Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Kate Kelly & Lucy

Who is in the photo at right?

This is a photograph of me with my lovely lady, Lucy. Lucy is a female of indeterminate breed and an age we don’t know. She was found in Mexico where our vet had gone to run a spaying clinic. Lucy (then named Pancha) had been hit by a car and someone saved her but couldn’t afford for her to have medical care. As a result, she has a very odd gait from the accident but it doesn’t seem to bother her at all. She’s been with us for six years.

I'm Kate Kelly, an author of some 40 books—many of them collaborations—and I currently publish a website, America Comes Alive. During the “Dog Days of Summer” I publish three stories per week about American dogs—it’s a great way to tell the story of our country and our citizens’ relationships with dogs. I’ve also gathered some of the stories into a book, You Lucky Dog! From Homeless to Famous.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I am a tea person. While several cups of tea are consumed while Lucy and I are working (er, she’s napping—I’m working), her favorite time is the tea break I take at about 4:30 p.m. By that time, I have fed her dinner and I’ll sit down to sort mail or read for awhile. It’s a relaxing time for us both.

What's brewing?

The tea consumed at this time is likely to be peppermint.

Any treats for you or Lucy on this occasion?

I will have a small snack and Lucy will enjoy four post-dinner baby carrots. She’s vegetarian of sorts---to keep her weight down.

How did Lucy get her name?

The vet called several of her dogs Pancha so we wanted a new name for Lucy. She started out as Lucita in honor of her Mexican heritage but she now ranges from Lucy to Lucille to Lucifer when I’m convinced she’s outsmarting me (much of the time).

How were you and Lucy united?

The vet brought the dog to NY where we were living at the time. She knew we had recently lost a dog and were looking. We had a sweet beagle still living with us, and the vet thought we would provide a good home for Pancha/Lucy.

Who are Lucy's best pet-pals?

We lost her companion, a beagle named Boo, about 8 months ago and are not quite ready to move on to another dog, but we meet lots of dogs on our walks, and her favorites are two labs—Bella and Gracie, and a labradoodle, Rigatoni.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

She’s scared to death of a neighbor’s cat that frequents our yard. I did learn she is probably a little bit Pointer; one day she took the Pointer stance to indicate the whereabouts of the cat. Of course, that meant I should go investigate. Chase the cat or bark at it? Not Lucy!

What is Lucy's best quality?

She is the most good-spirited, cheerful dog! She is definitely compromised in her walk because of the earlier car injury, and two summers ago we had to have some cancerous tumors removed, meaning about 8 weeks in the Dreaded Cone. She was cheerful throughout, and I would even catch her sunbathing in the yard with her head in the cone, her tummy sunward, and her bandaged leg (where the surgery had been done) pointing skyward just as if this were the most natural thing in the world [photo right].

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Based on Lucy, I think there is no doubt that dogs see some color… she is very clear about which toys she likes, and they are all red or dark pink. Right now she has a new-ish squeaky bird that she carries with her… but I fear her true favorite is a mangy dark pink monster, which—in my mind--is not as cute as the bird.

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

She would like it if I let her wear a watch set to Lucy Time. She is convinced that her dinner should be served exactly one hour earlier than when I intend to serve it, and we go through a long hour of conversation over who knows the “real” time.

Please tell us about your new book.

You Lucky Dog! From Homeless to Famous is based on my dog story series, The Dog Days of Summer. By researching stories about specific dogs in American history, I’ve found it a great way to tell a compelling story about our country. For example, people are amazed to read that because we had no canine corps in World War II, the only way to assemble one quickly was by asking people to donate their pets--they did in great numbers. That speaks volumes about the American people and the era.

Or the story of our country’s first seeing eye dog, introduced in 1929, is both heartwarming and very informative.

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

I would like to hear about her life in Mexico.

Visit the America Comes Alive website, and learn more about You Lucky Dog! From Homeless to Famous.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. Good Morning from Seattle.
    Great Interview.
    We enjoyed your amazing adventure
    and glad you found a forever home.
    xo Cinnamon and Linda

  2. Me too! I like that red bird guy you are toting about. Lady Caroline

  3. Great story, Kate! I love Lucy!
    Linda H.