Monday, March 7, 2011

Danny and Lucy McAuley & Jessie

Who are the individuals in the photos in this post?

The photo with the boy in the blue jacket is Jessie as a puppy and our middle son Adam.

The photo with the boy in the red t-shirt is Jessie and our oldest son Angus at our local Canada Day dog show.

The photo with Jessie with a weird growth coming out of her head is actually me (Danny).

Jessie is a nine-year-old female Golden Retriever.

My name is Danny McAuley. My wife Lucy and I own Brome Lake Books, an independent bookstore in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. We have three boys Angus (14), Adam (11) and Benjamin (5).

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Everyday is a perfect day for coffee with a canine. I start the pot brewing as soon as I arrive at work each morning and yes Jessie comes to work too. We have a twenty minute walk from home to our store everyday and Jessie loves it no matter what the weather. Jessie is our official greeter and has many friends that stop by regularly to see her. Jessie is so good she can tell right away if the person coming into the store is a dog person or someone to leave alone. She never barks and brings lots of smiles.

What's brewing?

I always use Virgin Hill Coffee from right here in the Eastern Townships and I prefer the Ripple Cove blend.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Goodies are always welcome. Something with a nice crunch. Like a biscotti but for today I have a granola bar with dark chocolate bits.

Any treat for Jessie on this occasion?

Jessie is a vacuum cleaner and is always on the lookout for the next treat. We keep a special stash of nibbly kibbles in the store for the occasional treat.

I learned about Jessie and your bookstore from the charming Louise Penny's blog. She and her golden Trudy were guests of Coffee with a Canine some time ago. What's Jessie's connection to them?

Jessie is Trudy’s mother! Louise, Trudy and her husband Michael live just over the mountain from us. There has been a book launch for each of Louise’s six books here at Brome Lake Books and Louise has been the stores top selling author since her fist book Still Life hit the shelves. Louise’s books have become hugely popular across North America and abroad so much so that many of her fans have made pilgrimages to our area. We have had many of Louise’s fans visit our store and when they discover that Jessie is Trudy’s mother there is lots of fawning and photo’s taken. Sometimes Trudy makes a visit and Jessie is very happy to see her but Louise is one of Jessie's favourite people. She greets Louise with tail madly wagging as she comes in and Jessie whines and talks to her, rubbing her head against Louise’s legs and there are kisses and hugs and eventually we get to say hello to Louise as well.

How were you and your dog united?

A local breeder of Golden Retrievers was expecting a litter from her Canadian Grand champion and wanted to place one of the puppies with a family with young children. We were overjoyed to welcome Jessie into the family. The breeder retained breeding rights and Jessie had two litters for a total of 14 puppies! Jessie was an excellent mother very attentive, gentle and easy going... and she had beautiful puppies.

How did Jessie get her name? Any aliases?

My mother-in-law told us that we had to have a name with an ‘s’ in it as apparently dogs hear the ‘s’ sound better than other sounds. And we all must listen to our mothers-in-law mustn't we? Jessie’s professional name is Broadway Star and so we were looking at names of artists and we had a CD of opera singer Jessie Norman so ... Jessie it was. Perhaps this is why Jessie often makes a high pitched singing tone when she is very excited. We often call her Jessie James as she is frequently the bandit who has taken our shoes and boots. She doesn’t chew them but when she’s excited she picks them up and carries them around the house abandoning them in the oddest of places! Inevitably the school bus is at the end of the driveway and the whole family is turning the house upside down searching for the one missing boot!

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

If a cat or squirrel runs Jessie will run with them but she gets very disappointed when they climb a tree or hide from her. If a cat or any animal big or small stands their ground Jessie becomes completely submissive and flops on her back to say take me I’m yours. Unless our children are there and then she becomes very protective and pushes herself in-between the children and the other animal.

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

Shoes and the smellier the better. Jessie likes to carry just about anything and she does like the occasional squeaky toy but fetching -- what’s that? Jessie might deign to go and fetch a ball once but if you’re stupid enough to throw it again you will have to go and get it yourself.

Where is Jessie's favorite place for an outing?

Somewhere wet and muddy. Grandma’s house fits the bill as there are lots of trails through the fields and forests with brooks and swamps.

Who are your dog's best pet-pals?

Grandma has two dogs that Jessie likes to bound around with but her best friends are our three boys. They are pretty much inseparable.

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

Jessie would definitely want me to feed her more and with greater frequency.

What is Jessie's proudest moment? Her most embarrassing?

Jessie has won ribbons but I think her proudest moment is when she finds a nice pile of deer pooh (preferably in the fall) to grind into her fur and all around her neck, face and rump. Apparently there is nothing better!

Most embarrassing. The first time we gave Jessie a summer buzz cut she was so traumatized that she hid in the bedroom for a day. But since then she has enjoyed the experience especially being able to go in the water without getting hot spots!

Visit the Brome Lake Books website.

--Marshal Zeringue