Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kristen & Hailey and Zaphod

Who is in the photo at right?

Me: Kristen - I work with individuals with autism and related disorders.

My dogs are: Hailey: The mystery mutt - female, aged 4.5; Zaphod: The Shepherd mix - male - about 3.

[photo right: Kristen and Zaphod]

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Today's occasion is I have just wrapped up my last work project before 2 weeks of vacation, so let's get this vacation started and enjoy our lovely yard.

What's brewing?

I don't drink coffee - I am a tea drinker -today's cup is a Lipton Lemon Ginger. I love herbal teas.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Not today - they will chew on grass in the yard while I drink it.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Both dogs were given their names by the people who rescued them and we kept them.

Hailey - we don't know the origins, but she goes by Hail, Lee, Leelee, MeeMee and Meep.

Zaphod was found as a stray walking down the highway, which made the lady who rescued him think of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, so that is how he became Zaphod. He goes by Phod, Phody, Phoderick von Licketenstein and of course Zaphod Beeblebrox.

How were you and your dogs united?

Both are from Catahoula Rescue Ontario (although neither are catahoula). I saw Hailey on Petfinder and went to meet her and fell in love. When we were looking for a second dog, I contacted the rescue and asked if they had a dog who was the complete opposite of Hailey (she is a great girl, but is anxious, high energy and requires extra care). They suggested Zaphod (who is totally calm and relaxed).

Squirrel, postman, cat….?

Wildlife is the number one exciter at our house. We live in the country and have lots of squirrels, deer, groundhogs, birds, horses, racoons, skunks etc. etc. around. This morning 3 adult wild turkeys and 12 babies were in the yard and this required a lot of barking.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick…?

Hailey likes stuffed toys. While she will eventually dead them, for the most part she loves to carry them around teasing Phod that she has it and he doesn't and sleep with them. Zaphod loves, loves, loves fetch. He has a favourite ball we call Precious. He also doesn't mind his water toys and frisbees.

What is each dog's best quality?

Hailey's energy and love for life is her best quality. She loves to play and walk and explore. Zaphod's best quality is his loyalty. He is never far from us, he is very obedient and clearly wants to make us happy.

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

I wish Hailey wasn't as anxious. She has a history of destroying things (crates, walls, shoes, toys, remotes, books) when alone and anxious. She is particularly fearful of thunder, fireworks and the wind. We are working on it, but it is challenging.

Zaphod gets really, really car sick. If it was easier and less stressful to take him in the car, that would be excellent.

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

Hailey - Amy Adams.

Zaphod - Morgan Freeman.

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

Hailey: What can we do to make you less afraid?

Zaphod: Tell me what life was like before you were picked up as a hitchhiker.

Visit The Hailey and Zaphod Chronicles.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 28, 2014

Vicky Kaseorg & Honeybun and Lucky

Who is in the photo at right?

​This is me, Vicky Kaseorg, with my female Carolina Dog, Honeybun, and my male terrier mix, Lucky.​

They don't love appearing with me in my umbrella hat.​ It embarrasses them.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

​We are celebrating the publication of my tenth book but my first fiction novel which is about dogs (The Bark of the Covenant!) We like to celebrate by kayaking whenever we can.

What's brewing?

​Starbucks cappuccino. Mmmm!​

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

​Kayaking is a treat in itself, but yes, they get Charlie Bears to keep them on the kayak.

How did Honeybun and Lucky get their names? Any aliases?

​We found Honeybun and thought she was the color of a Honeybun. Lucky was named Lucky because of how he always got himself in terrible scrapes and survived. Lucky is also sometimes called "The Escape Artist" since he does...constantly.​

How were you and Honeybun and Lucky united?

​We found Lucky as a 6 week old pup wandering the under-street sewer system. A few years later, we found Honeybun starving and half dead on a roadside. We weren't looking to have a dog either time, but God had other plans.

Have Honeybun or Lucky appeared in any of your books?

​Both appear in my first book, I'm Listening with a Broken Ear. It tells the story of finding Honeybun, nursing her back to health, and then having her turn vicious towards Lucky and people. The book talks about how we helped her to stop trying to kill Lucky and little Girl Scouts coming to our door.​

​(PS-we succeeded.)​

How do your dogs help--or hinder--your writing?

​They are a constant inspiration, and are what started my career as a published author. They also are furry shoulders to cry on when it isn't going so well.​

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

​Lucky once saved the life of a baby squirrel. Licked it till he warmed it back to life, and brought it to us. But they both will bark all night at possums.​

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

​Lucky loves balls or tug of war ropes. Honeybun doesn't really understand toys, probably because she was feral for at least part of her life and playing took a back seat to surviving.​

What is each dog's best quality?

​Lucky is very loving to everything and everyone.

Honeybun is incredibly grateful and loyal. She follows me wherever I go in the house.​

If Honeybun and Lucky could change one thing about North Carolinians, what would it be?

That they would ask if their dog can meet them before letting their dogs in my dogs' faces. Lucky doesn't mind, but Honeybun minds big time.

And a close second is that people would neuter their pets so no dog would ever have to be homeless and starving like Honeybun was.​

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

​Lucky's​ ​actor would be Steve McQueen.

Honeybun's actress would be Meryl Streep.​

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

​Do you believe in God?​

Visit Vicky Kaseorg's author page at Amazon and her daily blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nina Hoeberichts & Sammy

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Nina Hoeberichts, a recent marketing graduate and also a singer-songwriter! (You can find some of my songs on my blog).

Sammy is a female purebred beagle and she’s 9 years old.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

It’s a beautiful summer day and we’re celebrating vacation in our garden!

What's brewing?

I’m having a cafĂ© latte brewed with Douwe Egberts coffee (famous Dutch coffee brand) with lots of milk foam!

Any treats for you or Sammy on this occasion?

Sammy is having a corncob – she loves to chew on those.

How did Sammy get her name? Any nicknames?

We got Sammy when she was 6 years old, so her name was already chosen of course. Her official name is ‘Sam’ but we always call her Sammy.

How were you and Sammy united?

We took Sammy in because acquaintances of us couldn’t care for her anymore. She quickly became a part of our family and stole our hearts!

As a singer-songwriter, has Sammy inspired any of your music?

Not yet! But I am planning to write a song about her....

Who is Sammy's best pet-pal?

Sammy is very social and all the other dogs love her in our neighborhood – she has many male suitors and she likes to flirt & play with all of them! Apart from that she also hangs out with Puma, my cat.

Where is Sammy's favorite outdoor destination?

Sammy loves the forest where she can smell all different kinds of scents!

She also loves running through tall grass.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Unfortunately, Sammy is not really into toys. She doesn’t really understand what to do with them!

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

The only thing Sammy likes to chase are flies – if there’s a fly in the room she will chase that fly until she catches it and eats it.

What is Sammy's best quality?

Sammy is a very friendly and social dog so she greets everyone she meets. She’s always happy & excited and she loves to cuddle (except when there’s food nearby).

If Sammy could change one thing about Belgians, what would it be?

Sammy is actually a Dutch beagle! She would probably want that they give her more food & cookies.

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

Hmm good question! I think someone quirky & original like Zooey Deschanel or Jennifer Lawrence.

If Sammy could answer only one question in Dutch or English, what would you ask her?

What are you thinking right now, Sammy?

Visit Nina Hoeberichts's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tess Hilmo & Daisy

Who is in the photo at right?

Hi! I'm Tess Hilmo. I write novels for young readers (ages 8-12) and this is my pup Daisy - she's a 13-year-old toy poodle.

Here we are in the hammock in our back woods - my favorite place to steal away with a good book.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I'm an herbal tea fan and enjoy it at my breakfast table most often - though I do like to go out for tea and found my newest favorite on a recent outing to the cafe at Barnes and Noble.

What's brewing?

Today it's Harney and Son's Hot Cinnamon tea. It tastes just like those hard cinnamon candies I loved as a little girl and I feel like I'm getting a real treat when I choose this flavor.

Of course, Daisy is always curious about what is going on at the table....[photo left]

Any treats for you or Daisy on this occasion?

Funny you should mention treats. At 13, Daisy is pretty chill. You can find her stretched out on our family room rug most of the time. But when she hears the treat bag rattle, she comes to life like a young puppy again.

How did your dog get her name? Any nicknames?

We adopted Daisy from a neighbor who was moving 11 years ago so she came with her name - but when she needs a bath we call her stinky-pot-schmooley. I have no idea why, really, but my son said it one day and it just stuck.

How were you and your dog united?

Our neighbors were moving and we couldn't imagine the street without Daisy on it so we offered to keep her and they agreed - lucky us!

Are there any dogs in your new novel inspired by Daisy?

My newest novel, Skies Like These, is a fun, friendship filled novel with a cowboy twist. It takes place on a dog ranch in Wyoming so there are lots of wonderful dogs in it - in fact the resolution at the end comes about because of one particularly wonderful bullmastiff. Daisy definitely inspired some of the various moments I wrote about.

Does Daisy do more to help or hinder your writing?

She keeps me company which is a wonderful gift.

Who is Daisy's best pet-pal?

Me! If I'm in the house, she's right there with me. Sometimes I feel guilty because I'll go downstairs to grab something and she will follow me. Since she is 13, she's a bit slower and will inevitably get to the bottom stair right as I'm going back up. The look on her face is like, "Seriously?" but she follows me back up all the same.

Where is Daisy's favorite outdoor destination?

Picking the kiddos up from school.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Daisy has never been much for toys. I remember buying her a squeaky early on and she couldn't care less. Ah, well.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

We get the occasional deer in our yard and she goes crazy barking and chasing them off. At first, I liked the deer and was sad but after I saw them mow down my vegetable garden in about thirty seconds, I let her chase at will. She is about one tenth their size so it's a funny sight.

What is Daisy's best quality?

Unconditional love. It's probably every dog's best quality but Daisy has it in spades.

If Daisy could change one thing about Utahns, what would it be?

About Utah: the snow - she's winter wimp!

Utahns in general are big outdoorsy people so dogs are widely accepted and loved.

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

Hilarious question! Hmmm... let's see, I think I'd like Rosie Perez to do her voice. Funny, snarky and full of personality.

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

I'd just want to make sure she knows how very much she is loved.

Visit Tess Hilmo's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tracy Barrett & Pericles

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Tracy Barrett, a writer, knitter, animal lover, former college professor. Peering over my shoulder is Pericles, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. He was just six weeks old in that picture and he liked to climb up behind my neck to snooze. At the advanced age of three months, he’d probably still do it if he could—he’s very cuddly!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

My twentieth book (and tenth novel) for young readers was published just a few weeks ago! It’s a young-adult novel called The Stepsister’s Tale, and it shows a different side of Cinderella and her stepfamily. The publisher is Harlequin Teen.

What's brewing?

I’ve been drinking Peet’s coffee ever since I lived in Berkeley, California, a few miles from the original Peet’s location. After I moved to Tennessee I used to have to mail-order Peet’s from Oakland but now I can get it in the supermarket, which is a thrill! I like their new medium roasts but I sometimes drink dark roast. I drink it black. I have to stop around 3:00 in the afternoon if I want to sleep.

Any treats for you or Pericles on this occasion?

Pericles gets lots of treats because he’s finally getting the hang of housebreaking. Each successful attempt earns him a dog cookie!

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

We live in Nashville, Tennessee, home of the only full-scale replica of the Athenian Parthenon that replicates it both inside and out. My kids were always crazy about Greek myths (as was/am I!) and our animals have almost always been named after Greek mythological figures. We’ve had Psyche, Athena, Penny (for Odysseus’ wife, Penelope), Jason, and Purrsephone. This time we decided to honor the leader of Athens under whose rule the Parthenon was built. We were going to call him Perry but the absurdity of the dignified “Pericles” for a goofy puppy was a fun contrast, so he gets the honor of the full name. Although most often we call him “Stop it!”

How were you and Pericles united?

We bought Pericles from a breeder in Nashville who raises the puppies in his home and lavishes them with love.

How does Pericles help--or hinder--your writing?

The biggest hindrance right now is that I like to write while walking (very slowly) at a treadmill desk. Pericles goes nuts and attacks the belt and I’m afraid his long ears will get tangled up in it! If I close him out he scratches on the door and drives me nuts. So until he’s a little calmer I have to write sitting, which I don’t like!

Are there any dogs in your fiction that were inspired by your real-life dogs?

I have dogs in most of my books. The Stepsister’s Tale has a farm dog named Betsy (and her puppies); in Dark of the Moon, a retelling of the Minotaur myth, Theseus has a dog that I picture as some kind of borzoi-like breed (when he was a boy he also had a cat, which was an exotic Egyptian creature to a Greek of those days); and a dog named Argos plays a role in King of Ithaka, my Odyssey retelling.

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

We got a rescue kitten a few weeks after acquiring Pericles. Her name is Izzie, since as soon as I let her out of her carrier she leaped up next to the fireplace, where she sat like Cinderella. Since the Cinderella character in The Stepsister’s Tale is named Isabella, that became the cat’s name too. She and Pericles play together a lot—the poor kitty’s head is usually soggy with dog spit!

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

Ball. He’s a natural at fetch. We got some tiny tennis balls for him and from the first time one was tossed he ran after it, brought it back, and dropped it at my feet. After the Jack Russells we had for years, who guarded their toys like you were a thief, this was so easy!

Who is Pericles’s best pet-pal?

He adores Izzie. As I was writing this I heard her purring and turned around to see this [photo right].

What is Pericles's best quality?

He’s very adaptable. If the weather isn’t good for a walk, he’ll happily chill at home. If it’s a nice day, he’ll happily walk for a long way. Anything goes! He likes everyone and is convinced that everyone loves him.

If Pericles could change one thing about Tennesseans, what would it be?

There would be no such thing as an “outside dog.” All dogs would be part of the family.

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

The kid who voiced Charlie Brown in the Peanuts cartoons.

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

How do you manage to untie double-knotted shoelaces using only your teeth?

Visit Tracy Barrett's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 14, 2014

Susan Slater & Toby and Tess

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Susan Slater a southwest mystery writer and recent transplant from New Mexico. I currently live in Florida. I’m working on calling myself a “surf-side cowgirl” but I’m not quite there yet. The trek here with a cage full of canaries and two miniature Schnauzers—Toby and Tess—rivaled the Joad family’s move to CA. And here I am getting a puppy kiss from Toby with his sister, Tess, waiting in line.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Coffee every morning is an excuse to start the day on the back porch—in the summer down here, it’s called enjoy the outdoors before the humidity sets in. And, of course, I always have company. Today, however, was special—a carton full of my new book, Rollover, arrived late last night. Wow. Is there anything as exciting or gratifying as holding that first, “hot off the press” copy of your own work?

What's brewing?

I am such a coffee snob; I must have been a barista in another life. And talk about addiction, I can wake up in the middle of the night, chug a “shot” of espresso and fall back to sleep. My morning choice is a medium ground (of course, I grind my own) Kaldi brand Breakfast Blend. I do a “pour through” using a Chemex and filters.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

We almost always share a bagel and cream cheese—the Schnauzers prefer the addition of lox and capers.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Named in memory of a close friend’s first two Schnauzers. Tess also answers to “Poodie”, short for poodle. There’s poodle in the miniature Schnauzers’ family tree but some are more poodle-like than others. Tess can walk across a room on her hind legs. At eight and a half I wonder if she’s too old for Americas Got Talent?

How were you and your dogs united?

My vet in NM had a boarding kennel. One morning when I was putting my Belgian Sheepdog in for the weekend, my vet asked me if I wanted to see something cute. She’d just been up all night saving the life of a Schnauzer mother and her five puppies. Now at my age one would think I’d see the danger in looking at something small, warm, fuzzy . . . I looked at them, held them and reserved two!!!

How do your dogs help--or hinder—your writing?

I totally blame the Schnauzers for teaching me how to nap. Not that I equate chasing squirrels around the backyard to writing that particularly difficult ending, but I suppose both of us have earned a little downtime.

Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your published work?

A friend’s Rottweiler, Max, inspired Simon in the Dan Mahoney series. But writing about dogs is tough. Simon has his fifteen minutes of fame in Rollover—a scene that will bring tears to the eyes of all dog-lovers. No, no Simon isn’t injured—an author learns quickly never to maim a dog or he will suffer the wrath of his readers!

The third Dan Mahoney mystery is Hair of the Dog. Yeah, greyhound racing in Florida is the backdrop—the topic is great fun and I’m really into it but am scared to death something lithe and lovely will follow me home.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Stuffing-less toys that allow two Schnauzers to try and jerk each other off their feet are real favorites.

[photo left: Tess is looking for a “game”]

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Anyone on two-legs who comes to the front door is an automatic best friend! Schnauzers are, however, one of the top five breeds of “warning barkers”. Yes, mine have a police record—a couple misdemeanors for being overly loud.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

I’ve never owned dogs with such a high prey-drive! For the first three years of their lives we lived on a goat farm in the mountains of NM. The Schnauzers kept my barn absolutely rat-free. They really earned their dog food!! The chickens, however, were not impressed.

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

They would like me to eat bacon three times a day—cook it really crispy and drop at least one slice each on the floor.

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

Danny DeVito and Goldie Hawn.

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

On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate me as an owner?

Learn more about Rollover at the publisher's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Warren C. Easley & Theo

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Warren C. Easley, the author of the Cal Claxton Oregon mystery series. The second book in the series, Dead Float, is now out from Poisoned Pen Press. That little guy is Theo, a Pomeranian-Chihuahua mix, although he doesn’t know he’s a small dog. He’s seven years old and feisty as ever!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We always snack before going on our daily walk—a double cappuccino made from freshly ground beans for me and a Milk Bone for Theo. I taught him to stand up for his treat, but he really doesn’t like dog tricks at all. He’s way too cool for that. If it’s nice, we sit on the side deck, which affords a view of the Willamette Valley to the south.

How were you and Theo united?

Theo was my daughter’s dog. She saw him at a pet store and it was love at first sight. A dead ringer for a small red fox, he was supposed to be a five-pound lap dog, but he didn’t get the memo. He weighs in at 19 pounds, mostly muscle. The daughter went off to college and, well, it’s a familiar story…

How did Theo get his name?

Theo is named for Vincent Van Gogh’s brother, to whom the artist wrote many beautiful letters. My daughter was in her Van Gogh period.

Does Theo do more to help or hinder your writing?

Theo is absolutely essential to my writing. I write “organically,” a fancy way to say I don’t outline. A good mystery requires a tightly woven plot, and when I get stuck, it’s usually over a crucial plot point. My remedy is to walk, and that’s where Theo comes in. He keeps me company on my treks, which can cover five miles if I’m really flummoxed. He’s right there the whole time, cheerfully keeping me company.

Cat, postman, squirrel?

In addition to taking me for walks and generally looking cute, Theo sees his job as patrolling our yard of nearly 3 acres and to chase away all manner of critters, including skunks, coyotes, and deer. I watched him bark a coyote right out of the yard once, but he’s never quite figured out how to handle skunks without getting sprayed. If he gets whacked at night, he’s banished from the castle until we can bathe him in the morning.

What is Theo's best quality?

Theo’s a tough little country dog who’s not yappy, keeps deer out of the garden, and is always up for a walk.

If Theo could change one thing about Oregonians, what would it be?

Theo would love it if Oregonians wouldn’t make such a fuss over how cute he is. And don’t pick him up and try to cuddle him, either. He’s really not much of a people-dog…

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

Theo, when are you going to learn that skunks are not black and white cats?

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

If it were up to Theo, he’d probably pick Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson.

Visit Warren C. Easley's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 7, 2014

Angel Musk & Ellie, Kumori, Tessa, Tucker, and Micah

Who is in the photo at right?

I am Angel Musk, a Mother of 3 boys, full-time worker, and part-time writer. I am a big dog lover! I share my home with Ellie, Kumori, Tessa, Tucker, and Micah. Micah is the son of Tessa and Tucker and is pug/Chihuahua mix. This is Tucker and me working. All of my dogs are under 7 years old.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

My book launch, Essence of Time. This is my first novel and I am really excited about it!

What's brewing?

Well, I can't stand the taste of coffee. So my favorite beverage is McDonald's Sweet Tea!

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

I ordered my dog children a 3 Month Bark Box Subscription. So far they are loving the treats and toys.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Ellie, was already named when we got her. She is named after the mammoth from the movie, Ice Age 2. Kumori, also had that name when we rescued her from the shelter. Her previous owner were friends of ours. Tessa, was received from a friend that no longer wanted her. Tucker, was from Tennessee and we had to throw in a little Kentucky pride for his name. Micah, was born from Tessa and when he came out he looked like he was wearing a mask like a raccoon. So we searched the internet for native American names for a raccoon.

How were you and your dogs united?

We were very fortunate to have these dogs enter our lives. Most were spur of the moment that turned into forever homes. We wouldn't have it any other way.

How do your dogs help--or hinder--your writing?

They like to snuggle up next to me. Tucker, the Chihuahua tries to climb under my laptop because it's so warm.

Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your published work?

There are dogs in my book but they were not my main focus.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?


Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Kumori will take sticks off trees to chew and play fetch with. She will also play with Frisbees and balls. She also likes to chase UPS trucks!

If your dogs could change one thing about Kentuckians, what would it be?
Not a thing, they love Kentuckians!

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

Queen Latifah for Ellie, Robert Downey Jr. for Tucker, Sandra Bullock for Tessa, Nicole Kidman for Kumori, and Ashton Kutcher for Micah.

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

Are you happy?

Visit Angel Musk's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Douglas Anthony Cooper & Pixel, Snorkel, Manatee, and Moose

Who are you and what do you do?

Well, it’s really a “we” with regard to the current project – I’m a novelist, and Dula Yavne is a visual artist. Together we’re producing Galunker, a children’s book about a pit bull.

For the last two years, I’ve also been writing essays on animal welfare, and in particular the No Kill movement, which has earned me the fierce enmity of people who support kill shelters (PETA, etc.).

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We were in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to fund Galunker (as no traditional publisher will go near a kids’ book about a pit bull). Galunker has been written mostly in a cafe – essentially my office. I’m there every day, with all four dogs. I live in Oaxaca, in the south of Mexico, where the dogs are treated like aristocrats. They tend to be served before the humans: they get water, and then I get coffee.

What are your dogs' names, gender, age, breed?

It’s a diverse menagerie. All girls. Moose is a mutt – probably half Chihuahua, half Jack Russell. Manatee and Pixel are Italian Greyhounds, and Snorkel is a Xoloitzcuintle – a Mexican hairless.

What's brewing?

The coffee here is some of the best in the world. One of the cafes is owned by a good friend, who ran a coffee shop in Princeton. My morning ritual is a triple latte, which comes in a bowl. (Oaxaca is the Paris of Mexico.)

Another cafe, which I’ve recently begun to frequent, is devoted to exotic methods of preparing coffee: Vietnamese drip, etc.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Well, no need for treats. This new cafe in particular prefers dogs to humans, and insists that they run wild. I’ve had to dissuade the waitresses from feeding the dogs, but my sense is that they still do it on the sly.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Moose was named for the reason that you call a basketball player “Shorty.” She’s pretty small. Manatee as well: she’s the opposite of fat. Pixel was named for her personality: dancing and bright. Snorkel was hilariously wrinkled as a puppy: she looked like a snorkel.

How were you and your dogs united?

Moose we got from a veterinarian who had a litter to be homed.

Manatee was a gift. Pixel we got her from a woman in Mexico City, who is a biologist dedicated to keeping the breed healthy. Snorkel was bought for our landlady, who wanted a Xolo, but she bonded instantly with my girlfriend, so we had to keep her.

How do your dogs help--or hinder--your writing?

They’re the reason I’ve been writing Galunker. They’re in fact the reason I got into writing about animal welfare in the first place. Absolutely central to my life. That said, they do their best to make sure that I don’t get any writing done. (High maintenance.)

Galunker had a great start Kickstarter campaign, didn't it?

The campaign has been successful beyond anything we ever imagined: pit bull advocates from around the world have supported the book.

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

We don’t have squirrels or traditional postmen, so it’s cats by default. We’ve been tending a feral cat colony; the dogs have mixed feelings about this.

What is each dog's best quality?

Moose: poetic. Pixel: absurdly social. Snorkel: ridiculous. Manatee: criminal mastermind.

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

They’d prefer I didn’t write, so that I could pay attention to them full time. They’re sincerely hoping that Galunker will be the last book.

Visit the Kickstarter campaign page for Galunker.

--Marshal Zeringue