Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Maryann Miller & Poppy

Who is in the photo at right?

Hi, I'm Maryann Miller, and I am so happy to be here today to introduce you to one of the special animals who grace my life. My dog, Poppy, a mixed Border Collie and Australian Shepard, has coffee with me in the mornings outside here at Grandma's Ranch.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine? And what's brewing?

We live in the country in East Texas, so going to town for a Cappuccino is out of the question. Don't tell Poppy, but I do sometimes sneak off without her to the coffee shop for my espresso fix, but that doesn't happen very often. Otherwise it is just a cup of Folgers for me, black, no sugar, and a Milkbone for Poppy.

What is a normal day like for Poppy?

My usual morning routine is to feed all the cats - we have four of them - and feed Poppy. Then I get dressed to go outside to take care of big animals and spend some time with the dog. Poppy is really good about waiting until I've had my coffee and maybe made a few notes about a story I'm working on. Then we are off the deck to go feed the horse and the goat before taking our morning walk. We go down the county road in front of our property and walk about a mile. She likes to woof at the cattle in the meadow across the road or stop and try to dig out a gopher she can hear burrowing.

After that, I am usually in my office for most of the day working on a book or doing other business related tasks, but the good thing about working from home is that I can take regular breaks. When I do, I'm back outside whenever weather permits and Poppy is always happy to tag along as I feed animals again or tend to my gardens for a while. And if I should pause in my work to throw the ball for her, all the better.

How were you and Poppy united?

Poppy is five years old and I got her one day when I saw some young boys on a corner in town with a box of puppies. On a whim, I stopped because the sign said they were mixed Border Collie puppies and my husband had been saying he would really like a Border Collie. Our neighbors had one that he enjoyed every time we visited.

When I peeked into the box, Poppy looked up at me with the most expressive eyes and there was no way I could walk away. I took the puppy and went back home. I carried her into the house and put her on my husband's lap and told him, "Happy Birthday." I figured if I gave the dog to him as a gift, he would not be able to refuse, even though it was a whole month before his birthday and we hadn't discussed actually getting a dog.

How did Poppy get her name?

We had a hard time coming up with a name at first and were calling her Puppy for so long, my husband suggested we just call her Poppy as she was really responding to Puppy and the words were so close.

Who are Poppy's best pet-pals?

At first we were not sure how Poppy would get along with the cats, but she has been very good with every cat we have had. She loves to play with kittens and they love to play with her. We have had three kittens since we got the dog, and they have all become fast friends. Once they grow up to be cats, Poppy isn't interested in playing with them, but she does herd them if they are outside and protects them from predators.

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

Poppy's primary job in life is to play ball, and she thinks that anyone who comes to our house has come to play with her. She is obsessive about her ball and we have to tell our young grandchildren that they have to stop throwing the ball if they see Poppy's tongue hanging out and dripping with sweat. She won't stop, so the kids have to stop. Poppy can also be a bit of a pest if we have workers at our house and during a recent renovation of our deck, the workers would hide her ball in the bed of their truck so she would have to go looking for it.

What is Poppy's best quality?

We are not sorry that we took Poppy into our hearts. She is a devoted, loyal dog and minds her manners very well. She is very smart and was easy to train to sit and stay and come, although the "come" doesn't always work if she is chasing some critter off our property. She is loyal to us both, but knows she is my husband's dog and goes to him frequently for attention and sleeps by his feet.

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

Maybe she would give us robotic arms so we could throw the ball forever.

If Poppy were able to speak in a Maryann Miller biopic, who should do her voice?

I would love for Meryl Streep to do her voice. She is such an incredible actress who can do accents and voices so well, she would be perfect.

As a journalist and author, Maryann Miller amassed credits for feature articles and short fiction in numerous national and regional publications. She has a number of books available in paper and as e-books. To find out more about her books visit her website.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. Thanks so much for hosting me here today. It was fun writing about Poppy and I hope your visitors enjoy meeting her.

  2. Loved your post about Poppy, and love Poppy's name, too :-)

  3. I don't have any pets, not since our children grew up. But I can see how special your dog is and how nice it is to have a pet.

  4. Thanks for stopping by Alice and Jacqueline. I couldn't imagine life without a pet, but there are some advantages I guess. No feeding, walking, cleaning up after... LOL I can see the appeal of not having a pet when kids are gone. On the other hand, our dog and cats are good company when the house is too empty.

  5. Thanks for sharing the story, Maryann... Little Chloey and Baby Elsie bring such comfort and laughter to our home, I can truly relate.

  6. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Cindy. I think we all find great pleasure in our pets. I really can't imagine a life without them.

  7. Great story, Maryann. I'd love to introduce Killie to Poppy. I'm betting they'd be great friends. If, Poppy didn't decide Killie was a little red ball. She's a 5 pound mini-Pomeranian.
    East Texas. Good country. Love your boots.

  8. Thanks, Randy. I love my boots, too. LOL. Poppy would love your little dog. We had one for a long time that Poppy played with. She was very gentle, just like she is with the cats.