Friday, May 18, 2012

Peggy Mullins & Ika

Who is in the photo at right?

This is me Peggy Mullins, and our twelve-year-old Pit Bull, Ika. I am an author with a book (Everybody Loves Ika: One Woman’s Memoir of Her Dog, an American Pit Bull Terrier) due out this summer. Ika is featured in my book.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Every morning Ika goes out on the deck to be greeted by our blind cat Marble. She insists on waiting for him so she can give him a big kitty rub as she walks in and out of his legs. He’s a little embarrassed by all the kitty attention but never makes a fuss. After that I join him, providing the weather permits, and have my very strong cup of tea or coffee. We especially like to sit and watch the sun rise over the trees. After that we make our way to the barn.

What's brewing?

I usually drink tea but when I do have coffee I like a thick Grecian coffee, extra strong and not too sweet, grounds and all. That’s what was in my cup this morning. It’s a coffee called Bravo and comes directly from Greece. Yum.

Any treats for you or Ika on this occasion?

No treats for me today. However, if I’m not watching, Ika makes a treat for himself out of the horse poop around the barn. What is it about horse droppings that taste so good? If I catch him scoffing one down I tell him to “drop it”. Sometimes he complies but more often he just swallows it. Yuck! No doggie kisses from him on those days.

How did Ika get his name? Any aliases?

Oh my, this is a direct question for my book. When my husband (Ron) and I adopted our rescue dog his name was Zeus. It just didn’t fit him. Every depiction of the Greek God Zeus I had ever seen was of an angry deity hurling lightning bolts across the sky when things didn’t go his way. But our dog is the gentlest, sweetest animal there could be. He never barks growls or jumps on people. He is content to sit quietly next to someone, anyone, and have his head scratched. He has large golden and green eyes that are soft and loving. They are outlined in what looks like thick mascara giving them an Egyptian flare.

An excerpt from chapter eleven:
I found lists of names for other people’s Pit Bulls. Not surprisingly, Zeus was a favorite. For male dogs there were names like Spike, Hulk, Killer, Bravo, Tank, and Rush. None of the names fit our new dog. I sat at the computer and thought of names that were less descriptive. I came up with Pete, Laddie, Max, Boris, and Marty. None of these names even came close to matching his personality and enthusiasm. What kind of name would best describe a puppy with a tail that wagged so fast it went in circles? What title would be appropriate for a dog that was always happy to see people and that smiled and snored really loudly? I pondered this for some time. I picked up a pencil and just started to write down letters. Some letters just stood there, all alone, meaningless scribbles of pencil marks. Some came together and formed words but none that described our new family member. Boxy, Seven, and Bink found their way out of my pencil and onto the paper. “Nope,” I said in a whisper.

Then I wrote down the letter ‘I.’ Next came a ‘k’. “Hum,” I said out loud. “I have it!” I added an ‘a’. “That’s it. We’ll call him Ika,” It wasn’t a word. It wasn’t even English, French, German, or Spanish, which are the languages I speak. Although he’s a male and most names that end in an ‘a’ are female, I didn’t care. Ika didn’t describe anything or anyone, which was what I liked about it. There wouldn’t be ten other dogs with that same name. There wouldn’t even be one other.

Ika was a name whose owner had a circling, wagging tail, smiled a lot, and snored. Its owner also ran around really fast and fell on his chin because his head was too big for his body. He would grow into the name and, in time, his head. His name didn’t describe the dog, he would describe it. It was perfect, and I ran down the stairs to tell my husband our puppy’s new name.

Over the years I would be asked many times where I got his name. “It just showed up at the end of a pencil,” I would always reply, which really was the truth.
How were you and Ika united?

I went on a horseback ride with a club I belong to. Every rider had to sign out as she/he left for the trails. The woman who was writing everyone’s name down had a baby carrier strapped to her shoulders. I asked her if she had an infant in the carrier. She had a puppy and he was up for adoption. After some initial resistance from my husband about having a Pit Bull we adopted Ika.

Please tell us about your new book.

My book (Everybody Loves Ika: On Woman’s Memoir of Her Dog, an American Pit Bull Terrier) is written to educate and dispel the fears and misconceptions people have of Pit Bulls as it travels through his life.

I grew up in a hellish adoptive home. After surviving two disastrous marriages I found myself emotionally devastated.

Ika, a beautiful Pit Bull Terrier pup, was spared at the last moment from being born into a similarly hellish life—one where dogs were viciously abused for pleasure, sport, and profit. Though his mother and many of his siblings didn’t make it out of their gruesome home alive, Ika survived thanks to a skilled vet and a few big-hearted volunteers.

In time, Ika found his way to me. I gave him a loving home. In return, Ika would teach me the kindness, patience, and unconditional love that had long been absent from my life. In addition to Ika, there are several horses, all with their own unique and entertaining personalities that interact with Ika in various ways. Along with the surprising affection of a special man and a spectacular family of animals, Ika’s book poignantly guides readers through my difficult journey toward healing and peace through the devotion of a wonderful dog.

Does Ika have any non-canine pet-pals?

Ika has Marble our old, blind cat who shares his bones with him. He also has several equine buddies each with their own special relationship with him.

What is Ika's best quality?

Oh my, he has so many good qualities. I suppose the best is his very gentle and loving spirit.

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

Ika would love for me to give him unlimited treats not just a few at a time. And he would much prefer to go bye-bye in the car all the time instead of just on occasion.

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

I think Robin Williams would be a perfect voice for Ika because Ika has as many outfits that he wears as Robin Williams has voices. A different voice for every outfit.

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

Why don’t you just bark to go out instead of standing in front of the door and looking at me to let you out? Who has who trained here anyway?

Visit the Everybody Loves Ika blog and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. Beautiful photos & story! I'm adding your book about Ika to my Amazon wishlist this instant :)

    What a lucky dog to have found someone like you!

  2. The book is excellent!