Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sheila Webster Boneham & Sunny

Who is in the photo at right?

These are my two best girlydog friends and content advisors, Sunny and Lily. I'm Sheila Webster Boneham [behind the camera]. I write the Animals in Focus mystery series as well as nonfiction about animals, including Rescue Matters! How to Find, Foster, and Rehome Companion Animals (Alpine, 2009), and I frequently call on my dogs for help – they are my muses, my foot warmers, and my reminders that there’s more to life than work.

Sunny, who is in the spotlight today, is a twelve-year-young Golden Retriever. We adopted her last November from the Golden Retriever Rescue Club of Charlotte (NC), where she landed when the people who had inherited her finally decided to let rescue find her a loving home. When her first owner died, family members took Sunny in but didn’t want her, and she spent eight years – eight years! – overfed and underloved. A sad but important reminder that we should all have plans in place to ensure that our pets go to people who care about them if anything happens to us.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We need an occasion for coffee and cuddles? But okay, today Sunny and I are on the screened porch reading the galleys of The Money Bird, the sequel to Drop Dead on Recall. Sunny likes book two because it features retrievers – Goldens, Labs, Flat-coats, well as the protagonist’s Australian Shepherd. She’s excited that the new book will be out in September and she gets to go to her first book signing.

What's brewing?

Tea? Can I say that here? Republic of Tea Blackberry Sage. Brewed in bone china teapot. Mmmmm.

Any treats for you or Sunny on this occasion?

Sunny had a carrot earlier, and a couple of strawberries. Mmmmm.

How did Sunny get her name? Any nicknames?

When we adopted her, her name was "Suni." I didn’t like it much, but she has such a sunny personality in spite of those years of neglect that Sunny was the perfect little change. She doesn’t have a registered name, but if she did, it would have to be Walking on Sunshine. She also answers to Sunny Bunny (but asks that you not spread that around too much!).

How were you and Sunny united?

We lost our fourteen-year-old Aussie Jay last July and let ourselves and Lily grieve for a bit. Then I was away for a book event and my husband called to say that he thought we should adopt an older dog who needed a loving home. We decided that any of several breeds would be fine, and I started surfing rescue groups within a few hours of us. When I saw Sunny on the GRRCC website, I knew I wanted her. Sunny was pretty shell-shocked when we first met her – have you ever met a Golden who didn’t make eye contact? She didn’t know how to cuddle, and she was enormously fat. Six months later she has lost 18 pounds, runs like the wind after her tennis ball, and prances along on a leash like an obedience star.

Please tell us about your Animals in Focus mystery series.

The series features 50-something animal photographer Janet MacPhail, her Aussie Jay, and her orange tabby Leo, as well as several other human and animal characters who appear throughout the series. Each book features an animal activity (obedience, retriever work, feline & canine agility in the first three respectively) and an issue that prompts the mystery (breeder ethics in #1, wildlife trafficking in #2, wait and see! in #3).

Does Sunny do more to help or to hinder your writing?

Sunny is a big help! She is calm and accepting, and always close by.

Who are Sunny's best pet-pals?

Sunny and Lily hit if off immediately and love to hang out together, whether for an afternoon snooze, a game of tug, or scouting the backyard for bugs and good chewy sticks. They like to race to see who gets to the tennis ball first, too!

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Tennis ball! Yes!

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

That darn squirrel! He runs up and down the top of the fence and is so annoying! And the little green lizards are fun to chase, too.

What is Sunny's best quality?

Her sweet, gentle, loving nature.

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

She’d make me a lot less stingy with the food! (But she’s so much healthier with her slimmer figure!)

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

Sandra Bullock.

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

I would ask her if she’s happy, and whether she needs anything she doesn’t have to make her next few years even better. (Other than unlimited food!)

Visit Sheila Webster Boneham's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. So happy you are Sunny's furever Mama!

  2. Thank you! We're just happy to have Sunny in our lives.

  3. What a wonderful interview. I couldn't stop smiling as I read it. :-)

  4. Thanks, Darlene. You know what a charming girl Sunny is - I guess a little of that rubbed off. :-)