Friday, May 6, 2011

Sarah-Kate Lynch & Ted

Who is in the photo at right?

This is me, Sarah-Kate Lynch, writer, and my four-year-old Kerry Blue Terrier, Ted.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We are having what my husband sarcastically calls "cuddle mummy time". Luckily for Ted, he doesn't recognize sarcasm, which leaves him free to simply revel in the joy of being cuddled. Me, I take the sarcasm and park it to be responded to at a later date.

What's brewing?

Ted will drink from muddy puddles but I am very particular about my coffee. I have a La Pavoni coffee machine and like a triple shot with just a splash or two of steamed soya milk. This has no name. Trust me, I've stood at more coffee counters than you can count trying to work out what anyone else would call it but I generally end up ordering a triple espresso and a separate cup of milk and mixing it myself.

Any treats for you or your dog on this occasion?

Ted, unlike me, is not motivated by food. It's a miracle we ended up together. The Kerry Blue is known for this. We free feed him and he just takes a nibble every now and then when he feels like it. The shock on his face when a greedy Labrador comes to visit and heads straight for his food bowl and devours the contents is hilarious. He just doesn't get it.

How did your dog come to be united with you?

Well, his predecessor, Kit, died without much warning and I was inconsolable so we rang the breeder we had got him from 10 years before and he just so happened to have a five-month-old puppy...

How did Ted get his name?

Actually, I wanted to call him Kit. He looks exactly the same as Kit - all Kerry Blues seem identical - and I missed Kit so much I just wanted to pretend he had never gone anywhere but my husband put his foot down about that. However, he was OK with the name Ted although I call him Teddy because he really is one: he loves nothing more than being cuddled. Apart from the food thing, we are really a match made in heaven.

Please tell us a bit about Ted's role in your writing?

Ted lies behind my chair and snoozes while my creative juices flow. In three and a half years he has not worked out that the chair is on wheels and will come towards him at speed. Adorable.

Does he accompany you on book tours?

Sadly, no, but he would very much like to.

Does Ted have a favorite place to go for walk?

Where I live most the time, in New Zealand, we have a beautiful walk from our back door through native forest to about 20 miles of west coast beach. Hard to beat. Seriously.

Rabbit, postman, cat...?

Hm, has been known to chase the odd rabbit, has been known to gently nip the postman's butt, and has been known to lose his marbles completely over a neighboring cat.

What's Ted's best quality?

He is the sweetest, most lovable creature on the planet, I swear. And I'm not the only one. He has a huge fan club.

If Ted could change one thing about your husband, what would it be?

Ha! He would make the husband far more sympathetic to his cause which is that the most important thing in life is to be adored. Not to follow rules. Or do you as you are told, when you are told.

What's Ted's proudest moment so far? His most embarrassing?

A three-year-old boy appeared out of nowhere in a busy city park the other day and just yanked on Ted's tail. I would have bitten the kid, but Ted barely raised an eyebrow.

Most embarrassing? There are a few. The first day I got him he ran across the surface of the swimming pool because he had never seen one before. This did not turn out so well and he plunged to the bottom so I had to jump in fully clothed and rescue him. Once I had to carry him for half an hour back to the car after he got prickles in his armpits. Once he fell off the side of a cliff while scratching his ear and was only hanging on by his toenails...

Sarah-Kate Lynch lives part of the year on the wild west coast of New Zealand but travels as often as she can to the vineyards of Champagne, the streets of New York, and the hilltop towns of Tuscany.

Visit her website and blog, and read more about her latest novel, Dolci di Love.

--Marshal Zeringue