Friday, October 19, 2012

Yvette Van Veen & Kip

Who is in the photo at right?

Yvette Van Veen – Owner of Awesome Dogs, Pet Columnist Toronto Star, Pet Writer.  And Kip – Male, 1 ½ years old. Mixed breed. Rescue from Northern Quebec.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

All the time! I’ve even suggested it in a column. When I have a puppy, I go to the nearest coffee shop drive through every day. It’s a short drive. They learn to like car rides that way. They also learn to accept having people reach into the vehicle. Great in nice police officer is standing by my car for a ride check or [a-hem] maybe I accidentally did something and got pulled over. Either way, I want my dog really used to people reaching into vehicles. Once a dog has its shots, we go to the coffee shop and have a coffee so the pup gets socialized. Coffee shops are great for socialization.

What's brewing?

Cappuccino – plain. Also like Vietnamese dripped coffee with condensed milk. If making coffee at home, then I like to do a cold brewed syrup and shake it up in a cocktail shaker!

Any treats for you or Kip on this occasion?

Always! I carry treats all the time. But Kip is picky. The coffee shop staff try to give him a donut hole. He takes it. But once we leave he spits it out. He likes meat!

How did Kip get his name? Any aliases?

Kip was named by my son. It’s for the gymnastics move. Apparently it also means chicken in Dutch. Kip’s moniker is Kipper the ex-Crotch Ripper for very literal reasons.

How were you and your dogs united?

All of them were fostered for rescue and never left. My son said we needed to keep Kip because he was soooo bad, no one else could possibly want him. Kip’s doing really well now, but it was quite a journey.

What's the most interesting question put to you by a reader of your column in the Toronto Star?

It wasn’t a question. It was a complaint. Years back I did a piece on spay and neuter. At the time, most of the information available extolled the health benefits of spay and neuter. Someone said that I didn’t present the whole picture. That there were negative health effects. I do read all complaints, as long as someone isn’t throwing obscenities at me, I do tend to ask questions or dig.

Turns out that there is some interesting research, mostly pertaining to early neuters in male dogs. I appreciated that someone cared enough to point me in the direction of new research I had not yet seen. If someone has new research – I absolutely want to see it. And if I’m unaware of something, I do want to hear about it. I have no problem saying, “New information is available.”

Who is Kip's best pet-pal?

Shadow – the next door neighbour’s black lab. She is his girlfriend.

Rabbit, postman, cat....?

Nope. Hope not. I train dogs for a living!

Kip lives with 2 cats. Icarus, the younger one, is his best friend. They play and wrestle together. He’s met rabbits and likes them. However, he does have an odd obsession with plastic bags. He likes to grab them, run around with them and tear them.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Chewber Frisbee and felted tug toys.

What is Kip's best quality?

Kip is a working dog through and through. He’s too smart for his own good. As he matures, he’s going to do amazing things. I like how he gets along with the cat and tolerates having the cat play with his tail. He’s learning American Sign Language, which means I can “talk” to him while teaching classes by using my hands. That way I don’t have to stop talking to ask him to obey.

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

Less time working on the computer to make more time for play.

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

Jack Lemmon – that rapid fire delivery he did in Some Like It Hot.

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

Is there anything you want me to change/do differently in how I look after you or teach you?

Visit the Awesome Dogs website.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. I love the idea of going through a Timmy's to get the dog used to someone reaching into the car! We go across the border a lot so my dog is used to "foreign" hands coming into the car.

  2. Kip is very handsome and anyone can see he is very smart.

  3. Thank you for a lovely read!

    Keep on wagging,
    Tootsie & Renee