Monday, December 19, 2011

Jenny & Parker and Skye

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Jenny, and I'm the human element in the picture. I'm a dog trainer and the (usually) proud owner of Parker- a 4-year-old male schnauzer mix- and Skye- a 4-year-old female pit bull.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Parker, Skye, and I love to go on adventures. Today we decided to hit the beach for some serious fun. Our latest foster dog, Sinatra, was just adopted as well, so it's a bit of a celebration!

What's brewing?

Hot pumpkin coffee from Dunkin Donuts- my fall/winter addiction!

Any treats for you or the dogs on this occasion?

The lady at the drive through always gives the pups munchkins when I get my coffee. Since our adventures are off leash, I also have some soft turkey treats to aid in tough recalls.

How were you and the dogs united?

I used to work at an animal shelter while I was in college. Since I lived off campus, I was able to foster dogs that needed extra training, TLC, or a quiet place to get well physically. Parker was foster #6- a sick, neglected pup with major anxiety who, by the time he was physically recovered, had bonded so strongly to me that I never thought twice before adopting him 2 years ago. Skye was foster #9- also sick, she was a stray with a lovely personality and decent dog social skills. I wish her integration into my life was as smooth as Parker's, but if nothing else she has taught me more about patience than I ever thought possible in the past year and a half.

How did the dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Oddly enough, I grew up next to the Parker River. My Mom always said she wanted a dog named Parker, and when my little man showed up with that name already, it was perfect! He goes my Park, Parkeroo, and Bubby Lou Bear... I just wish I remembered why...

Skye was originally Skylar, but after taking an obedience class that we both hated I noticed she hesitated at the sound of her name. I wanted to give her a new name that I could give a positive association to, and Skye went along with our nature theme. She is sometimes Pookie, but usually Skye Baby Girl.

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

We have a few top spots to go- Stratham Hill Park is a big, woodsy area known as the unofficial dog park in these parts. We meet new pals and take short hikes there. The beach is the other favorite in the off season- sand and surf is fun for dogs too! But anywhere the pups can be off leash is good by us!

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Is there any way to combine them? Actually, cats terrify Skye, while Parker has an odd obsession with watching cats. Postman brings treats, and is loves by all. Squirrel... let's just say that Parker and Skye are great at chasing them, but complete failures at catching them.

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

If you can throw it, Skye will chase it. If you can throw it, Parker will look at you like you're wasting your time.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Now that is a good one. Between doggie day camp, where they spend time while I work, the beach, and the park, my dogs have met literally hundreds of dogs. While Parker is a pretty equal-opportunity player, Skye is more selective. She has her inner core of pals that she is great with, but it is an exclusive club. Sparky and Rascal (aka the twins) are Golden Retrievers, River the black lab, and Mojo the pit mix all make the club. But her first ever bestie friend was Ava- they met as foster dogs and balance each other out perfectly. Ava now lives in Florida with my good friend, and we are trying to plan a reunion for all of us soon.

What is each dog's best quality?

Now this is tough! Parker is that once-in-a-lifetime dog for me. He is so intuitive- he's the dog who cuddles with you when you're sick, makes weird noises to get you to laugh, and knows from the tone my your voice what he should do. I use him in a lot of training cases because he doesn't need to be told how to behave- he just knows.

Skye is a live wire. She is game for anything fun, anytime, anywhere. It used to drive me nuts, but I've come to love her zest for life. She has had numerous medical problems, including a rare auto-immune disorder that has been an ongoing battle, but it definitely doesn't slow her down! Nothing is halfway with her, which makes her a blast to train. A close second, oddly enough, is her gift for snuggling. Man can that dog spoon!

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

They would make me more patience. My blog, Of Pit Bulls and Patience, began because I needed an outlet for the frustration I felt on a daily basis trying to fit Skye into my life. I am getting better all the time, but I imagine it is hard to live with me a lot of the time because I want perfection right now, and I don't want to work for it.

What's each dog's proudest moment?

I know I've had many with both dogs. But with Parker the most recent was yesterday. I gave him a bath, cut his nails, and trimmed his hair without a single meltdown. He wasn't groomed at all until he came to me (at age 2), so there has always been a lot of fear in that process for him.

My relationship with Skye has always been a work in progress. But when I see her playing on the beach with strange dogs, coming when I call, and greeting friendly strangers by sitting and dropping her ball, I'm so proud.

If your dogs could speak in the movie about your life, who should do their voices?

If James Bond and Harrison Ford could switch off, that would be perfect for Parker. He has British Sass, but thinks of himself as rugged and charming at the same time. He's so complex.

For Skye... I would say Ellen Degeneres could capture her fairly well. Lots of excitement, some dancing, and plenty of humor.

Visit the Of Pit Bulls and Patience blog.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. Skye and Parker sound delightful. As long as we have dogs to embrace the world around us we are certain to have happiness!
    All the best,

  2. I love this blog and the people and their dogs. Skye and Parker sound and look lovely. Going to check out Jenny's blog. Barbara

  3. Thanks guys! We loved the interview (to be honest, I like anything involving coffee). Happy holidays!!

  4. Wonderful blog! Jenny, Parker and Skye are awesome. :) Great interview!

    (We'll do nearly anything for coffee, too.)

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