Friday, November 29, 2013

Joe Choi & Colbie

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Joe Choi. I’m a copywriter, golfer, and overall health fanatic. I also have a blog where I share my personal stories, advice, and anecdotes: Fescue Fairways.

I also have 2 books out. One is called Happy Foods and I wrote that on a challenge in 11 days.

It’s just a very short guide to eating healthy without stress. The foods mentioned in it have some mood boosting properties as well.

My second book is called Grand Central to the End and I just hit publish on it (11/25/2013). It’s a short fiction story about a guy with a troubled past who becomes free one day and decides to take a train trip to paradise.

My dog’s name is Colbie. She’s a female beagle and 4 years old.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I just wanted to enjoy some time outside since it’s supposed to get very cold over the next couple days. But I suppose I could also be celebrating my second book launch.

What's brewing?

A medium house blend from Greenberry’s café. I buy their bulk coffee sometimes. When I do, I usually get the Sumatra blend. Makes a good gift too.

Any treats for you or Colbie on this occasion?

Bully stick.

How did Colbie get her name? Any nicknames?

Colbie was named after the singer Colbie Caillat. That’s why it’s spelled with an “ie” instead of “y” at the end.

How were you and Colbie united?

Colbie is originally from SOS Beagles, a beagle rescue with branches in NJ and Tennessee.

Colbie was in the Tennessee branch and then transported to NJ right around the time I stopped by to look at dogs.

I originally inquired about another dog and the woman who runs the rescue suggested I take a look at some quieter dogs. I lived in an apartment at the time so a loud, howling beagle probably wasn’t the best way to build rapport with the neighbors.

Colbie was originally called Starbucks at the rescue. She came out with her tail wagging so much that her butt was shaking side to side. She was very friendly and playful so I knew I had to pick her.

Who are Colbie's best pet-pals?

In the apartment complex I used to live in, she liked a pit bull named Rumble and another yorkie named Ubu. She was also good friends with a westie. Dogs in NYC see other dogs and they don’t think too much about since there are so many around.

Now that we’re not in the city, we’ll walk and see one or two dogs each week. The other dogs tend to go really crazy when they see another dog since they’re not used to it like city dogs. I think this freaks Colbie out a little so she tends to shy away from them. She prefers to spend more time with people now.

Where is Colbie's favorite outdoor destination?

Colbie likes taking short walks around the block, but she prefers staying inside and sleeping.

She used to like Central Park a lot. I’ve tried taking her hiking and to nearby dog parks, but she doesn’t seem to care too much for them.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Probably sticks. Whenever she’s walking she’ll pick up a stick and walk with it for a while. She used to like toys a lot and would destroy them, so I’d always have to constantly buy new ones.

She plays with a few stuffed animal toys now, but it’s more of a gentle playing now.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Squirrel, but if she sees a rabbit she’ll go crazy and start crying.

What is Colbie's best quality?

She’s very friendly. There’s not a mean bone in her body.

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

She would probably make me give her more food.

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

I’m so bad with actors and actresses. I could be surrounded by all the famous ones, and I wouldn’t even recognize them. I’m probably not the best person to answer this.

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

Why don’t you like to go on walks sometimes?

Visit Fescue Fairways: Joe Choi's Personal Blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Leslie Davis & Tucker

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Leslie Davis, freelance graphic designer and blogger for Paper Daisy Designs and Paper Daisy Kitchen.

Our always adorable and super smart Goldendoodle is named Tucker.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Just an ordinary day around the house. Getting my first look at emails, planning posts for the blog and upcoming projects.

What's brewing?

I'm not a coffee drinker, but I am passionate about my chai tea with soy creamer, or the occasional Chai Tea Latte.

Any treats for you or Tucker on this occasion?

Well, to be honest, he's enjoying a cup of water! He does love his peanut butter treats and when he's especially lucky he gets to lick an empty jar of peanut butter. He loves it!

How were you and Tucker united?

We picked him out as an early Christmas present 7 years ago. Best present we ever got, by far!

How did Tucker get his name? Any aliases?

Our family tossed around quite a few names, but agreed to wait until he came home with us to decide. Somehow, Tucker seemed to fit. He has lots of aliases; Doodlebug, Babydog, Curlyboy, Snugglebunny or just Baby.

Does Tucker do more to help or hinder your design work?

Tucker doesn't usually join me up in the studio unless he needs something, like lunch! He prefers to guard the house from the couch. But he loves to join me in the garage when my projects aren't too noisy or messy.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Probably squirrel, we don't have enough mature trees in our backyard to have them scampering around. He always willing to befriend cats, though most are unwilling. He doesn't bark at the postman, unless he rings the bell. But the UPS man, he acts like he's the worst person in the world.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

All of the above? He loves a ball and adores squeaky toys, but we don't buy them because he can't stop squeaking them!

His most beloved toy is now just a small ball we call the "nub". It was a rubber dumbbell looking chew toy we got for him when he was a puppy. Now, he takes the "nub" and taunts us with it using his heavy breathing sound. The moment you reach to grab it from his mouth he sucks it in and you lose. Ha!

Does Tucker have a favorite place to go for outings?

His favorite outing would have to be the nature trail that goes through town. He and I run several times a week. It keeps us both sane.

Who is Tucker's best pet-pal?

He's always happy to see his neighborhood friends and we dog sit for them sometimes, but he really seems pleased when they leave. I think he's kind of a loner.

What is Tucker's best quality?

Tucker is so loving and smart. Every person is a potential friend. He's almost too smart sometimes. He seems to understand everything we say, even when you think he's not paying attention.

If Tucker could change one thing about Missourians, what would it be?

I'm not sure he'd change anything. I know he was happy to discover snow when we moved here from Louisiana. He gets all frisky at the the first sight of flurries.

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

Are you really watching T.T.V.? Is that how you've gotten to be so smart? Or are you just waiting for the next animal to appear on the screen?

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

Oh, I can't decide. I do know for certain Tucker has a speech impediment. He can't say his L's. Yeah, we are some of those crazy people who talk for their dog.

Visit the Paper Daisy Designs and Paper Daisy Kitchen websites.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 25, 2013

Karen Rose Smith & Hope and Riley

Who is in the photo at the right?

Karen Rose Smith, novelist, who writes mysteries and romances. The dog in the photo with me is Hope, a friend's female, two-year-old English Cream Golden Retriever.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I often have coffee, talk and lots of laughs when I visit Hope and her brother Riley who's a five-year-old Australian Shepherd. Their parents, my husband and I like specialty coffees.

What's brewing?

Baltimore Coffee chocolate raspberry flavor is brewing served with a touch of cream.

Goodies to go with the coffee are cranberry-pecan scones.

Any treats for Hope and Riley on this occasion?

Holistic baked dog treats made with peanut flour, oatmeal, peas, and pumpkin!

How were you and Hope and Riley introduced?

I first met Riley in October 2009 when my friends adopted him from the Carroll County (Maryland) Humane Society.

I met Hope on a visit to our friends' house in February 2012. Her brother-in-law from Tennessee breeds English Cream Golden Retrievers and Hope was part of the most recent litter. She was the best pup as she traveled across the country with her new family.

Do Hope and Riley have nicknames?

Hope's nickname is Hope-a-lope and Riley's nickname is Riles.

Would you tell us about the animals in your new novel?

There are a few animals in my new novel Staged to Death since my sleuth takes in strays. Dylan, a mixed-breed canine, is black and white and fluffy-furred all over. My sleuth had been listening to Bob Dylan when her neighbor brought Dylan to her. He weighs about ten pounds and has a tail that could practically dust Caprice's mosaic-topped coffee table in one sweep.

Sophia is a long-haired, strikingly-colored calico cat who Caprice had found not long after she'd moved into her home. When she'd designed her living room in sixties-chic bright colors, she'd worked a floor-to-ceiling cat tree into the plan having it specially carpeted in turquoise. Sophia loves it.

[photo right: Hope and Riley]

In the course of the book, Caprice also takes in two yellow tigers—Creamsicle and Stripes—who are about ten weeks old. Sophia and Dylan accept them but Caprice finds a good home for them with a single mom and her daughter.

Were the fictional dogs inspired by any real life dogs?

Dylan was vaguely inspired by a dog we adopted when our son was small. Tamara was an Australian terrier with oodles of energy. In book 2 of this mystery series, Deadly Decor, a cocker spaniel is a prominent character! My dad had given my mom Buffer, a cocker spaniel pup [photo left], on their first anniversary. He was a childhood companion.

Where do Hope and Riley like to go for an outing?

Hope is a camping and hiking dog. She's been camping in the Outer Banks and hiking in Dolly Sods in West Virginia.

Riley is more of a stay at home dog but he likes play dates with a poodle named Napoleon!

What is each dog's most endearing quality?

Hope is such a sweetheart, gentle and calm, and just wants to be loved.

Riley has a protective spirit and is loyal.

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

Uma Thurman would be Hope's voice and Hugh Jackman would be Riley's.

If Hope and Riley could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

Riley was abandoned at the shelter when he was a year old. I'd like to know where he came from and his story.

I would ask Hope if she misses her brothers and sisters from the farm where she was born.

Visit Karen Rose Smith's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 22, 2013

Hanifa Menen & Caesar

Who is in the photo at right?

This is a picture of me and my fur-baby Caesar. My name is Dr. Hanifa Menen and I am a Naturopathic Doctor working in Toronto and Oakville, Ontario. My practice is focused on cancer prevention, care and management. I also write at the Schnauzer Savvy blog. It's a useful read for not only schnauzer-parents, but for anyone interested in natural healing options for dogs in general, and for those who would like more information about training and various other tid-bits of doggy-info. My inspiration for the blog is my wonderfully smart, intelligent, and truly best-friend, Caesar. His full name is Caesar Augustus von Schnauzer, a 3-year old male, black and silver, miniature schnauzer.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We are enjoying one of our typical relaxed Sunday afternoons at home today -- to celebrate the end of a busy morning of cooking for the week for both of us! Now it's time to really kick back and relax together!

What's brewing?

I am enjoying a nice Sumatran coffee (Starbucks, this is our favourite!), and Caesar is enjoying his lucky cup (filled with just a touch of water).

Any treats for you or Caeser on this occasion?

Today we are enjoying some home-made apple cake!

How were you and Caesar united?

After searching online for some length of time to find a breeder of miniature schnauzers in Ontario, my husband and I met Caesar at the breeder's home 4-weeks after his birth. We met his litter-mates too, but while deciding between him and his brother (we wanted a male dog) -- he gave us a lively bark as if to say "choose me" -- and we did. Picked him up from the breeder 4-weeks later and the ride home with him asleep in my lap had our hearts forever united.

How did Caesar get his name? Any aliases?

We knew the kid was going to have personality from the first day we met him. And we wanted him to have a powerful name for a small dog. Caesar Augustus seemed to match his "drive to win" energy... but had to respect his own roots, so "von Schnauzer" only seemed right.

Caesar has his own YouTube channel. What are a couple of your favorite videos of his tricks?

Yes, since we decided that Caesar was going to be a "Dogtor" (as close to his parents' profession as possible) we are determined to help him learn as much as he can. A couple of my favourite videos are on his YouTube channel DogtorCaesar: "Remember My Name" and "Caesar Moves Like Jagger", although he really showed us his smarts with one of his original performances in "Lord of the Rings."

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Generally scared/wary of cats, will bark at the postman (or anyone else who enters his space -- even visual space), will pull at squirrels when we're walking him, but resists doing so with our verbal command of "co-existence."

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Loves each of these, especially if just passed to him from me or his Dad, but he does have a particular weakness for soft and squeaky rubber chickens!!

Does Caesar have a favorite place to go for outings?

This year we discovered a beautiful trail through a forest in Oakville... this has turned into Caesar's favourite place to visit this year!

Who is Caesar's best pet-pal?

Caesar's pet-pals are largely the inanimate variety. He loves to hang out with his "buddies" -- here [photo left] he's hanging out at the window with Elephant, Snoopy and Monkey... Although we also have pet budgies, Caesar is never able to get close enough to really "bond" with them!!

What is Caesar's best quality?

That would have to be his commanding presence! Aside from his good looks, he will make sure that you will notice him (often through barking) and in no time he will win you over with his charm (likely with the goal of getting a treat from you!).

If Caesar could change one thing about Torontonians, what would it be?

Stop rushing!! Caesar would want Torontonians to slow down. Rushing about without a true appreciation of nature and the basic joys of really connecting with one another, is something he just doesn't understand. Caesar would certainly want Torontonians to stop to smell the roses (and trees, fire hydrants, each other...).

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

What does love smell like? (Of course, I would want to hear him answer "our home" or "Mom.")

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

Joe Pesci (no profanities in the script, but his voice is perfect!).

Visit the Schnauzer Savvy blog and Caeser's YouTube channel.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sarah McCoy & Gilbert

Who is in the photo at right?

This is Gilbert (a.k.a. Gilly-beart). The ‘t’ is silent. He’s a two-year old Coton de Tulear. A French pup. Beside him is his fur mama Sarah McCoy, author of the international bestseller The Baker’s Daughter, the forthcoming novella, The Branch of Hazel (Penguin, summer 2014) and the forthcoming novel New Charlestown (Crown, summer 2015).

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

It’s a typical day at home. Hot caffeinated beverages are more prevalent than water in our house. In fact, if ever I don’t have a mug in my hand, I think it makes Gilly nervous. He suspects the next epic event will be me putting my shoes on, which is on par with world implosion. “She’s leaving me? She’s leaving me? Oh my God, help, help, don’t leave me!”

What's brewing?

To be truthful, I usually do tea—Irish Breakfast, Earl Grey, Oolong, Matcha Green. But on occasion, particularly around the holidays, I’ll partake of the noble coffee bean. My mother, grandparents and husband are faithful coffee drinkers so when I smell a pot brewing, it reminds me of home. For my mom and husband that’s any medium roast. For my Puerto Rican grandparents, there is no substitute: Café Bustelo or nothing at all. So I’m sharing a cup of that today, in the spirit of family.

Any treats for you or Gilbert on this occasion?

I’m a baking-loving lady. I started baking Gilly organic pumpkin dog biscuits about a year ago and they’ve become a staple in his treat diet. Full of the best ingredients, flaxseed, eggs, pumpkin, chicken broth, etc. I love that I can make him something I know is good for him and that he loves. I could probably eat these too (they are allergen-free), but I don’t get as jazzed by the taste of chicken and pumpkin together.

How were you and Gilbert united?

I went through a breeder outside of Chicago. Gilly was my second fur darling. Our first was a loving cockapoo named Gatsby who sadly passed away of cancer at age two. The breeder contacted me on Facebook when she saw how heartsick I was over Gatsby’s dying. She said she felt a divine connection—and it turned out to be so!

I was waiting for Gilly before he was even conceived, then had the privilege of watching his dog mama grow beautifully round with his litter and give birth. From his first breath of air, I knew he was mine. When he was old enough to travel, I flew to Chicago and brought him home to our family in El Paso.

How did Gilbert get his name? Any aliases?

He’s named after one of my all-time favorite literary characters. Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables. However, we call him Gilly-bear(t), Gilly or Gil.

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

Not yet but one is about to. (I’m giving away book secrets here…) My third novel for Crown, New Charlestown, has a beloved dog in it. Gilly was certainly inspiration alongside Gatsby. They have been my fur children.

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

He’s very considerate of my writing hours. He sleeps either behind me in my desk chair (taking up most of the real estate… I usually end up perching on the edge) or under my writing desk on his pillow. He keeps me comfy and warm on cold days.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

All of the above and he goes bark-nuts. He has particular animosity toward plastic bags. Trash bags, store bags, any bag that crinkles and he’s positive it’s a monster in our midst.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

He’s not a throw-&-fetch dog. You can throw, but he’ll stay next to you and watch. The only toy he’ll jump through hoops to collect is his “ducky”—a worn-out, gutless, stuffed animal that looks more like a sock than a fowl. But he loves it. He also has a heart chew toy that once was the body of a teddy bear my mom gave him when he was born. Those are his favorite things. If you give him any squeaky toy, he’ll gnaw out the squeaker in under an hour. I can’t tell if he loves it or hates it, but the squeakers don’t last around here.

Does Gilbert have a favorite place to go for outings?

He loves being home on my family’s land in Virginia. All the lush plants and woodland smells. The animals and nature are so unlike the desert. He tuckers himself out gleefully romping through their backyard with his ‘uncles’—my parent’s two yellow Labradors.

Who is Gilbert's best pet-pal?

His uncle Max. One of my parent’s labs in Virginia. They have a bond that I’ve never seen between two animals before.

What is Gilbert's best quality?

He sees my feelings more than any other little soul on the planet. He senses when I’m sad beneath the smile. When I’m scared beneath the brave face. When I just need someone to snuggle at my side and breathe deep… reminds me to do the same.

If Gilbert could change one thing about Texans, what would it be?

Hmm, given that we aren’t true Texans, I’m not sure he’d have an opinion about Texans in general. I’d say he probably just wishes Texas was only a mile away from Virginia. That would make us both happy.

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

What in the world possessed you to eat ____ (fill in the blank: my husband’s toe fuzz, used tissues, a stink bug, etc.)? I’m baffled by the stuff he licks up and the stuff he balks at (steak, pork chops, cottage cheese).

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

Oh, this a fun one! I polled my husband. It would need to be an actor of shorter stature but big personality, tons of energy, a man of style, and cheeky. So we went with Jeremy Piven.

For more information on Sarah McCoy’s upcoming releases (The Branch of Hazel and New Charlestown) and her other books, visit Sarah McCoy’s website. To see what shenanigans Sarah and Gilly are up to on any given day, you can find them on Facebook and Twitter.

The Page 69 Test: The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico.

The Page 69 Test: The Baker's Daughter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 18, 2013

Susan Gregg Gilmore & Otis

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me, Susan Gregg Gilmore, author of the novels Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove, and the recently released The Funeral Dress.

The handsome dog is Otis.

What's brewing?

I once worked as a barista so every morning I start my day with a latte of my own making. Non-fat milk, thick foam. And every morning, like this one, Otis is right by my side while I wake up with my cup of Joe. He falls back asleep while I check my emails.

How were you and your dogs united?

My youngest daughter, Alice, has rescued several dogs. She found Otis abandoned at a nearby park. He weighed nine pounds and was infested with fleas and ticks. Honestly, we didn't know if he would make it through the night.

Alice had found another pit mix about two months earlier. That little pup had been chained to a stop sign. Don't worry, he now has the most loving home and has grown into a very big, happy dog!

Anyway, my hubby and I were in bed when Alice walked into our room and said, "I can't believe this keeps happening to me."

I shot up in bed and said, "Alice, has your car been towed again?" (Another story!)

"No, mom, I found another puppy. And he's so cute."

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

The dog park for sure!

Do the dogs have any non-canine pet pals?

Oh yeah, Otis loves, loves, loves his stuffed animals, particularly his bear. I think it's his BFF.

What is Otis's best quality?


If Otis could change one thing about Chattanoogans, what would it be?

Hmm. Otis would prefer that people not ride their bicycles on the sidewalk. It really scares him.

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

Rico Rodriguez, the young actor who plays Manny Delgado on Modern Family. Or perhaps it's really Manny I want -- a young, tender-hearted, wise soul (although Otis has no fashion sense.)

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

If we bought you another plush dog bed, would you consider sleeping on it, even for one night, instead of eating it??

Visit Susan Gregg Gilmore's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Read more about The Funeral Dress.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 15, 2013

Rachael Rodimel & Bailey

Who is in the photo at right?

Meet Rachael Rodimel. A part-time Registered Nurse, full-time graduate student, momma to Bailey, and four months preggo Midwestern woman.

Bailey is our female, Goldendoodle who is a year and a half old.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Sometimes after a long day of being cooped up in the house, this couple a dog just needs some caramel apple cider.

What's brewing?

Amazing Caramel Apple Cider from Greyhouse Coffee.

Any treats for you or Bailey on this occasion?

We recently made Bailey homemade apple and carrot dog treats. She loves them! Of course, she also helped herself to a few licks of cider.

See the dog treat recipe here.

How did Bailey get her name? Any nicknames?

There was no ah-ha moment or big to do. Just lots of brainstorming. We met her for the first time, held her in our arms, and Bailey just fit. Of course, she also gets called Bay, Bay-Bay, Bailey Ann, and Bay-girl.

Cat, squirrel, postman...?

Bailey loves to run! She will chase any animal she sees for as long as we let her go. The postman - she’s okay with. However, the UPS man and the garbage man make her bark like crazy!

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Bailey is such a fun-loving dog. She will seriously play with any toy we give her! Squeaky balls are her favorite. Lately, she’s been hoarding all of her toys in our bedroom closet - crazy dog. Oh - those stuffed toys- we don’t even purchase them anymore. They are completely destroyed with all the insides out and fixings off within 5 minutes.

What is Bailey's best quality?

She is a lover. Anytime, any day, Bailey will choose people over toys and other dogs. She loves to cuddle, she listens fairly well, and she has an excited greeting for you every time you get home!

If Bailey could change one thing about Hoosiers, what would it be?

People - just because you are a Hoosier does not mean you need to cheer for IU. I am a Purdue gal, Boiler Up!

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

Queen Latifah - when we talk for Bailey (Yes, we do it. Don’t act like you don’t for your pup.) she is always a smart, sassy little thing.

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

What in the world do you do while we are gone all day?

Visit The Rodimels blog.

— Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jody Casella & Zooey

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Jody Casella, author of the young adult novel Thin Space, mother of two, and multi-daily dog walker of Zooey, a brilliant, hyper, mixed-breed rescue dog.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We're starting the day off how we always do--Zooey and me--with her snoozing on the couch and me sucking down the first of several cups of cheap, yet strong, coffee.

What's brewing?

What happened to be the least expensive brand in the supermarket this week: Maxwell House French Roast with skim milk and one Splenda.

Any treats for you or Zooey on this occasion?

Me. Nothing. Zooey gets my son's old sneaker.

How did Zooey get her name?

We have an old cranky cat named Zelda and decided we'd keep the Z trend going. I'd like to tell you that these names are literary-related (Zelda Fitzgerald. J. D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey.) But I'd be lying.

How were you and Zooey united?

I did not want a dog. Honestly, I have been scared of dogs all my life. But last year my oldest child went off to college and my youngest child started a campaign for a puppy. I am not exaggerating when I say was dragged to the pound to pick one out. Then, I saw Zooey. It's ridiculous and sappy and silly, but I felt an instant bond. She's my dog.

Are there any Zooey-inspired dogs in your fiction?

No. But there should be.

Does Zooey do more to help or hinder your writing?

Both. On the positive side, she gets me out of my pajamas and out of the house. (I walk her at least three times per day.) These walks, I've found, give my bleary, computer-burned eyes a rest and help me work through plot holes. The negative: she scares the crap out of me sporadically whenever she sees a person walking outside, another animal, the mailman... Zooey takes her job as head of household security seriously.

Who are Zooey's best pet-pals?

Zooey has a boyfriend named Guster. He lives around the block and she adores having play dates with him.

Where is Zooey's favorite outdoor destination?

See above. Gus's house.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Punctured, deflated soccer ball.

Cat, postman, rabbit...?

Postman. Some day I think the truth will be revealed--that the man is living a double life as a psychotic serial killer. If only we had believed Zooey's warnings.

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

Lately, my crazy travel schedule, which puts a major crimp in our couch sitting/dog walking habit.

What is Zooey's best quality?

Her puckery, crinkled forehead and floppy ears that plainly show her love for me.

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

The actress who does the voice in Tangled. Mandy Moore?

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

"Oh Zooey, why why why must you lose your sweet, loving mind and try to attack the mailman every $*%&# day?"

(Apologies to the mailman, but maybe I already know the answer to this question?)

Visit Jody Casella's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 11, 2013

Matthew Buchholz & Otis

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Matthew Buchholz and I’m a writer and artist who runs Alternate Histories, where I digitally insert monsters, robots, aliens & others into vintage historical scenes.

My first book, Alternate Histories of the World, just came out through Perigee. But more importantly, I’m having coffee with my dog Otis, who is a 4 1/2 year old male schnauzer/poodle mix (I think. He’s a rescue so who knows what he is?).

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We come to Commonplace Voluto Coffee several times a week, since it’s just a few blocks from my house. I work from home and it’s great to have a place to come to when I need to take a break, and all the staff here know Otis as well.

What's brewing?

Commonplace roasts their own coffee, so this is their espresso sumatra in an Americano.

Any treats for you or Otis on this occasion?

Sometimes I’ll get a muffin or cookie from the in-house baker, Drew’s Pie Supply - she makes great vegan granola bars too! Otis usually has a peanut butter cookie when he gets home.

How were you and Otis united?

When I first moved to Pittsburgh, I worked at Animal Friends, a local animal shelter & advocacy group, for about a year and a half. It was a fantastic job -- working or volunteering at an animal shelter is great because no matter how bad your day is, you can always go pet a dog or play with a kitten and you’ll instantly feel better. Otis came through our shelter as part of a July 4th rescue...the Fourth of July is one of the worst times of the year for animals to run away or get lost because of parties and all the loud noises. Otis came into the shelter and we connected right away.

How did Otis get his name? Any aliases?

He’s named after my favorite singer, Otis Redding, although the name also fits because he’s so soulful!

Does Otis do more to help or hinder your art?

Generally he’s a big help - he wakes me up each morning so I don’t sleep all day, and also gives me nice built-in breaks as he loves to go for multiple walks each day. The only time he’s a hindrance is when I’m struggling with an image and trying to concentrate, and he keeps rolling his ball towards me in an effort to get me to play with him. But as someone who works from home, it’s amazing to have a friendly little dog to keep me company, and to also force me to get outside and walk around each day.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Otis is surprisingly okay with the mailman, but like all dogs, he hates squirrels. When the weather is nice we sit on the front porch while I work on my laptop, and once I had to stop him from diving off the porch into the bushes because a squirrel was taunting him.

Tennis ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Tennis or rubber ball all the way.

He doesn’t like sticks at all, but will literally chase a ball until he drops from exhaustion.

Does Otis have a favorite place to go for outings?

Pittsburgh has a lot of great public parks, and Otis’s favorite is the trails in Frick Park. Now that the leaves are changing, it’s gorgeous and he could spend hours down in the ravine.

Who is Otis's best pet-pal?

Otis doesn’t love other dogs, but he has a changing cast of favorite stuffed toys that he snuggles with. Right now his favorite is probably his little mallard/duck toy.

What is Otis's best quality?

His endless joy for life. As someone who get bogged down by details and anxiety sometimes, it’s so wonderful for me to have Otis who is thrilled to get up and play every single morning. He motivates and inspires me each day.

If Otis could change one thing about Pittsburghers, what would it be?

Nothing! He loves everybody!

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

Why is he so afraid of bags? Paper, plastic, he is terrified of them! Why???

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

This is an ongoing debate between my friends; I think he has a gruff, deep voice sort of like Orson Welles, whereas other people think he’s more light & happy, like a child actor. But I say since he’s my dog, I get to pick the voice! Orson Welles it is!

Visit Matthew Buchholz's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 8, 2013

Kristina Riggle & Lucky

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

It’s my birthday! And my new book comes out this week.

What's brewing? Any goodies to go with the coffee?

A salted caramel mocha. Normally, I stick with the regular brewed coffee, but I’m splashing out today. I even bought a pastry (though the mocha is basically a pastry in a cup already. But hey, it’s my birthday.)

Back in 2009 you said Lucky had a role in your second book. Has he appeared in more of your writing?

Not so far, but he shouldn’t feel left out. To date I have never re-used characters, four-legged or otherwise. I also don’t often include pets (it’s challenging enough to juggle all the human characters) so in that sense he’s in an elite group. As far as I recall, only Bartleby the cat from Real Life & Liars, and Frodo the Lab from The Life You’ve Imagined have made into the casts of characters, other than Lucky. (Both fictional dog names are literary references. I just noticed that.)

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

Lucky keeps me company (especially if there’s a storm, and then he’s underfoot every moment). In fact, he has an uncanny sense of time. When I’m getting up during the day to have coffee or lunch or what have you, he barely stirs from his favorite napping spot on the couch cushion…until it’s time for me to wrap up and go get the kids. Then he seems to know, and perks up, because the boring writing day is over and it’s time for the fun to begin when the kiddos get home.

He does like to keep me company when I write outside on the deck, so I’ll pull up a patio chair just for him.

Who are Lucky's best pet-pals?

We joke about his girlfriend Zoe, a Sheltie next door. They like to run up and down the chain link fence together, but when they’re in the same yard, Lucky isn’t very nice to her! He chases her around until she hides somewhere. He did make nice with our friends’ dog named Lucy when we went for a weekend visit. Lucy is much bigger, but Lucky decided to be the boss of her. It worked out well enough.

Lucky doesn’t usually play nice with bigger dogs, especially on his leash. He gets all “short-guy syndrome” and tries to take a piece out of them. Since he only weighs about 12 pounds, this is a bad idea.

If Lucky could change one thing about Michiganders, what would it be?

He’d want everyone to stay off the front porch unless they belong here. This is his domain, so any and all delivery people, salespeople, plumbers, roofers, politicians and fundraising children should stay away.

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

Why do you carry your kibble into the living room a few bits at a time, drop it on the carpet, and then eat it? What’s up with that?

Runner up question: Why do you pee on my side of the bed anytime we accidentally leave the door open? What kind of grudge are you holding and how can I make it up to you?

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

Tobey Maguire. I don’t know why I think that, but it’s the first name that came to mind. Maybe it’s his boyish charm. Maybe it’s because I watched The Great Gatsby twice.

Visit Kristina Riggle's website, and learn about her new novel, The Whole Golden World.

The Page 69 Test: Real Life & Liars.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Kristina Riggle & Lucky (June 2009).

Writers Read: Kristina Riggle (August 2010).

The Page 69 Test: The Life You've Imagined.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Binnie Klein & Griffin

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Binnie Klein, and I wear a lot of hats, although none pictured here. I’m a psychotherapist, writer, and radio host. Griffin is a 12 year old Male Havanese, a type of Bichon with origins in Havana, Cuba.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Every day explodes with tenderness lavished upon me by this dog. He stands on my chest while I’m still lying in bed, stares into my eyes (supposedly something dogs don’t do or want you to do back), I stare back, and we begin the communion.

What's brewing?

I’m making a dark roast from Starbucks, usually Sumatra, in a Mr. Coffee Machine. Insert 2 packets of “sugar in the raw” (thinking this is more natural than Domino ‘dots’), and soy creamer. Microwave 5-10 times because although Mr. Coffee sports a thermal carafe, the coffee is never hot enough.

Any treats for you or Griffin on this occasion?

Before I can even drink my own first cup of coffee, Griffin has been served his breakfast on a sturdy china plate with sections, straight out of a 1950s cafeteria. One section holds organic white meat chicken, another a high-end mixture of beef stew chunks, and last a goodly portion of Nature’s Choice kibble. All of this is gently warmed with hot tap water, and then stirred, so it’s not too mushy, with excess water drained off the side. As I place the plate on the floor, I say “here you go, my little love.” Griffin then proceeds to eat his food, section by section, beginning with what he considers the tastiest–the chicken.

How were you and Griffin united?

We met Griffin through the breeder of his half-sister (same mother) Sabine. After a year of happiness with Sabine, we contacted the breeder and asked if she had any puppies. It was October 2001. Due to the events of September 11, one male puppy was unexpectedly still available (his prospective adoptive parents lived in New York City, and decided they couldn’t handle a puppy at that time). He was 10 weeks old. We drove to the Roscoe Motel to make the pick-up (breeder lived in Horsehead, NY), Sabine in tow. They met in the motel room and didn’t kill each other, so he came home with us. Sabine passed away in February 2013.

How did Griffin get his name? Any aliases?

Griffin got his name because of Sabine’s name. Author and Illustrator Nick Bantock’s book, Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence, a mysterious romance about two people who never meet but maintain an elaborate correspondence, inspired Sabine’s naming, and Griffin’s seemed pre-destined after that.

Aliases include “Little Man,” “Pupinsky,” “Griffith,” “The Grifster,” “You’re So Cute I Could Smash You.”

Does Griffin do more to help or hinder your writing?

He helps. Nothing is more grounding when at the computer than to look over at Griffin, in his small fluffy dog bed, near my desk, curled into a ball. Stay with me, Griffin, stay with me while I try again, and make me feel I have something to say.

Does Griffin ever join you for your radio show?

Griffin wouldn’t like the studio in Bridgeport. People walk in and out, mommy would be distracted, and what if he needed to poop? (Although I often wish he was the kind of large, sedate beast who could go with me anywhere.)

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Squirrels create apoplexy in Griffin. He scratches at the window frantically. A stray leaf falling across the street also can activate him. The bobcat and the coyote, however, who occasionally wander by (I live near a farm) leave him indifferent.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

If I’m on the floor doing yoga, Griffin will get on my chest, interfering with my routine. Then he’ll bring over his small stuffed Batman toy. I’ll throw it a few times, and he’ll retrieve it, but pretty soon all he wants is for me to engage thoroughly with him. No toy needed. Just the sound of our hoarse barking.

Does Griffin have a favorite place to go for outings?

Griffin adores Lake Wintergreen, nearby site of tick colonies galore and off-leash pit-bulls.

Who is Griffin's best pet-pal?

We often take care of Elvy, a Jack Russell Terrier [photo left]. She defers to Griffin, doesn’t like the sound of toast popping up, and could take down a caribou. Elvy’s eating style differs from Griffin. She takes small, individual bites and walks around chewing, as if she were savoring a plum from a brown bag while walking in the autumn woods. They’re not overtly in love, but they have some sort of understanding. He lets her hang out in his dog bed, and she lets him lick her bowl when she’s done. There’s a message for the management of long-term relationships there.

What is Griffin's best quality?

He seems very fond of me.

If Griffin could change one thing about Connecticuters, what would it be?

He doesn’t like their formality and scratchy winter coats.

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

Do you really love me, or are you just dependent on me?

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

Eric Stoltz.

Visit Binnie Klein's WPKN webpage, and learn more about her book, Blows to the Head: How Boxing Changed My Mind.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 4, 2013

Jelena Louie & Gage

Who is in the photo at right?

Jelena Louie and Gage. I, Jelena (pronounced Yeh-leh-nah), am a language teacher and textile designer by education, but currently work part-time grading language arts tests and use the other half of my time for running a small handmade jewelry business. When I have time and inspiration, I also write the hART Sense Design blog on Wordpress.

Gage is a male, field English Setter, approximately 6 years old, and we have had him for about 4.5 years now.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We decided to take advantage of a nice fall day and enjoy some of the Pumpkin Bog Festival events at a local winery. Gage likes to go for rides in a car, and the picnic area by the winery offers plenty of grass for him to do all that dogs do with and on the grass.

What's brewing?

Mulled Legacy Rimrock wine from Prairie Berry Winery.

Any treats for you or Gage on this occasion?

Gluten-free pecan shortbread for me and an organic banana for Gage. He does have a sweet tooth and is particularly fond of bananas and apples.

How were you and Gage united?

My husband and I adopted Gage through a breed specific rescue group, Above & Beyond English Setter Rescue, when Gage was approximately 18 months old. He was dumped by his original owner to a shelter in North Carolina at the tender age of about 6 months. The rescue group pulled him from the shelter, placed him in a foster home, had him neutered and treated for heartworms, and then, he waited and waited for his forever home for months on end, until we decided we wanted to get a companion for our old Irish Setter girl. He was a perfect fit for our family both personality wise and in all other ways. To transport him to us all the way from North Carolina, the rescue group organized a number of volunteers, who each drove one or two legs of the transport route, with us picking up the last one. That was quite the trip for Mr. Gage, but we are sure it was absolutely worth the effort.

After his Irish "sister" passed last year, Gage became an only pet, and a rather spoiled one for that matter.

How did Gage get his name? Any aliases?

Gage was named by his original owner, and we didn't want to cause an identity crisis by renaming him. He also responds to Gagey-boo, Bug, and Bugsy. He is a very affectionate fellow, sometimes to the point of bugging people until they finally relent and give him some pets.

Does Gage do more to help or hinder your art and jewelry design?

He neither helps nor hinders. He only supervises. After all, our house and everything in it operate only for the benefit of the dog.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

While friendly to most humans, Gage definitely has it for many different kinds of critters. This summer alone, he has caught 4 birds. In the past, he used to catch bunnies, and he considers cats his nemesis. However, squirrels that come to our backyard feeder are one of his yet unattained hunting goals. They tease and torment him all the time, and we are just waiting for the day when he comes in from the yard with some red fur in his mouth.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Gage is an equal opportunity toy user. If you toss a ball or a stick for him, he will catch it but not bring it back. He will entertain himself with chew toys often, and he could at times drive one crazy by squeaking his numerous squeaky toys.

Does Gage have a favorite place to go for outings?

Gage doesn't mind where he goes as long as the outing includes a ride in the car. He is even excited to jump into the car for a visit to the vet's office.

Who is Gage's best pet-pal?

While our Irish Setter, Susie, was alive, she and Gage were inseparable. Now that he is an only pet, he despises other dogs and only wants to socialize with humans.

What is Gage's best quality?

Gage has a soft temperament and a very loving personality. When my husband or I feel tired or ill, he lays his head in our laps and melts our hearts with one look from his brown eyes. He is canine love personified, and he is not afraid to show it.

If Gage could change one thing about South Dakotans, what would it be?

He'd want them to either build some fenced-in dog parks or keep their dogs on leashes when out for a walk. He simply doesn't think it fair that most dogs get to run loose all over the neighborhood, while he always has to be on a leash when out of his yard.

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

Why can't you just get along with all of our little bird, squirrel, and bunny friends that like to visit the yard?

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

Laurence Olivier - the epitome of a handsome English gentleman.

Visit Jelena Louie's handmade jewelry website and the hART Sense Design blog.

--Marshal Zeringue