Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Angelia Sims & Salem, Anna, Brownie, and Fred

Who is in the photo at right?

Hi, I am Angelia Sims, pictured here with my trusty fur friends or least a few of them. I am a work from home travel agent. I have four dogs--Salem, Anna, Brownie, and Fred. Two big. Two small. They range in age from three years old to eleven years old.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Today, we are celebrating my oldest pup's birthday. Her name is Salem, she is a big black lab and she is 11 years old. We have a party every year. And every day I am so happy she is still with us. She can be a little wobbly on the ups and down, along with some mighty groans, but all in all, she is happy girl.

What's brewing?

Today, we will be having coffee, cake, and fancy iced dog biscuits. Please put on your party hats.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

All the dogs attending will receive a goody bag. There are squeaky toys and milk bones inside.

How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?

Salem is from being black. She reminds me of Halloween and witches, but she is a really nice dog. A good black witch. My second dog is Anna. She is black-lab/greyhound mix. I named her Anna because I wanted another A name in the family (at the time it was all S names). Our third dog is Brownie. We named her before we got her. We wanted a brown dog that reminded us of ice cream (okay, maybe that was me). I, also, wanted a Shih-tzu breed. My mom rescued one that we all fell in love with. I had no idea they even had Brown Shih-tzus until we found Brownie. She was the last of her liter and the only puppy left. She was definitely meant to be ours. Her nickname is Cat. She doesn't bark and plays like a cat. Our fourth dog happens to be the one we all fell in love with at my mom's house. He is a Shih-tzu rescue named Fred. My mom had to move to assisted living last year and couldn't take him with her. Well, I couldn't let him go and that is how he came to live with us.

How were you and your dogs united?

I like to call them planned and unplanned.

Salem was planned. I got her at eight weeks old from a breeder. I wanted a yellow boy lab, but somehow ended up with her. So you could say, Salem won me with her cute face since she was the wrong color and gender.

Anna is unplanned. She is another rescue from my mom. She found her dumped next to a flea market in the country. I met her in my Mom's front yard. She was sooo cute. She looked just like my Salem and was about the size of my hand.

Brownie was planned. Sort of. I convinced my husband we needed a cat. But I didn't want to clean the liter box. So, I told him a little lap dog would be about the same thing and we got Brownie and she doesn't bark and plays like a cat. Hmmm.

Fred was definitely unplanned, but ohhhhh what a wonderful bit of chaos he is. I didn't know I needed a Fred in my life until he came to live with us. He is my constant lap friend (since Brownie the cat is not a lap dog/cat). He loves walks. He loves car rides. He loves just looking at me and following me around. He is the cutest thing ever. My most adoring fan of all time.

Where do your dogs most like to visit on an outing?

Fred loves Petsmart.

Do the dogs have any non-canine pet pals?

There are squirrels in the backyard. A few bunnies out the front window and a gecko that likes to tease Anna on the front door.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Definitely squirrels, but only if you are Anna.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Squeaky toy. So! Many! Squeaky toys!

What is each dog's best quality?

Salem - her snore - I can't sleep if she is not snoring. Anna - her personality - the greyhound antics and humor are a delight. Brownie - her cat-like playfulness - she loves tug and the moving hand. Fred - his crooked grin and doggie cuddles - he is so fuzzy and so cute.

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

That I didn't work and could play with them all day.

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

Salem - Whoopi Goldberg. Anna - Kristin Wiig. Brownie - Jennifer Lawrence. Fred - Owen Wilson.

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

Do you know how much I love you?

Visit Angelia Sims's blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 28, 2013

Kristie Serra & Quigley Adams

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Kristie Serra. I'm a children and family photographer based in Seattle, WA, but I travel throughout the U.S. for photography assignments. My dog Quigley Adams is a six year old male Bloodhound/Treeing Walker Coonhound mix.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Not that we need an excuse to stop by Top Pot Doughnuts, but my hubby just returned home from a trip to Florida.

What's brewing?

Top Pot's Northwest Breakfast tea. It's delicious.

Any treats for you or Quigley on this occasion?

I'm a self-proclaimed donut queen, so I couldn't just get a cup of tea. This visit, a pershing donut was calling my name. Quigley helped himself to the crumbs and then to his favorite doggie treats once we were home.

How did Quigley get his name? Any nicknames?

He came with the name, "Quigley Adams." It was too fitting to change. He's also known around our house as Quigs, Wiggly, Wiggles, Wigs and Sir Wigglesworth.

How were you and Quigley united?

We found Quigley on We were living in Florida at the time and he was being fostered in Phoenix, Arizona through the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue. Quigley arrived in Florida on Christmas Eve, 2008, which my husband arranged to surprise our family.

You've got some great photos of children and families on your website. Who are more difficult to photograph: kids or dogs?

I think it depends on the kiddo or dog. Quigley is the worst! He has zero interest in my camera and ignores me like it's his job. It truly takes a village just to get a good photo of him.

Who are Quigley's best pet-pals?

He loves walking with his cousin-dog, Lucky (a Lab mix). He looks forward to seeing his buddies, Shamus (a Teddy Bear Goldendoodle) and Gus (a German Shepherd) around town and he'll never forget his best-dog friend, Oscar (a Boxer), in Florida.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

He loves his stuffed animal raccoon.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

He would befriend a cat, howl at a postman and chase a squirrel.

What is Quigley's best quality?

Hands down, his ears!

If Quigley could change one thing about Seattleites, what would it be?

He would ban bicycles and motorcycles and insist that everyone carry a cheeseburger in their pocket.

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

Jeremy Irons. We're certain that Quigley is British.

If Quigley could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

I'd ask him about his life before we adopted him. I've always wondered about his life as a puppy.

Visit the Kristie Serra Photography website, blog, and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 25, 2013

Eulalia Benejam Cobb & Wolfie and Bisou

Who is in the photo at right?

The black German Shepherd is Wolfie, a male, who will be seven at Thanksgiving. The little red dog is four-year-old Bisou, a female Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Me, I’m Eulalia Benejam Cobb, writer and illustrator, living close to the earth in Vermont with my husband, dogs, and eight hens. My blog is called My Green Vermont.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We just went for a walk in the field in front of our house to see if the apples from the wild apple tree were ready for picking. The chickens love them.

What's brewing?

I drink organic, fair trade French Roast Green Mountain Coffee, roasted and packaged in Vermont, brewed by the drip method.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

For them: windfall apples and the scent of fox. For me: the clear sunshine on the fading foliage.

How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?

In the movie Amadeus, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s wife calls him affectionately, “Vooolfie,” and that’s what we named our fierce-looking but sweet-tempered East German Shepherd. “Bisou” means “kiss” in baby French. In moments of extreme affection I call her “Bisoulette.”

How were you and your dogs united?

They both came from local breeders whom I knew and respected and who allowed me to get to know the parents of my prospective puppies.

Where do your dogs most like to visit on an outing?

The woods behind the house.

Do the dogs have any non-canine pet pals?

Bisou is fond of the frogs in the little pond behind the house. When they sun themselves on the slate patio she bops them with her nose to make them jump back in the water.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Wolfie takes his responsibilities to heart regarding squirrels, porcupines, fishers (a large member of the weasel family), deer, wild turkeys, bear, coyotes and other denizens of our Vermont hill. But he’s never met a human he didn’t like.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

On our walks Wolfie will pick up a large fallen branch or small tree and carry it proudly, like a band major’s baton. We can’t even whisper the word “ball” around Bisou.

What is each dog's best quality?

Wolfie likes to have all his ducks in a row. When one of the hens gets loose he catches it and holds it down on the ground with his mouth. He has never hurt one yet. Bisou is cuddliness personified indoors, and a speed demon when we go outside.

If your dogs could change one thing about the people of Vermont, what would it be?

Not a thing. Vermonters are dog people, and they often hang out in farm yards, which makes their boots extremely interesting.

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

Wolfie, why have you never given up hope of having babies with Bisou? She’s been spayed and you’ve been neutered for years…

Bisou, if I never got tired of throwing balls, would you ever, on your own, stop chasing them?

Visit the My Green Vermont blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Lynne Maillet & Marcus

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Lynne Maillet and I am with my 9-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Marcus. We live in Connecticut with my husband, Ron, two teenage daughters, a half Siamese cat, and two bunnies. I am a fiber artist who hand spins wool and knits. I write about my fiber adventures at White Birch Fiber Studio. I also play the celtic harp, practice yoga, and am a Reiki Master.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I work from home and Marcus follows me all day. He has to always be in the same room as me. So whenever I take a break for hot cocoa, he is with me!

What's brewing?

Homemade hot cocoa.

Any treats for you or Marcus on this occasion?

Pumpkin muffin for me. Marcus likes American cheese or dry cat food which he likes better than his own food!

How were you and Marcus united?

Nine years ago I sewed dog treat bags for a dog training center. My daughters were nine and five at the time, and we knew we were ready to add a dog to our family. After asking all of the trainers what breed they would recommend for us, every single one of them recommended Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. A breeder from Vermont who brought her Cavaliers to this training center in Connecticut was highly recommended. We spoke on the phone for two hours before we were allowed to come to Vermont for an interview. After meeting us, she told us which puppy would be best for us and that we would be able to come back in a month to pick him up.

How did Marcus get his name? Any aliases?

The year was 2004 and the Boston Red Sox were in the World Series. Our breeder had named our puppy, Curt, after the pitcher Curt Schilling. Although we are Red Sox fans, we didn’t think the name Curt fit. We made a list of names and Marcus seemed like the most manly. We also call him Mister Marcus.

Is Marcus more likely to help or hinder your work in your studio?

Help... since he sleeps at my feet while I’m blogging, spinning on my spinning wheel, or playing my harp.

Who is Marcus's best pet-pal?

Kobe Kitty. He waits patiently until Kobe is finished eating and then he is rewarded with a kitty kibble.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick…?

Squeaky toy, especially a duck or squirrel!

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Squirrel or chipmunk! He looks every day for the chipmunk who lives in our drain spout.

Does Marcus have a favorite place to go for outings?

Anywhere in the car! Some of his favorite trips were Shelburne Falls, Newburyport, Cape Cod, Deerfield, Ogunquit, and Boothbay Harbor.

What is Marcus's best quality?

His sweet, gentle nature.

If Marcus could change one thing about New Englanders, what would it be?

He would want every one to be as friendly as he is!

If Marcus could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

After being sprayed three times, why do you keep chasing Mister skunk? Here he is [photo left] after yet another skunk bath!

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Marcus could speak, who should voice him?

Leonardo DiCaprio.

Visit the White Birch Fiber Studio website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 21, 2013

Maria T. Lennon & Frida

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Maria T. Lennon. I write middle grade fiction the latest is Confessions of a So-called Middle Child just out from Harper Collins. My dog’s name is Frida; she’s a Cane Corso from Alba, Italy and she’s almost 2 years old.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Frida waits for me to get up each morning at 5:45. It’s dark. She usually trips me as I’m walking down the stairs to get to her food bowl before I can make it to my coffee machine. She drools all over my bare feet until I give up on the coffee and get her food. So it’s no coffee before Frida is fed.

What's brewing?

I love Folgers. I know people think I’m gross. My husband is from Italy and it’s practically heresy. But Frida judges not.

Any treats for you or Frida on this occasion?

Frida gets a heavy-duty chewing treat when I leave at seven so that she doesn’t rip the Jacuzzi cover apart. Again.

How were you and Frida united?

My mother-in-law’s dog had puppies in Italy (Frida is a Cane Corso) and so she sent us her favorite one to keep watch over her grandchildren. And she does.

How did Frida get her name?

After the great Frida Kahlo- of course.

Any aliases?

I have called her many names while she’s chewed my shoes, eye-glasses, Jacuzzi covers, remote controls….

Have any Frida-inspired dogs appeared in your books?


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

She helps. I like having her in the house, hearing her nails on the floors, grabbing her when I’ve typed my last page. I love her.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Jacuzzi covers.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

She can find the squeak in seconds. I purchase the toy for $10 and bring it home. Within seconds, she sticks her canine tooth through the heart of the squeaky and that’s it. Game over. She’s a master.

Does Frida have a favorite place to go for outings?

She loves her walks in the canyons where she growls at every person, dog or floating leaf she sees.

Who is Frida's best pet-pal?

She loves the kids. She watches them as though they are in imminent danger and she is the only one who can stop it.

What is Frida's best quality?

She wants to be good. No, she is good.

If Frida could change one thing about Californians, what would it be?

She’d make it mandatory that all items had squeaks.

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

Why can’t you be nice on the leash?

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Frida could speak, who should voice her?

Queen Latifa.

Visit the Confessions of a So-called Middle Child website, and follow Maria T. Lennon on Facebook and Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 18, 2013

Trudy Ludwig & Hannah

Who is in the photo at right?

This is Hannah, my 11-year-old female American Fox Hound, and me on a tea break. My name is Trudy Ludwig and I’m a children’s author. Hannah adopted us after having had three previous owners. When we first met, it was love at first sight for the both of us. We even look like we could be related!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Since I work from home, Hannah always follows me into the kitchen every time I get a cup of tea. She’s got me trained to give her a little treat whenever I get myself one.

What's brewing?

Tazo Refresh mint tea and lots of it!

Any treats for you or Hannah on this occasion?

I have my daily dose of two or three Dove dark chocolate bites. Hannah gets mini salmon biscuits or dried chicken and sweet potato treats.

How were you and Hannah united?

Seven summers ago, I was with my two children at the schoolyard across the street from my house when this elongated beagle came up to me, stared into my eyes, and wiggled her tail. She instantly won my heart. A lovely woman named Kate, who also had an Australian Shepherd with her, came over to chat. I remember saying to Kate, “What a sweet, gorgeous dog!” With tears in her eyes, Kate responded, “Yes…and I may have to find another home for her.”

It turned out that Kate’s mother had rescued Hannah from the Humane Society two years prior, and with another dog in the house, two dogs became a bit too much for her mother to handle. (Hannah had this unbelievable knack of pilfering the owner’s steaks off the barbecue grill, which didn’t help matters.) Well, 24 hours later, we not only adopted Hannah, we adopted her former owners, too. Kate and I have become very good friends. She and her mother get visitation rights whenever they need a Hannah fix or when we go out of town.

How did Hannah get her name? Any aliases?

Her name was originally Ada, but the previous owners preferred “Hannah” and thought the new name was close enough to her original name that it wouldn’t confuse the dog.

And, yes, Hannah does have a few aliases: She’s also known as “Hannah Banana” and “the Duchess of Pineridge Court.”

Have any Hannah-inspired dogs appeared in your books?

Not yet, but I’m working on it!

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

Hannah helps my writing. Our daily walks, which I had originally thought would be a hindrance, are actually a blessing. She forces me to get out of my own head and out the door for some fresh air and exercise. I always feel so much better after our walks—even if we’re walking in the pouring rain! I truly believe that my writing has improved since she’s come into my life.

Does Hannah have a favorite place to go for outings?

The neighborhood park is her favorite turf. She loves hanging out there with all her quadruped and biped friends.

Who is Hannah's best pet-pal?

Nutmeg, a.k.a. “Nuttie,” a Cairn Terrier mix. Whenever Nuttie sees Hannah, she gives her a “high five” body slam. It’s a hoot to see!

What is Hannah's best quality?

Oh that’s an easy question to answer: her gentle, kind-hearted disposition. If Hannah were in a Miss America pageant, she’d be declared the Miss Congeniality winner hands down.

If Hannah could change one thing about Portlanders, what would it be?

They should all be carrying great doggie treats--like steak, chicken, and salmon--instead of umbrellas. Let’s get our priorities straight, people!

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

Why do you have the need to roll on such foul-smelling things on the ground?

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Hannah could speak, who should voice her?

My daughter Allison already voices Hannah to perfection, keeping our family and neighbors in stitches with outrageous Hannah comments.

But if I must pick a professional actress, it would have to be Maggie Smith. The Duchess of Pineridge Court would give an enthusiastic paws-up to have Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess be her stand-in!

For more information about Trudy Ludwig and her children’s books, visit, and connect with the author on Facebook and Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Henry Gee & Heidi and Saffron

Who is in the photo at right?

This is me, Henry Gee, with Heidi, the Golden Retriever. I’m an editor with the professional science magazine Nature, but I write a lot of articles, stories, a blog (‘The End Of The Pier Show’ and quite a few books. My books are mainly popular science – my latest is The Accidental Species: Misunderstandings of Human Evolution, just out with the University of Chicago Press. I also write science fiction (The Sigil trilogy, published by ReAnimus) and have even tried a gothic horror mystery (By The Sea, self-published, so help me, but the people who’ve read it really like it) in which I try to do for Cromer – the seaside town where I live – what Stephen King did for Maine. Heidi is a self-warming hot-water bottle, guard dog and portable rug. I would have had Saffron, the Jack Russell Terrier, in this photo, except that she usually moves too fast for photography.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I can’t start the day without at least two cups of very strong coffee, usually taken in a saggy old leather armchair with Saffron on my lap and Heidi by my side. If, even after that, I still can’t clear my head, Heidi and Saffron take me for a walk – to the woods and fields, or down to the beach. Here on the North Norfolk coast there’s usually a breeze stiff enough to clear most cobwebs, or – in January – to flay your face.

What's brewing?

Mrs Gee and I favour a blend called ‘Lazy Sunday’ from Taylor’s of Harrogate, brewed in a cafetière. It’s a pretty smooth blend, not too bitter. I work mainly from home but go to the Nature office in London once or twice a week, and when I do I almost always get a latte from Starbucks next to Kings Cross Station. They’ve been promoting a really nice Ethiopian coffee lately.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

The dogs usually get a dog chew each if we’ve been out shopping, but Heidi – being a Golden Retriever – will scarf up pretty much anything if we let her, and she’s on a diet. Saffron tries to raid the cat food if she can (we have four cats.) The dogs love scavenging on the beach – bits of fish washed up – but it’s not so nice if they roll themselves in Essence of Decomposing Seal.

How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?

Heidi was named by our younger daughter Rachel (who was seven at the time) after the heroine in the books by Johanna Spyri. Saffron came to us already named. She answers to Saffy, Ronnie, or SmallTinyDog.

How were you and your dogs united?

We had Heidi from a pup – she came from a breeder here in Norfolk. Saffron we found as a three-year-old on the internet. Or, rather, Rachel found her on the internet. Actually, come to that, we found Heidi on the internet. In fact, quite a few of our pets have come from the internet. We have a lot of pets. As well as the four cats, we have two snakes, a rabbit, about thirteen hens, several fish and an axolotl. But I digress. Saffron was three years old and her family was moving into rented accommodation where they couldn’t take pets, so she came to us. It must have been a wrench for the family, though, having to part with such a great dog.

Are your dogs more help or hindrance to your writing?

Quite a few of your interviewees will tell you that writing is a solitary business, and you need to be pulled away from the computer every now and then for some exercise and fresh air. My friend Brian Clegg (whom you interviewed in 2009, with Goldie) says that the best piece of equipment a writer can own is a dog – and I agree. You can put off going to the gym forever, but dogs need regular exercise, at least once a day, whatever the weather. Around lunch time Heidi and Saffron appear at the door of my study with That Look on their faces, and I know it’s time for a walk.

Where do your dogs most like to visit on an outing?

The beach. Luckily we live within fifteen minutes’ easy walk from one of the nicest beaches in Britain, if not the world. Cromer is a holiday destination, but the beach just to the east of the town is almost deserted, even at the height of the summer vacation. Heidi, being a water dog, loves to retrieve a tennis ball from the sea. She does this at any and all times of year, even in heavy weather. Sometimes she gets submerged, sometimes the waves sweep her off her feet – but nothing will distract her from that ball. Saffron loves to chase seagulls, and even just to run around for the sheer joy of running about. Occasionally Saffron steals Heidi’s ball from under her nose and literally runs rings round her. Saffron may be small with short legs, but she goes like a rocket – she’s only out-run by whippets and greyhounds.

Do the dogs have any non-canine pet pals?

Golden Retrievers are the most tolerant of animals, and Heidi raised three of our cats, who, when they were kittens, used her as a climbing frame. Our eldest cat, NaughtyPants(NotHisRealName), came into our garden as a stray kitten when Heidi was a pup. They grew up together and six years later are now a couple of old friends – like the bookends in the Simon and Garfunkel song. When NaughtyPants(NotHisRealName) was small he used to hang off Heidi’s face like the Alien. Heidi was quite unperturbed by this and would go around the house wearing a kitten mask. Later on we got two more kittens – the littermates, Ted and Elvis, who must be the most affectionate cats in the world. Heidi brought them up, too, and I am quite sure they think they’re dogs. Our fourth cat, Emma, is a rehomed Siamese and was initially very hostile to everyone but even she is getting used to the casual laidback vibe at our house. Saffron would chase the cats if they were outside (she did for our last two guinea pigs), but has a healthy respect for cats. I expect that one or two walloped her on the nose in her previous home.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

Saffron barks at everyone and everything, especially her arch-enemy Pluto (the Chihuahua who lives down the street) but Heidi is a diva and thinks everyone has come to visit her, specifically.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Heidi is Queen of Tennis Balls, though if we’re in the woods she loves to stop at regular intervals and take a stick to pieces. Being a Retriever she loves to carry soft objects around in her mouth. If she can’t have a tennis ball, it’ll be a slipper, a cushion, a blanket, anything soft. Saffron, as a terrier, has sharp teeth and jaws that could probably tear scrap metal. Her favourite toy is a basketball which she is slowly shredding to bits over a period of years.

What is each dog's best quality?

It’s hard to imagine two dogs more different in temperament than Heidi and Saffron. Heidi, being a Retriever, is laidback, easy-going, tolerant, not easily perturbed and (I hope she won’t mind me saying this) not always the quickest on the draw. Saffron, on the other hand, is a live wire – full of energy and sparkle, always ready for a game. She’s the one who wakes me up in the morning, jumping up and down on the bed, wagging her tail and telling me that it is a brand new day and it’s such a shame to waste it lying in bed. I now realise why you never see Jack Russell terriers as seeing-eye dogs for the blind.

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

Saffron thinks everyone is fantastic. Heidi is the same, with only one reservation - that they don’t love her as much as she thinks she deserves. Did I say ‘diva’?

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

Dogs are brilliant. But they are also disgusting. Face it, dogs spend most of their time thinking about bodily functions. So, for Heidi you’d need a soul diva who’s not afraid to talk dirty and take their time doing it, perhaps Millie Jackson or Patti Labelle. Saffron would need someone who’s a fast talker, such as Joan Rivers or Bette Midler. Oh, I know: Sarah Silverman.

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

‘Where did I leave my shoes?’

Visit The End Of The Pier Show blog and follow Henry Gee on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 14, 2013

Debbie and Scott & Lyla and Devin

Who is in the photo at right?

I am Debbie B. We sold our house in NJ and moved into our 35' Cedar Creek 5th Wheel. My husband, Scott and I have been traveling full time for 2.5 years.

[Debbie and Lyla, photo right]

We originally were going to full time with 3 dogs. Ryley a 10 yr old Irish Setter. Pillsbury, an 11 yr old Irish Setter, and Lyla, an 7 yr old English Setter. Ryley was blind and had bone cancer, Pillsbury had no use of his back end and legs and used a dog cart (doggie wheelchair), and Lyla is deaf from birth. But fate had other plans that were difficult on our hearts but better for our transition to living in an RV. Pillsbury passed from a stomach tumor 4 months prior to our start. Two dogs were more manageable. Our blind Ryley, adjusted well to any situation even though he was blind. Three months after moving into the RV, we had to let Ryley go because of the pain from bone cancer. That left us with just 7 yr old deaf Lyla. Her deafness does not affect our circumstances other than she cannot be off leash. We have since adopted Devin, an Irish and English Setter mix. Two large dogs are our limit in an RV.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Every morning is my special time for "Coffee with a Canine" ...or two. I am the early bird and my husband sleeps in. This early time is my quiet time to enjoy coffee and a piece of toast with peanut butter & jelly and an extra piece with just peanut butter for my dogs to split.

[Scott and Lyla, photo left]

What's brewing?

Bold dark roast beans, fresh ground and drip method in a cone making only one or two cups at a time and drinking black.

My "go to" brand is Peet's Major Dickason. When I first tried this it was only available via mail order or in California. Now it can be found in many major grocery stores. Since we travel, I now try different local brands. I'm currently finishing up Craven's Montana Jack.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

As stated above, this is our breakfast ritual and whole grain toast with peanut is expected by my Setters.

How did your dogs get their names? Any nicknames?

Both our dogs are rescue dogs. Our English Setter Lyla came with name and we liked it so it stayed. Our Irish/English Setter Devin, came with the name Breslin, which we hated. We looked for Irish names and Devin popped out.

How were you and your dogs united?

Our English Setter, Lyla was born deaf as is unfortunately prevalent in English Setters. Any reputable breeder will BAER test their litter to ensure none are deaf. Since Lyla is completely deaf, she is no longer show quality and it was suggested she be euthanized. The breeder would not do that and gave her to rescue to find a good home. She was adopted through Above & Beyond English Setter Rescue, where I now volunteer.

Our English/Irish Setter Devin, is also a rescue dog with the help from Magnolia Setter Rescue. He was turned over to rescue because the owner did not have time for his energy and he was crated for most of the day. [Debbie and Devin, photo left]

You've traveled all around the country. Where have the dogs seem to have enjoyed it most?

Unlike humans, the dogs don't care about scenery. The are all into smells! I think their favorite area is at the Corps of Engineers Park, Sandy Creek in Jasper, TX. There is a reservoir for Devin to swim in, lots of squirrels for Devin to keep occupied with, and Lyla loves to sniff out the armadillos that come out at night.

Another place is Four Paws Campground in Rutherfordton, SC. This is an RV park that caters to dogs. There are 7 dog parks, a pond and hiking trails on the property. There are activities for the dogs, such as agility, sausage eating contest, etc. And just like their "Mom & Dad," they prefer cooler weather and get the crazies when the temperatures drop.

Another place they loved was near Diamond Lake, OR. There were all kinds of ground squirrels, and birds to entertain them and of course a beautiful lake to take dips in.

Do the dogs have any non-canine pet pals?

Oh yes, we just finished pet sitting for a pair of adorable rats. At first Devin was very, very interested, but eventually got used to them. After a while I would let him smell them without fear of his eating them. Their home is also shared by an African Grey Parrot, named Swayze. Swayze was name after Patrick Swayze. African Grey Parrots have bright red tail feathers just like Patrick Swayze had a red, hot bum! Swayze will growl when an unfamiliar dog passes the window.

Have the dogs encountered any exotic critters on your travels?

Hmmm, not really. The first time Lyla saw a horse, she was petrified and stayed very close to our legs and as we passed, she continued to look behind her until the horse was out of sight.

Devin met some miniature horses in Livingston, TX and he was so afraid of them he pulled me down and got loose. Lyla, our gentle girl went right up to them for a nose to nose encounter.

We've come across elk and mule deer in our campsite at the Grand Canyon, but they both handled it well. It seems they are becoming acclimated to meeting new critters.

While in Custer State Park, the wild burros stuck their heads in our truck hoping for treats and the dogs didn't even both to lift their heads.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Lyla likes to play tug of war once in a while, but normally, she is just a mellow dog. Devin will empty out his toy box looking for a specific toy and not always the same toy. He does tend to like squeaky toys and when he really gets a rhythm going, he'll howl in between squeaks all the time keeping the toy in his mouth.

What is each dog's best quality?

Lyla has an angel's face. She will sit in front of you and give you that special look which means, "I want a hug." We then get on our knees, she gently jumps up and puts her paws on our shoulder and gives us nose to nose kisses. Lyla was a Hospice Therapy Dog for a while and even attended a patient's funeral and sat with the family in the front row.

Devin best quality is he is able to settle down inside when Mom needs a lazy day.

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

That I would take them for more long walks.

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

Christine Baranski would play Lyla. Christine can sound sophisticated in the rich, snooty way. Lyla can be aloof at times and just give you a look that says, "Don't push it, this will do."

Jerry Lewis would be the voice for Devin.

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

Lyla, do you have pain anywhere?

Devin, why are you afraid of children?

Visit the Great Escape from New Jersey blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 11, 2013

Josh Mann & Miss Chubs

Who is in the photo at right?

That's Miss Chubs, my sweet Beagle and me, Josh Mann. I write the blogs and, and I've been a stay at home Dad for the past nine years. Miss Chubs is a four year old female Beagle with a soft spot for burly old fishermen and kids.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

This is our morning ritual here on the farm. Most mornings we have a cup here on our back porch while we have a little quality beagle and dad time.

What's brewing?

Lately , we've been enjoying East Timor Cooperativa Cafe Timor from Strange Coffee Company. Running it through a French Press really brings out a complex flavor, due in part to SCC's practice of roasting in small batches when an order is placed. I love it!

Any treats for you or Miss Chubs on this occasion?

We shared a slice of Banana Bread. It was delicious!

How did Miss Chubs get her name? Any nicknames?

She's always been a rather rotund Beagle, so the name just stuck. She also answers to Miss B and/or Miss Beagle.

How were you and Miss Chubs united?

Miss Chubs was a gift from a family member following the death of my previous Beagle. She is number four in a string of Beagles stretching back almost 30 years.

Who are Miss Chubs's best pet-pals?

It can't be our Maltese, because she growls at him frequently in a display of mistrust, so it has to be Zelda the cat. She "Sniffs" him constantly, so it must be true love?

Where is Miss Chubs's favorite outdoor destination?

Definitely the ponds here on the farm. She's never been chained or penned since we live so far out, but a trip to one of the ponds is always a grand adventure for her, and a chance to get her nose to the ground.

You write on your blog that Miss Chubs scouts your fishing holes for snakes. What happens when she finds one?

We both run and scream like little girls! Just kidding. She'll usually either bark at them or back away slowly, both of which alert me to their presence. Not that I have anything against snakes, but rather I don't like surprise snakes.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Stick or a bone. She's notorious for dragging home random bones, mostly deer , though I am always expecting a human femur a la The 'Burbs.

Cat, postman, rabbit...?

Rabbit without question, but she will occasionally chase groundhogs or squirrels. Maybe large rodents would be a better answer?

What is Miss Chubs's best quality?

She's a very lovable and affectionate dog. She's also good with my kids, but I have to say her best quality is her ability to hunt. She's the most enthusiastic dog I have ever seen when it comes to hunting, even though she is very much a pet. You can tell how much she loves it by her demeanor when she's done, which is usually totally relaxed and very content. That said, I think it's very sad that dogs who have been bred to hunt or otherwise work are increasingly denied that pleasure in our society. How horrible would it be to live your life being unable to do something enjoyable for which you have a genetic predisposition?

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

Without a doubt, she would want me to take her hunting more. I don't feel guilty, since she does get to go quite often, but it's something we both enjoy and should do more frequently.

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

Rachel Dratch. Beagles are a sad looking bunch most of the time, so I think the voice of Debbie Downer would be a good fit.

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

Why did you continuously lick my leg and start air-humping beside me on that fateful day last summer? It was really awkward for me, and I wasn't comfortable wearing shorts around you for the rest of the year...

Visit Josh Mann's and blogs and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Samantha Joyce & Lucy

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Samantha and I live in West Seattle with a person called Chris and a 9.5-year-old yellow Labrador retriever named Lucy. I am a writer for Seattle Coffee Gear, an online retailer of coffee and espresso machines. More than just sales, the company mission is to educate so I spend much of the day writing fun and informative online coffee tips. I also answer coffee questions people send in via Twitter and Facebook.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Lucy and I enjoy work-from-home Wednesdays together, but today we are in the office with the crew in Lynnwood, WA. Lucy makes a great supervisor. Currently, she is watching Kaylie and Sarah test a new Krups superautomatic home espresso machine to see if a) it works and b) it tastes good. (She is not allowed to sample any cappuccinos though. Caffeine is toxic for dogs!)

What's brewing?

At home I make pour over coffee in a Chemex. At work I make drip coffee with a Technivorm coffee maker and fresh roasted whole bean coffees. Today I am sipping Brazil Condado Estate single origin from Velton’s Coffee Roasting Co. in Everett, WA. We have demo models of all the machines we stock, so it is truly a coffee lover’s dream. When I feel like a latte at work, I use a home espresso machine like the Nuova Simonelli Oscar.

Any treats for you or Lucy on this occasion?

Since Coffee with a Canine is a special occasion, I brought coffee cake from Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle for my coworkers while Lucy nibbles a biscuit under my desk.

How did Lucy get her name? Any nicknames?

Lucy was named after the action star Lucy Liu. Now that her sweet and caring personality really shines through, it is obvious she is more of a ‘Lucinda.’ We also call her BooBoo and Piglet.

How were you and Lucy united?

We adopted Lucy from a loving home just east of Tacoma, WA. A friend of a friend told us about a litter of puppies born to Oliver and Abigail, both happy dog-parents that live with a nice people-family there. All of the puppies were yellow Labradors, even though Labrador parents can have puppies of any color (black, chocolate or yellow).

Who are Lucy's best pet-pals?

Lucy's best pal is Remy. Remy is a young rescued terrier mix from Yakima, WA who now lives in Seattle with our people-friends. They enjoy chasing each other around the yard on play dates and playing tug-o-war. Even though Lucy weighs 72 pounds and Rem weighs less than 20, she lets him win and is very gentle with him.

Where is Lucy's favorite outdoor destination?

Lucy loves going to Lincoln Park in West Seattle, which we can walk to from the house. People passing by always talk about the funny way she holds her own leash in her mouth as she walks. If we had a biscuit for every time someone remarked, “That dog is walking herself!” we would have a lot of biscuits.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Tennis ball all the way! We have a case of tennis balls from Costco. More than one person has spotted the box in the garage and remarked, “Oh, I didn’t know you played tennis?” (We don't!)

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

For some reason, the letter carrier is public (Labrador) enemy number one and his arrival is the only time when Lucy will let loose her mean bark. After that, squirrels and birds must be chased relentlessly. Cats are a puzzle--we don’t really understand cats.

What is Lucy's best quality?

Her loving nature. Especially as she grows older she seems like Nana in the original Peter Pan novel, wearing a kerchief and taking care of family members with a look of concern on her doggy face.

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

Attention Voting Citizens of King County: Labradors should be allowed to play on beaches and swim all they want in Puget Sound. That is all.

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

Drew Barrymore has the perfect quirky-happy voice to narrate Lucy's quirky-happy dog thoughts.

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

Lucy is seemingly more active in her sleep than during waking hours. Sometimes she runs so much in her dreams that it shakes the bed and wakes me up. We would ask her, “What are you chasing and why?”

You can ask Samantha Joyce and Seattle Coffee Gear coffee and espresso related questions on Facebook or Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, October 7, 2013

Jane Tesh & Winkie

Who is in the photo at right?

This is me, Jane Tesh, with my one-eyed, eight year old Chihuahua, Winkie.

What's brewing? Any treats?

We drink regular Folger’s coffee with lots of milk and sugar. Sometimes it’s milk and sugar with a little coffee in it. If Winkie could put cheese in her coffee, she would. She’ll do anything for cheese.

What's new with Winkie since we caught up with you last year?

Winkie is still as feisty as ever. She’s learned that if she wants to go to bed, she hops in her crate and then barks until I turn out the light. Now that she’s eight, she goes to bed much earlier, sometimes as early as eight thirty.

Although she has on a little outfit for our photo, she still hates to wear clothes and can usually get out of them faster than I can dress her. She prefers to run around the house au natural.

Are there any dogs in your new novel, Now You See It?

No, but there will be one in the last book of the series, which is way down the road, about ten books to go.

Who is Winkie's best pet-pal?

Winkie loves her pal, Duffy, a dog I rescued. Duffy was chained in my neighbor’s back yard, and the neighbor let me take her for walks and play with her. Then he finally agreed to let me have Duffy, and I took her home to my brother’s house on our farm, where she promptly had six puppies!

When Winkie and I go to the farm, she always greets Duffy and her family, but Winkie is too tiny to play with them.

If Winkie could change one thing about North Carolinians, what would it be?

Winkie loves her home state, but she wishes everyone in North Carolina and everywhere would be kinder to animals and support their local animal rescue groups and animal shelters. She was lucky to find a home with me, and she wants the same for all animals—even cats!

Visit Jane Tesh's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Jane Tesh and Winkie (October 2012).

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, October 4, 2013

Suzanne Redfearn & Cooper

Who is in the photo at right?

Suzanne Redfearn, author. My debut novel, Hush Little Baby, will be released October 8th. My dog's name is Cooper, he is a seven-year-old male cockapoo (cocker spaniel/poodle mix).

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Enjoying a Diet Coke while hanging with Cooper in the pool and catching some rays. This is Cooper's favorite place to hang out, and he's a bit too high strung for chilling in public, loves to chase the UPS truck, the mail truck, seagulls, and skateboards, and has no qualms about dragging the patio table along with him to do it.

What's brewing?

Diet Coke, my guilty pleasure.

Any treats for you or Cooper on this occasion?

Note the three pool balls collected on the raft. After the photo was taken, I threw them into the water for him to retrieve. He paddles the raft around picking them up if he can reach them, or he will jump in to get them if he can't maneuver close enough.

How were you and Cooper united?

Cooper and I met when he was a pup and it was love at first sight. We had only gone into the pet store to look, but we ended up walking out with Cooper. He charmed all of us and has been charming us ever since.

How did Cooper get his name? Any aliases?

My son named him, and the name fits because it has so many nicknames: Cooper Pooper, Super-Cooper, Mini Cooper, Cooper-dooper, Coops. He also responds to Butter Brain, Butt Face, Tail-wagging-dogface, Cooper-you're-in-the-way, Ugh!, and Martha (the cat's name).

Have any Cooper-inspired dogs appeared in your published work?

Hush Little Baby does have a dog in the story, but it is not a dog like Cooper, and the dog ends up getting killed. Having Cooper certainly made it easier to describe the dog-owner relationship.

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

Help. Writing is a lonely business and so I talk to Cooper all the time. He patiently listens, and though he does groan every once in a while and mostly ignores me, he doesn't complain or criticize. He's perfect company.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

He has a fabulous love/hate relationship with our evil cat, Martha. It is very entertaining watching him attempt to assert his canine authority over her obvious feline dominance. He's gotten his nose scratched more than once by those razor claws.

He hates the postman, the UPS man, and the Sparkletts man, ferociously barking and refusing to be won over by their overtures or dog biscuits, but the moment they open the gate, he becomes a tail-wagging wuss.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Loves anything with a squeak and makes it his mission to search and destroy the source of the squeal the moment he receives a new noise maker, but his favorite possessions are his pool splash balls. He drops them from our deck into the water then makes a game out of jumping into the pool to retrieve them. He swims them back to the deck, then drops them in again – hours of ridiculous entertainment.

Does Cooper have a favorite place to go for outings?

The beach. Sand, birds, waves – what's not for a dog to like?

Who is Cooper's best pet-pal?

Martha, the evil cat. They pretend to hate each other when the family is around, but if you catch Cooper unaware, he'll be lying beside her or sometimes taunting her to play.

What is Cooper's best quality?

The dog is just super fun. He's a lover not a fighter and makes everything a little brighter with his dopey enthusiasm.

If Cooper could change one thing about the people of Orange County, what would it be?

Cooper likes to play a game where he drops one of his splash balls outside the gate of our house whenever anyone walks by, half the time, the person will throw it back for him. I think Cooper would change it so everyone took the time to give him his ball back.

If Cooper could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

You know you're going to get stung, why do you still chase after the bees?

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Cooper could speak, who should voice him?

Kevin James.

Visit Suzanne Redfearn's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Stephanie Calmenson & Harry

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me, Stephanie Calmenson, with my dachshund, Harry. I write children's books, including many books about dogs. Harry's the star of May I Pet Your Dog?: The How-to Guide for Kids Meeting Dogs (and Dogs Meeting Kids). Rosie, my first dog, stars in Rosie: A Visiting Dog's Story about raising, training and working with a visiting dog. In my new book, No Dogs Allowed!, written with Joanna Cole, two friends who aren't allowed to have dogs find magic dog bone necklaces and -- woofa-wow! -- they turn into dogs!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

There's a friendly new coffee shop, Pushcart Coffee, in my neighborhood that I pass every morning on my walk with Harry. I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but when the door's open I love the aroma of freshly brewed coffee that comes wafting out onto the street. As for Harry, he's got his nose to the ground hoping to snarf up snacks. Being so short, his nose is conveniently close the ground, which makes it hard for me to catch him before he grabs... Oops! He snagged some Cinnamon Spice cookie crumbs.

What's brewing?

Pushcart Coffee uses Stumptown beans, roasted in Brooklyn, New York, which pleases me since I'm Brooklyn born and raised. They also have coffee from visiting vendors, such as Brooklyn-based Toby's Estate and Brewklyn Grind. Go, Brooklyn!

Any treats for Harry on this occasion?

Pushcart sells Biscuits by Lambchop, made with human-grade ingredients. Jess, store manager and barista, tried them herself for quality control and reports that they're quite tasty. They're also quite expensive. I haven't bought any yet but Harry's got royalties coming from his book, so he's definitely earned his biscuits.

How were you and Harry united?

There once was a puppy nobody wanted. I was told his chocolate-dappled coat wasn't a desirable color for a dachshund. (Really??) He was tweenie-size, instead of mini. (Shame on you, puppy!) He was getting a little old. (Aren't we all.) And having been in a cage for three months, he was wobbly, depressed and scared. (Who wouldn't be?) I was told it would be awfully nice if someone could take him out of his cage and hold him. As I held him, I called my husband to please come take us home.

How did Harry get his name? Any nicknames?

I was so wild about our chocolate-dappled, tweenie-size, slightly-older puppy that we named Harry after the song, "I'm Just Wild About Harry!" My poor husband got to hear me singing it quite a lot. As for nicknames, we think "Handsome Harry" would fit quite well.

Will a Harry-inspired dog appear in a future book?

Absolutely! Right now I'm working on a story about Harry and his best pet-pal, Jeeter. And, in Harry's honor, there's a dachshund in Hot Diggity Dogs!, the third book in the Ready, Set, Dogs! series.

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

Harry definitely inspires. In fact, if it weren't for Harry, I never would have written May I Pet Your Dog? Harry has always loved kids, but like most dogs, he gets scared when they approach him the wrong way -- running, yelling, grabbing. In his book, he teaches kids the safe way to meet him and his friends.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Harry is a squirrel-chaser. And this summer he went wild chasing chipmunks [photo left -- Harry treeing a chipmunk] in Maine.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

A friend gave Harry a plush bone that's as big as he is and he loves it so much we got him another. He drags both bones around the house, stacks them one on top of the other and rests his head on them. If we got him six he'd probably pile up six of them.

Where does Harry most like to visit on an outing?

Any place where there are squirrels or chipmunks to chase suits Harry just fine. My husband, Mark, who was never a runner, quickly became one. Harry has short dachshund legs, but when he's in chasing mode, he's fast!

Who is Harry's best pet-pal?

Harry's best pet-pal is Jeeter, who's a white poodle. Jeeter's person is Carmen Gonzalez, a renowned chef, which pleases Harry greatly. When she's cooking, he makes it clear that he's available for tastings. Here [photo right] the boys are on a shopping spree.

What is Harry's best quality?

He's sweet and loyal and handsome and funny... Oh, you wanted one best quality?

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

I'd drop more food on the floor at mealtime.

If Harry could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

Aside from dropping food on the floor, is there anything more I can do to make you happy?

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Harry could speak, who should voice him?

What a great question! Robin Williams.

Visit Stephanie Calmenson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue