Monday, April 9, 2012

Kerry Cohen & Iris

Who is in the photo at right?

The less attractive one is me, Kerry Cohen. I'm the author of six books, two of them memoirs. My dog is Iris. She's a puppy St Bernard, about 5 months old now.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Iris jumped up on the table where I was working and knocked over an entire cup of coffee onto my laptop. It went off immediately, and I haven't been able to get it back on yet. We'll see. I'm still hoping it will dry out completely. I also sometimes hold it and whisper to it how much I love and need it.

What's brewing?

Stumptown Coffee, brewed in a coffee maker. I drink it with half and half.

Any treats for you or your dog on this occasion?

What do you think?

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

I wanted an old name, something that will work as well now as when she's an old lady. As one of the biggest, most lumbering dog breeds, I also wanted to note what a delicate, petite flower she is.

How were you and your dog united?

I got Iris from the shelter. My partner and I were considering getting a dog, but only a lazy one. [photo left: the day Iris joined the family] Iris and three of her brothers showed up at the pound one day, and we had just happened to check the shelter's website. All four were gone in one day. We lucked out because someone had placed a hold on Iris all day, and I walked in there just as the hold was expiring. A woman walked in right behind me and wanted to see her too, so had we not taken her, she surely would have gone to the person next in line.

Aside from the laptop crisis, does Iris make any contribution to your writing?

Interesting you should ask because I have strong feelings about people who write about their pets. Dog memoirs always wind up on the bestsellers lists. This pisses me off. I wrote a memoir about something important, and yet my memoir isn't a bestseller. Are people really this annoying? Dogs are not interesting. They are all the same. Just like cats are all the same, and are also not worthy of having memoirs written about them. Because of this pet peeve (oh no, she didn't!) of mine, this blog will be the only time I will allow myself to write about my dog. I hate people who write about their dogs!

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Yes, squirrels and cats. But mostly she just lies there. I like this about her.

[photo right: Iris is reportedly as smart as she looks]

Squeaky-top, ball, Frisbee...?

She likes these things as well. See? All dogs are the same.

What is your dog's best quality?

I'd say her flappy lips.

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

They'd all want to rub her belly.

What is Iris's proudest moment?

We are still waiting for it.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dog could speak, which actor should do her voice?

Margaret Cho.

Visit Kerry Cohen's website and blog.

Cohen received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Oregon and an MA in counseling psychology from Pacific University.

Read Cohen's list of "Five Great Books about Teenage Girls and Sex."

The Page 69 Test: Loose Girl.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. I just LOVE these giants, Saint Bernards! And I agree, their lips are one of their best features ;-) A big hug for Iris, Karen @

  2. Great Q&A!!
    You named your dog after a flower?! Sweet!! So did I!! My BEAUTIFULLY UNIQUE Beagle/German Shepherd cross, Rose, was named after a rose which she sniffed at the shelter where I adopted her!! True story!! ;op
    I commend you for adopting Iris from a shelter, rather than some breeder!! Seriously!! Good for you!! ;)
    I beg your pardon, but all dogs are not the same. Especially mixed breeds!! My first girl, this German Shepherd/Golden Retriever cross, Shadow, loved tennis balls, and never cared much for treats. Rose, on the other hand, is terrified of balls. And she loves treats!! ;-]