Monday, June 27, 2011

Bruce Littlefield & Westminster

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Bruce Littlefield, a best-selling author, lifestyle expert, and seeker of all things fun. My pal Westminster is a 6-year-old male “medley.” (There are prominent notes of Border Collie and cattle dog, with undertones of terrier.)

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

There’s this “only in New York” routine called “alternate side parking,” which means twice a week the car has to be double parked for an hour so the street cleaner can come through and do its thing. Westminster and I move the car together. He loves to sit in the front seat and people watch while I sip my coffee and catch up on phone calls.

What's brewing?

I buy Dunkin Donuts beans and grind them in my Cuisinart coffee maker. I love my monkey coffee mug designed by my book illustrator Paul Heath.

Any goodies for your or Westminster to go with the coffee?

Occasionally, I’ll sneak a piece of dark chocolate with my coffee. Rather than coffee, Westminster likes to bring along his rubber chicken and gets one of his favorite beef jerky treats when we finish the task of moving the car.

How were you and Westminster united?

Westminster was in a very strategically placed rescue van outside the Westminster Dog Show. From the moment we met, it was love at first sight.

How did Westminster get his name? Any aliases?

I loved the irony of a mutt being named “Westminster.” That’ll show ‘em! He also goes by “Wes.” His cousins call him “Westie” and the doormen in our building like to playfully call him “Wesley.”

What role if any does Westminster play in your writing?

He’s my sidekick, my muse, and is the inspiration for The Bedtime Book for Dogs. One day I was working away at my computer on a book project, and he obviously wanted my attention. When I looked down at him, I asked, “What? You want me to write you a book?” He wagged his tail and this tale was born. It was a real “aha!” moment. He’s retained an attorney to claim any and all royalties.

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

One of Wes’s favorite activities is stalking and then startling squirrels. He seems to find great humor in their sudden panic. He also loves when the UPS truck comes down the driveway at the country house. The woman driver is a dog person and always brings him a treat. If we’re not home, she leaves a package with a treat on top.

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

He loves all things that squeak, but his two most cherished toys are his Frisbee and his rubber chicken [photo left]. He’s an amazing Frisbee catcher and the rubber chicken is his favorite thing to take on walks in the city. It’s a real vaudeville act. The old ladies love it.

Where is Westminster's favorite places for outings?

He loves running with me along the Hudson River in Riverside Park and on the tractor trails near our country house. He also loves New York City’s sidewalk cafes and any car trip, particularly when it involves a cow drive-by.

Who are Westminster's best pet-pals?

He loves Bella the Beagle. They like to play hide and seek. And he also loves Sophie the GoldenDoodle. They often take romantic beach walks together.

What is Westminster's best quality?

He’s kind, a truly good dog.

What is Westminster's proudest moment? Most embarrassing?

He loves appearing on stage or TV with me. He seems to relish the attention of the audience and the act of performing. Most embarrassing? Well, he’ll be very upset I told you this, but when he was a puppy, he was caught eating his poop. He’s never lived that one down!

Bruce Littlefield is a best-selling author, lifestyle expert, and an arbiter of American fun. He shares his passionate curiosity (and occasional mischievousness) with millions of people through his books and appearances on NBC’s Today Show and CBS’s Early Show. His new book is The Bedtime Book for Dogs.

Visit Bruce Littlefield's website and Facebook page.

Writers Read: Bruce Littlefield.

--Marshal Zeringue