Wednesday, September 1, 2010

David Daigle & his pack

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm David Daigle, the author a four-volume epic fantasy adventure, (shameless self-promotion – The Frontmire Histories – available on With me is Miss Little Louisiana Lily Lou Lewis, a pure miniature longhaired doxi.

The photo below left includes Lily's babies: Hugguette (French in origin and a character in one of our favorite movies A Year in Provence), Kenya, named after a locally dark roast coffee, and Mr. Bilbo Baggins.

And in the photo below right, Lily poses with the love of her life (but not the babies' father) Caleb (which means - dog). He's a pure mutt, 100% dog.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We don’t have many coffee related outings with the dogs. Five is a bit much. But a great treat for them is a walk on the beach or just a ride in the car. Baggins will be on me with his head out the window; Caleb will have his head out the driver’s side back window. Lily is far too refined – she just sits quietly in the passenger-side rear seat. The two other girls get up on the ledge behind the passenger seat and sniff the wind and let it blow over them.

What's brewing?

We are blessed to have a few local coffee roasters and drink it hot, fresh and delicious. The "babies" once ate the grounds out of the garbage. They seemed to like it and didn’t suffer any apparent ill-effects.

Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?

It is a custom at the local espresso drive-throughs to give doggie bones. When we go out at stop for coffee, the five dogs all hover at the windows to get their doggie bones. We only get coffee. This is repeated at bank drive-throughs, gas stations... It's the only time they do not bark at strangers.

Do your dogs have any influence on your writing?

I have to say that my dogs have never contributed to my writing; they have far superior interests. When on the computer, they’re usually browsing the kitty sites!

How were you and the dogs united? And how did they get their names? Any aliases?

Thirteen-year-old Caleb was named after the Hebrew word for dog. It made sense at the time… We acquired him from a pound in the Atlanta region in 1997. He goes by Caleb, Dog, Joe, and when we don’t want him to know we are talking about him – Edward?

Five-year-old Lily Lou was supposed to be just Lily after a dear departed friend, Lillian. Since she came from a kennel in Louisiana, it had to have a southern flair to it so it went to Lily Lou. Her father’s name was Jerry Lewis. After twisting and playing with it, the name became Miss Little (she’s a mini doxi) Louisiana Lily Lou Lewis. Try saying that fast three times to the officer without getting a DUI. The nicknames are endless – Doo, Doo-Doo, Diddi-Doo, Baby-Doo, Lily and so on and so forth.

Lily Lou’s kids are three years old. Eileen, my wife hates it when I tell this story: I was calculating how much money we were going to make selling Lily’s babies. They can be quite pricey. Eileen’s in the background of my selective hearing saying, “If she has babies, I’m going to love them all, and I’m not letting you sell them.” Three babies later, we’re a five-dog family.

Mr. Bilbo Baggins. He’s short, he’s stout, he has a snout. He’s lean, he’s mean. He’s a fighting machine. He fights, he bites, his teeth are white. He goes by Baggins mostly. Sometimes – Bilbo (that’s when things are more serious). Occasionally – Bagginses.

Sister Kenya. She’s black and tan. We were drinking the locally roasted coffee named “Kenya” – hence –Kenya. She goes by Kenni and recently McKenzie.

Hugguette is derived from the French as in Huguenots. My heritage is French and one of our beloved characters from the movie A Year in Provence bears the same name. She goes by Hugguette la quette (the hair tuft). Then, Getti leads into Spaghetti. She’s a timid, tender, sensitive little spirit. The quality she is known for is that she turns on her back and empties her bladder about 30% of the times you might reach for her…or maybe even look at her; she wags her tail vigorously, spraying the urine all over the place. It’s only because she loves us so…but it has earned her the nickname Pee-pee baby. Yet, when it comes to possession of a toy or a tug-of-war, all the others drop it and leave – they surrender to her without a fuss. I’m not sure what that means.

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

Caleb is a squirrel man. No doubt! But in a pinch, a rodent, deer or raccoon will do.

The rest of the clan will bark at anything that moves, though Kenni is definitely our rodent hater and has tried to dig through the floor to get at a gnawing mouse. They are all terrible cowards, which I guess is good since they only weigh about 12 pounds each.

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

Caleb! No question – tennis ball. While I worded outside, he retrieved and chased the ball for 5 hours non-stop many times. When we went inside, he wanted to…play ball.

Kenya is our official squeaky killer. Within seconds she will eviscerate and kill the squeaker and then spread its filler contents about the house. Then she will bring it to me, and I have to throw it for hours as she chases it and kills it again. She also has the habit of holding my nose in her teeth when I hold her: I don’t know what it means. Also, if I hold her on her back in my arms, take hold of a handful of skin on her side and say, “Are you a mean little bitch?”, she growls like she’s going to kill me. She’s all teeth, snarls and growls. Then I say, “No, you’re not mean.” She relaxes and is ‘normal’ again.

Lily and Hugguette like squeakies, but they are much more refined than to get obsessed about something like that.

Baggins – he loves to lead the chase. He gets everyone riled up and leads the others in a chase about the house. He leaps, he runs, he jumps and growls. He has a GREAT time! Baggins and I rough house at times. At those times, he’s all teeth and growls. I slide him across the linoleum floor. When he stops, he always smells his penis before charging back into the tussle. I always tell him, “That’s a good boy, always check your pee-pee.”

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Lily is in love with Caleb. If he needs to go outside (he only stares, so sometimes we don’t notice) she’ll bark to let us know. If we are late to feed him (he’s on a different schedule), she’ll bark to let us know he needs to be fed.

Baggins is in love with T’is Gris (Little Gray in French). He grovels before the cat. He licks at him when 4 feet away. He’s in love.

Caleb is his own man.

Kenya, did I mention she loves squeakies?

Lily won’t sleep with the babies; she has to have her own crate. Too snooty? Or a worn out mom?

What is each dog's best quality?

Caleb is as friendly an animal as the day is long. He’s every dog and human’s friend.

Lily is easy going, needs a bit of morning “sugar” (that’s southern for affection) and then makes her way independently through the day.

Baggins is just a great buddy.

Kenya is eager to please.

Spaghetti is the sweetest little creature you have ever met.

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

I wouldn’t have an answer to this except for Baggins. He once dug out of his outdoor pen and under the adjacent shed. The girls were putting up a tremendous barking at the shed wall. I went out to see. I looked down into the hole to see two black eyes and black nose – There was a Bagginses in that hole!

Well, I pulled him back out and blocked the hole with some bricks. I then turned to see Bagginses strutting about like the only rooster in the barnyard. He thought that he was freakin’ cool for doing what the girls hadn’t done. And that’s a doggone fact!

Embarrassing? Only Caleb, when he peed on a guy’s leg…

And all are professional beggars. They can be intently begging while pretending to be asleep.

Read more about
David Daigle's Frontmire Histories -- Prince of the Elves, Rise of the Dark Queen, Kravorctiva, and Vanished! -- and visit The Frontmire Histories' weblog.

--Marshal Zeringue