Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Patrice Kindl & Dante

Who is in the photo at right?

This is Dante, a four-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. He is a major character in my new novel, Keeping the Castle, only his fictional alter ego is named Fido. He’s pictured alone here because he is so dark that it’s hard to see him properly when he’s photographed with anybody else.

I'm Patrice Kindl [with husband Paul, in the photo below left].

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Every morning my extremely nice husband Paul gets up, goes downstairs and makes coffee for two (fancy coffee for two, mind you, with whipped cream and cinnamon and chocolate shavings and so on). Then he brings the result upstairs to Dante and me, who are in bed. Paul has been doing this for years. No, he is not available; he is my husband.

Normally I am pretty informally dressed for this date, but I preferred to appear in this photograph fully attired, with my hair combed.

What's brewing?

Café mocha, cappuccino, lattes, and so on. My husband is an ex-Oregonian. He does not regret leaving the rain behind but definitely shares the regional addiction to caffeine.

Any treats for you or Dante on this occasion?

Well obviously yes, for me, but none for Dante. He likes to burrow under the covers. When my husband sits on the bed I have to yell, “Watch out for the lump!”

How were you and Dante united?

I got him when my husband was out of town (he travels a lot). My husband knew I was looking for a puppy, and thought he’d be home three days after I acquired one. In fact, he was unable to return for three weeks. When he did come home, Dante was horrified that I expected him to share a bed with this obviously deranged homicidal drifter.

Dante loves my husband now, but he’s still my dog.

How did Dante get his name? Any aliases?

Dante looks exactly like an Italian poet, with those sort of soulful, bulgy eyes. Aliases? Oh, yes. We have “Dante-delicious,” “Dante-de-lion,” “Commandant” (“Come on, Dant!”), “Dante-esque,” and so on. And then there are totally out of the blue ones like, “Pundlestump” and “Banana Boat.”

Does Dante play any role in your writing?

As mentioned, Dante is a major character in Keeping the Castle. It is a comic Regency romance, and a miniature spaniel was exactly the right breed to be a gift from a gentleman to a lady he was courting in the early 1800s. Dante’s character also is amply described by the traditional name which he bears in the novel, “Fido,” meaning “fidelity.”

Who are Dante's best pet-pals?

When we got Dante we already had a dog, a 165 pound Newfoundland named Boufe. They were very funny together. I am sorry to say that Boufe is no longer with us. Dante loves all dogs, everywhere, of whatever size or breed. We also have a Panama Amazon named Bree, and they often gingerly share my lap.

What is Dante's best quality?

All of them. Dante is the best dog in the world. If there are dogs on other planets he is better than the whole lot of them put together. He is highly intelligent, loyal and adaptable. I can take him anywhere and he is beautifully behaved.

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

Oh, that’s easy. I should immediately and permanently cease all trips to the grocery store, restaurants, doctor’s office, and any other destinations which do not allow dogs.

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

Antonio Cupo. Actually, I just think the actor looks like Dante.

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

Okay, honey, we’ve established that you don’t want to go out, you don’t want anything to eat or drink, you don’t want to play, you don’t want to get up on my lap, so why are you looking at me like that?

Visit Patrice Kindl's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

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