Monday, January 20, 2014

Jason K. Friedman & Lefty

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Jason K. Friedman, a writer and that's Lefty, a student of human nature. He's a chihuahua mixed with something bigger--he weighs 20 pounds! He's 9 1/2 years old, maybe a month or two younger--but he always gets mistaken for a dog half his age.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

My husband and I took him on a weekend expedition to Mario's in San Francisco's North Beach. I don't remember what I was reading, but I see Lefty was eyeing the foam no less intently.

What's brewing?


Any treats for you or Lefty on this occasion?

My husband and I had eggplant sandwiches, and Lefty got some of the focaccia.

How were you and Lefty united?

He was left in the overnight depository at an Oakland shelter. He bit the vet who fixed him and was sentenced to death row, then smuggled out by a shelter worker who knew that because of his youth and beauty he was adoptable. He ended up in the hands of the Milo Foundation, which posted a description and picture of him on their site. I sought him out at an adoption event at a pet store in the Castro.

How did Lefty get his name? Any aliases?

The cardboard box in which he was abandoned had the name Lefty on the side. The name Lefty Friedman suits him; it sounds like the name of a Chicago gangster. Also he was left at the shelter, and I often call him Left. When we were in an airport somewhere in the Midwest we heard someone saying "On your left" and Lefty turned as a cart shuttling a couple of people passed. I've also been known to call him Pushkin, which I think comes from Pooch. He's frequently mistaken for a Lucky, which suits him too.

Does Lefty do more to help or hinder your writing?

He's quiet and patient--the perfect writer's pet.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?


Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Ball in the house and the park, stick on hikes. He locates objects you throw and sometimes runs around with them, but he doesn't really bring them back.

Who is Lefty's best pet-pal?

He likes a dog named Pepper in the neighborhood. Like most men I know, he only likes other dogs that show no interest in him.

What is Lefty's best quality?

His patience.

If Lefty could change one thing about San Franciscans, what would it be?

He'd encourage them to eat outside more.

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

What his life was like before he came into mine.

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

Anyone who plays gangsters.

Read a Q & A with Jason K. Friedman, and visit his website and follow him on Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

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