Friday, June 29, 2012

Renée E. D'Aoust & Tootsie

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Renée E. D’Aoust, the human, and this is Tootsie, our little sausage friend. We live in Switzerland and Idaho.

Tootsie is a miniature, black-and-tan, smooth-haired, rescue dachshund. She is about five years old. Tootsie blogs at Bicontinental Dachshund with help from me and my husband.

I’m a writer and teacher. My first book is a memoir, Body of a Dancer (Etruscan Press, 2011).

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

This morning, I’m drinking my morning coffee in bed while Tootsie burrows under the blankets.

What's brewing?

Southern Switzerland is steeped in Italian language and culture, so I’m drinking a homemade latte macchiato made with my favorite coffee: Illy Espresso. I use a stainless steel stovetop “Bialetti – Casa Italia” espresso maker. I heat “Heidi” brand milk in a separate pot.

Any treats for you or Tootsie on this occasion?

In your honor, a chocolate croissant for me and a peeled carrot for Tootsie.

How did Tootsie get her name? Any aliases?

Tootsie was blessed with her name by her special caregivers before us. For her middle name, we added Aelggi, the toponym denoting the geographic center of Switzerland. And, yes, lots of nicknames in English and in Italian.

English-language nicknames: Toots; Our Little Sausage Friend; Baby Jesus; Our Savvy Sausage; The Wagger; Mighty Hiker; Moominpup; Munchkin; Caboose; BiCo; Mighty Hunter; Furkid; Wootser; and The Sweetest Thing (preceded by “ohohoh”).

Italian-language nicknames: Balniscio (a mountain pass between Switzerland and Italy); Carina (“pretty”); Bassottina (“little dachshund girl”); and Pira Balpira (a first and last name my husband decreed for her).

How were you and Tootsie united?

Our special vet Dr. Michelle Ward, who runs her Pet Mobile clinic in the Inland Pacific Northwest, brought us together. She knew the ladies who had rescued, named, and cared for Tootsie. I had told Dr. Ward about my dream to have a minifurkid who would fly onboard airplanes in the cabin with me back and forth between Idaho and Switzerland.

Tootsie is now a naturalized Swiss citizen and carries a legal Swiss doggy passport. Unlike Eduardo Saverin, Tootsie retains her U.S. citizenship, although the U.S. does not issue an official pet passport.

I used to be a big dog person, but now I’m a little dog convert. A dachshundista.

Does Tootsie play any role in your writing?

Less than two years ago, I had a serious illness and during the same period lost my mom to cancer. My mother was—it’s still very hard to use the past tense—my best friend, my first editor, my collaborator, and my companion in labor in our Idaho stewardship forest. She was a fellow writer and dog lover. After we lost my mom, I stopped writing. Just froze. There didn’t seem any point without Mom as my first reader.

About eight months after my mom passed away, we adopted Tootsie. About three months later, my husband set up Tootsie’s blog. He had valiantly been trying to help me start writing again. He put Tootsie on my lap, and said, “Write Tootsie’s dog diaries in honor of your mom.” For years, my mom wrote “Dog Diaries” to keep me abreast of all the happenings of our family dogs: Sirius, Terra, Max, Bryce, Keisha, Daisy, and Truffle.

Bicontinental Dachshund is our dog diary for my mom. Thanks to Tootsie, I’m writing again. Dance reviews, book reviews, forestry articles, and a new book project.

Does Tootsie prefer life in Idaho or in Switzerland?

Both; she’s truly bicontinental. [photo right: Renée & Tootsie at Lake Como]

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

In northern Idaho: pocket gophers and mice.

In southern Switzerland: little lizards and ducks.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

In Idaho: Yugi gave her a “Kong” Frisbee that is just her size.

In Switzerland: squeaky toys.

What is Tootsie's best quality?

She keeps on wagging.

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

It might be the same as what my mom used to try and change: “Don’t worry so much; it’s a real downer!”

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

Anna Hardwick.

If Tootsie could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?

“Do you have any pictures of yourself as a puppy?”

Visit the Bicontinental Dachshund blog, and learn more about Body of a Dancer and its author at Renée E. D’Aoust's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Janet & Brandy

Who is in the photo at right?

Janet: I am the older sister [on the left in the photo], by four years, of Connie, co-creator of Modern Scottie Dog™ blog. I am a blogger and photographer, as my creative endeavors. Also love knitting. I grew up in Minneapolis, MN, and worked as a Manager in the non-profit field for over twenty-five years. I am currently working in the public sector in Behavioral Health in Ventura County, California.

Brandy: 8 year old Brindle male Scottie [photo below left].

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I love coffee and I am one of those commuter coffee people. I also make time for a coffee break, a Starbucks Latte when I get a chance on my lunch breaks. I savor my weekends when I make my own lattes and hang out with Brandy drinking coffee on my bed with my sweet dog, surrounded by pillows. He usually sleeps and I get a chance to catch up my reading and blogging.

What's brewing?

I’m a Latte coffee lover with lots of steamed milk and either flavored blend strong coffees or a French Roast. Not picky, and buy Trader Joe blends. Make my own frothed milk with a touch of vanilla or cinnamon sugar to top it off. It’s all about Coffee!

Any treats for you or Brandy on this occasion?

Brandy doesn’t really like to eat until about 5 PM, when he eats half of his food. He then likes to have a night nosh at around 11 PM. I know, this is a bit odd, but it works for him! I’m a night owl and he seems to have adapted to our ways. During the day I give him either his favorite peanut butter treats or his small bite treats from Trader Joes. Otherwise he isn’t very interested in eating early in the morning.

How did Brandy get his name? Any aliases?

When we got Brandy, this was his name, and we didn’t want to change it. We don’t know the history of this. I usually call him a variety of nicknames, including, Best Dog Ever, Sweet Dog, My Boy, and Brandy Dog!

How were you and Brandy united?

I always loved my sister’s dog, Duffy, but never planned on getting a dog. Just by chance, my husband was searching Craigslist for something else and saw a random listing for a black Scottie needing a good home. It stated a quiet home where he could be the “king.” We decided to respond, and we didn’t hear back for a few days. I was giving up hope and couldn’t stop thinking about this dog. I just had a feeling, and I wasn’t even looking to get a dog at that time. Then we got the call to come and visit the next day, on a Saturday morning. We went to the home, and the people had all of his belongings packed up for us, waiting to go. We looked at each other and said, of course! His previous owner was an elderly man who raised him since a puppy, but passed away over a year ago. Brandy was living with the man’s children, in a home with several very large Labradors and was not coping well. The family was concerned that he seemed withdrawn and depressed. When we arrived, he ran away and cowered from us. We immediately settled him into our home, and our lives have been changed forever. We are totally in love with him, and he has become the King of the House! We think that we needed him as it turns out, and now we are giving him the best home ever for the sweetest Scottie Dog!

Please tell us about Modern Scottie Dog, and particularly about the Brandy's role in the California offices of MSD.

Brandy and Duffy [photo right] are our Canine Executive Officers and Advisors. They definitely serve as our daily inspiration, laughter, hopefulness and social connections! We started the Modern Scottie Dog as a way to connect with like-minded Scottie folks, with the hope of sharing the things we love, about Scotties and Dogs, but also including fashion, décor, art, culture, antiques and vintage, photography, and travel, for a few. I work in the capacity of Internet and social media work as does Connie, and it was perfectly suited to our skills and passions. And it is so much fun! We also wanted to share the creative experience of starting something together, even though we live in two separate states.

Does Brandy have a favorite place to go for an outing?

His daily walks in the neighborhood. An extremely slow walker and loves to smell everything, mark all the trees and bushes and prance around like he is the king of the neighborhood! He seems to live for his daily walks, at least 4x a day, and is friendly to all the people and dog walkers, including the toy dogs. Not so much big dogs! He loves to chase the birds and squirrels and can’t seem to figure out that he can’t climb!

Oddly enough, he never barks at anything. Only gets excited and breaths hard when he sees a bicyclist or a squirrel.

Who is Brandy's best local pet-pal?

He enjoys the small toy dogs, including his neighbor friend Dino. We discovered one Scottie in the neighborhood, a very large beautiful black Scottie named “McDuff” who Brandy really doesn’t have much to do with!

What is Brandy's best quality?

Sweetest dog ever! He truly found US, and rescued US, and changed our home because of him. He is healing for us, and we love him like crazy. He is very quiet, sensitive, needs his own space, extremely sensitive to others, and just the sweetest most adorable dog ever. He brings out the best in my husband and I, and we are so grateful for finding him. He is just a very quiet and peaceful dog, loves being petted, and loves hanging out with us.

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

To be as patient and as gentle as he is. To know intuitively what he needs and to demand that for himself. He seems to really know how to take care of himself. And to learn to savor the simple things in life, and the simple repetitive routines of daily life.

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

Either Craig Ferguson, the late night talk show host, because he is Scottish. Or Billy Crystal, because he would be able to capture the personality of a Scottie, and with a New York accent too!

Read the Q & A with Connie Singer & Duffy.

Visit the Modern Scottie Dog blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 25, 2012

Linda & Cinnamon

I am Linda -- I work in a nursing home in Washington state.

My dog's name is Cinnamon. She is a female -- not breed specific ... part Shar Pei and Pit bull.

Cinnamon was a rescue, but not in the typical sense. A friend of Jeff's left for Afghanistan. Cinnamon became his dog in 2008. She is 5 years old.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I have to stop here and laugh just a little. There are 15 Starbucks locations in our local area. After all this is Washington -- the home to Starbucks, not counting all the independent coffee shacks (huts). We love our coffee. We don't really care where the coffee comes from as long as we can get it hot and fast, whether on the way to the dog sitter or on the way to the park.

Yes, Cinnamon goes to a dog sitter while I work; she loves it there and her cousins are there too.

What's brewing?

French Vanilla straight up. At home or on the way to work.

Any treats for you or Cinnamon on this occasion?

Ice Cream. She knows when we are in the drive through she is going to get a Ice Cream cone.

Cinnamon's favorite treat is Duck Tenders from Pet Smart.

How did Cinnamon get her name? Any aliases?

Cinnamon's name is the same as her fur coloring -- cinnamon.

Nicknames: Cinnamon Spice or The Pooper; we even call her Cinny sometimes.

How were you and Cinnamon united?

I was born in Southern California and remarried after my husband passed away from lung cancer in 2004 at 49 years old.

I made my first trip to Seattle to see my sister on Camano Island. Three years later I moved here. I met Cinnamon's dad Jeff while working. Jeff told me had a Pit Bull and I did not want to meet her. I had a pre-determined mind set.

That didn't last long and we are best buddies now. Oh, and her kissing me on the first meeting didn't hurt either.

So it goes to show you not all dogs are what you might think.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Cinnamon isn't interested in squirrels or cats or the post man. She did chase a raccoon once.

Squeaky-toy, ball, boomerang...?

Squeaky toys even though she rips them apart.

What is Cinnamon's best quality?

I can honestly say she loves everyone! She will walk up to anyone to get a pat on the head.

Jeff has taken her to work with him, and she runs around the office stopping to visit each and every employee.

He has also taken her to Safeco field when his company is doing a exhibit there. She runs around and has a great time there.

What is Cinnamon's proudest moment?

She automatically knows when the frig door is open. Once she had diarrhea in Jeff's work truck, too.

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

First I would say Johnny Depp; but we better make her a female voice so I would say Meryl Streep.

Visit Cinnamon's blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 22, 2012

Akila and Patrick & Chewy and Abby

Who is in the photo at right?

Akila - writer, lawyer, lover of all things food; Patrick - software developer, photographer, hungry adventurer; Chewy - 11-year-old male cocker spaniel, extraordinary kisser; Abby - 8-year-old female beagle/border collie, princess of the universe

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Coffee --- or Coke --- in the mornings on long road trips with the dogs in the back of the SUV, as we roam across the United States and Europe

What's brewing?

Preferably Turkish coffee, but, if not, then espresso

Any treats for you or the dogs on this occasion?

In most of Europe, coffee demands biscuits or cookies, so, always! Chewy and Abby always get a little bit from the table.

How were you and your dogs united?

We found Chewy at a pet store that still sold dogs (and the poor baby had all sorts of medical issues because he may have been a puppy mill dog) and Abby was a rescue.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Chewy was chewing at the bars of his cage and I named him the moment I saw him.

Patrick named Abby after we spent hours searching for an appropriate girl name for her. Too many aliases to count.

You've been around the world with your dogs. Where is the the least dog-friendly place you've been?

Least dog-friendly: Turkey (but it's not as bad as we thought it would be.)

How about the most dog-friendly?

Friendliest country: England, followed closely by Italy. [photo right: Chewy and Abby in the Peak District, England]

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Abby is obsessed with the cats in Turkey.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Their cousins!

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Chewy's current favorite squeaky toy is a teddy bear purchased in Budapest but he changes out his favorites every week.

Abby's toy of choice is one very used giant pink flamingo that we got for her in Las Vegas about six years ago.

[photo left: Abby in Budapest]

What is each dog's best quality?

Chewy has an unconquerable heart and Abby has an unconquerable spirit.

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

More treats (and especially chicken and turkey)!

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

Chewy - Owen Wilson; Abby - Gwyneth Paltrow

Learn more the dogs and their travels at The Road Forks and The Road Unleashed.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Connie Singer & Duffy

Who is in the photo at right?

Connie Singer: Photographer retail and lifestyle, Photo art director and stylist, social media manager for STYLEDLIFE, accessory boutique here in Minneapolis.

Duffy, (McDuff Angus): 6 year old black male Scottish Terrier, parents were black Scotties as well.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I save my morning coffee time with Duffy after my son and husband leave in the morning, before I sit down at the computer. There are no neighborhood coffee shops that allow dogs indoor.

What's brewing?

I’m a steamed/frothed latte person so it’s mostly milk with any store brand breakfast blend.

[photo left: Connie and sister Janet at the Door County Scottie Rally, 19 May 2012, Baileys Harbor, WI]

Any treats for you or Duffy on this occasion?

Duffy eats as soon as he gets up in the morning. He’s kind of like the hobbits that eat 1st and 2nd breakfasts so he’s always happy to get a small treat any time of day! He likes bacon, eggs, and French toast!

How did Duffy get his name? Any aliases?

We chose a solid Scottish name, one that was in his family pedigree, too, McDuff Angus.

How were you and Duffy united?

My son’s 3rd grade teacher brought her Scottie puppy to school one day and I was there and decided on the spot that was the cutest dog I had ever seen! After years of the family trying to convince me (1st time dog owner) to get a dog I was smitten. We chose Duffy from the next litter from the same home breeder in Wisconsin.

Six-year-old Minneapolis Duffy, McDuff Angus, came into our lives as a puppy from a family breeder in Wisconsin. Everyone said this is not a dog for beginners! Well, he is willful and stubborn but also the most loveable and fiercely loyal breed there is and we couldn’t imagine our life without him!

Please tell us about Modern Scottie Dog, and particularly about the Duffy's role in the Minnesota offices of MSD.

From the about section of our blog, the Modern Scottie Dog:
The Modern Scottie Dog™ is a lifestyle blog that launched in 2012 and caters not only to Scottie dog owners but lovers of the iconic breed. Our blog celebrates all things Scottie, and much, much, more! Duffy and Brandy serve as our Chief Canine Officers.
[photo right: Brandy, from the California offices of Modern Scottie Dog™]

Does Duffy have a favorite place to go for an outing?

The large open fields where he can safely run and play with the soccer ball.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Duffy’s a sweet, quiet dog in the house until someone comes to the door and he goes “mental” with barking, but when the mail carrier used to give him treats every time we understood the frenzy to get us to open the door! Don’t even get started on the s-q-i-r-r-e-l-s as we refer to them around Duffy!

Who is Duffy's best local pet-pal?

Neighbor pooch, Roxy, a female chocolate lab.

What is Duffy's best quality?

Fiercely loyal friend and loves to nap!

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

Hmmm… am hoping he thinks I’m perfect!

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

Only the greatest Scot actor, Sean Connery, of course!

Visit the Modern Scottie Dog blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sands Hetherington & Maggie and Dudley

Who is in the photo at right?

That's Maggie on the left and Dudley on the right. The old guy in the middle is me, Sands Hetherington. Dudley and Maggie are St. Bernard littermates born four years ago last Valentine's Day. I write children’s books starring a kid named John and a red crocodile named Crosley who sneak out and have adventures after bedtime.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I'm afraid I don't do coffee. I'm an apple cider and wine & cheese man. These are sacred and diurnal activities, and the guys are always with me at the time--unless they happen to be out in the yard.

What's brewing?

I have made Irish Coffee using John Jameson's, instant coffee and cream fluff in a spray can, but it's been over thirty years. That, now, is a real cup o' coffee!

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

These two wouldn't have been born for another thirty years. These days Dudley gets a large Milk-Bone and Maggie gets two carrots when I have my breakfast cider.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

I just came up with them from the ether. Dudley's nicknames are Dorger and Boo-boo, and Maggie's are Sissy Rose and Shagrat.

How were you and your dogs united?

I used to breed St. Bernards and know a few of the people. I called a couple of them who still participate, and one had Dudley who was four months old. I got Maggie from the same place a year later so that Dudley would have a friend. I did say they were littermates: Dudley is a longhair ("rough-coat") and Maggie is a shorthair ("smooth-coat").

Do Maggie and Dudley play any role in your writing?

They lie around close somewhere and provide a presence. It would be a lonely business indeed without something like that.

Do Maggie and Dudley have any non-canine pet-pals?

No pets, just wild. Other than the obligatory squirrels, they have several deer that visit through the fence at twilight. They also enjoy raging at bass boats out on the nearby lake.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

No cats around, and they never get to see the postman. If they did, Maggie would rush up and make friends.

What is each dog's best quality?

Dudley is completely and utterly good-natured. Maggie is good-natured too, but a bundle of energy. They complement each other and are very attached.

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

Maggie wishes I were more liberal with food. She weighs 110 pounds and is a real little beauty. She would weigh 300 if I would conform. Dudley says I don't take him around in my old dog of a Honda Civic nearly enough.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?

Charles Laughton and Meryl Streep. Meryl Streep could do any girl dog.

If Maggie and Dudley could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

What's it like being a (well-treated) big dog? (Or) Would you trade places with me?

Visit the Night Buddies Facebook page and website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 15, 2012

Jodie and Alfie

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me, Jodie, and Alfie! I live at home so Alfie is a family pet more than he is mine; in fact he is very attached to my mum! I am 20 years old and work as a nursery nurse/childminder assistant (Two jobs). Alfie is a Westie (West HighLand White Terrier). He is 4 in November. We got him as a puppy when he was 5 weeks old. Too early but he wasn't being looked after very well at all! He is a very 'yappy' (Barks a lot) as he is very insecure and a wimp! He is a lovely dog though, very gentle with the children in the family and will come and lay with me when I am ill.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Alfie is a very lazy dog and likes to spend the day in bed whenever he gets the chance so today is a relaxing day in the sunshine (when the UK gets some!).

What's brewing?

Not tea or coffee! Probably a cherry cola....

Any treats for you or Alfie on this occasion?

Alfie is more of a human food dog when it comes to treats so any type of meat and he is there!

How did Alfie get his name? Any aliases?

Nope. My sister really liked it and we all agreed on it.

How were you and Alfie united?

My dad got him as a surprise after me begging for a friend for Frank (R.I.P).

You have an interesting YA lit blog. Do you have a favorite literary canine?

Thank you. No, sorry! I don't read books or watch films with animals in in case it's a sad ending. (I know, a wimp!)

Who are Alfie's best pet-pals?

My niece and nephew! He is so gentle with them and always rolls on his back to get some fuss and play.... Oh, and my mum (he is a mummy's boy).

[photo right: Alfie and Bilbo the bearded dragon]

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Eat, Eat, Eat! Haha! I am just kidding. But seriously, he is scared of cats so will bark at them (his way of showing fear, especially when some are bigger than him!) and postman is an evil man who posts something through his door too early in the morning for him.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

This is going to sound strange but Alfie isn't a very toy dog. He likes to play with balls sometimes but I think because we got him when our German Shephard was old Alfie copied his traits which was basically sleeping all the time! haha...

What is Alfie's best quality?

I love how he will get in bed with you, nudge you until you lift the covers up for him and then go and lay against you! He can be such a gentle boy.

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

Probably change the fact I don't let him near my hamsters! haha...

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

Jim Carrey.

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

What can we do to make you less scared of everything! (Because then we could take him places like the park etc instead of just his normal walk!)

Visit Jodie's "Books for Company" blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Maria Firkaly & Henry and Copper

Who is in the photo at right?

Maria Firkaly, Freelance Social Media Consultant, Jack of All Trades (Marketing, Development, Grant Writer) for a small non-profit in NorthWestern Pennsylvania, and amateur photographer.

Henry, the big black lummox, is an 11 month male Mastiff/Boxer/Labrador mix.

Copper, is a 6 year old female mutt. I asked my vet what he thought she was, and he said “She is like the typical yellow dog you find in a third world country.” Nice, huh?

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Sunday afternoon with the mutts at the Bark Park calls for some caffeine. Henry and Copper are a handful.

What's brewing?

Iced Coffee. When the weather gets warmer it’s a great treat in the afternoon. Maxwell House, Breakfast Blend with French Vanilla creamer, it was the best deal at the market recently. I make a full pot and keep some for later.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

I packed a picnic lunch for my two boys, fiancé and I. Henry and Copper were so busy playing; they didn’t even try to find out what we were eating. We brought along some mini dog biscuits. Henry inhaled his. Copper was too excited and spit her treat out. Typical Copper.

How were you and your dogs united?

Copper is a pound puppy. My sons and I fell in love with her at our local shelter. She was 6 months old and had the most beautiful eyes. We took her home that same day.

My fiancé, Matthew and I were out looking for a new pup last September. We had lost Matt’s dog, Chelsea to cancer earlier in July. Matt and Copper missed her so much. I knew it was time to add a new personality to the household. We were out visiting local shelters and stopped at a small convenience store in the middle of nowhere. On the front window was a flyer advertising a litter of puppies. Henry was “free to a good home” and I’m glad he’s in ours!

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Copper came with the name. When we first met Matthew kept calling her Cooper, so now she comes to either. She is Cooper the Pooper Scooper (I wish she scooped the poop!)

We had picked up some snacks at the convenience store the day we saw the flyer, one of which was an O’Henry candy bar. We decided to be extremely corny and name the new pup Henry. I fondly call him “Henny”.

Do your dogs have a favorite place to go for an outing?

Both dogs get excited when we offer a ride to the “Bark Park”. Copper is learning how to Dock Dive and loves using the pond at the Conneaut Lake Bark Park to practice.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

For Copper, most definitely squirrel. She is a mighty hunter! Henry is a piece of work. He gets worked up by random objects, like the lawn cart. Oh Henry!

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Henry is the toy lover. He is crated when we’re not home. As soon as we let him out of the crate he runs around and tries to fit all the toys from his crate into his mouth. He will also sneak any stick, the bigger the better, into the house.

Copper will only play with toys once Henry has sufficiently annoyed or enticed her with one. He will stand over her and force the toy into her mouth. Copper does get excited when fetching in water. She will happily dive into the lake and retrieve a stick, over and over again.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Up until two years ago, Copper was the only dog in our house. When Matt’s dog, Chelsea became ill last year, she moved in with us. Chelsea and Copper became very close and my girl was lost when Chelsea died. Copper took to Henry right away. She even taught him how to behave around our cat, Silver. Copper would run over and touch Henry’s nose and then the cat’s when he would play too rough.

Henry? Henry loves Copper, but he follows me around. I’d have to say he and I are best pals.

Both dogs are friendly and get along with other mild tempered dogs. We found a new friend at the Bark Park recently, Duke.

What is each dog's best quality?

Copper is a sweetheart. I’ve never had a more loving dog. No one can resist her pretty eyes!

Henry entertains us. This dog pours himself off the couch, oftentimes falling back asleep halfway down. We love his playful attitude.

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

They would like it if I was able to work from home every day.

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

Will Farrell would be Henry’s voice. Henry has a doofy (cross between dumb and goofy) look on his face, which reminds us of the characters Will Farrell portrays.

Copper would be best voiced by Uma Thurman. She is sexy yet tough as nails.

Visit the Crazy Mutt Marketing website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dawn Ross & Maya and Pierson

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me, Dawn Ross, Maya, & Pierson. I am an entrepreneur and run several websites including,, and American Dog Blog.

Maya is my nearly-five-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever. I adopted her when she was about three months old. Pierson is probably a one-year-old Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix. I rescued him on January 10th, 2012.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Since the patio swing is the only piece of furniture our dogs are allowed on, I like to sit outside with my dogs and start the day with cuddles, kisses, and coffee.

What's brewing?

I generally have just regular brewed coffee or tea.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Cuddles and belly rubs.

How were you and your dogs united?

Maya was originally adopted by a woman who had two toddlers and an infant. Obviously, a hyper 3-month old puppy was a bit much for her. So I offered to take the cute pup. Her name was Dixie at the time but since I didn't like that name and since Maya had only been named Dixie for a week I decided to change it. As a lover of history and ancient mythologies, the name Maya is from Mata Maya or Maya Devi in Hindu mythology. Pierson was found at Pierson Park. How he came to be at that park, I do not know. But visitors to the park had kept him fed and told me that he had been living there for at least a month. He was a sweet dog but very leash shy so no one had been able to catch him. After three days of trying, I finally got some help and caught him. With a little time and patience, Pierson quickly adapted to his new home and is now one very happy and loved pup.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Maya is also called Poopers and Maya Papaya. Poopers, because for some reason she took a lot longer to potty train than any other dog I've ever had. Pierson is also called Mr. Fluffybutt for obvious reasons.

Do your dogs have a favorite place to go for an outing?

Maya loves the dog park. Pierson can't go because he doesn't like other male dogs. Both dogs love their walks in the neighborhood.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Pierson loves watching the squirrel living in our neighbor's yard and loves to chase the rabbits in our back yard. Whenever the UPS or FedEx guy come, Maya can't wait to greet them. Sometimes they give her a treat.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Pierson is in the chewing phase right now so loves anything he can chew. Maya likes squeaky toys and sticks.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

I like to think that I am their best pal. But it's hard to say with Maya because she wants to be best friends with everyone. Pierson definitely loves and trusts me. I was the first one he warmed up to at our home. He is still wary of strangers but if he sees me interact comfortably with them then he is more at ease.

What is each dog's best quality?

Maya is so sweet. I can trust her with all people and all dogs. She is especially good with small dogs, despite her size. And she is very good with young children. Pierson is super smart. We've only had him for just over four months now and he already knows all his basic commands and quite a few tricks.

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

Pierson & Maya: Awww, man! Why does mom make us follow all these rules? We're not allowed on the furniture, we aren't supposed to beg, we have to walk nicely on a leash and don't get to explore the neighborhood on our own, we have to wear seat belts in the car so we don't get in the front seat, and we have to try to sit and wait patiently while mom prepares our meals. Maya: Mom also makes me sit and won't let me jump on and greet guests when they come over. I'm not sure why she makes all these rules but she loves us a lot so it must be because of that.

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

Never thought about it.

Visit,, and American Dog Blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 8, 2012

Bruce DeSilva & Rondo and Brady

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me and Rondo, the latest addition to our clan. Rondo's the furrier one. I'm Bruce DeSilva, the Edgar Award-winning author of the hardboiled Mulligan crime novels including Cliff Walk, which was just published.

Rondo is a sixteen-month-old, 120-pound mutt who looks like a cross between a Red Rock Hound and a Humvee. To date, he hasn't read any of my books.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Coffee is a morning ritual for me and my wife, the poet Patricia Smith. We take turns making it first thing every morning while Rondo and his older brother, Brady, a purebred Bernese Mountain Dog, nuzzle our legs in the kitchen and wonder why there's nothing in their bowls yet.

What's brewing?

After realizing that we were shelling out $300 a month at Dunkin' Donuts, my wife and I recently bought a Mr. Coffee and started percolating at home. We haven't abandoned Dunkin', though; we're using their brand. Sometimes we put a pinch of Swiss Miss hot chocolate mix in the cups. That was the dogs' idea.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

While we sip our coffee and read The New York Times, Rondo and Brady [on the left and right, respectively, in the photo at left] chow down on their breakfast of premium dog food--unless one of us has a muffin or egg sandwich, in which case all bets are off. They stare at us pleadingly and poke us with their paws until they realize that no people chow is forthcoming and return to their own grub. When they finish eating, they smack their lips, wander over, plop down beside us, and put their huge heads in our laps.

When you and Brady were guests here on the blog in 2010 we learned how he got his name; what's Rondo's story?

Both of our big boys are named after Boston sports heroes, Brady after Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Rondo after Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics. We actually high-five Rondo (the dog) when Rondo (the Celtic) makes a great shot, which both confuses and delights Rondo (the dog). This naming tendency runs in the family; my oldest son named his two golden retrievers Larry and Legend, both after Larry Bird. I keep telling my wife we need to get another couple of furry behemoths and name them Chara, after a Boston Bruin, and Yaz, after a Boston Red Sox legend of our youth. Okay, she says, but we'll have to get a bigger house first.

How were you and Rondo united?

We wanted a bud for Brady, so we adopted Rondo from the wonderful folks at Rainbow Animal Rescue in North Carolina when he was three months old. He was already 35 lbs., so we knew what we were in for. If you're looking for a dog, you can't do better than check out Rainbow. They treat every animal with loving care.

Back in 2010 you said a character in Cliff Walk owns a Bernese Mountain Dog named Brady. Is there a Rondo-inspired character in the book, too?

No, but you can be sure one will show up as the Mulligan crime novel series continues. You can learn a lot about people by the way they treat dogs, and that's true of fictional characters too. Giving them pets helps with characterization. Maybe I'll have Brady and Rondo [on the right and left, respectively, in the photo at left] team up to solve a crime--I can see them as Sherlock and Watson. Maybe a cat goes missing. (Just kidding. Animal sleuths are a bad fit for my hardboiled style.)

Do Brady and Rondo have any pet-pals?

Our neighbors walk their beagle, Whizzer, every morning and always stop by our fence so he can commune with our boys. At first, the beagle was cowed by their size, but once he realized how gentle they are he started sticking his nose through the fence so they can bend down and nuzzle him. It's such a cuddly scene it should have a soundtrack.

What is Rondo's best quality?

Like Brady, Rondo is incredibly gentle and affectionate, always wanting to rub against our legs or sit beside us and put his head in our laps. He's also a rampant kisser. But what I love most about our boys is their deep affection for each other. They are inseparable, playing tug of war, chasing each other around our trees, or sleeping with their bodies pressed together. They are rarely more than a few feet apart. When we do have to separate them briefly, to take one of them to the vet, for example, Brady sulks like a lovesick teenager and Rondo wails a wretched aria until they are together again.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?

John Goodman's resonant voice, alternately gentle and on the verge of laughter, is perfect for Brady. Chris Rock's voice has the goofy, fun-loving quality that is Rondo.

If your dogs could answer a question in English, what would you ask them?

Have you forgiven me for the ... uh ... neutering thing? Do we smell as good as you seem to think? Why is "God" dog spelled backwards? Got any ideas for my next book? How can we ever repay you for all the love and joy you give us?

Learn more about the book and author at Bruce DeSilva's website and blog.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Bruce DeSilva and Brady.

The Page 69 Test: Cliff Walk.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kim Culbertson & Maya

Who is in the photo at right?

This is Maya. She’s a four year old Vizsla. And I’m Kim Culbertson. I write YA novels and teach high school. If Maya could introduce me, she would probably say that I feed her, don’t walk her nearly enough, and for some reason seem to think the couch belongs to the humans. Maya would explain that I am mistaken. She lets us use her couch.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

The morning works like this. Maya gets her food. Then, I get my coffee. Please do not reverse the order.

What's brewing?

We’re an Illy household. Every morning, my husband makes me a latte. 1% milk. Illy espresso. Mmmmmmmm.

Any treats for you or your dog on this occasion?

Maya gets her breakfast while my seven year old gets cereal or waffles and my husband and I get Illy. I like our mornings.

How did Maya get her name? Any aliases?

We’ve always loved Maya Angelou as a poet, so I’d love to say we named her in a sort of literary way but my daughter really liked the name Maya. She was almost four when we got Maya and she was the one who suggested the name. When we asked her why, she said, “Because I like it.” Maya now has several other names that have evolved into the following: Maya-Papaya-reddish-leaf eater- spazzy McSpazzerson. Yes, she is a spaz and really likes to eat leaves. She cares about her fiber intake.

How were you and your dog united?

My daughter picked Maya. We looked at a litter of Vizslas, and, at first, I wanted a different dog. Maya was skinny and had a funny bump on her head and seemed scared, but she came out of the little kennel, sniffed my daughter, and then promptly curled up in her lap, gazing at her with rapt adoration. “This one,” my daughter told us. There was no argument. Turns out, the one I had initially liked tried to run away from us when they brought her out. My daughter has very good instincts.

Does Maya play any role in your writing?

When I’m stuck on a scene, I often grab her leash and take her for a walk. Sometimes, we walk for a long time and sometimes I get hit with an idea in ten minutes and we turn around. She is very patient with me.

Who are Maya's best pet-pals?

My parents live about five minutes away and have Maya’s brother, Max. Maya and Max play often. They also have a huge German Shepard friend named Blitzen. When Max and Blitzen play, Maya mostly tolerates them with a look that says, “Men.” I swear my dog can roll her eyes.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Maya and our postman have an understanding. He pets her and tells her how pretty she is and she stops barking at him. This seems to work for them.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

She’s a Vizsla. If you throw something, she might bring it back once. If you throw it again, she’ll look at you like, “I got it the first time. Get it yourself.”

What is Maya's best quality?

She is the sweetest girl. My daughter occasionally has trouble falling asleep and Maya will sit very still, right alongside of her, until she falls asleep and then creep out of the room so she doesn’t wake her. My daughter wants people to know that Maya's very patient with small children. That's her best quality.

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

I would be home more (read: every second of every day). And I wouldn’t be so stingy with the Greenies.

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

Ginnifer Goodwin. Plucky, sweet, but with a nice dash of sass.

If Maya could answer only one question in English, what would you ask her?

Maya – you’re patient, kind, understanding and always in love with us. What did we do to deserve you? Seriously, if the world were like my dog, there would be no strife.

Visit Kim Culbertson's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Writers Read: Kim Culbertson

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sita Brahmachari & Ringo Star

Who is in the photo at right?

This is my youngest daughter who is actually the rightful owner of Ringo Star. And there I am wearing my Artichoke Heart charm wishing Ringo good luck on his first ever walk in our local park!

This is Ringo Star… he’s our new puppy, born 29th January 2012 in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex! I do feel like creating a breed-name more befitting his sense of style, charm and beauty! However his breed is a ‘Cockapoo’ (!) – a Cocker Spaniel, Toy Poodle cross. Or, if you are Australian, you might call him a ‘Spoodle’… I’m favouring this breed name! I’m Sita Brahmachari, a relatively new author (though not as young or as lively as Ringo)! My debut novel for Young Adults, Artichoke Hearts, (published by Pan Macmillan and soon to be published in America by Albert Whitman) won the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2011. My second novel, Jasmine Skies, (set in Kolkata, India) was published by Macmillan Children’s Books in March 2012. Look out for an artist of the future as my daughter has had her illustrating debut on page 55 of Jasmine Skies with her monkey drawings!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

My husband Leo, bought me a brand-new coffee maker for my birthday in March. I love the jewel colour capsules I can select every day. I’m like my youngest in a toy shop… can’t wait to taste the next coffee!

Would you like… Fortissio Lungo? Livanto? Vivalto Lungo? Volluto? Or Rosabaya de Colombia?

I’m expecting my author friend Louise Millar, who has recently published the brilliant novel Playdate, (published in America by Emily Bestler Books/Atria/Simon & Schuster) to arrive at my house soon. When being published authors was a pipe dream we would drop the children off at school and share each other’s chapters … those were in the days before Ringo and official publishing contracts, when we could never have dreamed that we would be sitting here now drinking coffee as published authors, with Ringo the super-star puppy sitting at out feet … Dreams can come true!

What's brewing?

Today I have chosen Rosabaya de Colombia and after much deliberation Louise has selected Livanto.

And we could not resist a treat for Ringo by ‘Paws’… I bought a packet of dog treats from a country fair at my Mum’s village fete, where Ringo was supposed to enter into the dog show, and judging by how many people stopped me to admire his cuteness, he might have been a contender… only he was all done-in from the excitement of meeting a Hungarian Water Dog so he had to have an afternoon sleep instead!

Definitely could have been a contender at that dog show! If only he’d been awake!

How did Ringo get his name? Any aliases?

Ringo has lovely large padding paws… that seem to drum the ground as he walks! We are also a family of Beatles fans! Two syllable dog names (we drop the ‘Star’ for informal occasions) are good for hollering across parks! Rin – go!

Has Ringo ever been to Abbey Road in NW London?

We had intended to make it our first Ringo Star Harrison day trip! (Harrison is my married name). Abbey Road is not that far from where we live. However, we first need to familiarise Ringo with the Zebra crossing outside of our house… He is, as I will explain later, not enamoured with either the roads or the pavement! He has, however, seen the Jasmine Skies book trailer on YouTube with the poster of Abbey Road in Mira’s bedroom. He’s told me he thoroughly approves and is looking forward to a drum kit for his first birthday!

How were you and Ringo united?

We had our name down with the breeder for over a year. We were overjoyed to hear from them just before the Easter holidays that a puppy was waiting for us! It required a day trip to Clacton-on-Sea and, unlike most of our sea-side jaunts, nobody cared that it was raining cats and dogs!

[Photo left: Ringo in the sunshine and looking forward to a treat!]

Does Ringo play any role in your writing? Are there dogs in your books?

It’s only a matter of time! There are indeed very special dogs in both of my YA novels so far. Piper the little dog belonging to Nana Josie (my bohemian, artist grandmother in Artichoke Hearts) paints him, leg-cocked, onto her own coffin, and of course there is Miss Print’s dog, Moses … and the wise monsoon street dog, Bacha, (meaning ‘naughty’ in Jasmine Skies) and I am already thinking about the sheepdog who is to appear in my third novel, set in the Lake District mountains.

Does Ringo have any non-canine pet-pals?

Ringo is keen on chasing pigeons, but he’ll learn!

What is Ringo's best quality?

He has a heart of pure gold! He wants more than anything else to please us all and he has special healing powers with the teenagers in the family suffering exam stress and hormonal overloads! He is indeed a dog with special calming ability. Oh! And did I say… he’s just plain heart-meltingly adorable?

If Ringo could change one thing about Londoners, what would it be?

The traffic! Ringo does not appreciate the roaring road outside of our house. In fact he is not too fond of concrete. His delicate paws require him to be carried to the local park, where his feet are able to be reunited with the soft grassy surfaces.

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

The wonderful Jack Lemmon! Ringo is a dog with a wry sense of humour, sharp wit and intelligence and a whole load of charm, with great maturity. I had the honour of once meeting this wonderful actor in Italy with his friend Marcello Mastroianni. I was stage-struck and had a similar feeling when first encountering Ringo!

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

Is it true that… ‘All you need is love?!’

He just answered! In the immortal words of Ringo Starr, you heard it here, today:

‘Woof! Love is all you need!’

Visit Sita Brahmachari's website.  See Sita Brahmachari's top 10 books that take you travelling.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 1, 2012

Julie & Max and Oscar

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me Julie, I’m a homeschooling mom, swimmer, slightly obsessive pro-cycling fan, and in my spare time I blog about all of those things on Just Jules. In the picture with me are my two fur babies Max and Oscar.

Max is a male, 11-year-old chocolate lab/ dachshund mix. Yes, you read that correctly.
Oscar is a male, 6-year-old dachshund mix.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

This morning we are watching the Giro D’Italia on the couch. It’s a very common occurrence during cycling season. Max and Oscar sleep while I scream and yell at the computer or TV.

What's brewing?

San Fransisco Bay decaf K-cup with a tablespoon of Coldstone Sweet Cream creamer. These are the strangest K-Cups I’ve ever seen. They have a filter on the bottom instead of plastic. Really one of the best tasting K-cups I have ever tried.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

The dogs are eating their breakfast and I had two fried eggs.

How were you and your dogs united?

In 2001, our daughter turned one and we decided to finally get another dog. Our beloved Labrador Sam had passed away in 1998 leaving us bereft and grieving. We went to the shelter and I saw Max. We adopted him and he’s been with us ever since despite his numerous attempts to run away.

In 2006, the kids asked for a dog of their own. Max [photo left, staring at Julie] is all about me and wants nothing to do with anyone else. We went to a presentation by the SPCA at the library and they told us we could ask for a specific breed. So we put our name on the list for a dachshund.

On my birthday we got the call to come see Oscar. We fell in love with his cheery personality immediately and he’s been with us ever since.

How did your dogs get their names?

My husband named Max after a character on Dragon Tales. Our kids were little and we watched PBS 24/7. He also is nicknamed “Cito” pronounced “see toe”; he also is now called “Old Man.”

Oscar was named that by the pound. A very unoriginal name for a doxie but it stayed. He has many nicknames so many we wonder if he even knows his real name. He is called “Princess”, “Moo Moo the madness” which is just “Moo Moo” for short.

Do your dogs have a favorite place to go for an outing?

Max loves to run and be free, so he loves to go running with his family.

Oscar [photo right] loves to be mom’s helper and goes with us to pick up the kids from their activities. He is never more animated than when he is in the car.

Squirrel, postman, cat...?

Both dogs really don’t like cats, rats or possums.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Max is far too intelligent for toys and has never been interested. There is a certain purple bear that he has an attachment to.

Oscar loves a little green squeaky mouse or a little lion. We always find them strewn about when we come home though he never plays with them in front of us.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Max only loves me. He is my stalker who at times I want to get a restraining order against. Oscar loves his “little girl”, he is always happiest with our daughter Elizabeth.

What is each dog's best quality?

Max is a genius dog. That is his best quality and his worst quality all in one. If you haven’t gathered by now, he is quite the handful.

Oscar [and his little girl, photo left] is the sweetest dog. He is just permanently happy. He always makes us happy.

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

Max would like me to not leave his sight…ever. Oscar would like it if I fed him more often, he loves to eat.

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

This was a hotly contested question in our home. I first said Oscar should be Fabian Cancellara, a Suisse pro cyclist who the fans call his tweets “Fabianese” -- we speaket Fabianese to Oscar often. ("speaket" is a Fabianese word).

Then we said maybe Klugman and Lemmon since they are the odd couple.

Then we finally decided on the voices of Pinky (Rob Paulsen) and the Brain (Maurice La Marche). Max is the evil genius and Oscar is his simple minded side kick.

Visit the Just Jules blog.

--Marshal Zeringue