Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Brigette Barrager & Lila

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Brigette and I'm a writer and illustrator of children's books. Lila is a little black dog. I don't know what she is exactly, but I strongly suspect miniature pinscher and something else, chihuahua maybe? Rat terrier? Everyone seems to have a theory.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Me and Lila spend every day together since I work from home, and we usually take an afternoon walk to our favorite place around the corner. Lila likes the walk, and I like the caffeine! So the "occasion" is really just our routine.

What's brewing?

Soy latte, mostly iced, unless it's really cold outside. Lila doesn't care for coffee, but she likes to lick the outside of the cup.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

The coffee is the goody!

Any treat for Lila on this occasion?

Lila likes those freeze dried chicken treats. She usually gets one of those. She also loves a good rawhide chew...she hides little pieces of them around the house.

How were you and Lila united?

My husband and I moved into a pet friendly apartment about two years ago, and I didn't waste any time looking for a dog. Sean really wanted an Italian Greyhound, but I'm partial to mutts myself. I spent a looooooooong time on searching at local rescues and shelters, and then finally came across Lila. She was listed as an Italian Greyhound/chihuahua mix (which I don't think she is) and I thought that she might be perfect, since she met our criteria (kinda). At the time she had just finished nursing five puppies (!) and they were all extremely cute, but I really wanted an adult, housebroken, not-too-crazy-with-puppy-energy dog. Her story was that she had been at an animal shelter in Oxnard with her puppies, and they were very close to being put down, but the rescue, Dogs Without Borders, found her and put her into a foster home. I went to the adoption day that the rescue was holding a few days later, and there she was! I took her for a walk and I just had a good feeling about her. She was a little wary, as most rescues are, but she warmed up to us quickly. I took her home and she ran up my stairs and jumped all over my couch, and when she first met my husband she greeted him by trying to eat the buttons off his shirt.

How did she get her name?

Lila is the name she came with. I'm not sure who gave it to her, but she responds to it, and I like the ladylike sound of it, so Lila she remained!

What's Lila's role in your art?

Ha ha, Lila could care less about art, especially mine. I think mostly she wonders why I spend so much time just sitting and staring at the desk or the computer! I think it seems very boring to her. She does spend a good part of the day snoozing on the studio floor next to me though.

What's an ordinary day like for Lila?

We go on walks around the neighborhood, Lila keeps an eye on the courtyard and takes lots of naps while I work, I take regular breaks to tell her how cute she is, we go the dog park, and she watches me eat with great anticipation. If I should happen to leave her at home for any length of time I'm greeted at the door with enthusiastic leaps into the air! She doe the same when my husband comes home, and the evening is usually lots of sitting on laps and snuggling.

Who is your dog's best pet-pal?

It's hard to say. She has lots dogs that she is always happy to see, most of them from the dog park. I think her all time favorite is my Mom's little chihuahua mix Monty [photo left: Lila & Monty at the beach]. When we are within a block of her house Lila goes into a frenzy inside the car, running across the seats and whining.

What's Lila's best quality?

Lila always lets you know exactly how she feels. If she is happy to see you she springs into the air! If she is sleepy she makes nooooo effort to hide it, gets comfy and takes a nap. But if she doesn't want to be somewhere (like inside any store, she hates shopping) she'll let you know that too, by pulling with all her might towards the door. Also, she is endlessly cute. Spending the day with someone you find adorable is pretty special.

What's Lila's proudest moment so far? Her most embarrassing?

Her proudest, happiest moments are at the beach. She loves loves loves to run on the beach, and show off how fast she is. We live somewhat inland in LA, but whenever we go to Mom's in Carpinteria, CA, we stop by the beach so Lila can run. She runs as fast if not faster than all the big dogs, and leaves all the little guys in the dust. She looks so happy!

Sometimes Miss Lila miscalculates her jump onto the couch and bonks her butt on the coffee table. She looks a little bewildered after doing this. That's probably as close to embarrassed as she gets!

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

She would probably make me more patient in regards to her personal whims. The longer I know Lila, the more determined she gets about where she wants to walk and how far and how long, which is cute, and if I had nothing better to do at all I'd let her have it her way. But most of time I have things (work mostly) that prevent me from taking hours long promenades of the neighborhood. She'd like to be able to take her sweet sweet time sniffing around it, too. On a daily basis she gives me a look that says "Why can't you just stand there patiently while I sniff this leaf for twenty minutes? Why can't I stare blankly up the street into the distance for a good long while? Why don't you just relax so I can gnaw on this grass for an hour or so?"

Visit The Brigette Brigade blog.

--Marshal Zeringue