Friday, July 16, 2010

Loree Lough & Cash

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s Cash, my 10-year old German Shorthaired Pointer. He’s way beyond camera shy (more on that below) so I consider myself really, really fortunate to have this photo for my desk!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Can’t start my day without Cash ‘n’ coffee (in that order)!

What's brewing?

Costco brand regular, which won hands-down in cost and taste comparisons with other major brands.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Most days, just cereal with milk, but once in a while, I treat myself to a poached egg on toast. (And Cash gets about ¼ of it.)

Any treat for Cash on this occasion?

Today was the date for his monthly dose of heartworm prevention medicine. Some dogs gobble those pills up like candy. Not Cash! He got his wrapped in a blanket of cream cheese.

How were you and Cash united?

We heard the story of an abusive breeder who thought he could beat “gun shy” out of his litter of GSP pups. Neighbors complained about the constant yelping and crying, and authorities demanded that the owner make a choice: Give up the litter or serve time in jail and pay a steep fine. He chose the former, though he deserved both for the horrors he inflicted on those poor dogs. Our vet predicted that because of the abuse, Cash would not live as long as most GSPs (broken bones that healed on their own, poor diet, lack of veterinary care, etc…). He came to us with Lyme Disease, heartworm, and more. Lots more. But he’s happy and healthy now, and that’s what counts!

Does Cash have any influence on your writing?

Cash is my sidekick and loves to lay here beside my desk while I work. If not for his occasional “I need to go outside” nudgings, I’d probably never get up for food or water!

How did Cash get his name? Does he have any aliases?

The name on his papers is Jaek von-something-very-German, but because he’s mostly black (and cost us a small fortune at the vet’s office) we nicknamed him Cash.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

He loves to “tree” squirrels and bark at the neighbor’s cat.

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

All of the above, plus a weird rope-thing his daddy made for him.

Where is Cash's favorite outdoor destination?

He loves walking around the neighborhood, sniffing all the places where his four-legged pals have visited, but his all-time favorite place is our cabin in the Allegheny Mountains, where he delights in barking at deer, squirrels, birds, chipmunks, groundhogs, coyotes and a black bear or two … always from at least 100 yards.

Who is Cash's best pet-pal?

Honey, the miniature Dachshund. She’s my daughter’s dog, and visits often. He loves sharing food, water, treats and his comfy beds (he has one in almost every room of the house) with her, and they often cuddle up together for naps.

I've read that you are a wolf enthusiast. How did you come by that interest? How do you indulge it?

It all started while researching material for a book (Montana Sky) years ago. A friend told me about this fantastic place, The Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania, which is a 2-hour drive from my house. I spend as much time there as possible, and because the sanctuary is 100% donor-sponsored, I donate a percentage of my annual income to the care and feeding of those beautiful beasts.

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

“Stop filing my nails. I like to hear them tick-tack across the hardwood and tile!”

What is Cash's best quality?

I’d have to say patience + kindness = Cash. He’s a big dog (knee-high and 90 lbs.), but he’s truly a gentle giant. He’s sweetly affectionate with our grandkids and, if not for his arthritic old bones, would love it if they’d ride him like a pony!

What is the most amusing thing Cash does? The most frustrating?

Amusing? That’s a toss-up between the way he “talks” (think Scooby Doo) and the way he follows me everywhere. (He can open an unlocked bathroom door!)

Frustrating…I guess the way he “punishes” us when we have to leave him home alone by shredding magazines…and the latest copies of my books!

Why no photo of you with Cash?

Photos of Cash are rare, because he’s terrified of cameras. We think that’s because his former owner beat him with flashlights, and the sight of anything that flashes is just too scary for him. We’ve tried “catching” him by surprise with cell phone cameras, digital cameras, video cameras, and all manner of picture-taking devices that don’t flash. But he’s too smart for us! So, unfortunately, there are no pictures of me with Cash … or anyone else for that matter. [sigh]

According to one recent count, Loree Lough had 75 books in print, with nine more due out between now and the end of 2011, plus 65 short stories, and more than 2,500 articles.

Loree Lough's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue