Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Roxanne Hawn & Lilly and Ginko

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Roxanne, and this is Lilly. I’m a professional freelance writer and dog blogger. Lilly is a 6-year-old smooth coat border collie. We live in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Our blog is called Champion of My Heart.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Thanks to my very independent job and living in a relatively rural, remote location, I work from home most days. Since getting to the nearest independent coffee shop requires a 10-mile drive (about 20 minutes) down a steep, winding canyon, if I’m having coffee … I’m having coffee at home.

The occasion is usually that I need to get a lot done.

What's brewing?

One of my sisters-in-law lives most of the year on Molokai, one of the smaller Hawaiian islands. She is my direct source for coffee. I suspect that has spoiled me. We do keep a can of Folgers (or something) in the pantry for emergencies, but 99% of the time, we’re having Hawaiian coffee.

I hope this doesn’t disqualify me, but I actually don’t drink a ton of coffee. So, I only have it when I really need it … maybe once a week (sometimes less).

For that reason, I don’t clog up the counter with a coffee maker. Instead, I use a French press. It’s simple. It’s fast. It makes good coffee.

Milk. Sugar. Whipped cream (if I have it in the house).

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Usually if I’m having coffee, I’m also having a full-on breakfast. Since we’re getting close to the holiday season, that often means this Italian frittata.

Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?

I usually give the dogs the last bite or two of whatever I’m eating (assuming it’s safe for them to have).

How were you and your dogs united?

My first dog (as an adult) died in June 2004, at age 14. Her name was Penelope Grace, and she was a hilarious Dalmatian. I was so heartbroken that I didn’t think I would be ready for another dog for at least a year, but my husband’s dog – Ginko (a lab + greyhound mix) – was so lonely. So, we adopted Lilly in October 2004 from Humane Society of Boulder Valley.

I wasn’t quite ready emotionally, but she has been an amazing addition to our family. I’ve learned so much from her. I’ve never lived with such a fearful dog. I joke that I’ve earned my PhD from the University of Dogs With Issues.

Ginko came into our life in 2000, after we had suffered numerous deaths in the family (including pets). We decided then that we desperately needed a puppy in the house.

How did your dogs get their names?

Lilly came to/from the shelter with the name Daisy, but my mother-in-law had just lost her sheltie named Daisy. So, I flipped through a flower book, wanting to stay with the theme. I was keen on naming her Poppy Anne, but my husband could not get past that Seinfeld episode where the character Poppy peed on the sofa. So, we went with Lilly Elizabeth instead.

Ginko got his name because as a young pup he seemed to have such a good memory (a la ginkgo biloba). We considered naming him after a famous scientist, like Copernicus, but that seemed too unwieldy. I’ve read behaviorists who say that two syllable names for dogs are best. And, Ginko had that B-I-N-G-O ring to it.

His middle name is Cornelius.

To this date (and likely for the rest of my life), it’ll stand as my most creative dog name choice.

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

Squirrel, for sure … but only because we don’t have tree squirrels where we live, so seeing them down in town is very exciting.

Frisbee, squeaky-toy, stick...?

At our house? The squeaky ball reigns, but Ginko always steals it, so Lilly has learned that playing fetch with a stick is pretty fun. Ginko pays no attention to sticks.

Where are your dogs' favorite places for outings?

Truly, anywhere we go. Lilly loves to go for walks in our valley. She loves to go for hikes on the mountains around our home. She gets a real kick out of any dog training classes we take. She even likes running errands with me.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Neither of the dogs have terrific social skills, so other than each other, they have very few dog friends. Plus, Ginko is getting old enough and has bad knees (long story), so we don’t let him run around too much.

Lilly did have one best, best friend named Katie. She was a young borzoi who lived just up the valley from us. Since Lilly is so fearful/reactive towards other dogs, it was a miracle that she loved Katie so much. And, Katie loved her back.

Sadly, Katie had to be rehomed. We seriously considered adopting her, but we’ve always had just 2 dogs for some very specific reasons. And, it didn’t seem fair to Katie. She would have been more like Lilly’s dog.

We were so sad when she moved away that I made a 5-minute tribute video to their friendship. How sappy is that?

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

Work less, worry less.

What's each dog's best quality?

Ginko … enthusiasm. He is up for anything you want to do. And, yet, he makes an excellent Sofa Captain. He is perfectly happy to sleep, as long as he can be nearby.

Lilly … intelligence and work ethic. There is a joke that says having a border collie makes you think you’re the best dog trainer in the world, so I try to remember that she is doing most of the work.

What's each dog's proudest moment? The most embarrassing?

Let’s see. Ginko is most proud when he has the toy, the ball, whatever. He does this little prancing victory lap that makes us laugh.

Lilly is proud anytime she learns something new. You can just see this light click on in her head, and she gets so happy.

As for embarrassing? Well, because of Lilly’s fears, she often ran into agility tunnels at class and would not come out – for love, money, or hotdogs.

I actually talked about this unique embarrassing moment in the acceptance speech when we won the DogTime Media Best Dog Blog Award. People got a real kick out of it.

Visit the Champion of My Heart blog.

--Marshal Zeringue