Monday, June 14, 2010

Lucy Balch & Rudy

Who’s in the photo to the right?

I’m Lucy Balch, author of Love Trumps Logic, a Regency romance. I’m giving my dog, Rudy, one of the many kisses he gets during the day—from me, my daughter or my husband.

What’s the occasion for coffee?

For me, it’s actually my neighbor’s authentic chai tea. Whenever I stop by her house with Rudy, mid-walk, she brews me a cup. It’s way better than Starbuck’s chai latte. I keep trying to get her recipe, but—so far—it’s a tightly held secret.

Any snacks with that chai?

If she’s in the middle of cooking, she always offers some delicious Indian tidbit to go with the tea.

Does Rudy get a treat too?

Rudy’s funny about treats. He won’t take them unless he’s home, and able to take the treat to another room to eat. You know how the PetSmart cashiers offer mini biscuits to visiting dogs? Rudy never takes them. There’s a man in our neighborhood, who walks with his Corgi. He offered Rudy a cat treat one day, and Rudy gobbled it right down and begged for more. I guess cat treats are tastier than dog treats.

How was Rudy united with the Balch family?

I found Rudy one rainy day on my way home from work—on a grassy median in the middle of a highway. He was sitting, tongue lolling to one side, watching the cars go by as if what he was doing made perfect sense. Fearful that this silly dog would get hit, I pulled over. Another lady stopped to help, and we managed to get Rudy onto my backseat—he was a bit hesitant at first.

I took him straight to a vet, who told me he was about a year old and in good health. Part Chow, part Shepherd, part Golden, and the vet pronounced him to have a wonderful personality too.

We later found his owners through the county pound. Rudy had a prior record, since his wanderlust had caused him to jump their fence on two other occasions. Initially, we gave him back, but through an occurrence of pure serendipity, I ran into one of the owners again. She told me that he wouldn’t stop crying, that he missed us, and that—if we wanted—we could have him back. We took him back. That was 8 ½ years ago.

What about Rudy’s influence on your writing?

I grew up with cats and Rudy is my first experience with a dog. He’s helped me to write a believable dog for my work in progress.

Where did Rudy get his name?

I found Rudy right after 9/11, right after seeing Rudy Guiliani help New York City during one of the worst days in history.

Does Rudy have aliases?

Ru, RuRu, Puppy, Puppy wuppy, Fluff ball, Fuzz butt, or Goober (if he’s being particularly goofy).

What sets Rudy in motion?

Another dog, more than anything else, although he’d also chase the neighborhood deer if I’d let him. And he never wants to chase to hurt; his goal is to play.

What about toys?

Rudy loves squeaky toys, and he’ll nibble one until he gets the squeaker out. He’s not good at sharing his toys. We’ve also noticed that he tends to get his toys out when he’s feeling impatient or excited.

Where does Rudy like to go?

Rudy’s favorite destination is probably the dog park, although any place where his family is going is good enough for him. He does not like to see the suitcases come out.

The dog park is a twenty-minute drive; when he realizes where he’s going, his ears perk up and he starts singing (that’s the best way to describe the pitch shifts and vocal inflections that come out of him).

Does Rudy have a pet-pal?

Rudy’s best pet-pal is our cat, Cutsie, who was already part of our family when Rudy joined it. At first, she was so scared of him that she wet the floor (or us, if we were holding her) whenever he was around. That quickly changed. They’re best buddies now.

What is Rudy’s best quality?

So many qualities come to mind, but I’d say it’s his sweet spirit. He might have the face of a Chow and a Shepherd, but he has the heart of a Golden. He’ll offer his paw in greeting to anyone he meets.

What’s amusing about Rudy?

With age, came farts. They used to scare him out of a good sleep, but now he’s used to them and sleeps undisturbed. On the strange-funny side, he veers away from all drains on the street, terrified of them. Maybe, in his first year of life before we knew him, a cat popped out of one and attacked him. Whatever the reason, it’s a hardwired phobia. He’d rather walk in front of oncoming traffic than go anywhere near a drain.

How does Rudy frustrate you?

Rudy has very strong ideas about where he does and does not want to walk. If we try to lead him down an undesirable pathway, he stiffens his front legs and refuses to walk. A battle of wills ensues, and Rudy is often the victor. A human win requires much pulling and firm admonitions, with Rudy grumbling loud enough to let you know he’s not pleased.

Lucy Balch's Love Trumps Logic is available on or through Second Wind Publishing.

Visit Lucy Balch's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue