Friday, October 15, 2010

Maria Morgan & Precious and Joe

Who is in the photo at right?

Hi, I'm Maria Morgan, and these are our two retrievers, Precious Princess, and Mighty Joe. I'm an inspirational/devotional writer who also loves writing children's stories. Currently, I'm working on a devotional series and am a regular contributor to a local publication, Around About Cumming. I must say, these two furry friends have provided the inspiration for numerous blog posts! You can check out my website.

Enough about me, let's get back to the dogs! Precious is a Golden Retriever and Mighty Joe is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and I appreciate the opportunity to feature them at Coffee with a Canine.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I may be a bit different than you other dog owners out there. Our canines are outdoor dogs with their own separate houses (designed by a friend to match our house!)and bark parks, so sharing my coffee time with them is a bit of a challenge! But I can say that I routinely drink my steaming mug of Suisse Mocha (Maxwell House International Cafe) right before I lace up my gym shoes to spend some carefree time with my pooches. And they don't even seem to mind my coffee breath! My husband is the true coffee aficionado and enjoys ordering various coffees to use in his daily espresso. But that's a story for another time!

Any treats for your dogs on this occasion?

We give our dogs a variety of different treats, although not regularly. True to her feminine nature, Precious has to watch her 'girlish' figure, so we try to be careful that she doesn't over-indulge. And of course we can't just give treats to Joe and leave Precious out!

Their favorite treats are meat scraps from barbecue pork shoulder and homemade peanut butter treats, baked with extra love by a sweet neighbor. Hmmm, even though we're talking dog treats, I'm getting a little hungry!

How were you and Precious and Joe united?

I hate to admit that I wasn't much of a dog person before we got our two puppies. Years ago, when we lived in an apartment, we had promised our daughter a puppy as soon as we bought a house. That promise was a bit overdue. After we determined the type of dog that would best suit our lifestyle, my husband began researching breeders.

Four years ago, we adopted our dogs from Gold Eagle Kennels in Alabama. When we made the trip to the kennel, we had planned on just picking up our Golden Retriever. While there, my husband also wanted to look at the Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. After spending some time with Mighty Joe, we agreed to adopt both dogs, making for an interesting car ride home!

Precious was just six weeks old when we welcomed her into our family, and Joe was an energetic yearling. I can't say enough about how these two have wormed their way into my heart and opened my eyes to the wonderful world of canines!

How did Precious and Joe get their names? Any nicknames?

Our daughter had mulled over dozens of names and carefully picked out, Lady. All that changed when she laid eyes on the six-week old, ball of fluff and exclaimed, "How precious!" And she's been Precious Princess ever since; Precious for short. When we registered her with the AKC, there were 17 other dogs with the same name(!), so she became Precious Princess the 18th. Our family is totally into nicknames, so we often refer to her by one of these terms of endearment: PP18, Eloise, GG, Golden Girl, PupPup, The Rug, and Pupper.

Since he was 15 months old when we got him, Mighty Joe had already been named. We usually just call him Joe, although nicknames abound for him, too: JoBe, Big Red, Big Buddy, Mighty Chesterpeake, Mocha Joe, Nature Boy, and Big Red Horse, to name just a few!

Tennis ball, squeaky-toy, stick?

On this one, we live in a house divided! Precious and Joe are as different as night and day. When Precious was a puppy, Joe thought toys were only for big dogs. He claimed every toy and as a result, Precious was left with what we began referring to as 'natural' toys, sticks, sticks, and more sticks! To this day, Joe loves anything he can run and fetch: a frisbee (his personal favorite), tennis ball, or rubber animal. Precious on the other hand, couldn't care less about toys. She prefers a good stick any day!

Who are Precious and Joe's best pet-pals?

True to the nature of her breed, Precious greets every dog with her tail wagging, and that, can-I-be-your-friend look, in her gorgeous brown eyes! Of late, she seems to be getting along quite well with the turtles who slowly make their way across her bark park. Yes, I've had to deliver a surprised turtle or two from the clutches of her mouth! Not to worry though, as I gently release them well outside of her fenced area, not much worse for the wear.

Joe is a classic alpha dog all the way. If a dog even looks at him the wrong way, he takes it as a challenge. He gets along well with his sister, Precious (as long as she stays in her own bark park!), but doesn't make a point of being too friendly with other canines. Comically, squirrels, are a different story. He often allows them to waltz right onto the porch of his house and get a piece of dog food out of his bowl. How funny is that?! We joke that they're his pets! Go figure!

What is each dog's proudest moment?

Precious' proudest moment comes right before we take our evening walk. Her excitement builds as she hears me get her leash. She flies down the hill of her bark park and bounces up and down, tail wagging madly. Once she's released from her area, she continues on a beeline straight for our pond. As she plunges into the cool water, and begins wading around, you'd think she just won a prize, judging from the thoroughly satisfied look on her pretty face!

Joe is proudest when he's involved in an intense game of fetch. Let me help you understand. When we got Joe, he had never played before. We literally had to teach our 15-month old dog how to play! It was pretty humorous listening to my husband coaxing Joe to play by repeating over and over, "You're a retriever." These days, his proudest moment is definitely when he makes a seemingly impossible catch that leaves our mouths hanging open. I must say, he's one athletic dog! You go, Joe!

What is each dog's best quality?

If I had to sum it up, Precious' best quality is being loving. She loves giving kisses and she is the ultimate cuddler! When I'm in her bark park, she leans up against me and just oozes love from those big, brown eyes of hers. No matter where she is in her space, she comes running when we're around. She loves coming into the house and snuggling while we watch TV. She rolls over for a tummy rub, and if we stop petting her, she's quick to let us know that we're slacking on the job! We love our Golden Girl!

Joe's best quality is loyalty. He loves to position himself where he can see into the house and catch glimpses of us throughout the day. When we talk to him, he cocks his head from side to side as if he's doing his very best to understand us. He's very cautious when it comes to outsiders. He doesn't let just anyone approach him. He is totally devoted to us. Joe has come a long way since we got him (learning how to play, overcoming his fears, etc)and is a wonderfully, faithful friend! We love our Mighty Chesterpeake!

Visit Maria Morgan's website.

--Marshal Zeringue