Friday, November 23, 2012

Heather Huffman & Kali, Charlie, Shoeshine and Po

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Heather Huffman, author of seven romantic suspense novels. My latest, Devil in Disguise, was released in June.

My family lives on a small homestead in the Missouri Ozarks, where we’re attempting to become more self sufficient. Our dogs are both our beloved pets and an essential part of the farm.

Kali is a six-month-old female Anatolian Shepherd/Great Pyrenees named after a character from my novel Jailbird.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Our dogs are LGDs (Livestock Guardian Dogs); their primary job is to guard the homestead. Since predators are most active at night, that’s their busiest time of day. In the morning after my boys are off to school, I let them in so we can enjoy a coffee break together.

What's brewing?

Yuban coffee because it’s Rainforest Alliance certified, with a dash of sugar and a splash of French vanilla creamer.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Does the heater count?

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Charlie [photo left] and Kali are both named after my favorite book couple. Charlie is a four-year-old Newfoundland/Lab mix.

Our newest additions are two Great Pyrenees/Corgi cross puppies named Shoeshine, after Underdog, and Po, after Kung Fu Panda.

How were you and your dogs united?

Charlie was adopted from a shelter when we still lived in suburban St. Louis and happily turned out to be an amazing farm dog. Kali was a gift from my sister. Shoeshine and Po [photo right] came to us when a friend took in a Great Pyrenees only to find out she was pregnant by a Corgi.

Do your dogs have any influence on your writing?

They certainly influence my productivity! How can you resist the “love me” eyes? Many of my characters have dogs, so my affection for them definitely comes through in my novels!

Rabbit, postman, cat....?

Trash man. Kali flipped out the first time she saw the trash man emptying our bin. I told her to calm down and she kept giving me this look that clearly said, “But Mom, he’s stealing the stuff in that big black box!”

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Stick, all the way. Squeaky toys and balls are a light snack for my dogs. Every so often I get them a toy because I want to spoil them. Within minutes, it’s shredded and I’m picking up little pieces from all over my yard.

What is each dog's best quality?

I love that Charlie is intensely loyal to the entire family. He sleeps in the hallway so he can equally protect all of his people. He’s so stoic and rarely expressive, but when it’s just me and him, I can see the complete and total adoration in his face.

I love to watch Kali joyfully bound through the pasture; her zeal for life and her love for her home is catching. I think it’s amazing that even at six months old, and despite her happy-go-lucky demeanor, she never hesitates to protect those under her watch, and she’s good at what she does.

I love to watch the puppies’ different personalities develop. Po is a total couch potato and he’d rather be inside with Charlie, guarding the people. Also like Charlie, he comes across as aloof to a stranger. Now that he’s figured out we’re his, he graces us with that same look of adoration.

Shoeshine [photo left] is rambunctious and fearless. He has an amazing puppy smile and he’s incredibly smart. When I took him outside for his first training session, he watched me for a minute until he figured out what I was doing (herding ducks) before falling in line beside me to help as if we did that together every morning.

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

The amount of time I spend in front of the computer.

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

Hmm… Charlie would be Liam Neeson, Kali should be Anne Hathaway, Po should probably be Jack Black in keeping with his name, and Johnny Depp as Shoeshine.

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

Because Kali spends a large portion of her time curled up on her “perch” (a lawn chair) watching over the homestead, I’d love to ask her what’s going through her mind as she watches them.

Visit Heather Huffman's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. A Great Pyrenees and a Corgi? Did he have a ladder?

    1. Apparently, or a whole lot of determination! As unlikely of a mix as they are, they are wonderful farm dogs. (And it's a lot of fun to watch them run on those short little legs.)