Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tim Brazier & Miss Jean Brodie

Who is in the photo at right? And what's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

That's Miss Jean Brodie, who has been snuck into One Liberty Plaza on a Saturday and is awaiting a Hazelnut coffee. She’s an eight-year-old Scottish Terrier rescue. My name is Tim Brazier and I’m the Publicity Director at Kaplan Publishing. I have snuck Brodie into HarperCollins and Basic Books during my time with those two companies. Along with coffee, we’ll be working on our 2010 budget and chasing a very bouncy ball. The floors are carpeted for great traction and there are not as many breakable things here as there are at home.

You can tell Brodie has executive potential. Doesn’t she look at home [photo left] in the boss’s corner office? That is the Woolworth Building in the background.

How did you come to be united with Brodie? What's her background?

I don’t know the details of Brodie’s first family but she was dropped off at Pets on Lex right after 9/11. Our west conference room overlooks the World Trade Center site [photo, below right]. Looks like they are really building something down there. The woman who found Brodie at the pet store languishing away in a cage for four months was calling her Sweet Pea. I wanted something with a little more edge and a Scottish connection. Lady Macbeth seemed a little too dark and something we might regret. A theatrical director suggested Brodie, as in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. It fit although now I call her all sorts of shorter versions: booby, Miss B., Little One.

Do you and Brodie have a favorite place to go for outings?

Brodie enjoys all outings whether by foot, bike, boat, car, train or plane. We used to go to Central Park early so she could legally be off-leash. Now we live close to Gracie Mansion on the Upper Eastside of Manhattan so we enjoy views of the river and a special dog run for smaller dogs. Our first week on the Upper Eastside we got a ticket for being off leash because that park does not allow dogs off-leash at any time. Maybe we’ll write Mayor Bloomberg after we figure out our budget.

There's a rumor going around that Brodie has defied public ordinances and actually visited a restaurant or two. Without confirming or denying the rumor, how would a dog Brodie's size hypothetically get away with such an active social life?

How did you hear about Brodie’s restauranting? Look, in Germany people bring their dogs into restaurants and they seem to be fine. Brodie is so calm and quiet we just put her in a gym bag and put her under the table, then open the zipper once we are all settled and mask her with our legs.

Who is Brodie's best pet-pal?

Since moving to the eastside two years ago I don’t think Brodie has made a best friend. She really likes everyone. We used to have play-dates with a neurotic weiner-dog that lived one floor below us. In our new building we have not found such a good situation.

What's Brodie's best quality?

She really has so many good qualities: affectionate, playful, quiet, and cuddly.

What's her proudest moment? Her most embarrassing?

We had a lovely moment this summer visiting my 95 year-old Grandmother who is in a wheelchair and is dog-crazy. Brodie sat in her lap and kept her company. We are not so proud when she growls at small children. I’ve never understood her discomfort with children. It makes me laugh that the woman who gave her to me was really trying to promote her and said Brodie was good with children. Fortunately we are not around small children that often.

How did you wind up take-your-dog-to-work-Saturday?

Back at my desk we do a self-portrait [photo, above right].

Feeling very productive it is time for a break and to chase that bouncy ball around. Maybe it is the coffee buzz but Brodie needs to work off some tension and take it out on the little ball. She’s well trained and will give up the ball. Unfortunately somewhere along the way “drop it” was replaced with the less attractive command of “spit.” She drops it but we get some interesting looks at the dog run when we tell her to spit. Speaking of dog runs, it must be time to leave the office and get some fresh air.

--Marshal Zeringue