Friday, September 28, 2012

Gigi Amateau & Biscuit and Cola

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Gigi Amateau, and my three-year old redbone coonhound, Biscuit, when she was a puppy! I write middle grade and young adult fiction. Biscuit takes me for long walks by the river, hunts in her own private game preserve [known also as the backyard], and sleeps. Not pictured, my daughter’s pit bull, Cola. She’s sacked out on the sofa.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Every day I have coffee or tea with Biscuit and Cola, and this morning we’re celebrating the release of my new young adult novel, Come August, Come Freedom from Candlewick Press!

What's brewing?

My daughter brought my favorite coffee treat to me this morning: Starbucks’ grande no foam latte!

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Why, yes, because the general rule of the house is: a treat for me, a treat for the dogs. Of course, the world is one gigantic treat for Biscuit and Cola! I just let Biscuit outside. Such a gorgeous morning here in Richmond, Virginia. Sunny, pale blue sky, low humidity, and a hint of fall. I expect Biscuit will stay out most of the morning, but she’ll get a tasty breakfast of Organix crunchy food with a splash of chicken broth when she comes back in the house.

How were you and your dogs united?

We fell in love with the redbone breed years ago when we met a dog named Gus at our favorite mountain retreat in Rockbridge County, Virginia. We keep horses about half an hour outside of town. At the horse farm they also raise redbones and black and tans. Four summers ago, my daughter had a job of socializing the hound puppies and that’s when we met Biscuit, on the day she was born!

Cola is a rescue-girl. My daughter found her at Animal Control and pretty much fell in love on site. Both dogs are sweet and good and loyal.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

You know, the redbone breed is such a southern breed, so we wanted our redbone to have a name reflective of our region. We thought of naming her Grits, Shug, Sookie, but settled on Biscuit because of the many nickname possibilities: Butter Biscuit, Ham Biscuit, Chicken Biscuit, Baby Biscuit.

Honestly, I have no idea why my daughter selected the name Cola but it suits that little gal perfectly!

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

They both love to walk at Pony Pasture Park on the James River not too far from our house. We live in a small forested enclave in the city on a tributary of the James called Rattlesnake Creek. So, even just walking around on our home turf we’re likely to encounter deer, foxes, raccoons, opossums, rabbits, owls, and all sorts of forest-creatures.

Rabbit, postman, cat...?

Let’s just say I’ve moved all the bird feeders to the front yard.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

We try to keep things pretty even-steven with Biscuit and Cola. They each like bully sticks. Biscuit enjoys hers upstairs; Cola goes downstairs with hers.

What is each dog's best quality?

Both dogs have a deep desire to make our family happy. Biscuit’s best quality is that she’s as loyal and devoted as the day is long. And also, Biscuit is just so pretty and soft. Oh those ears! She will walk with me anywhere for as far as I want to walk.

And Cola is a smiler. I have never met a dog who smiles as much as Cola. There is such a sweetness about her spirit that even when she’s in trouble [like jumping in the frog pond again, Cola, really?] she’s not in trouble.

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

Well, because our dogs are so loyal, I’m certain that they would both say, “Change what Mama wants to change.” I would change our Virginia legislature.

What is each dog's proudest moment?

They both seem to think everything they do is worthy of a bone or a biscuit or a chewy.

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

Andie McDowell should do Biscuit’s voice and Drew Barrymore Cola’s.

Visit Gigi Amateau's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

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