Friday, April 8, 2011

Ariel Wulff and Taco, Maria, Lammy Lamb, Rocket Boy and Waldo

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Ariel Wulff. I am the author of Born Without a Tail, a memoir about animal rescue. I am also a freelance writer for the Cleveland Pets Examiner, and I maintain my own blog about dogs, Up On The Woof, and I am an artist - the creator of Yelodoggie art. I'm currently sharing my life with five misfit dogs. These are my girls: Taco (Chihuahua: age 10) on the left, Maria (Chi/Rat Terrier: age 2) in the middle, and Lammy Lamb (Jack Russell Terrier: Age 13) on my lap.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Celebrating the end of the long Ohio winter in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

What's brewing?

Maxwell House original roast with white chocolate mocha creamer.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Homemade oatmeal cookies.

Any treat for your dogs on this occasion?

Homemade oatmeal cookies. I bake them especially for the dogs.

How were you and your dogs united?

My home is the third home for each of the girls. They were all multiple owner surrenders. None of them were abused, just bounced from one home to another.

We also have two boys [photo left]. We met Rocket Boy on vacation. He was the victim of some mishandling by children at the age of four weeks, and he has shaken puppy syndrome. He also had the good fortune of looking just like a dog we had recently lost, so we took him home with us. Rocket Boy is a 3 year old Chi/Shih Tzu mix, a "Chihua-tzu", if you will.

Waldo is a 4 year old Boxer mix. We were looking for a big dog, and Waldo was part of a litter of 8 pups that were headed to the pound if they didn't get homes. He had huge paws.

Have your dogs had any influence on your writing?

They are the main influence on my writing. Both Born Without a Tail and the book I just finished, Circling the Waggins, are about my life with these crazy dogs. They also inspire most of my blog posts.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Taco came to us as "Muffin", but that seemed like a silly name for a Chihuahua, so we opted for something more Mexican.

"Lammy Lamb" came to us as Desiree'. We still call her Desi, occasionally, but she is so curly that she got the lamb nickname. Sometimes I call her "Lambchop", but lately we've been referring to her as "Psycho Boba" because she has turned into a crazy senior.

Maria came to us with that name. She is part Rat Terrier, and quite the food scavenger, so we sometimes call her "Rat Girl" or "Ree".

Rocket Boy got his name from the two unscheduled flights he took at the hands of those kids at 4 weeks, and for the way he rockets around the house. He is also known as "Little Baby".

Waldo is just a big goofball. He has several nicknames: "Mr. Velvet Ears" and "Buster Brown", but "Handsome" is his favorite.

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

Waldo has a real problem with cats...he loves to torment them. He also gets pretty wound up over the opossums that get into our trash. Lammy Lamb is obsessed with the tiny toads in our rock bed. Everybody else is pretty laid back.

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

Rocket prefers toys that he can shred, like stuffed animals. He's also addicted to Chew eez. We can't even say the word "Chew eez" in our house or he goes crazy. We have to call them "You-know-whats".

Waldo is all about the yellow ball. He's even learned how to bounce it on the hard floor for himself and catch it. He's one of those dogs that is not satisfied with just chasing the ball and bringing it back; he wants to jump in the air and spin around and catch it on the fly.

Maria prefers tug games, and Lammy Lamb and Taco are the cheerleaders, barking from the sidelines.

Where are your dogs' favorite places for outings?

They love one of the nearby dog parks, Bow Wow Beach. But they are happy to go just about anywhere, even if it's just driving around on errands.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Each other.

What is each dog's best quality?

They are all so full of joy. And they love me despite all my shortcomings. Also, they make me laugh.

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

For Maria, it is stealing the tennis ball away from Waldo. For everyone else, it was winning first place in a Halloween costume contest a few years ago. Waldo was a fisherman and Desi, Taco and Rocket Boy were his lobster catches of the day.

I think that embarrassment stems from a self-conscious fear of others judging you. My dogs are uncomplicated that way -- blissfully un-self-conscious. They are genuine.

Read more about Born Without a Tail at the Yelodoggie site, and follow Ariel Wulff at the Cleveland Pets Examiner and the Up On The Woof blog.

--Marshal Zeringue