Friday, April 30, 2010

Eliana & Gracie

Who is that in the photo at right?

That's Gracie the goldendoodle. I'm Eliana, student, swimmer, and beginner flutist.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We're actually having hot chocolate, because it's Gracie's favorite. I like hot chocolate too, especially from our local coffee shop. Yum.

Did you have any treat with your hot chocolate? Did Gracie get a special treat?

Yes, I had a sugar cookie with all this sugar on top in the shape of a Christmas tree and Gracie had a doggy treat with a special design on it with pieces of hot dog in the middle (she wishes!).

I've heard you gave Gracie her name. What was your inspiration?

Well, I named her Gracie Rose because I read it in a very cute book. When my parents told us that we might get a puppy and that we should be thinking of names, I remembered that book.

What's so special about Gracie's collar?

It's so cute! It has purple and pink polka dots, and matches her fur coat and personality. She doesn't have polka dotted fur, though.

Where is Gracie's favorite place to sleep?

She normally sleeps on the couch and keeps it all warm. She has two couches - one is blue, the other red and blue. She's very good at keeping it warm.

What's Gracie's favorite ice cream flavor?

I would say vanilla. My dad says Oreo. But I also think it could be peanut butter.

What's Gracie's favorite color?

I would say black, white, or red, because dogs can't see colors. But I once asked her if red was her favorite color and she nodded her head.

Which of Barbie's dogs is Gracie most like?

Barbie (as in Barbie doll) has two dogs - Squeaky and Tinka. Gracie's most like Tinka because Tinka is very ladylike. Gracie always crosses her paws like a lady when she lies down.

What is Gracie's favorite toy?

Her favorite toy is either her monkey or her raccoon, both without the stuffing. She also had a sheep that she really loved to pieces ... really... to pieces.

What dog from film or fiction most reminds you of Gracie?

Air Bud is a movie that reminds me of Gracie. If you toss a balloon into the air, Gracie will poke it with her nose into the air, just like the dog in Air Bud, who did it with a basketball. We don't have a basketball for Gracie to play with - it might hurt her nose - but we do have soccer balls.

Who is Gracie's best pet-pal?

Gracie has two buddies: Tank and Bingo. Tank is a little smaller than Gracie, and Bingo is about 10 times smaller but the same age. Surprisingly Gracie doesn't ever hurt Bingo despite their size difference.

What are Gracie's jobs?

Cleaning the dishes and warming the couch. She loves to clean the silverware by licking it.

What is Gracie's most embarrassing moment?

Gracie got a really, really short hair cut this past summer to keep her cool, and she thought everyone was staring at her. That was really embarrassing!

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Anna Mitchael & Isabella

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Anna Mitchael and I am a writer. My first book called Just Don’t Call Me Ma’am just came out last month, so for the time being I am also a book-promoter. Isabella is three years old and I met her for the first time at a Rhodesian Ridgeback rescue — she’s mostly got Ridgeback in her, but there’s something else running through her veins, that’s why she doesn’t have the traditional ridge you usually spot in her breed. She doesn’t have a formal occupation, but she keeps me sane and that keeps her pretty busy… it’s practically a full-time occupation.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We go for a walk every morning, even if it’s only to get the paper. Of course, I live on a ranch so walking to get the paper is a 20-minute affair.

What's brewing?

I don’t drink coffee, but there’s always a pot brewing in the house so I get the benefit of waking up to the smell. I start out with orange juice, Isabella sticks to water – she’s not very high maintenance until she starts chasing her armadillos (that’s usually an afternoon affair).

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

If someone else is cooking them.

Any treat for Isabella on this occasion?

Breakfast is warm-up for her day on the ranch, this is when she starts to get excited for what’s coming next.

How were you and Isabella united?

My house was broken into and at the time, I was living alone in a big city. I decided that it was time I go for some companionship and so I started looking for a pet to come share my home. As soon as I found Isabella I knew we were stuck with each other.

Does Isabella have any influence on your writing?

Other than distracting from it? I’m kidding. I write about Isabella for the occasional article and quite often on my blog… mostly I’d say that her influence is to make me a more content person – so obviously that’s going to come through in whatever I’m writing at the time.

Squirrel, cat, postman, armadillo...?

Armadillos. By the truckload. She can’t get enough of them. When people who live around us hear the stories of her chasing down armadillos they always ask if they can borrow her for a day or two… even though I know she’d probably enjoy a fresh batch of ‘dillos to chase, I’m selfish and don’t like to give her up—even for a weekend.

Tennis ball, stick, squeaky-toy...?

Isabella doesn’t do dog toys. Those would seriously interfere with her assumption that she’s a human.

Who is Isabella's best pet-pal?

My boyfriend has a dog named Dolly, and she and Isabella are best friends. Now that we all live under the same roof they are … hmmmm. How should I say this. Best friends with benefits? Is that a term that people use or is it just what people in college used to call friends who occasionally made out in the back of keg parties?

What's Isabella's most endearing quality?

She is always Isabella, you never see her change her demeanor or her behavior for anyone. I like strong personalities, so for me, that is very endearing. I could probably take a few lessons from her tenacity to hang on to who she is in any situation…. Heck, maybe it’s safe to say that most humans could.

Anna Mitchael is the author of Just Don’t Call Me Ma’am, a memoir that details her twentysomething experience living and working in cities across the country. A reformed nomad, Mitchael has now returned home to Texas. She will tolerate y’all but reserves the right to raise hell when anyone calls her ma’am.

Among the early praise for the memoir:
“Worlds away from her small-town roots, Anna Mitchael spent most of her twenties pretending she wasn’t from the South. In this engaging memoir, a reluctant belle finds peace in her past and reminds all of us that it’s not only okay to bloom where you’re planted, but sometimes it’s the very best decision you can make.”
—Celia Rivenbark, author of Belle Weather: Mostly Sunny With A Chance of Scattered Hissy Fits
Read the daily chronicles of Mitchael's life at
her website and blog.

Writers Read: Anna Mitchael.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 26, 2010

Nan Marino & Chi

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Nan Marino. I write middle grade books. My debut novel Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me was released in May 2009 by Roaring Brook Press.

Next to me is Tai Chi Marino. Chi is a mixed breed, which is my favorite type of dog. She’s probably around 9-years-old. That’s the Barnegat Bay in the background.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

There doesn’t have to be an occasion. Having coffee with Chi is part of my morning routine and one of my favorite parts of the day.

What's brewing?

I drink a half decaf/half caffeine blend. This way, I can drink copious amounts and pretend I’m not a caffeine addict. I add a little milk and way too much sugar.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

No. Coffee with sugar and milk is the perfect food.

Any treat for Chi on this occasion?

Coffee time for me is breakfast time for Chi. As soon as I pour my coffee, she goes straight to her bowl. Every time I refill, she gets a little more breakfast. I drink coffee while she noshes.

How did you and Chi come together?

One day, I told my husband I was going out to see if I could find a new table for our dining room. Instead I ended up in the local animal shelter. I’d never been there before and had no idea why I decided to stop by. The moment I saw the scrappy-looking dog in the first cage, I knew why I was there. She was meant to be part of our family.

Before we went into the meeting room, I was warned that dogs are often way too excited to get out of their cages to pay attention to the visiting humans. Chi scrambled round, sniffing everything in sight. I called her, but all those smells in that room were way too tempting. Finally I said, “If you come over and sit down, I will take you home.” As if on cue, she did.

I realized immediately that I’d made a promise to Chi without talking it over with my husband and broke every rule about the proper way to bring a dog into your family. While I don’t recommend a spontaneous trip to the dog shelter, it was one of my best decisions.

How did Chi get her name? Does she have any aliases?

As you can imagine, phone conversations where you tell your spouse that you found a dog and he says, “I thought you were shopping for a dining room table?” are a little awkward. My husband has a second-degree black belt. I thought that naming her Tai Chi after a martial art would help convince him that it was a good idea to bring a dog into our home. Fortunately, he didn’t need much convincing. Chi and my husband are best buddies.

How has Chi influenced your writing?

Chi is my writing companion. She likes to sleep curled around the bottom of my chair. It’s very difficult to get up without stepping on her or tripping so I really have to think twice about getting out of the chair. It keeps me writing. Also, no one rips up a rejection letter faster than Chi.

Squirrel, cat, snowman...?

Moving lawn ornaments. They drive her crazy. She doesn’t know what to make of them.

Tennis ball, Frisbee, squeaky-toy...?

She loves squeaky toys that have the fluff inside them. It’s not the squeak, it’s all about the fluff. When she first came to live with us, she chewed up our down comforter while we slept. We woke up to feathers everywhere. Nowadays, she confines her chewing to her own toys. But she still loves to pull out that fluffy stuff.

Who is Chi's best pet-pal?

Chi has a dog boyfriend who lives in the house behind us. It’s very sweet to watch their courtship. They run up and down the fence together. Puppy love.

What's Chi's best quality?

She is intensely loyal and will never let you be by yourself if you are feeling ill or sad. But my favorite thing about Chi is that she’s a good talker. She makes so many sounds and has so many different types of barks that it’s almost like she has her own language. Her expressions are wonderful. She even sighs when she doesn’t get her own way. She’s a terrific listener too.

What's Chi's proudest moment so far?

One day I was in the kitchen when Chi circled round me. At first I thought she wanted a treat. She cried and begged. Then she began to nudge me toward the stairs. I stopped midway, but Chi refused to let me turn around. When I finally got up the stairs, my husband was lying very still with his eyes closed on the floor of our bedroom. It turned out that he was practicing a yoga pose called Savasana (also known as Corpse pose). He told me that Chi nudged him, but he was trying to focus so he ignored her. Chi thought he was in trouble so she went to get help. If something really was wrong, she would have saved him. And yes, now I know how silly those people in the Lassie shows feel when they don’t pay attention to Lassie.

Her most embarrassing?

The moment I got a book deal, Chi became a valued member of my marketing team. She is featured in my school presentations, and there are pictures of her all over my website and blog. Sometimes the photo shot calls for her to wear a special hat or strike a certain pose. I suspect her most embarrassing moment was when she had to wear a hat with Happy New Year stars for my blog post on resolutions this past January. The first time she saw hat with the star ears, she sighed.

Among the praise for Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me:
“Nan Marino may be a debut author, but she's obviously a born storyteller. You will immediately feel at home with her characters, you'll ache right along with them, and you won't be able to leave their stories behind.”
–Patricia Reilly Giff
Read an excerpt from Neil Armstrong is My Uncle.

Learn more about the book, the author, and Tai Chi Marino at Nan Marino's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 23, 2010

Diego & Gracie

Who is that in the photo at right?

That's Gracie, world's greatest goldendoodle, and Diego, student, guitarist, and soccer player.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We are taking a breaking from playing out in the snow. (Editor's note: Obviously the photo at right was taken a couple of months after this interview.)

Did you have any treat with your hot chocolate? Did Gracie get a special treat?

My parents used to send Gracie away during meals but for some reason, come coffee time she gets to hang around. She knows I'll give her part of my cookie. Gracie does not have to speak for us to know what she says. She says she is happy. She's not big on the Frat and Sorority parties on the nearby campus where my dad works. You don't have to drink in order to enjoy life. This is what she says.

If Gracie could have coffee, what kind would she have?

If Gracie could have coffee would have a Grande skinny latte with an extra shot but with cinnamon and topped with extra whipped cream. A skinny latte for her figure, because she is concerned for it.

(My mom would say she would like a vanilla bean frappuccino.)

How did Gracie come to join your household?

Mom wanted a dog and so did my sister and I, but my dad is allergic to dander. He said that we could get a dog if it was a dander-free dog. So the rest of my family and I started our research and eventually came up with a breed called a goldendoodle: half retriever, half poodle. We went to this breeder and thought that this was the one, the second smallest out of the two that were left in the litter. We brought her back a few weeks later and named her Gracie. She has been the best dog and the perfect fit for our family.

I've heard that your sister is the one that came up with the name Gracie. Did you have any other ideas for a name?

Rose, Clover, and Zoe were the three other candidates for the name picking.

You are known for your skill with a soccer ball. If you took ten penalty kicks, and Gracie was the goalie, how many would she block?

Well, she would probably try to get the heck out of the way once she realized what was going on. She catches on fast! But not many in my case ... hahaha!

If your dad took ten penalty kicks, how many would Gracie block?

Same answer. Gracie would flee, but in the attempt she would probably block about 4 out of 10.

Would Gracie rather chase the mailman, a rabbit, or the little girl next door?

Some dogs would definitely chase the little girl next door but our Gracie wouldn't hurt a fly. She would most definitely chase a rabbit ... but only to play. (My mom says she would chase the mailman, but only to get the treats he brings her on a regular basis.)

What do you love most about Gracie?

That is sooo tough because Gracie is great in so many aspects. I think I would choose her disposition because when you meet her, she won’t leave you alone until you start petting her!

I hear Gracie has some health issues. What is her malady?

Gracie has elbow dysplasia. It makes me extremely sad to watch her limp. She has a fantastic attitude about life despite her condition.

If Gracie could change anything about you, what would it be?

I think Gracie would demand decent food instead of that uneatable "cardboard" that you buy at Wal-Mart.

Second, Gracie would ask for more plush couches with double stuffing so that she could tear it out while we are at school and work.

And third, for her to decide when she takes a bath. In my perspective, those are the three wishes Gracie has.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Kat Kageleiry & Zak and Lilly

Who is in the photo at right?

That is me, Kat Kageleiry, and Zak and Lilly. Zak is the Golden Retriever. Lilly is the brown and white mutt. She has some Lab and Pitt in her. They are married but Lilly is definitely the tough one in the relationship! Zak is 6, Lilly is 3.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I stopped at Auntie Judy’s house for coffee with the dogs on the way to City Bark at City Park in New Orleans.

What's brewing?

I’m having coffee, lots of sugar and a ton of cream. That's how I roll with cinnamon buns.

Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?

Dogs are enjoying a chewie bone.

How were you and your dogs united?

Zak and Lilly are my late boyfriend Todd's dogs. He passed away 9 months ago. We were together 3 years, so the dogs are like my dogs. Auntie Judy is Todd's aunt. The dogs stay with her. She has a house and a nice yard. I live in a shoe box. But I help take care of them and love them any chance I get.

Zak was rescued after Katrina. Todd found him under a house he was working on and took him home and brought him back to happy and healthy. We got Lilly at the pound a few years later.

How did your dogs get their names?

Zak just looked like a Zak. Lilly is named after Todd's grandma.

Frisbee, squeaky-toy, tennis ball...?

Definitely tennis ball!

You live in New Orleans where a new dog park just opened at City Park. Have you visited it yet?

I love the new dog park--City Bark. It is beautiful and big and a great play place for dogs!

You rock...for a living, on the radio. Which musician has the coolest dog you've met?

Besides Zak and Lilly, the coolest dog I have ever met belongs to my friend Shannon, who is a world renowned rock photographer. Chris Robinson from the Black Crowes has a cool dog, too!

Who are Zak and Lilly's best pet-pals?

My dogs' best pet pals are Auntie Judy's cats, June and Jonny. And Sargent the dog is Lilly's favorite dog boyfriend besides Zak. We met Sarge at the Bonnabel Dog Park. I haven’t seen him at City Bark yet.

If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?

They would have me feed them more people food! I won’t do it!

What's each dog's best quality?

Best quality about Zak is that he is cuddly and kind and just a big lovable dog. You HAVE to smile and be happy when you are around Zak. Lilly is more hyper and is a good watch-dog. She snores loud but Zak is used to it.

What's each dog's proudest moment? Most embarrassing?

One of Zak and Lilly's silliest moments came the first day at City Bark. Of the whole big park, they found the one small mud puddle and rolled around in it. Soon other dogs followed and it was a mud-a-copia all thanx to Zak and Lilly. I’m sure City Bark has since dried the puddle up.

Also, Lilly likes to "tease." She gets in position for boy dogs to "come up behind her" ... then when they do, she gets mad. Just like a woman.

One of their proudest moments came when we first taught them how to swim. It took a while for them to jump in the pool on their own. They finally did it and now love to swim.

Dogs are for sure better than humans. And I love mine!

Katina "Kat" Kageleiry is Program Director and afternoon on-air personality at WKBU, Bayou 95.7, New Orleans.

Listen to Kat
online noon-6 P.M. weekdays.

Kat's blog and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 19, 2010

Nicole Gee & Millie

Who is in the photo at right?

Well, that would be my Millie ... doing what she does best: Loving me. I am Nicole Gee, Nicole Gee Photography. I do portraits -- mostly of people! Pets are fun, too, though. In our family, we have Millie, a West Highland White Terrier, and two cats: Zena, a stay-inside-cat, and Zelda, our Warrior Princess. She rules outside. But this is a dog blog, so enough about those cats!!

The occasion:

Millie and I take a walk through the neighborhood, past the creek, and up to a greenbelt practically every day. Sometimes, we mix it up a bit and walk around downtown Danville. When we do that, we like to stop at the local Starbucks. She flirts with all the folks outside, sips the water & generally scopes things out while I run inside ...

What's brewing?

Mmmmm ... love those caramel machiatos (extra hot!) if the weather's chilly ... or some kind of frappuccino if it is hot outside. Extra water for Millie.

Any goodies?

Nope! One of those sweet coffee drinks is bad enough! If I'm feeling REALLY extravagant, I'll have the whip on top. Sometimes some kind passerby will give Millie a treat, though. (There are a few businesses that cater to dogs, and have dog cookies available. We'll make sure to include them on our travels.)

How were you and Mil united?

I fooled my husband into driving an hour and a half away to "just look at" a litter of Westie pups. Husband Ron sat on the floor, and of all the pups, Millie climbed right onto his lap & started giving him kisses. We took her home & that was that. Since then, she's become my girl: Won't take a walk with anyone else!

How did Millie get her name?

Well, we figured "Millie" sounded kind of Scottish ... as she's from the West Highlands ... her FULL name is "Millie Milligan."

You are a professional photographer. What's the trickiest thing about getting a dog to stay in the frame for a photo?

Well ... I wouldn't say they "stay" in the frame ... I like to catch them in action, or where they're most comfortable. There are certain things that Millie does that are just SO "her" that I wait for those moments, and quick click! That's pretty much the trick with pet photography: patience and a willingness to get down at their level. Oh: and treats.

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

Most definitely squirrels. She LOVES to chase them. But when there are no squirrels, she'll give our cats a run for their money.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

No, not really; she did have a squirrel squeaky toy a long time ago ... decimated it.

Where is your dog's favorite place for an outing?

Definitely the walk by the creek, then up the greenbelt because I can take her off leash. She can sniff, run and play all she wants.

Who is your dog's best pet-pal?

She has a crush on a neighbor dog, Miles. We always have to stop at his house while she gives it an extra sniff, delaying, hoping he'll come out.

What is Millie's best quality?

Best? Oh, man, so many!! She is loyal, funny, fun, good-natured ... teaches me to be a better person.

If your dog could change one thing about you, what would it be?

That I'd take her on her walk more than once a day!!

What is Millie's proudest moment? Her most embarrassing?

Millie's proudest moment is when she is strutting her stuff in front of one of those really big dogs. (She'd swear she's just as big as that dalmation!!) ... Her most embarrassing moment is probably when she fell while we were scrambling among ocean rocks. For a Westie, bred to scramble cliff rocks, it must've killed her to be rescued by my teenage daughter!

Visit the Nicole Gee Photography website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lisa Peet & Dorrie

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Lisa Peet, writer, editor, artist, specialty baker, proprietor of the literary blog Like Fire. Dorrie is a female Beagle/Treeing Walker Coonhound mix, almost 5 years old. And Mr. Bonkers is our #1 cat and boss of the household. We live in the North Bronx, at the end of the #1 line.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

The photo looks like more of a leisurely weekend affair. Weekdays we’re up and dressed and ready to go by 6. I have a cup of coffee with Dorrie and check my email, then if it’s over 25˚ and not raining we take a 2-mile walk around the Jerome Park Reservoir. Sometimes it’s just the two of us, sometimes we go with other dog friends, but either way it’s one of the nicest parts of my day. When we get back I have another cup or two and then head off to work, and Dorrie commences her all-day beauty sleep.

What's brewing?

Fairway Blend brewed in a Cuisinart automatic drip coffeemaker (set for 5:45, thank you); milk and one sugar.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Brown Cow maple yogurt or a banana, sometimes nothing if I’m running late.

Any treat for Dorrie on this occasion?

She gets her breakfast after our walk, same thing as her dinner: half a can of Merrick dog food and half a cup of Science Diet Light kibble. No treats, because she’s on a diet.

How were you and Dorrie united?

In October, 2005 I was still deep in mourning over my beloved Jack Russell Milo, who had died suddenly in July. I was in no emotional shape to adopt a new dog, but for some reason I found myself on one day and I saw that face—it was like she spoke to me. She was advertised as a local dog and we were all set to go meet her, but it turned out she was in Little Rock, Arkansas. If we were willing to adopt her sight unseen they would truck her up.

What can I say? As far as I was concerned, her sweet puppy face told me everything I needed to know. And likewise, although we were supposed to have a home visit to verify our suitability as dog owners, that month it poured nonstop and the rescue organization woman kept having to cancel. Eventually I ended up meeting her in a midtown bar after work, where I showed her photos of the late Milo—everyone always called him the happiest dog they’d ever met, and it showed—and we had a few drinks, cried over him, and ended up tipsy at PetSmart, buying a dog bed. I passed my inspection.

A couple of weeks later Jeff and I drove over the Tappan Zee Bridge at the crack of dawn to meet a guy with a horse trailer full of dog crates in a Park’n’Ride parking lot. Like some kind of weird drug deal, we handed him a check for $100 and he handed us a very stunned puppy. Turns out we were right that everything was indeed there in her photo—she’s been nothing but nonstop sweetness. Bless the good folks at Last Chance Arkansas and All About Labs. They do good work.

You are a writer, artist, baker and blogger: what kind of influence, if any, does Dorrie have on those spheres of activity?

She’s good company, and she makes sure I get up and out twice a day. Between the 9-5 job and working on my own projects, that’s more than enough time with my ass in a chair. I do a lot of writing in my head on our walks—they’re very meditative. And she’s always good for a smile and a kiss and a zap of unconditional love, which never hurts either. She’s not much help when it comes to baking, but then again she’s never stolen anything, so she gets props for that. And she’s introduced me to some of my best friends in the neighborhood. We have a fabulous huge dog run, and summer evenings hanging out there are like happy hour without booze.

How did Dorrie get her name? Does she have any aliases?

She’s named after the Charlotte Rampling character in Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories. No particular reason, other than the name seemed to fit her, but it turned out to be a kind of kinehora—the character is beautiful, high-maintenance, and crazy. Our Dorrie is beautiful, but easy to get along with and super mellow.

Aliases: Dordy, Dorky, Dorotee (in Auntie Em voice), Dorrie Snorey, Dorrie Doodle, Miss Pretty, Stinky.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Raccoons! We have ’em, and that Coonhound blood of hers runs deep. She’ll go after cats in our yard she doesn’t know, but she’s very gentle with our three.

Tennis ball, stick, squeaky-toy...?

Stuffed toys, but only as long as it takes her to eviscerate them and get the squeaky out. Mostly she likes rawhide chewies and bones. Balls don’t interest her at all unless she can get another dog to chase her for one.

Who is Dorrie's best pet-pal?

Chester (beagle), Hershey (chocolate lab), Cocoa (pit/greyhound mix), Callahan (husky). She has a special bond with our big ginger tabby, Mr. Bonkers, who was here before she was—they patrol the yard together and play if he’s in the mood. And she’s on gentle, if cordial, terms with Alvy and Francis, our other two cats.

What's Dorrie's most endearing quality?

Her overall sweet nature and excellent manners. Dorrie wants to be a good dog, she wants approval, she wants love—she has just enough of a mischievous streak to keep her interesting, but mostly she’s extremely obedient, great on and off leash, a good hiker, gentle with kids, and dependable. Plus she has the most wonderfully soft speckled ears and a great smile.

What's Dorrie's proudest moment so far? Her most embarrassing?

Her most embarrassing moment was a couple of years ago when we were visiting a friend in Connecticut, who had a pond with a family of ducks living on it. We had been hiking, and when we came out of the woods Dorrie saw the ducklings paddling and just forgot everything she knew about the wet qualities of water, which she very much dislikes. She shot out after them and it was, I swear, like Wile E. Coyote going off a cliff—she made it about six feet out onto the water before sinking like a stone, with only the tip of her tail showing. At which point she POPPED up, spun around, and tore back onto dry land. She was not amused, but oh my goodness we were.

Her proudest moments are when we stop at the curb and she sits at my heel without being asked, and someone leans out of their car window in passing and says, “Now that’s a good dog!” I suppose that’s really more my proud moment than hers, but I like to think she picks up on it. Another instance she might not have fully appreciated was when she came face to face with a huge skunk in our back yard. She was fascinated, but just as it was starting to do its little skunk dance Jeff called her in his most I-mean-business voice, and she turned around and trotted back inside.

What are Dorrie's favorite things?

Hearing the text message ring on my phone, because that invariably means we’re meeting someone for a walk or the park. The phrases “Do you want to go for a walk?” “Do you want to go to the park?” and “Do you want to see Cocoa?” Hanging out with me while I work in the yard. Sleeping outside in a patch of sunlight. Rolling in stuff. Breakfast. Dinner. When Jeff gives her a bite of what he’s eating. Big male pit bulls. Yorkies. Butt rubs. A knuckle in her ear. Bedtime (not only does she sleep in the bed, but we bought an expensive set of carpeted stairs so she can get up and down by herself). A pillow for her head. Company (as long as they don’t sit in her spot on the couch). Snuggling. Steak bones. Feet.

Visit Like Fire, Lisa Peet's literary blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Donna Mollard & Julie and Charlie

Who is in the photo at right?

I am Donna Mollard and I own and run a bed and breakfast in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

Julie is on the left, she is a 2 year old Chihuahua; Charlie, on the right, is a long haired mini-dachshund, he is 4.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

It is critical for the three of us to get out and take walk everyday!

I took these photos [at left] after walking the dogs at Greenfield Community College, their favorite walking spot!

It is difficult to get a picture of them together so luckily I snapped this while they were waiting for their treat.

I keep the treats in the glove compartment. So this shot was easy!

What's brewing?

I always take my big cup of Pierce Brothers Fogbuster coffee (local roaster), and some raisin toast with us on our walk. They LOVE the toast, NOT the raisins.

How were you and your dogs united? How did they get their names?

Charlie is named after his dad, so that was easy. His name is perfect for him! In deciding on Julie, I found her in North Carolina when I was visiting my sisters and the kids.

We were ALL (9) in on naming her, (as usual!) We brought her home at 8 weeks, picked a few names waited a few days to see which one suited her and decided on Julie.

The kids definitely ruled.

Your B&B is dog-friendly. What's the largest pack you've had at one time?

We love dogs! We began taking dogs when Eddie’s Wheels, (they manufacture carts for disabled animals in Shelburne Falls), asked us for lodging for one of their clients being fitted for a cart.

We definitely wanted to be a part of that, then it just made sense to accept well behaved dogs. We have ever since, so it has been about 8 years now!

The most we had had at one time are three Chihuahua’s all about a pound each. The cutest trio we have ever had stay with us!

Cat, squirrel, duck...?

Horses! We live across the street from two neighbors that own horses. Charlie will start barking when they come out of the barn, this starts the barking chain, Julie starts howling like a little coyote.

This goes on every morning. You would think, by now, they would be used to it, but no, it does not work that way in dog world.

Tennis ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

They both obsessed with toys, tennis balls are Charlie’s toy and always have been ever since I brought him home at 12 weeks. He sleeps with them and will bark without letting the ball go. Very cute!

Julie has a little pink dog that she loves and carries around with her like her baby.

Where is your dogs' favorite place for an outing?

They both love walking along the river on the bikeway in Turners Falls. There is always a lot of activity, people, bikes, birds, ducks lots to try to play with.

They both will immediately run to the car when I tell them where we are going.

What's the most interesting wildlife encounter your dogs have had in the valley?

The closest they have been to wildlife is the gray squirrels that climb up and sit and eat out of the bird feeders stuck on my windows. These are positioned right in front of the elevated bed they both share.

I did not do this on purpose. This drives them both wild! The squirrels are so used to this by now that it does not phase them one bit. I think they like teasing them.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Both Julie and Charlie’s best friend is Josie, our friends Chihuahua. She is very cute a friendly. They all get along so well, but Julie has been know to have her jealous moments especially if Josie spends the night.

That can be a little tricky.

What's each dog's best quality?

The best thing about Julie and Charlie is that they are both have such big personalities and each so very loving. We have so much fun together, they make us and our guests laugh all day and bring so much joy into our house. My favorite of Charlie’s is when he lays down he sticks his back legs out so they look like little flippers, so cute! Julie’s ears go up and down as I am talking to her as if she is understanding everything I am asking her.

What's each dog's proudest moment? Most embarrassing?

I would say for both of our dogs they share a proudest moment. We introduced Julie to Charlie when he was 2, we were nervous of course but tried not to let them know. Through a lot of work, and with fingers crossed they have both become best friends. We are so very proud of both of them for working through a big challenge!

The biggest embarrassment for Charlie was when he was sprayed by a skunk. Of course it was late at night when I received the call from my neighbor that he could hear him barking. I drove over three houses away and there he was nose to nose with a skunk. I called to him and this was the only time he came when called. He jumped into my arms and then I had to put him in the car. That was fun! 11:00 at night, we have a full house. I could not bring him in the house as I did not want to wake up everyone with the smell of skunk. I had to give him a bath in the backyard with the freezing cold water from the hose; now it was midnight. I was so thankful that for once I had tomato juice. At breakfast the next morning our guests remarked, “Did anyone smell that skunk last night? You know you are really in the country when you smell skunks.” They did not know exactly how close the “skunk” was.

Julie on the other hand is only 2, still too little to have had an embarrassing moment.

Visit the House on the Hill website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, April 12, 2010

Caitlin Crews & Faye

Who is in the photo at right?

It turns out that I take most of the pictures around here, so there are very few of me and the pets! So this picture is about a year old, but it's still pretty much life as I know it. That's a picture in our old apartment with two of our cats (a brother and sister named Puck and Ariel), me, our current dog Faye, and, over there in the corner, our old and much-beloved dog Jake who died just about a year ago. (We miss him!) Faye is (as far as we know) a Basenji mix, according to some Basenji owners we met in a dog park. We don't really know. She looks Egyptian to me, and acts more like a fox or a cat than a dog. She's about four years old. I'm Caitlin Crews and I write books--that's what I'm doing in the picture. Editing, by the looks of it. I'm currently writing my fourth romance novel for Harlequin Presents, but I've also written a bunch of other novels under my other name, Megan Crane.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

If I am working, there is caffeine--lots of it. Vats of it! And wherever I go, so goes Faye. She prefers to be surgically attached whenever possible. She's a needy one--but awfully cute.

What's brewing?

My favorite coffee in the world is probably hazelnut, with a nice, thick creamer so the whole thing tastes like the sweetest, richest dessert in the world--but packs a punch!

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

I work at home, so I have to be careful with the goodies--I have far too much unimpeded access to the fridge. But if it's chocolate, I want it. If it's chocolate and in the house? It will be in my mouth.

Any treat for your dog on this occasion?

Faye just likes to be nearby. She doesn't need treats, she just needs to have her people in her line of sight. She keeps watch. She chooses vantage points throughout the house so as to best keep her vigil. Right now, as I write this, she is about two inches from my right foot beneath my desk.

How were you and Faye united?

Friends of ours adopted her brother, Gus, from a rescuer a few years back but the rescuer loved Faye so much she couldn't bear to give her up. But then time marched on and the rescuer felt that Faye would do better in a house with fewer foster dogs. So she asked our friends and they thought that Faye would do well with us. I knew within an hour that she was our dog--and that was that! I've included a picture of Faye and her tan-colored, silly-faced brother--he looks absolutely nothing like her, but they have the exact same mannerisms.

Does Faye have any influence on your writing?

She's always watching it happen. She keeps me honest... and industrious!

How did Faye get her name? Does she have any aliases?

I don't know where she got the name, but it suits her!

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

She's the most people-oriented dog I've ever met. She doesn't care about any of those things--though, that said, she is not a fan of anyone knocking on the front door. That's the only time she really makes any noise. Other than that, she's a very, very quiet dog. She is just starting to loosen up and communicate a bit more--she now yawns pointedly. Yes. That's her big communication accomplishment.

Tennis ball, stick, squeaky-toy...?

Nope. She only wants a toy when another dog is visiting and she wants to indicate who's boss. Otherwise, she just wants to be as close as possible to her humans.

Who is Faye's best pet-pal?

I've included a picture of Faye with Tigger, the elder cat in our home. I don't know that they're pals, necessarily, but they share a sunbeam from time to time.

What is Faye's best quality?

She's ridiculously smart, but she also dances on her back feet and waves her front paws in the air when she gets excited. I love that she's both quick and goofy all at once!

What is your dog's proudest moment so far? Her most embarrassing?

Faye is far too dignified to embarrass herself. So I do it for her--I make her wear embarrassing hats sometimes, and also, I'll admit it, a raincoat because she REALLY doesn't like the rain.

And her proudest moment comes every night when she manages to wedge herself in between my husband and me in the bed. As you can see in the Christmas photo with my husband and me, she's a mad licker and she likes to be in the middle. She can't be stopped!

Caitlin Crews' new book is Pure Princess, Bartered Bride.

She has made her home in places as far-flung as York, England, and Atlanta, Georgia. She was raised near New York City, has backpacked in Zimbabwe, been on safari in Botswana, and visited tiny villages in Namibia.

She currently lives in California, with her animator/comic-book artist husband.

Megan Crane, her alter ego, graduated from Vassar College and got her MA and PhD in literature from the University of York in England. Her books include Names My Sisters Call Me.

Visit the official Caitlin Crews website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tom Lowe & Sadie

Who is in the photo at right?

My name's Tom Lowe. I write mystery/thriller novels. That's Sadie, our lovable nine pound pooch. She's a dachshund and she won't tell her age. However, her litter certificate indicates she's about seven years old.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Sadie's "home" is our kitchen. When I make coffee, she's always sitting in a corner next to the stove. As I brew the Joe, Sadie, with her Doxie nose, knows she may be the recipient of a tasty morsel -- and maybe a few gulps of decaf latte, her favorite. On long car trips, she insist we stop by a Starbucks every couple hundred miles for a "drive-thru" caffeine fix.

What's brewing?

For me, straight dark roast, Jamaican. For Sadie, she likes a German latte. (Yes, the Germans can brew more than beer.)

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Absolutely, deep dish apple pie.

Any treat for Sadie on this occasion?

Sadie prefers cheese on her slice.

How were you and Sadie united?

My wife. Yep, unknown to me, of course, my wife tiptoed into the home one day with this tiny facsimile of a dog. Sadie filled out, horizontally only, and she also filled our hearts.

Does Sadie have any influence on your writing?

Yes, she does. In my first novel, A False Dawn, the protagonist, Sean O'Brien, has just lost his wife to cancer. Maxine (the dachshund) becomes O'Brien's only family. She's a good listener and more than cathartic as O'Brien tries to heal inside. The presence of Max in the story gives O'Brien, in a first-person narrative, a way to express his thoughts. This allows the reader a better insight into O'Brien.

How did Sadie get her name? Does she have any aliases?

My wife chose the name.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Sadie is a hunter. It's in the ol' German genes. Living in Florida, she has year-round opportunities to "stalk" lizards, squirrels and anything that slithers in the back yard.

Tennis ball, Frisbee, squeaky-toy...?

Nope, Sadie only goes after this things with a pulse.

Who is Sadie's best pet-pal?

Barley, her "younger brother."

What's Sadie's most endearing quality?

Sadie has an "old soul" personality. She's wise. She is not intimidated by anything. But she's not aggressive in terms of biting someone. She's got the heart of a lion, quick mind, and permanent eyeliner beneath her big, brown eyes.

What's Sadie's proudest moment? Her most embarrassing?

Sadie's proudest moment, I think, was when she first swam a lap around our pool. She's infatuated with water, kind of like a little lab. Her most startling moment was when she was in Michigan for a while. It had snowed heavy during the night. The next morning, Sadie ran out the door, jumped off the step, and we could only see the tip of her tail as she became a snow mole.

Tom Lowe has written 7 screenplays and is an award winning documentary writer/director whose films have aired nationwide on PBS. The films include: The Sponge Divers of Tarpon Springs, River Into the New World, Feather Wars, The Last Cowboys and Zora’s Roots.

A False Dawn, his first novel published by St. Martin’s Press, introduced former homicide detective Sean O'Brien.

His new novel is
The 24th Letter.

Watch the trailer for The 24th Letter, and learn more about the book and author at Tom Lowe's website.

The Page 69 Test: The 24th Letter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Paige and Chris Evans & Joey

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Paige Evans and my husband Chris and I live in Southern California. He's going to dental school at USC and I'm working a couple jobs to help us stay afloat. We have a 7 month old Shiba Inu named Joey and he keeps us on our toes.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We took Joey to the Huntington Beach Dog Park to check out the ocean for the very first time and to interact with other dogs.

What's brewing?

We don't drink coffee, but we do love a good vanilla steamer and/or hot mint chocolate from Starbucks!

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Toasted bagels with butter or cream cheese, mmmmm.

Any treat for your dog on this occasion?

Not at the beach :) His treat was seeing all the other dogs, it's his favorite.

How were you and Joey united?

Well...about a year ago Chris and I were at a pet store (I LOVE looking at animals) and we saw some puppies that were a breed I'd never heard of or seen before...Shiba Inu?? We thought they were rad looking which was rare because we've NEVER agreed on the same kind of dog. Chris is a poodle boy and I love miniatures. Anyways I looked up Shiba Inu breeders when I got home and found out there was a breeder less than a mile from my parent's house in Washington state. We put our names on a waiting list and last Halloween I flew to WA and brought back our puppy!

How did Joey get his name? Any aliases?

We love the show Friends and have been naming our pets after them for awhile. We have a cat named Rachel, a rabbit named Chandler, a pair of zebra finches named Frank Jr. and Alice (although Frank Jr. recently passed away) and we had a guppy fish named Gunther. Joey just seemed like the best fit for our puppy. And if we ever get a poodle we'll name him Ross.

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

Dogs and people. Joey just gets so excited an anxious whenever he sees another dog or human.

Tennis ball, squeaky-toy, Frisbee...?

He loves plush toys with squeaky things in them and will chew the toy for hours until he gets the squeaker out and scatters the batting EVERYWHERE.

You have an active blog: Is Joey ever an inspiration for it? A distraction?

Joey definitely pops up on my blog a lot. We do a lot of things with him and I think he's very photogenic and cute so he makes an appearance quite often.

Where's Joey's favorite place for an outing?

He loves being outside and going on walks around the block.

Who is Joey's best pet-pal?

He loves our cat Rachel, though she doesn't quite reciprocate his feelings...

What's Joey's best quality?

He's such a mama's boy and follows me around everywhere and it's so nice to be loved.

What's his proudest moment? Most embarrassing?

His proudest moment was when he learned to "sit" in 30 seconds at the dog trainer's house. It really only took 30 seconds!

His most embarrassing moment was when he got outside and ran after a man walking his two dogs and one of the man's dogs broke free of his grip and the man started yelling and swearing and it was scary...

Read about the visit to Huntington Beach, and learn more about Joey--and Chris and Paige Evans--at their blog.

--Marshal Zeringue