we go to the dog park, she scoots her butt in between the humans sitting on the rocks, joining the group she thinks she belongs with. But she does have one buddy. My mother-in-law’s dog Bailey. He’s also a black lab and loves tennis balls even more than she does!

What's Cali's best quality?

She’s just so sweet. She loves to cuddle and is very equal opportunity with her affection. If you pet her for 3 minutes, she’ll lick you for approximately 2 minutes and 55 seconds.

Has Cali inspired any design work?

Yes, she certainly has. For the longest time, I couldn’t find a collar or leash I felt matched her personality and my taste. Finally I gave up and decided to make my own! I’ve developed 5 designs [photo at right] and am in the process of getting a line produced to hopefully sell in doggie boutiques. Keep your paws crossed!

Does Cali have any tricks?

Yup, tons. She can dance, hop across a room on two feet, and play dead. But Cali’s best trick is waving goodbye.

Shari Margolin-Meister is
a graphic designer and a contributing writer for Daily Candy Atlanta. Her husband Josh Meister is a commercial photographer. They live with Cali in Atlanta, Georgia.

--Marshal Zeringue