Monday, October 31, 2011

Delonna Zion & Skoobie

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Delonna Zion and this is my dog Skoobie. He's a senior Maltese- 10 or 11 years old. He's my canine companion during the week while my husband works. Also, I have two feline companions. Unfortunately, I haven't worked since 2005 as current back problems have gradually gotten worse since that year. So, I'm a housewife and constant companion to my pets.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I like a hot beverage shortly after I wake up while I read a mystery. Right now I'm reading The Tale of Hill Top Farm- The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert.

What's brewing?

Normally, I sip Twinings hot tea, but this is Coffee with a Canine. So, I brewed something special- Cracker Barrel's pumpkin pecan pie flavored coffee mixed with Nestle's chocolate caramel hot chocolate. I know, I know. All you hardcore coffee drinkers are either saying, "Ew" or, "That doesn't count as coffee." Haha!

Any treats for you or Skoobie on this occasion?

I'm having Newton's Fig and Honey Fruit Thins. Skoobie just had his breakfast, but he'll be eager to get a Milkbone around three o'clock this afternoon. He's the biggest food mooch. I always say that if he's not mooching there's something wrong and it's time to see the vet.

How were you and Skoobie united?

My union with Skoobie was 2-1/2 years in the making. I had grown up on a farm, which for me meant always being surrounded by animals and always having a family canine. After I moved and got married, it took 2-1/2 years to actually be able to adopt a dog. I found Skoobie on He was in foster care in Philadelphia. His foster mom was great, but I think he had been abused before his foster home. When he came to us he was head shy and had a bad case of anxiety. I can't believe, though, how much he has improved in the two years that I've had him. November 22nd is the two year mark. Most likely due to the fact that he was classified as a senior dog, the adoption applications weren't necessarily piling up for him. The fact that I didn't work and would therefore be able to spend the majority of my time with a senior "velcro" dog worked in both of our favor.

How did Skoobie get his name? Any aliases?

As far as I know, his name has always been Skoobie. He responded to it after I adopted him and I didn't want to change it since he had been called "Skoobie" for almost a decade. I have a fetish for nicknames! Skoobie's nicknames currently are: Skoobfeld, Skoobie Doo (of course), Skoobers, Skoob-fest, Goober, etc. I never know what I'll come up with next! I'm zany like that.

Has your dog played any role in your writing?

Yes, Skoobie has played a role in my writing. If he has done something that has made me laugh, smile, or just tug at my heart strings, I'll blog about it and share it with the world. I try to capture the emotions that I felt at the time, not just remembering what happened. My goal is to compile my blogs into a novel.

Does Skoobie have a favorite place to go for walk?

Skoobie's favorite place to walk is on the farm "up home", which is in Potter County Pennsylvania. That's where I'm originally from. Otherwise, he has to settle for a block and a half walk to our town park. He's fine with that walk, too. However, because he is an older dog and a toy breed, I'm very careful not to walk him for too long a time. He's very good at informing me he's had enough exercise for one day. He just sits his butt down on the ground and doesn't move.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Neither. Skoobie could not care less about other animals, unless it's a small female dog. Then, as if by magic, he transforms himself into a young man again. Some things will never change.

What is Skoobie's best quality?

Skoobie's best quality is his gratitude. Whatever his past trauma, he doesn't take that out on me. He seems grateful for the good home that he has now, his warm fuzzy fleece blankets, doggie treats, squeaky toys... Most of all he just seems grateful for having his own person that cares about him and loves him despite all of his quirks. Skoobie has taught me patience because he is an older, anxious dog that had been abused and just needed a little extra time to adjust. I do believe that he's thankful for all that I've done for him. Hopefully he knows that he has improved my character in teaching me patience and impartiality towards special needs dogs because every dog needs someone to love him or her, no matter what traumatic experiences they've lived through.

If your dog could change one thing about your cats, what would it be?

Skoobie would change their paws into hands. See, if the cats had hands it would be so much easier to raid the sacred cupboards and holy drawers that contain their entire reason for being- Food! All three would benefit, not just Skoobie. He may be the biggest canine mooch, but the cats are the biggest feline food mooches. Skoobie would be the brains behind the operation and the cats would do his dirty work. In the end, all would be satisfied, except for me of course.

If Skoobie and the cats could talk in the movie about your life, who should do their voices?

Skoobie would be voiced by Scottish actor Billy Connolly.
Emmy, our female cat, would be voiced by British actress Minnie Driver.
Nigel, our male cat, would be voiced by British actor Hugh Laurie.

Visit Delonna Zion's felinepaws4thought blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 28, 2011

Robert Lange & Porter

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Robert Lange, painter and owner of Robert Lange Studios, a gallery in downtown Charleston, and this is Porter, a nine-year-old Cairn Terrier.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I'm painting for my show and Porter and coffee are my two companions.

In true artist form, there is never a "reason" to drink coffee, coffee fuels an artist's veins.

What's brewing?

I really like Whole Foods' Pleasant Morning Buzz straight-up with a little agave nectar in a giant mug that reads "the man, the myth, the legend."

Any treats for you or Porter on this occasion?

We stocked up at A Furry Affair (SPCA's Event) on Puppy Crack, which he is in love with.

How were you and Porter united?

My wife and I bought Porter in college; we cleared our bank accounts to buy what we thought was an Ewok at the time.

He was pretty much the cutest puppy ever.

How did he get his name?

Porter Ripley Lange. The movie Payback had just come out in which both Mel Gibson and his dog were named Porter, and Ripley is Sigourney Weaver's character in Aliens, basically both bad-asses.

Is Porter active in life around your studio?

He used to come to the gallery pretty much everyday but when we moved to a new house, with a huge backyard, he really preferred to stay and keep an eye on his domain.

He does chill in the our home studio at my feet while I paint.

Does Porter have a favorite outdoor destination in Charleston?

He's a big fan of Sullivan's.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Vader is the name of all squirrels; Porter thinks it's just one squirrel that shows up wherever he goes.

We go to the park, there's Vader, we go up to Maine and there's Vader. They have had an ongoing feud for the last decade.

What's Porter's best quality?

He's completely malleable and social, probably because we had him in college and we would take him to art openings in a backpack or he'd meet tons of people at a party.

Now you can pick him up and hug him, pat him on his back, and he loves everyone.

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

He's not a big fan of clothes, in fact, he spends all day running around in the buff.

What's your dog's proudest moment so far? His most embarrassing?

When we got him a little girl dog to hang-out with (she was not for us) and she had her first squirrel chase, he was beaming with pride.

Most embarrassing: let's see, there was one time we went into Lowes while he waited in the car, I had left my palette in the backseat. When we came back there were prussian blue and bright yellow foot prints all over the car. Oil paint isn't an easy clean.

Visit the Robert Lange Studios website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kelly Dean Jolley & Ahab and Sadie


From a 2009 Q & A with philosophy professor Kelly Dean Jolley and his pit bulls, Ahab and Sadie:
Physicists have Schrödinger’s cat. Do philosophers have a particular, famous dog?

I can’t think of a named dog that plays a role in philosophy. (Arthur Schopenhauer was famous for his daily walks with his poodle, Atma.) However, dogs do grace some important pages of philosophy in important ways. For example, Socrates argues (in the Second Book of "The Republic") that well-bred dogs are truly philosophical, effectually a model of the philosopher, of the lover of wisdom, since dogs love wisdom so well that they act always on distinction of knowledge from ignorance, welcoming the known and warding off the unknown (so as to safeguard the known). As Vicki Hearne, dog-trainer and philosopher puts it, commenting on Socrates’ comparison: Safeguarding the known and warding off the unknown has “always been philosophy’s traditional chastity and discipline.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein, the philosopher who most preoccupies me, also sometimes writes of dogs in memorable ways. In "Philosophical Investigations" he asks: “Why can’t a dog simulate pain? Is he too honest?” Later in the book he observes, “A child has much to learn before it can pretend. (A dog cannot be a hypocrite, but neither can he be sincere.)”

Interestingly, Hearne, in her book, "Bandit: Dossier of a Dangerous Dog," from which I took my earlier quotation, likens Wittgenstein himself to a pit bull. She characterizes him as sharing their deep gameness: “[Wittgenstein was] a pit bull of a person who grabbed hold of philosophy with all his heart and did not let go.”

I can’t mention...[read on]
Visit Kelly Dean Jolley's blog, and read his poem “Alabama Pits.”

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Nancy Anderson & Rupert

Who is in the photo at right?

Well, that’s me, Nancy Anderson (dog herbalist/artist/hiker), with Rupert, a six-year-old Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Since I’m distracted by anything and everything at home, I go to my local café (True Grounds) to study and/or write about the application of medicinal herbs in treating health conditions in dogs. Rupert’s schedule is free this morning, so he joined me.

What's brewing?

An Americano made with a George Howell espresso called “Alchemy.”

Any treats for you or Rupert on this occasion?

For me, an outrageously delicious cinnamon scone. Rupert schmoozed a dog biscuit from the barista.

To wash it down, I bought him a Doffee (a funny little cup of coffee for dogs – but really just beef broth).

How were you and Rupert united?

Six months after my last Swissy died, I contacted a breeder friend in Virginia to ask if she had any senior dogs that needed a retirement home. As an herbalist and having dealt with senior issues for the previous few years, I saw myself always having older dogs to help transition. She replied with a picture of a 7 week-old puppy. I didn’t want a puppy. But, he was returned to her after the other dog in his first home tried to eat him – repeatedly – and so I said I would meet him the next time she came up to New England.

How did Rupert get his name? Any nicknames?

The poor guy came to me at 4 ½ months with the name of William. After exhausting every conceivable form of William, I googled “least common boy names.” When I got to “R” and saw ‘Rupert,’ I realized that there could be no other name for him. Distinguished, but in a really dorky way.

At the school that he visits, he goes by “British Super Agent Rupert D. Anderson.”

What makes Rupert such a great cafe companion?

He just lays there, unobtrusively, and smiles at passers-by -- who then feel compelled to stop to greet him. I’ve had many interesting conversations with unexpected strangers while sitting with him here, and he makes them smile.

Does Rupert have a favorite place to go for a walk?

Nothing makes him happier than going hiking in the woods. His tail starts wagging a mile before we get there.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Cat. The cats in the neighborhood seem to enjoy this, sprawling across the sidewalk or following us on a walk, while he strains at the lead and I grumble and threaten him.

What is Rupert's best quality?

If I can name only one, it would be his contagious smile. He smiles a lot. But also, Rupert is an extremely laid back kind of guy (when there are no cats around), and he gives off this vibe to other dogs of calmness and approachability – which is pretty helpful when we’re working a new dog into our hikes. He shares with the others, too. Of his own accord.

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

That I feed him more often and in larger quantities.

What's Rupert's proudest moment so far?

Rupe is a dog of many talents (therapy dog working with adolescents, READ dog, AKC Champion, Canine Good Citizen) but he was recently the carting dog at the annual Somerville Dog Fest. Leading up to the event, he pretended that he had absolutely no drafting genes, and I was prepared to make a total ass of us both. Once we got there and I hitched him up to the wagon, he realized that there were crowds of people watching him, and suddenly became an expert carting machine. He’s a Leo.

Most embarrassing?

I used to manage a dog wash and store, and had a little more fun than I should have in trying out the new merchandise on him. I know that clothing does not belong on dogs, but the peace sign turtleneck sweaters, Doggles, hooded raincoats, hiking boots with matching socks… it was all too tempting, and sent us into peals of laughter. He was a trouper for allowing me to squeeze him into these, resigning himself to yet another embarrassing display in front of other dogs, and then he would inevitably do the walk of shame.

If Rupert could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

How can I repay you for the fashion sessions?

Visit the Canis major Herbals website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Barbara Techel & Frankie


From a 2009 Q & A with Barbara Techel, author of Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog, and her sweet dachshund, Frankie:
How did Frankie come to be united with you?

Well looking back I believe it was meant to be that Frankie became mine. I could not explain a good reason why I wanted a dachshund to my husband when he said, “Why do you want a wiener dog?” All I could say is, “I just do.” I bought Frankie from a breeder as a pup, after searching and searching for a red dachshund. They were hard to find where I live. Frankie was the last one left of the litter. I fell head over heels in love when I saw her promenade down the driveway. She was only the size of a guinea pig. After all we have been through, and knowing what I know now, I believe with all my heart she was meant to be mine.

How did Frankie get her name?

If you remember the song from the 1940’s, "Frankie and Johnnie" then you will know that Frankie in the song is a female. The song was also made into a movie by the same name. I just think it is a...[read on]
Learn more about Frankie and Barbara Techel at the Joyful Paws website and blog, and at Frankie's blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 24, 2011

Alonna & Bella, Tonka, and Kimbrey

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Alonna, and I currently work in Social Media Marketing while finishing up a Business degree. I’m luckily married to my high school sweetheart and wonderful dog-dad, Luke, who shares the same passion for helping others as I do.

The pretty girl I’m holding in the picture is Bella, who is the baby of the pack. Tonka (black and white) and Kimbrey (brindle) are sniffing around in the back of the picture. Tonka, a pit mix, is currently about 4 years old. Kimbrey, our Heinz 57, is about 2, and Bella, a boxer/pit mix, is about 1 ½.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Lately I’ve been drinking coffee to warm up. The fall chill has finally found Indy, and I’m just not ready for it!

What's brewing?

Recently, my pot has been full of Michigan Cherry flavored Biggby Coffee. The hint of cherry with a splash of vanilla Silk creamer is perfect.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

The only treat is the coffee! The dogs normally manage to steal a few sips when I’m not looking.

How were you and your dogs united?

All of my dogs came from a local humane society or shelter. My first dog, Tonka, came from Indianapolis Animal Care and Control. After 2 years, we felt like he needed a companion and we adopted Kimbrey from the Humane Society of Indianapolis. To round out the group, we adopted Bella from the Humane Society of Indianapolis as well. Sometimes you just know when something is meant to be, and with all three of our dogs, we knew.

How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?

Tonka and Kimbrey were named by the shelters they came from. We kept the names because they fit their personalities. Bella, on the other hand, was named Flora at the shelter (and it didn’t suit her at all!). We wanted a simple, sweet name that fit her personality, and Bella just stood out.

Do your dogs have a favorite place to go for walk?

We live next to a great city park that we often go to, but our dogs crave a good hike in the woods.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Squirrel! The movie Up definitely got it right…

What is each dog's best quality?

Tonka is a loyal protector.

Kimbrey is determined and always happy.

Bella is an unconditional lover.

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

They would definitely want more walks. It can be hard to squeeze in walking 3 dogs (they all walk separately) into already hectic schedules.

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

Tonka (who is very anxious!) was able to overcome his anxiety and safely spend time with a small child.

Kimbrey survived not only being hit by a huge Ford F350, but also overcame hind leg paralysis.

Bella’s proudest moment was the first time she ran on our carpet mill. There was no stopping her once she started sprinting!

Luckily, the dogs have never done anything too embarrassing. We’re a lighthearted bunch and just smile at all of our flaws.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, who should do their voices?

Tonka would definitely sound like James Earl Jones. Rich and deep.

Kimbrey would sound like Beyoncé. She’s a diva.

Bella would probably sound like Ellen Page. Sweet and smart with plenty of understated humor.

If your dogs could each answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

I would simply want to ask them all, “do I make you happy?”

Visit the Oh, Tonka blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ruth G. Zavitsanos & Pebbles and Rocky

Who is in the photo at right?

This photo is of me, Ruth G. Zavitsanos and my "canine kids." I'm an author and behind me on the wall are my framed book covers. Sitting, oh so affectionately looking my way, is our black lab/border collie, Pebbles, and the little guy I'm holding is Rocky, a Miniature Australian Shepherd.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

My latest children's chapter book, The Kona Dog was just released. This book takes place in Maui. Like my other books, The Villa Dog (Tuscany) and The Old Fortress Dog (Greece) it is told through the dog's point of view with beautiful illustrations.

What's brewing?

To celebrate my latest book, Kona coffee is brewing. I often put some whipped cream in and sprinkle cinnamon on top!

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Yes, my dogs get Milo's treats--they love them.

What's new with your dogs since you were last here on the blog?

Pebbles and Rocky are loving their new neighborhood. We live near a horse farm and our walk takes us past corn fields with beautiful vistas of the PA countryside. Sometimes we see a deer or a fox and though both my dogs think they are bigger or stronger, thankfully, they are tamer.

If your dogs were given human voices in a movie about your family, who should do their voices and why?

Pebbles' voice should be played by Julia Roberts. I think Pebbles would have a sweet laugh just like her.

Rocky's voice should be played by Adam Sandler cause he's quite silly and mischievous.

If your dogs could change one thing about your family...

Pebbles and Rocky would probably take away computers, TVs and anything else that distracts us from focusing all of our time and attention on them. They would also insist we have an endless supply of frisbees and tennis balls. Nothing gets their tail wagging more than knowing they are going outside to play ball or catch a frisbee, except the sight of their leashes (Pebbles is Bedrock cougar print and Rocky's is Passionate Purple) and the word WALK!

I'd like to add that as a writer, sitting for long periods of time is not something the body handles well. I'm fortunate for the reminders of canine kids being persistent about their walks. Anyone seeking motivation to walk more should consider getting a dog or walking a neighbor's/friend's. They say dogs have no sense of time, when it comes to a walk any time is a good time for all.

Visit Ruth Zavitsanos' website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Katie Alender & Winston


From a 2009 Coffee with a Canine Q & A with Katie Alender and her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Winston:
Does Winston have any tricks?

Oh, Winston is MUCH more than just a pretty face! He’s a very fast learner and loves to work on tricks. We clicker-train, which I recommend for anyone wanting to teach their dog new behaviors. Winston can sit, stay, lie down, leave it, shake, high-five, double-high-five, spin, walk in a circle around me, play dead, swat kisses that are blown at him, and “go say hi.”

He learned “go say hi” when I was working on the dog show—he came to the office with me every day from the time he was 8 weeks old. We had a gate at the office door, and when someone came by, we apparently would say, “Go say hi!” I don’t know exactly how we realized it, but even if he’s asleep, you can say, “Go say hi!” and he’ll get up and run to the nearest door.

We took one Agility class, and Winston rocked, but it aggravated a back injury he got when he jumped off a too-high surface last year. So no more of that. But he loves to work on training. And I highly recommend clicker-training for anyone—my neighbor borrowed a clicker and a book of dog tricks from me and has taught her 16-year-old cat to sit, stay, sit up, jump over a stick… it’s...[read on]
Visit Katie Alender's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Liz Bradley & Paddington, Corduroy, and Wellington

Who is in the photo at right?

I am Liz Bradley and am a self-proclaimed nerd who loves to laugh.

My best friend is my amazing husband and love, Thomas and I adore our dogs, Paddington, Corduroy and Wellington (and dogs in general).

I’m addicted to TV & DVDs, Prada & Burberry glasses, Coach purses & shoes, candy, grocery shopping, and organization.

I am a pet and wedding photographer in Ottawa, Canada. I also run a blog called the Ottawa Dog Blog.

What's brewing?

Goji Pop tea from David's Tea.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Carrot cake for me, carrots for the dogs.

How were you and your dogs united?

We brought Paddington and Corduroy home as puppies.

Wellie came into our lives in March 2011 from a rescue in Quebec. I documented our journey with Wellie on my blog.

How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?

Our dogs are all named after bears. Paddington and Corduroy bear are from storybooks and Wellington is the Hallmark bear in the UK. They have several nicknames.

Paddington: Paddy, Paddycakes, P-Diddy
Corduroy: Cordy, C-Dubs, Dubsy, Cuteface, Cuteroy
Wellington: Wellie, dubs, dub-dub, Welliebellie, Welly-nelly-jelly-bean

You've got some beautiful wedding photos on your website. Which are more challenging to photograph: dogs or brides?

Dogs are definitely more challenging to photograph, but in the best way possible. I love photographing both dogs and weddings!

Do your dogs have a favorite place to go for walk?

We have several trails around our home and we go to a dog park that is close to us as well.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Paddington: Squirrel
Corduoy: vaccuum
Wellie: Tin Foil

What is each dog's best quality?

Paddington: independence and mothering - she is so great at entertaining herself and making sure her dog siblings are well.

Corduroy: all around loving - she loves everyone she meets!

Wellie: her ears! They are huge and make everyone smile.

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

Have me feed them all the time! more treats mom!

What is each dog's proudest moment so far?

Paddington: learning to go up and down the stairs (she has bad knees)

Corduroy: each morning she brings us a toy/present

Wellington: finally mastering housetraining

If your dogs could each answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

Paddington: Why do you think squirrels are such a threat?

Corduroy: Why is the vacuum so scary?

Wellington: What was your life like before you came into our family?

Visit the Elizabeth & Jane Photography website and blog, and check out the Ottawa Dog Blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 17, 2011

Julie Flanders & Clancy

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Julie Flanders and, in addition to my full-time job as a librarian, I have just started working as a freelance writer. I am working on my first novel, and I have had two articles published so far this year, one in the summer issue of Thrive in Life, and one in the current (November) issue of Cat Fancy. My dog is Clancy, and he is four years old. He is part standard poodle and part spaniel. It’s also possible he has some lab in him. He’s a real mutt!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Clancy and I love going to our township park, and we walk there regularly. I never need an excuse to have a cup of coffee, but it was unexpectedly chilly on the day of our coffee date, so the coffee was especially tasty.

What's brewing?

Just regular coffee, with lots of cream.

Any treats for you or Clancy on this occasion?

No treats for me, but Clancy had his favorite treat in the world, cheese curd. As far as Clancy is concerned, cheese curd is manna from heaven, and he would do absolutely anything for a piece of it.

How were you and Clancy united?

I adopted Clancy in 2008 from a wonderful organization called Circle Tail. I wasn’t really planning on getting a dog, in fact I had just recently decided against it, but I was looking for a local rescue group where I could volunteer. Circle Tail caught my attention as I was so impressed by their mission – they train service dogs in addition to running a rescue program. On a whim, I looked at the dogs they had available for adoption, and Clancy’s picture caught my eye immediately. I changed my mind about not getting a dog, and filled out the adoption application that day. I’ve never regretted that spontaneous decision!

How did Clancy get his name? Any nicknames?

Clancy was named Dagan when I adopted him and I really didn’t care for the name. I thought about calling him Frankie, but I didn’t think that suited him either. Two days after I adopted him I watched an episode of Mad Men, one of my favorite shows. There was a dog on the episode named Chauncey. I thought that was an interesting name, and while I didn’t want to name my dog Chauncey, I started thinking about similar names that started with a C. Clancy popped into my head, and I knew right away that Clancy had his name.

His nickname is Clancy Pants, a play on Fancy Pants. He is also known as Mr. Pants, or simply Pants.

Does Clancy have a favorite place to go for walk?

Our local park, because he has dog friends he sees regularly there. He’s always more interested in seeing his buddies than he is in walking.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Postman. Clancy loves other animals, especially cats as he lives with a cat. He doesn’t like people he doesn’t know coming to his door.

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

Squeaky toy.

What is Clancy's best quality?

He is so silly and goofy that he makes me laugh all the time. He is very entertaining.

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

I think he’d want me to be independently wealthy so that I didn’t have to work. He loves when we are home together.

What is Clancy's proudest moment so far? His most embarrassing?

His proudest moment was probably passing obedience class with flying colors. Clancy loves performing tricks on command, as long as treats are involved.

His most embarrassing was when I dressed him up as Batman for Halloween. It was three years ago, but I doubt he’s forgiven me yet.

If Clancy could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

What his life was like before I adopted him. Circle Tail houses their rescue dogs at Ohio prisons while they are waiting to be adopted, and I would love if Clancy could tell me about his experience at the prison.

If Clancy could talk in the movie about your life, who should do his voice?

Will Arnett. I’m a huge Arrested Development fan, and I think Arnett has a great speaking voice. And as I said, Clancy is a total goofball, so it fits.

To get to know Clancy and Julie better, please visit the What Else is Possible? writing blog and their new pet blog, The Pet Parent Diaries.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 14, 2011

Annette Vivian & Snoopy

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Annette Vivian [far right], I was originally from the Isle of Man, but now live in California with my amazing husband, two wonderful step-children and Snoopy, a Bearded Collie puppy (he's 2 in April, but I think they're puppies until at least 3!). I worked for many years as an accountant and travelled extensively, but now I've decided to follow my passion of writing - I help Snoopy with his Dog Blog - this has been way more time consuming than I ever imagined, so my other writing projects have been taking a back seat for a little while - but it's all good fun! Yep, that's Snoopy in the picture....

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

A coffee is my first port of call once Snoopy's woken us up (nice and early) each morning. I sit at the computer each morning with my coffee while I gather the enthusiasm to go for a run. Snoopy often joins me in the office, he lies on the sofa and has a little snooze, well, he is up early!

What's brewing?

Nescafe instant coffee and Almond Milk, yep, I know, most people hate instant coffee, but I love Nescafe, plus I can pretend it's a latte!

Any treats for you or Snoopy on this occasion?

Too early for me to think about food, I like to have breakfast after my run. Snoopy has the option to eat his breakfast early, but mostly chooses to have his after his run too!

How were you and Snoopy united?

Our son (who was 10 at the time) was afraid of dogs and has allergies, so we wanted a puppy (due to size) and a light shedder. We loved next doors Bearded Collie, Cosmo and walked him often. Beardies are brilliant with kids. We tried to get a rescue, but had no luck, luckily we found a wonderful Breeder in California. Our kids adore him and he’s a local celebrity with all the kids at school and in the neighbourhood. Snoopy loves it when my husband says ‘Koala’ and he jumps up to give him a big Koala hug and wander round the house in his arms! He makes us laugh everyday and is a blessing to us.

How did he get his name? Any nicknames?

One of the kids chose his name, but it is also my favourite Cartoon character. His name reminds me of my brother as he had a Snoopy wooden Dog that he used to drag around on a lead as a child. Snoopy was born 4 days before my wonderful brother was killed in an accident. Snoopy has been the most amazing therapy for me. My husband likes to call him Snoop Dog as it's less girlie, he also goes by Snoops, Snoopidoo, Snoopinator (the little boy next door calls him this) and his official name is Glenwood's Joe Cool - all these names totally suit his fun personality!

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

He would love to have a Cat friend, but so far hasn't been that lucky as they all run away from him! He doesn't care about the postman or the FedEx van, but oh boy, if he hears the UPS van, he starts barking and running around - I guess the good stuff arrives at our house in the UPS van?!

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

He likes all of these - in fact he has virtually all of his toys we've ever given him. He's not a toy destroyer and he burrows his head in his toy basket to find one he hasn't played with in a while, but his all time favourite is his bone - I wedge carrots inside and he loves to spend hours trying to get them out again - somehow he always manages it eventually....

Does Snoopy have a favorite place to go for walk?

As soon as I get his lead he's happy, he really doesn't care where we go! He loves it when he sees I've got my running clothes on as he loves to go running every morning - he even starts nagging me if I'm not showing any signs of getting ready in the morning - he does this great yawn/bark combo sound and starts stretching - very subtle!! If he had running shoes I'm sure he'd put them on!

Who is Snoopy's best pet-pal?

Snoopy's best pal is Cosmo - he's a Bearded Collie who lives next door and who was our inspiration for getting Snoopy. Snoopy's dream would be to have a Dog flap into Cosmo's garden so he could hang out with him all the time! They have lots of play dates and sleep overs, but still, any time Snoopy hears Cosmo bark he gets all excited - he totally doesn't care if he hears any other Dog bark, it's so cute!

What is Snoopy's best quality?

We are hoping he will make it as a Therapy Dog, he has a such a great temperament and makes friends wherever he goes. We've just found a local group that we're signing up with, they do visits to elderly people, children who are ill, helps kids to read, etc.

We're going to work with them as Snoopy matures and hope at some point he'll be ready to be an official Therapy Dog. At the moment we consider him as an un-official Therapy Dog, as he makes us and so many other people smile, either in person, or through his antics that he talks about on his blog.

If Snoopy could change one thing about Californians, what would it be?

He loves everyone, so this is tough, but I think he'd want them to change the laws so he could go absolutely everywhere with us - he hates missing out on anything!

What's Snoopy's proudest moment so far? Most embarrassing?

Proudest is probably being selected as one of the two Bearded Collies to feature in a 300 page All Breed Dog Book being published by Project Dog. Despite being young he was brilliant during his photo session in San Francisco.

Most embarrassing is easy, we were invited to stay at a friends house and Snoopy was a puppy and was invited too, he was house trained, but we didn't realise, he was house trained in our house and of course it was a bit different in their house. We were busy videoing Snoopy and their Dog running around the house saying hello and totally missed Snoopy's attempt to tell us he needed to go out - yep, we caught him on video having to 'go potty' in our friends house as everyone realised our mistake.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Snoopy could talk, who should voice him?

Great question, I'm actually gonna have to say Ricky Gervais - I love his sense of fun and his voice can be so animated, he's always laughing, especially at himself - I think he'd be a perfect fit and I think he'd be in character in no time - Snoopy is always up to things, causing mischief, or just trying to make us laugh - there's never a dull moment ... he's all about 'Just Having Fun'.

Visit Snoopy's Dogblog and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kevin and Antonio & Luna

Who is in the photo at right?

On the left is my partner Antonio and our little girl Luna, and on the right is me, Kevin and once again Luna!

Antonio and I live in Australia, he works in finance and I'm an actor. Luna is our 4 and a half month old Beagle. She writes her blog for a living.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We usually stop off to let Luna run around in the park before we head off to obedience class. It's a good way to get her to calm down before class, and also get over the excitement of the other dogs and humans.

What's brewing?

Antonio is having a latte from home and I am having a chamomile and spearmint tea.

Any treats for you or Luna on this occasion?

Of course! She always gets plenty of treats because she is very treat orientated. Today Luna is enjoying some Strasburg and also some Puppy mince.

How were you and Luna united?

When Antonio and I decided that we were going to get a puppy we decided on getting a Beagle but Antonio really wanted to get a boy. One day we saw a couple of little girl Beagles in a pet store and I knew that we had to give one of them a great life. It took a little convincing on my part to get a girl, but Antonio hasn't looked back since.

How did she get her name? Any nicknames?

Well, we were already decided on a name for a boy, so when we found Luna we had to think of a name. Antonio is from a Spanish background and we were flipping through a Spanish dictionary. We came across Luna which means the moon and it was decided. Nicknames can vary from Lu-Lu, Wrigglebottom, to Little miss floppy ears.

Cat, postman, rabbit...?

Luna tends to shy away from Cats, loves people so she is always trying to be friends with the postman and hasn't seen a rabbit yet!

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

All of the above, we've just discovered that sticks work well for obedience training... That is Luna decided to heel so that she could chew on the stick rather than her treat!

Does Luna have a favorite place to go for walk?

Luna loves to go to Yarra bend in Melbourne for walks, it's a nice spot with a river flowing through and lots of other dogs around. We usually have playdates there with a couple of Luna's Dog pals!

Who is Luna's best pet-pal?

Luna has many pet pals and she makes new friends all the time! When she was at puppy preschool she was best friends with Cooper the Cavalier and Eadie the German Shepherd. Today she discovered a friend in Zoe, a retriever puppy also visiting the park. They met last week as well and Luna loves getting chased by her and rolling all around with her.

What is Luna's best quality?

The thing that people most comment on is her intelligence and also her willingness to learn.

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

She would tell Antonio to calm down and not get so frustrated with her, and she would probably tell me to remember how intelligent she is and stop doing boring focus training.

What's Luna's proudest moment? Her most embarrassing?

Luna's proudest moment would have to be having a photoshoot for Blackmore's Pure Animal Wellbeing division. She and Antonio had a lot of fun and it was a great daddy-daughter bonding experience.

Her most embarrassing moment so far would have to be her first night at home. About an hour after we put Luna to bed in the bathroom she woke us up with her cries because she had made a rather large mess for such a small puppy!

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Luna could talk, who should voice her?

Would have to say Lacey Chabert... She has just the right amount of energy and sass!

Visit Luna, A Dog's Life blog and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Krista Davis & Han, Buttercup, and Queenie


A couple of years ago Krista Davis, author of the Domestic Diva Mystery series, was here for a Q & A.

Part of the exchange:
How did the dogs come to be united with you?

We intended to adopt a Golden Retriever. Queenie was selected because of her strawberry blonde fur and outgoing personality.

I'm sorry to say that someone abandoned Buttercup, Han and seven of his siblings. They were so small that Buttercup towered over them. I couldn't take those sweet puppies to the shelter, so they stayed in my laundry room until we found homes for them. Four of them went to New Hampshire, so if you live there and have a dog who looks like Han, it might be one of his siblings. Poor Buttercup was scared to death. She watched me so carefully, with a worried face. The first night, she went from one puppy to the next, like she was counting them and checking to be sure everyone was okay. But since she was an adult, I let her out to play with Queenie the next morning. I'll never forget how happy Buttercup was to discover Queenie's big dog bed and giant chew bone. Queenie adopted Buttercup immediately and never once growled at her over toys or bones. They still eat out of the same bowl if one finishes a meal sooner. BFF!

How did the dogs get their names?

Queenie's mother was named Lady Ruby so we felt a royal name was in order. I wasn't crazy about the name Queenie, but she's been so gracious toward the other dogs and is such a lovely leader of the pack, that now I think it's the perfect name for her. Naming Buttercup was...[read on]
Learn more about Krista Davis, her books, and her canines at her website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mark de Castrique & Gracie

Who is in the photograph at right?

Here is a photograph of me with Mark de Castrique. He is one of the humans I’m charged with protecting. My name is Gracie de Castrique.

Mark and his wife Linda tell people I’m a miniature Schnauzer, but I know I’m a human with an overabundance of hair.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Every morning after I’m let out of my little house, Mark makes a pot of green tea while I eat breakfast. Then we both go to work. Mark moves my “place,” a comfy plaid cushion, next to his writing desk. There I stay ready to assist, whether that means announcing the FedEx or UPS man is at the door or a diabolical squirrel is stealing acorns from our trees.

When Mark is writing, we sometimes move to a different room. He says it helps him with writer’s block, which sounds like some sort of digestive problem. I got something similar from eating socks. Mark leaves his computer, grabs a fountain pen and journal, and starts writing by hand. I would be glad to help because it looks easier than pressing those little keys, but I don’t have opposing thumbs.

What's brewing?

The pot of green tea usually lasts all morning. Mark also does video work and sometimes he has to go to a location. I stay and help Linda, although she doesn’t need as much help as Mark.

Any treats for you or Mark?

In the afternoons if it’s not raining, we go for a walk around the neighborhood. Then Mark makes a second pot of green tea and I have a cookie.

That's a lot of tea....

Mark says the tea wakes him up. I don’t know much about writing, but I think that’s a bad sign if his own words make him sleepy. I certainly wouldn’t want him reading his words while driving or operating heavy machinery.

What is your contribution to Mark's writing?

Sometimes, if I sense his writing isn’t going well, I scratch his leg until he plays with me.

Squeaky toy, tennis ball, stick...?

I have lots of stuffed toys – ball, rope, raccoon, duck – and we play till one of us is too tired to continue. Actually, that’s usually me. Maybe I should try some of that tea.

Have you shown up in any of Mark's books?

Mark and I appear in one of his books, although we didn’t use our real names. He says we would have overshadowed the main characters. The story is called The Fitzgerald Ruse and takes place in Asheville, a place I love to visit. Here’s our part:
I didn’t want to go into the building with my shoulder holster visible so I tucked the Kimber in my belt, folded the holster rig, and slid it under the seat. I locked the doors and looked around. The only life I saw was a gray-haired man being pulled by a Schnauzer of matching color to what the residents called the poop zone.
I don’t think Mark should have written about my bathroom habits, but that’s what happens when you don’t have an agent.

Please buy the book anyway. We’re getting low on green tea and cookies.

Learn more about Mark de Castrique's new novel, The Sandburg Connection, at his website.

The Page 69 Test: The Sandburg Connection.

Writers Read: Mark de Castrique.

--Marshal Zeringue