Monday, June 21, 2010

Linda M. Faulkner & Delaney and Charlotte

Who is in the photo at right?

The human is me, Linda M. Faulkner, and the dogs are Delaney (pound-puppy lab mix, green collar, cute butt), the late Tyson (handsome Rottie on the right), and Patience (headless Rottie on the left). When I’m not hugging my puppies on Christmas morning, I work in the insurance business, write insurance classes for myself and a number of clients, or write mystery/suspense novels.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

To express my request for you to rename your blog: Coffee or Tea with a Canine. Some of us do not drink coffee—we drink tea. (Although we do absolutely ADORE coffee ice cream and coffee icing on donuts.)

What's brewing?

My preferred brew is Irish Breakfast tea, which I do literally brew in either a teapot or in a Mr. Coffee coffeepot. We have two different Mr. Coffees both at home and at the office – and God help the person who mistakenly brews coffee in the tea-maker.

Any goodies to go with the tea?

That depends. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but enjoy a good shortbread cookie or piece of butter pound cake.

Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?

The dogs in my house don’t get fed people food. Dog biscuits (and kitty biscuits) are distributed each evening about 8pm. One of my dogs, Charlotte, suffers from allergies and we have “special” treats for her. Sometimes it’s a juggling act keeping her from scooping up the other critters’ snacks.

How did you and your dogs come together?

I adopted Delaney (lab/pointer mix) from the pound when he was 8 weeks old. He’s 10 years old now, and you’ll see that his chin has whitened considerably from the time he was a puppy. The two Rotties were my husband’s dogs before we were married and, when we blended our families, Tyson, Patience, and Delaney got along famously. (Tyson was also a pound puppy, Patience was obtained from a breeder in PA.) After we moved from Massachusetts to Montana, Charlotte (the German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mix) was adopted from the local shelter and joined the pack. We lost Tyson and Patience within a year of each other between 2008 and 2009; Delaney and Charlotte are the only puppies left in the household. (They get along famously with the kitties, Grace and Max.)

Do your dogs have any influence on your writing?

Absolutely. In fact, Tyson and Delaney were assigned aliases and actually appeared in my first mystery novel, Second Time Around. (Charlotte appeared as herself.) Unlike humans, the puppies absolutely adore the attention and don’t mind the world knowing their secrets. They also share some pretty good plot ideas, as well.

How did your dogs get their names?

Tyson came with his name; my husband figured that he’d need lots of Patience when he obtained her as a 10-week old; Delaney is a Celtic name that means “black;” and Charlotte just seemed to fit.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Try bears, deer, and turkeys. None of the dogs ever barked at the wildlife until we adopted Charlotte. Her protective streak is highly developed and she barks like crazy at the wildlife—especially the wild turkeys. It’s funny…we can tell what kind of critter is outside by her bark. Since we see the deer more often, she only gets marginally distressed when they appear. She really hates the turkeys and goes ballistic when the occasional bear strolls by the sliding door in the dining room.

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

Delaney used to love those stuffed toys with the squeaky things inside. They’d last for days. Until my husband and the Rotties moved in. End of stuffed toys, beginning of Nylabones.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

All the dogs get along terrific with the cats. Right now, however, the funniest dog/cat relationship is between Charlotte and Max, our black cat. Max will walk up to Charlotte and rub against her legs, just like he does to my husband and me. Then she leans down and licks him all over the face and head—and he lets her! During the winter, when the woodstove is going, Max, Delaney, and Charlotte lie in front of the stove, lined up like sardines. Unfortunately, they’re camera-shy and we’ve been unable to record that on film.

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

That I go to work every day. They LOVE weekends and says off and constantly beg me to stay home. They especially love when my husband works on the occasional Saturday morning. No sooner does Stephen leave than they all jump up on the bed with me. I usually wind up with a sore back because I become surrounded by animals and can’t move – but I sure do get warm.

What is each dog's most endearing quality?

Delaney tilts his head to the side when I talk to him. Charlotte can be extremely irritating but she’s so needy and affectionate I can never stay irritated for long. She also has those really great German Shepherd ears and face.

What’s the most amusing thing your dogs do? The most frustrating?

The funniest thing they do is sit in front of my husband every night at 9pm. That’s pee-time and, no matter how long ago he took them out—whether it was three hours or three minutes—they still do the sit down and ask-to-go-out-thing at 9pm. Charlotte’s existence can be frustrating sometimes. She’s demanding and aggressive, poking her nose into everything. She thinks she’s the Alpha and has to be reminded, constantly, that she’s NOT the pack leader.

Why do you think so many writers have dogs?

Writers tend to be solitary people, spending a lot of time alone. Humans have a difficult time accepting that someone they love wants to bury her nose in a computer screen for hours at a time or enjoys living with (and talking to ) imaginary people on a regular basis. Dogs don’t find this type of behavior intolerable or weird. They don’t mind sitting beneath a writer’s feet and occasionally receiving an absent rub; neither do they mind when the lights are blazing at 2am. Dogs rock and writers know this.

Visit Linda M. Faulkner's website.

--Marshal Zeringue