Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lisa Goldstein & Bonnie

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Lisa Goldstein, a writer -- my latest book is Weighing Shadows. The dog is Bonnie, a female Labrador mix. She just turned five.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

No occasion -- I just like coffee and I like dogs.

What's brewing?

Just regular coffee, made with Costa Rica Estrella.

How were you and Bonnie united?
We were just at the point of looking for a new dog, and we saw Bonnie at an adoption event put on by the Milo Foundation, a local dog and cat adoption group. I liked her a lot, but unfortunately I had to go out of town for two weeks. The two weeks turned into four weeks, but when I got back she was still available for adoption -- inexplicably, we thought, given how beautiful she is. So we snapped her up.

How did Bonnie get her name? Does she have any nicknames?
Bonnie and her brother went through about four homes and foster homes together, and when they arrived at the Milo Foundation someone named them Bonnie and Clyde. I don't know if this was because of her anti-authoritarian streak, but in any case we didn't see it as a warning. Perhaps we should have…

Does Bonnie help or hinder your writing?

Help. Sometimes she'll lie under my desk and look up at me adoringly.

Has Bonnie inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Not yet, but I do think about it.

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

Tennis ball.

Postman, cat, squirrel...?

All of the above, unfortunately. If she saw all of them at once I don't know how she'd be able to chose.

Where is Bonnie's favorite place for an outing?

We used to go to Point Isabel, a terrific dog park with lots of trees, lots of dogs, water to swim in, old tennis balls lying around for the taking. Four years after we started going she suddenly decided to head off on her own, and she left the park, went out into traffic, crossed several streets, one of them fairly busy, headed into a parking lot where I lost her until some people pointed her out to me, and then finally returned to the drinking fountain at the park, where I caught up with her. So unfortunately we can't go back there until she shows she's under voice control, though I'm thinking about investigating fenced-in parks.

Who is Bonnie's best pet-pal?

She loves a dog that used to live next door, a Bernese mountain dog. The owners moved a while ago, but even now she'll try to pull me toward the house where they used to live. Sometimes the owner comes to the neighborhood to visit, bringing the dog, and Bonnie practically explodes with happiness.

What is Bonnie's most endearing quality?

Her affection. She comes up to us a lot, looking to be scratched. When she gives her heart to someone it stays there.

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

She'd definitely like me to be more generous with the treats.

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

There's an actor named Kristen Schaal who has the kind of goofy voice we imagine for Bonnie. And, looking at her Wikipedia page, I see she does voice work! Perfect!

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

Bonnie is -- how can I put this? -- not the most obedient of dogs. (See "Favorite Place," above, also "Postman, cat, squirrel?") However, she is very food-motivated. It seems strange to me that she still doesn't fully understand the basic dog-human interaction, where the human gives the dog a treat if the dog behaves well. So it's not really a question, but I guess I'd like to try to explain this to her, because I know she'd like the extra food.

Visit Lisa Goldstein's website.

The Page 69 Test: Weighing Shadows.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 28, 2015

Kerry Alan Denney & Holly Jolly

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Kerry Alan Denney aka The Reality Bender, multiple award-winning published author of various horror, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, and supernatural novels and short stories, with my Golden retriever Holly Jolly the professional Therapy Dog. In the photo, we’re disguised as Holly Jolly Claus and SuperSanta. Look at the expression on Holly’s dog-face: I swear I believe she actually knows when she’s being photographed. She’s such a ham for the camera! She’s so photogenic.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Any chance to share Holly’s unique unconditional love, affection, playfulness, and joie de vivre with others is a good occasion. As a fully trained and well-behaved Therapy Dog for six years now, Holly loves people and dogs of all sizes and ages, and loves making others happy... and making Holly and others happy makes me happy.

What's brewing?

For me, hot chocolate with marshmallows; for Holly, a bowl of fresh, clean water.

Any treats for you or Holly Jolly on this occasion?

I may be allowed a few double-chocolate fudge brownies, or some chocolate chip cookies. Holly gets 100% all-natural chicken jerky treats—no preservatives added!

(An important note for dog owners: Always check the list of ingredients on packaged treats you buy for your dog, and never give them anything with propylene glycol in it! That’s basically anti-freeze. It’s poison, and will shorten the life of your furry friend, and eventually kill them. I believe it should be illegal to put this preservative in dog treats, and that packages should be clearly marked with a warning when it’s used, but the companies that use this preservative to extend the shelf-life of the treats aren’t regulated by the FDA, and don’t care if they shorten the lives of our canine friends. It’s up to us to be the watchdogs for the health of our furry buds!)

How were you and Holly Jolly united?

In the late Fall of 2006, I searched for reputable breeders of Golden retrievers. I found a mother-and-son combination in Michigan who occasionally bred them (not a puppy farm!), and they had posted photos of a litter of Golden pups all dressed in various Christmas regalia: festive bows, Santa caps, decorative ribbons, etc. They were irresistibly cute. After personally contacting the breeder and determining that she and her son were respectable and legit, I submitted my request just in time, and got the last pup of the litter, a female they had named Sandy.

On December 21, 2006, I went to the cargo pickup warehouse at Atlanta, Georgia’s Hartsfield International Airport and picked up Holly as a nine-week-old puppy. She was so cute it made my chest ache. It was love at first sight for both of us, and we’ve lived happily together here in Stone Mountain, GA ever since that unforgettable day. Holly is nine now, and still happy, healthy, and as playful and energetic as a puppy.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

On the evening of December 20, 2006, I went to bed early still trying to come up with the perfect name for my new furry friend. At 3 a.m. the next morning—the morning I was scheduled to go pick her up—I jerked fully awake with the famous Burl Ives tune “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” playing in my head as if it were blaring out of my stereo, and I thought, “Eureka! Of course!” After that, there was never any doubt: Holly Jolly she was. And the name fit her personality perfectly.

Does Holly Jolly do more to help or hinder your writing?

Definitely help! She is the best writing companion I could ever hope or ask for. Her unique joy for life and unbridled enthusiasm inspires me endlessly.

Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your writing?

Absolutely! Holly herself inspired my short story “Old Coot,” about a remarkably gifted Therapy Dog. It was published online at Page & Spine to critical acclaim on November 1, 2013.

Additionally, Holly and several of her canine buds have inspired me to write about amazing and remarkable dogs in all of my published novels, as well as a few not published yet (and one coming out in 2016). I love writing about dogs, and believe they are the greatest gift our creator has ever given us. Treat your canine friends well and they will shower you with unconditional love all their lives!

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Amazingly, Holly has never been the type of dog to chase or be aggressive or defensive over any creature. Plus, because of her thorough training, she is so well-behaved that she knows better than to leave my side without permission. We’re constantly complimented on her excellent behavior and obedience. In our interaction with other dog owners with Golden retrievers, I’ve noticed that the breed is so eager to please that most people who own them have commented on how easy they are to train.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

All three! She is an excellent “play fetch” companion, and has been since she was just a puppy.

And she loves to swim. We go to the lake at Stone Mountain Park two to three times a week, where she plays tennis ball fetch in the lake. And she loves her plush stuffed toys too: She even identifies several of them by name when I ask her to choose one (doggie, froggie, bear, seal, turtle, leopard).

Who is Holly Jolly's best pet-pal?

Definitely Josie, a beautiful half-Golden retriever half-German shepherd owned by my great writer friend Lynda Fitzgerald. Holly and Josie play so well together, and have from the moment they met. Lynda and I believe they were best buds in a past life, reunited in this one.

What is Holly Jolly's best quality?

Definitely her joie de vivre (exuberance; energy and love of life). She has many remarkable qualities: affectionate, loyal, sweet, enthusiastic, gentle, playful, endlessly happy. But her joy of life is her shining star.

If Holly Jolly could change one thing about Georgians, what would it be?

That’s a tough one! My best guess would be that we would love cold weather more. (Native Georgians by and large can’t stand the cold, and being a native Floridian, I’m no exception.)

Holly absolutely loves cold weather and especially snow. See for yourself in her YouTube video.

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

Another tough one. I may change my answer to this question ten times or more after I’ve answered it. I would ask her what I can do to make the world a better place for us all to live in, but she’s already answered that many times before just by her sheer nature, which I put as the answer to the last question here. There are so many questions I’d love for her to answer! Such as:

Will I see you on the other side? (If there is a God, I surely will.) But I’ll go with this one: What can I do to make her live a longer, happier, healthier life?

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

If Hollywood made a movie about my life in which Holly could speak, I’d let her choose who would do her voice, and then we would Snoopy dance together on the ceiling. However, my choice would be the talented voice-over actress Mila Kunis. Because of her past experience in voice-over acting, I believe she would create the perfect voice for Holly.

What advice would Holly Jolly give if asked?

Easiest question yet. She would share her motto, her creed, which she has shared all her life by example: Live your lives with wind-in-fur.

Visit Kerry Alan Denney's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Julia Knight & Frek

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Julia Knight, and I’m a fantasy author. The cheeky chap with me is Frek, who is an 8-year-old collie/spaniel cross. The photo is titled “You stopped cuddling me for a whole nanosecond so I must lick your face” which is what always happens when I try to get a picture of us together!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Actually I prefer tea and I never knowingly refuse a cuppa so I often stop by the dog-friendly café in the park.

What's brewing?

Proper builder’s tea – hot and strong. PG Tips (English breakfast) for preference.

Any treats for you or Frek on this occasion?

Whenever I eat, Frek always gets a little bit of it, and on this occasion that means ginger nut biscuits, perfect for dunking.

How were you and Frek united?

Frek is a rescue dog – a charity close by rehomes puppies. My husband got him for me one birthday as I missed having a dog around after my last lady died.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

As he was a rescue, he already had a name, Freckles. However I refused to stand in the park shouting that, so we shortened it to Frek. He’ll actually answer to anything ending in “eck” so Shrek is also a common one. He also gets called Frekadoodle, I have no idea why....

Does Frek do more to help or hinder your writing?

Walking the dog is a great way of working through plot tangles, so he definitely helps!

Has Frek inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

He has appeared in my book, Fade to Black (under the pen name Francis Knight) as a puppy called Freckles, but only in conversation.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

He’s afraid of cats – one of them is currently trolling him by sleeping in his bed all day and not letting him in it. He sits next to his bed and whines instead. He loves our post man as he knows he can always get a quick cuddle. Squirrels on the other hand he chases like no one’s business, though I suspect if he caught one he’d just try to play with it. He’s a big old softy like that.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Despite our best efforts to train him, he never actually brings anything back (or often even bothers chasing until it lands), so a stick is a must unless we want to traipse after the ball. He also barks like crazy at the beach for us to throw stones but after diving around into the water he makes no effort to actually get it and barks for another one!

Who is Frek's best pet-pal?

He loves going for walks with a fellow collie of friends of ours, Willow and Charlie.

What is Frek's best quality?

He is totally soppy – he wants love all the time! I’m actually just about to enroll him with a charity that does hospital/care home visits with dogs and he’ll be in doggie heaven.

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

He’d give me an extra arm so I could constantly cuddle him at all times.

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

Why is it that when we’re out you have to jump in every single drop of water – especially that green pond once that covered you in stinking green algae – but you hate having a bath? (A bath which was very necessary after the green algae incident.)

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

Bob Peterson (who voiced Dug in the film, Up) because he completely nailed the soppy daftness!

What advice would Frek give if asked?

Cuddle me more. No, more, more! Never stop! Except perhaps to feed me?

Visit Julia Knight's website.

The Page 69 Test: Warlords and Wastrels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 21, 2015

Donna Balzer & Kelly

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me, Donna Balzer, and my dog Kelly.

I am the No Guff Gardener - I make gardening less complicated for my audience but I never make it stupid because that’s just dumb. I write and speak about gardening to various audiences and I have a regular phone-in gardening show on CBC radio in Canada, regular column in the local newspaper (Calgary Herald), a blog, and a YouTube channel (No Guff Gardening).

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Kelly looks for an excuse to relax and unwind and we encourage this because he was such a crazy overactive dog when we first got him eighteen months ago. Every morning, after his big exhausting off-leash run in the woods with dad, Kelly puts on his best neck-tie and joins me for coffee by the fire.

What's brewing?

Kelly still drinks from puddles but I love a good cup of French Press coffee and I prefer Kick Ass coffee from Kicking Horse Coffee in Invermere, BC.

Any treats for you or Kelly on this occasion?

I love toasted nuts and Kelly loves his Stella’s Super Beef Dinner Patties (although a frozen chicken neck really makes him happy too). We tried to convince Kelly he would like the Stella’s lamb after the store ran out of the Beef but he declined and waited it out until the beef were re-stocked.

How were you and Kelly united?

As beautiful as he is Kelly was a rescue dog, returned to the breeder because of discipline problems and an insecurity that made him aggressive and gave him a bad rap. The breeder had already had another batch of puppies plus her breeding dogs so there was no room at the inn for a big bad brother. My husband heard of his availability through his daughter and we took him on trial. And he was bad. And he has attitude. But when people meet him at our house for the first time they fall all over themselves touching him and snuggling with him. He is a real Jekyll and Hyde type dog.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

At 18 months old, Kelly came to use as Pele. Apparently this is the name of a famous soccer player but I was always pronouncing it wrong so we went with the almost-rhyming Kelly. And he took to it right away. He wanted to forget about his past and move forward. And we know the harsh sounding letter K gets a quick response in the park so it works for us all.

Does Kelly do more to help or hinder your gardening?

Kelly likes to chase people away from our fence and he sometimes helps with liquid nitrogen applications but he was previously trained to do his business on gravel and that is very helpful for us and keeps certain items out of the garden. He is a very loyal dog and likes to be right with us as much as possible so whether it 90 degrees in the greenhouse or pouring rain outside he is right on hand for whatever is required.

Cat, postman, squirrel…?

We learned from our dog trainer that poodles are actually trained French Police dogs and they take their work seriously. They try to keep the thugs in the neighbourhood pinned down and controlled.

Kelly took to natural garden patrol the first week we had him. He chased a deer down the street and over a tall fence into the backyard of a neighbour. When we caught up with him he had the deer down on the ground and had him firmly by the neck. This is a city dog, born and bred. We were shocked but not as shocked as the lady having coffee on her back patio when the scene from the Serengeti played out beneath her in her own yard. We leashed and brought Kelly home and we are keeping him on leash now until he gets his natural impulses a little more restrained. Meanwhile my husband lets him gallop at will in a natural area where he pursues deer but refuses to go off trail and mess up his pretty fur. So he is really turning into quite a pussycat.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick…?

Kelly chases a ball but doesn’t have the retriever instinct so we let him run toy-free so that we don’t have to learn to retrieve either.

Who is Kelly's best pet-pal?

Our older dog Kepla was best friends with the boy Sheltie across the street so of course we thought Kelly would want to continue that friendship. The owners were game even though Kelly was less than friendly initially. After a date in the fenced off-leash park the dogs came to an agreement. They tolerate but don’t sleep with each other. Kelly is not as amendable to letting Troy finish his dinner like Kepla used to do. and Troy never shares his bed with Kelly. Quite simply, Kelly prefers people and appreciates a strong master and commander.

What is Kelly's best quality?

Everyone says he is handsome. He walks like a princess and looks good when he trots (on-leash) down the street.He is also loyal and can leap over tall fences to bring home the game or defend us against toy terriers.

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

He would get me on a training program so that I could run with him daily. He can’t figure out why I move so slow compared to him and stick with my morning walks on the beach when he goes off-leash with Keith.

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

I would like to know what happened in his first life that made him so antsy around little dogs. We like all dogs but realize we can’t trust him yet with others so we have to keep him on a short leash when we are in town.

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

Definitely Peter Sellers because Kelly has respect for authority so would like to be voiced by Inspector Clouseau.

What advice would Kelly give if asked?

He would say I should work less and lie around more and he has been learning this skill himself. He would say I should follow my nose and not my heart. He would say we should age gracefully together and recently he has started going grey and is supposed to be fully grey before he turns five so maybe we will look more like a match then.

Visit Donna Balzer's website, Twitter perch, Facebook page, and YouTube channel (No Guff Gardening).

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ellen Jackson & Abby

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Ellen Jackson, children’s author, dog-lover, and member of the fellowship of flawed human beings. On my lap is Abby, a 14-year-old schnoodle (schnauzer/poodle), also known as dogface and pupcakes.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Coffee and canines are two of my favorite things. Santa Barbara has many dog friendly places where people can dine with their pooches. One of our favorites is the Mesa Cafe.

What's brewing?

Just the house coffee. Did I say “just”? It’s quite good.

Any treats for you or your dog on this occasion?

Abby gets special low-fat dog treats, which she loves.

How were you and your dog united?

Abby’s mother was found wandering the streets without any identification. A very nice dog rescuer took her in and soon discovered that she (the mother, not the dog rescuer) was pregnant. Abby was the last to be adopted from that litter. In my case, it was love at first sight.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

She came with her name, and I didn’t want to confuse her by giving her another one. She was confused enough, having first been adopted by someone who could not provide for her—and then returned to the original dog rescuer.

Does Abby do more to help or hinder your writing?

She warms my feet when she snoozes under my desk in the morning. And she looks cute on my webpage. Definitely helps.

Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your writing?

Ah, yes indeed! A homeless dog named Boozer (sorry about the name) wandered the streets of a small town in New England many years ago. The dog just couldn’t seem to settle down with any one family. Everyone in the town loved Boozer. The towns folk finally took up a collection, got Boozer a license, paid his vet bills, and declared him to be the only dog in history who belonged to–himself.

I wrote The Ballad of Booster Bogg a few years ago. Boozer’s name was changed to protect the innocent, and also to give him a handle that rhymed with “dog.”

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Definitely cats and squirrels. My most recent book, Beastly Babies, features a number of naughty animals and their antics, including a few kittens and puppies. My book, Tooling Around, highlights a number of animals who use tools or objects from their environment in their daily lives, including a certain species of squirrel.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Some of each.

Who is your dog's best pet-pal?

Abby, unfortunately, thinks she’s a human and doesn’t associate much with her own species if she can help it. She’s had two doggie friends in her life: Wookie and Bucky. Sadly both moved away. But she absolutely loves people and will eagerly jump into the lap of anyone she sees sitting on a park bench, sprawled on the grass, or otherwise available for canine companionship.

Where is Abby's favorite outdoor destination?

Any outdoor vacation we go on suits her just fine.

What is Abby's best quality?

She loves people–all people. But especially children. She’s the most affectionate dog I’ve ever known.

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

More supermarkets that allowed doggie customers. There’s actually one up in the Tahoe area that we know of.

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

What’s it like to smell in technicolor? What’s it like to hear the squeaks of cockroaches and detect people’s emotions with a sniff or two?

What advice would your dog give if asked?

Abby: Well, Ellen, you’re a pretty good dog owner, all things considered. But you could hold off on some of those baths. Sheesh! Just when I’m starting to smell like a dog you put that goop all over me. I’d like to have less of that and more rotten garbage and dead fish to roll in.

Visit Ellen Jackson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 14, 2015

Laura Norris & Charlie

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Laura, a freelance writer and running coach, and this is Charlie, a 3-year-old male rescue puggle.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We just finished a run, which is one of our favorite activities to do together, and heading out to grab a cup of coffee!

What's brewing?

Black coffee for me, which is my favorite, and water for Charlie.

Any treats for you or Charlie on this occasion?

Charlie will probably enjoy some homemade chicken broth when we get home, which is his favorite treat.

How were you and Charlie united?

My then-boyfriend (now husband) and I decided to adopt a dog to keep me company when I lived alone in a strange city for graduate school. We found Charlie through Petfinder and immediately knew he was the dog for us.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Before we even knew of Charlie, my husband and I decided that Charlie was the perfect name for a dog. It just came to us one day! We also call him "Snuggle Puggle," and "Chuckles" as nicknames.

You have a very lively blog about food and running. Would you tell us a bit about Charlie as a runner and as chowhound?

Charlie loves to run and to eat! He first starting running when he was 9 months old, and now runs 3-5 miles a few times per month. He also loves to go hiking and explore the outdoors. Charlie is quite the foodie and loves wholesome foods such as roasted chicken, homemade chicken broth, any time of cheese, and (oddly enough) raw cabbage and cauliflower.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Where we live there are lots of birds, and Charlie will always try to chase them! Meanwhile, the USPS and FedEx workers are usually terrified of him, because he will bark at them.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Charlie's favorite toy is a Durabone, but he also has several squeaky-toys that he is fond of. He removed the squeakers from most of them though!

Who is Charlie's best pet-pal?

Charlie's best pet pal is his puppy-uncle Frankie, who is my parents' 2-year-old puggle.

What is Charlie's best quality?

Charlie's best quality is that he is kind and friendly. He always knows how to put a smile on someone's face!

If Charlie could change one thing about Washingtonians, what would it be?

Charlie would change how they drive! He doesn't like the traffic around here and wishes he could get to the park sooner.

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

I would ask him how we could make his days even better, since he is such a sweet dog and I want the best for him.

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

The voice we gave Charlie sounds a lot like Ralph Wiggams from The Simpsons, so the same actor would have to voice him.

Visit This Runner’s Recipes, like This Runner’s Recipes on Facebook, and follow on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Peter Hutson-Jones & Skipper

Who is in the photo at right?

In the photo is myself, Peter Hutson-Jones. I am a crime thriller writer represented by "A for authors" agency. I am also a dog walker (to pay the rent!). My dog Skipper is a 9-year-old female Airedale terrier. She was born in Utah, and came to us via Boston when we lived in Nova Scotia. She is a well travelled woofer. We currently live near Warrington in Cheshire, UK.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We regularly have a coffee at the Dingle Farm tea shop, Appleton after my wife and I have finished our dog walking day. Any excuse for me to refuel on the staple of any writer, and Skipper looks forward to any left over dog treats I have in my pockets.

What's brewing?

On most days I enjoy just a shot of espresso - preferably short and strong - on today's visit I opted for the in-house latte as I had skipped lunch!

Any treats for you or Skipper on this occasion?

I had a toasted teacake and shared a slice of spiced pumpkin cake with my wife Andrea, usually I just have coffee. Skipper had half of my treat, as usual, I just can't deny her anything. For the record she even has a roast dinner with us every Sunday.

How were you and Skipper united?

Skipper was destined to be our dog. As I previously stated, she was born in 2006 in Utah. (I've never been but I believe it gets hot there.) We were living in Nova Scotia, Canada at the time and had lost our first dog "Buddy" just before we left England. Buddy was 18 when he passed, and after a short time we realised that our house was not a home without a dog. I had always wanted an Airedale - 'the king of the terriers'- but couldn't find a local breeder. After a long search I came across a recognised breeder in Utah who had just one of the latest litter left. Initially I was sceptical about flights, travel time and the like, but after reassurance from the breeder that it would be OK, I drove 18 hours to Boston to meet her and Skipper at Logan. When I arrived Skipper was already a huge hit with the cargo personnel, so much so that she had been taken to their staff room for everyone to get 'their Airedale fix'.

Fast forward 2 years and we returned to the UK and naturally Skipper came back with us. Fortunately we managed to arrange for her to stay with friends in Canada whilst her rabies shots were given - this enabled her to fly in without having any time in quarantine. I'm certain she would have hated that.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

When we first decided to get another dog we had moved to a house right on the ocean and had a boat. Our young daughter, Freya decided on the name Skipper as she wanted her to go on the boat with her. It mattered little that our new dog was female. For my part I was happy that Freya had chosen a name normally associated with male dogs rather than Tinker Bell or something similar.

Does Skipper do more to help or hinder your writing?

Funnily enough I seem to write better when Skipper is at at my feet in my office. Apart from her gentle snoring, she appears to have a very positive influence on my work.

Has Skipper inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

In my first novel Jacob's Dory I actually included a dog called Skipper - rather tragically my main protagonist killed the dog and then her carcass was fed on by rodents - a bit gruesome but totally fictional!

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Definitely squirrel - a terrier thing. She loves our postman too much to bark at him.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Squeaky toy - although she prefers my socks to anything other than something edible.

Who is Skipper's best pet-pal?

Being dog walkers she comes into contact with many different dog breeds, all shapes and sizes - her favourite is a cavapoo called Kip. We use Skipper whenever we take on a new puppy as a client, she's so gentle with them, even if the dog's owners look at her mouthful of teeth (she has an unnerving propensity to smile) with a degree of horror!

What is Skipper's best quality?

Despite Airedales having a reputation for being stubborn and aloof, our Skipper is the most loving dog I've ever come across. She is loyal, funny and is happiest when she sits on the sofa between us all. She is our baby, no doubt.

If Skipper could change one thing about the English, what would it be?

The thing she would change about the English is she would tell us "Get some sunscreen on, you know you burn at the first sight of the sun." She would also change anyone who is uptight about dogs.

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

I would ask Skipper "Are you happy and contented little woofer, and if not, what can I do to make it better?"

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

Now if Hollywood came knocking I would want - despite her being a female dog with a male name - either James Mason or Orson Welles to speak her part.

What advice would Skipper give if asked?

Her advice would be "Eat, Love and bazz about that's what will make you happy."

Visit Peter Hutson-Jones's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 7, 2015

Caroline Cowen & Fenway

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Caroline Cowen and my dog is Fenway. She is a two year old rescue who we believe to be a lab, boxer, hound and pitbull mix. We own and operate Fenways Runway. There are lots of photos of her at the site or by using #fenwaysrunway on Instagram or Facebook.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Coffee is life blood when you work with animals. We always have a coffee in the morning on the way to the dog park!

What's brewing?

Starbucks Christmas blend k cups!

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

A homemade fruit smoothie.

How were you and Fenway united?

We rescued her through lost dog rescue foundation. I now volunteer for them occasionally.

Any treats for Fenway on this occasion?

She's had her morning treat after going potty this morning.

How did Fenway get her name?

I was born and raised in Boston, what more can I say?

Does she have any nicknames?

Fen, feng shui, snuggle butt, little love.

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

Fox or giraffe are her favorites at home- if we're at the park a tennis ball or stick will do. She would always prefer to play with another dog though.

Postman, cat, squirrel...?

She could care less about squirrels cats or bunnies, she doesn't bark ever, but she's been known to growl at a plastic bag or a baseball hat.

Where is Fenway's favorite place for an outing?

Great falls or the beach.

Who is Fenway's best pet-pal?

She loves so many dogs because we have so many friends stay with us!

What is Fenway's most endearing quality?

She will always love. She will snuggle and cuddle and love more than any animal I've ever met. She's very protective of me but of other animals as well.

If Fenway could change one thing about Virginians, what would it be?

Their bad driving habits.

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

Great question, Isla Fisher.

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

What do you remember from the first 2 months of your life? (Before we rescued her.)

Visit the Fenways Runway website, Facebook page, and Instagram page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Bethany Whitfield & Maddie

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Bethany Whitfield and I am a Print Co-Ordinator for a polythene manufacturer in the UK. What's probably more interesting is that I am a Nail blogger. I write a blog called B Nailed To Perfection, where I write about reviews, nail art and other nail related things. Maddie is my little sweet Puggle and she will be two years old in February next year.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I never need an excuse to sit down and relax with my girl. In this picture we decided to have a sit in our garden...then she decided to invade my sunlight and sit on my knee!

What's brewing?

Just a good old Yorkshire brew!

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

A few chocolate favourite!

How were you and Maddie united?

My boyfriend and I had been talking about getting a dog for a while and we saw her advertised by a local breeder, went to meet her and we fell in love!

Any treats for Maddie on this occasion?

She has plenty of treats in the kitchen drawer haha but she loves her Stag bone at the moment.

How did Maddie get her name? Does she have any nicknames?

We really didn't know what to call Maddie when we met her. We had to wait another week before we could go pick her up and we just searched for female names on Google and settled on Maddie. It was quote appropriate too as she is mad.

She has loads of nick names but the most common ones are Maddie moo and Stinky butt!

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

She gets obsessed with new toys so unfortunately rarely gets them as within 10 minutes they are ripped to shreds. I think her aim is just to de-stuff them, but she doesn't play -- she destroys! She does have a couple of rubber toys that she has had from being a puppy; she plays fetch with them everyday and they are still intact.

Postman, cat, squirrel...?

Pussy cat! Where where?!

Where is Maddie's favorite place for an outing?

She loves going up to the field on a weekend morning as that is the time she gets off lead play with her favourite fetch toy.

Who is Maddie's best pet-pal?

She loves Hank who is a Pug and they see each other quite a lot as he just lives up the road.

What is Maddie's most endearing quality?

Her big eyes. She just looks at you and makes you happy.

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

Probably my job so I could spend alllllll day with her!

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

Gosh that's a tricky one....maybe Sandra Bullock?

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

Do you love being with us? Which I'm sure the answer would be yes as she seems so happy.

Visit Bethany Whitfield's B Nailed To Perfection blog and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 30, 2015

Lisa Edwards & Pinball

photo credit: Jill Ferson
Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Lisa J. Edwards, professional dog trainer, behavioral consultant, and author.

Pinball is the orange and white dog next to me, and the smiling little boy is my son Indigo. I have been a nationally certified dog trainer and behavior consultant for almost 17 years. Five years ago, Pinball was born at one of the shelters where I am the lead trainer. I met him on the day he was born. His mama was a sweet small-medium mix dog and the rumor was the father was a beagle. The rumors are supported by Pinball’s beagle howl. Pinball has snuggled at my feet through the writing of two books to date.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine? 

What's brewing? Any treats for you or Pinball on this occasion?

Every morning as I curl up in the red leather chair with a big bowl of French or Colombian roast—made strong, one-and-a-half scoops to every cup, Pinball comes down to hang out with me. The house is quiet because it’s before anyone else gets up and he sits close enough so I can scratch him behind the ears for a while and then he usually asks to go outside. He enjoys lying out on the deck in all weather, so he does need a treat lure to get him to come back in from outside.

When we learned about Pinball in 2012 you said his name fit his energy level. Has that changed much?

Pinball’s energy has become more moderated as he has matured, at least when inside the house unless one of his favorite people comes to visit or I come home. But, he remains the “pinball” energy machine when outside in the yard, zooming over rocks, fallen trees, and flying up the stairs on one side of the deck then over them into the grass on the other side as he continues his whirlwind zoom around the yard. My son loves to watch Pinball zooming from rock, to tree, and then digging in the ferns before he’s off again. And, Pinball seems invigorated by my son’s laughter.

Please tell us about your new book.

My new book is Please Don’t Bite the Baby, and Please Don’t Chase the Dogs, Keeping Our Kids and Our Dogs Safe and Happy Together is part-memoir and part training-tips. Each chapter is split into memoir followed by a tips section that details the skills, exercises and management techniques I used in that chapter as I balanced three complicated dogs and a newborn baby. My goal was to walk the reader through my quest to keep my son safe in a house with these three loving but issue-filled dogs, then offer pointers on what parents could do in their own home.

Cat, postman, squirrel...? Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

The cat is Pinball’s best animal buddy—they love each other and trust each other to the point that they snuggle together, and when they play, I occasionally interrupt the play wondering if it is too rough on the cat (one third Pinball’s size) but she than comes back (with a typical cat look of disdain) to see why he hasn’t followed her.

Pinball is a tug and chase dog. Part of him loves to be chased when he has something, and another part of him is made very anxious by that—hence his resource guarding. Tug is a game he would play until we all dropped from exhaustion. I usually drop first. He tugs appropriately, drops the toy when asked to and waits patiently to be presented with the toy again. I know he is really having fun when he actually lifts off the ground to become airborne a little bit creating his own canine carnival ride.

Who is Pinball's best pet-pal?

I am Pinball’s first best pal, then he has a couple doggie friends who set up play dates with him. He loves my son, and Auntie Jill is his second or third favorite human (I can’t know what order we all fall into). Pinball loves to be where my son, Indy is. Initially I had to manage the dogs to keep the newborn safe, but now I have to manage the three-year-old boy to keep the dog safe. I am sure it will balance out shortly.

Pinball’s two doggie housemates passed away last year and he was inconsolable for several months. He is getting used to being the only dog while we wait for the house to be safe enough from the long reach of the toddler for another dog to join us.

Where is Pinball's favorite outdoor destination?

There is a huge hole that Pinball has dug under a gigantic collection of ferns in the way back of the yard. He will frequently settle into that hole and fall asleep in all but rainy weather.

If Pinball could change one thing about New Yorkers, what would it be?

Pinball would love it if everyone, not just New Yorkers, would always ask before petting or approaching him or any dog. There was a time when he was a leery of strangers and while he is much more comfortable, he wants to be the one to make the invitation for people to pet him, not have them take the liberty.

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

Was there any one thing that made you so anxious, or was this just something you were destined to be?

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

I would have to say Jeff Goldblum because his quote from The Lost World, Jurassic Park, fits Pinball perfectly, “Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that’s how it always starts. Then later there’s running and screaming.”

What advice would Pinball give if asked?

Always think before you bite.

Visit Lisa J. Edwards's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Lisa Edwards & Boo, Porthos, and Pinball (November 2012).

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Lauren Schmidt & Gypsy Marie

Who is in the photo at right?

I am Lauren Schmidt, a fashion and lifestyle blogger and founder of, an entrepreneur, author, model and photographer. I live each day doing what I love!

Gypsy Marie, 1.5 years old long- haired chiweenie residing in beautiful Scottsdale, AZ. Gypsy is a socially savvy diva with a big heart and an even bigger personality. When she isn’t flirting and showing off her fluffy tail she is taking naps cuddled up to her favorite furry toy.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Gypsy and I had a coffee date on our way to a local dog park.

Any treats for you or Gypsy Marie on this occasion?

A coffee date always consists of treats for Gypsy and me. We stopped at a Starbucks before making way to the park and Gypsy got her absolute favorite, a puppuccino, and I got a salted Caramel mocha. Tis The Season for delicious treats and walks through the park!

How were you and Gypsy Marie united?

Gypsy & I were united when I made a trip to a local no kill shelter. I wasn’t necessarily looking to adopt right away but sometimes things are just meant to be. I asked an employee if I could play with her outside of the kennel she shared with two other dogs and as soon as I picked her up she went from stiff and scared to relaxed and calm. Holding her was the moment I knew that I needed her and she needed me and the rest was history.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

My dog got her name from her playful and warm-hearted spirit. She is a lover, a wanderer and has a free spirit.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

She loves everyone and anything except for spiders and crickets. She loves the postman, has a fascination with cats and wishes she could have a squirrel for a BFF.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

All the above! My dog loves toys! She is not picky when it comes her to toys however her inner diva does come out when she has to share with her fellow canine friends.

Where is Gypsy's favorite outdoor destination?

Gypsy's favorite outdoor destination is definitely the beach! She loves to play in the sand and chase after seagulls.

Who is Gypsy's best pet-pal?

Gypsy Marie has two best pals. Urie is a big beautiful male Lab that she loves to visit in California. They love to go on walks together and have play dates! Her other furry friend is an 11-year-old Blue Russian male cat named Miles. You can often find Gypsy and Miles napping and watching TV together.

What is Gypsy's best quality?

Gypsy’s best quality is her unconditional love. I find myself taking her with me when I run errands and go shopping. People love to interact with her whether it’s just to say hi or to pet her; these interactions generate smiles on faces, and it's priceless and also amazing to witness.

If Gypsy could change one thing about Arizonans, what would it be?

Gypsy thinks that there is a crazy amount of awful drivers in Arizona and would like that to change.

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

I would ask her how I have done as a mom and if I could improve on anything? I would also thank her for rescuing me. The quote that always resonates with me is, “Who rescued who?”

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

I definitely think my dog is naturally sarcastic and has a sense of humor based on her daily dose of comedic acts that she does on the reg. I would definitely say Amy Schumer would be the perfect voice to represent her.

What advice would Gypsy Marie give if asked?

Be true to yourself, do what you love, be kind and empathetic of others and stay fierce and fabulous because you are a star and you were meant to shine!

Visit the Gypsy Marie Fashion & Lifestyle blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 23, 2015

Jenifer Meadows & Lola

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Jenifer Meadows and I am a Licensed Massage Therapist! This is Lola, our 4-year-old female Cavalier Puggle!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Today Mommy and Daddy have the day off, so we went on a run at the park, and on some days we will end it with a Starbucks coffee date!

What's brewing?

I had a tall soy caramel mocchiato, my fall favorite!

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Daddy had a bacon gouda breakfast sandwich.

How were you and Lola united?

We did a lot of research before bringing home a pup, and realized a puggle was the ideal dog for us, because they are happy to stay inside and tug on lazy days, and also excited to take a nice walk or hike! We searched for about 6 months to find one, and finally came across a ad for someone who's puggle had made puppies with a cavalier spaniel, and was looking for homes! We went to look at the litter, not sure who we would choose, and little Lola made it clear she wanted to be with us. She would follow us around, and bring us toys, but was also relaxed and not very aggressive, giving us a chance to play with the others, always making it known that she wanted our attention! We have been inseparable ever since.

Any treats for Lola on this occasion?

Lola loves to get a Pupicciono, a cup full of whipped cream! We only do this every now and then, but she knows as soon as we pull into the drive thru it is coming, and gets so excited!

How did Lola get her name? Does she have any nicknames?

I have always loved the name Lola, so we picked it out before we met her, and it seems to fit! She does have lots of nicknames! Her full name (because I am silly) is Lola Bella Meadows, so sometimes we call her Bella, sometimes Bubba, sometimes Bo, and sometimes Pooper!

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

Squeaky-toy and Balls for sure! She has a crab that squeaks that is her favorite toy ever, and chasing a ball is her second favorite pastime, next to eating!

Postman, cat, squirrel...?

Lola loves to chase squirrels and birds at the park! We have two cats as well, and she is more intimidated by them then anything!

Where is Lola's favorite place for an outing?

Lola loves the forest and the beach equally ! Lots of trails, smells and things to investigate in the forest!

And at the beach she gets to run, dig and play! She loves the way the way the sand feels under her paws! You can see the excitement when the ocean air hits her nose, and her whole face changes when paws hit the sand!

Who is Lola's best pet-pal?

Lola's best pet-pal is my grandmother's Karen Terrier Bentley.

What is Lola's most endearing quality?

She is so loving, and always so happy to see us. When we are sad or sick, she is extra loving. When we have been gone and come home, she greets us with a furious amount of excitement and kisses!

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

I definitely think Lola would want me to quit my job and be home always, or that the world would allow her to go with me everywhere! She gets so sad and pouty when I get ready to leave, it's hard to imagine anything else she would change.

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

Lisa Kudrow, as Pheobe from Friends! She is light hearted and playful, always looking on the bright side!

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

Do we make you happy? I know that is silly, because we can clearly tell she loves us, but it would be great to know how we could make her life even better, because she makes our hearts so full!

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cherie O'Boyle & Shiner

Who is in the photo at right?

This is Cherie O’Boyle and Shiner. I am a retired professor of psychology who now writes the Estela Nogales humorous cozy mystery series, including Fire at Will’s (pictured), Iced Tee, and coming in February, Missing Mom. Shiner is an almost eight-year old border collie who plays himself in the mysteries. In real-life, Shiner loves to hike in the mountains. He earned his Canine Good Citizen degree at nine months, and is a certified therapy dog. He’s also a four-second flyball racer, has earned his “started” title in sheepherding, and swims like an otter. These days he’s working on agility and dock-diving, in addition to his duties as Canine Consultant for the mystery series.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Every day is an occasion for coffee for me. While the coffee’s brewing, Shiner and I play fetch in the big backyard. He’s the kind of guy who behaves as though he’s already had way too much coffee, so I down enough fresh brew to half-way keep up with him. Another round of fetch. Another cup of coffee. I write a while, drink more coffee, and take the auxiliary dog for a walk, thinking about what comes next in the plot. After lunch, it’s more coffee, more writing and more fetch. At the end of the day we’re off to agility class, swimming, walks along the river and lots more fetch.

What's brewing?

Home brewed coffee with a little milk. I’m not picky about brand-name, but the coffee must be “fair-trade” and strong. And the eggs have to be stamped “certified humane”. Chickens deserve a (reasonably) happy life too.

Any treats for you or Shiner on this occasion?

After inhaling his morning kibble, Shiner can’t waste any more time eating. It’s ball-chasing time! No pastries for me either, as I already bear a striking resemblance to a well-stuffed cheese Danish.

How were you and Shiner united?

After decades of working 60 hours a week and leaving my dogs home alone, I wanted a companion who would hike and compete in dog sports with me. I picked Shiner out of a litter of five when he was just five weeks old. He came home at eight weeks and got right to work running me ragged with his activities. Not surprisingly, Shiner ‘temperament tested’ as the most focused and competitive pup in his litter.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Check out the face. One big black eye. He started out with one black eye, then as his snout got longer, his black eye got even bigger. He’s my Shining Star or sometimes Mr. Shinerman.

Does Shiner do more to help or hinder your writing?

Both Shiner and his fictional border collie brother, Scout, are critical to solving the mysteries in the quirky village of Arroyo Loco. They don’t talk, or think in human language, or do anything the average dog wouldn’t do. They just behave like dogs and that helps the humans figure out whodunnit. For example, (small spoiler alert) what if a dog, unnoticed, does some dog stuff at what later turns out to be the scene of a crime, and the stuff is stepped in by the perpetrator and tracked around? That would provide good circumstantial evidence, right? Honestly, after I wrote that I started to wonder why real bad guys don’t step in dog stuff more often!

The real-life Shiner also likes to be read to, especially the scary parts. And he really loves to hear the scary parts when his name is in the story! Yikes! In addition to providing a great model for my fictional dogs, Shiner also helps a lot with editing by listening while I read the entire manuscript out loud for a final edit.

Have your dogs inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

The village of Arroyo Loco hosts a variety of fictional non-human characters. There’s Shiner and his older brother, Scout. They pal around together and protect the protagonist, Estela Nogales. The beagle, Itches, is always running off and getting into trouble. There’s an untrustworthy basenji, Zero, who leaves important clues when he makes an unauthorized visit to the community kitchen. Then there are the cats, Mocha, Peaches, and Spumoni, who have a tendency to scatter on approach. Shiner has learned that three cats are significantly harder to herd than a hundred sheep. There’s a turkey vulture who helps find the murder weapon in Iced Tee. Oh, and there was that skunk...

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Squirrel, definitely squirrel. Grrr ... the very word sends Shiner into an excited romp around the yard to find the cheeky invader. He’ll even spit out his ball to chase a squirrel, prompting a new game called “find” when the ball gets lost. Shiner has never come close to catching a squirrel, which only proves how truly terrified he has them all.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Yes, yes, and yes!

Who is Shiner's best pet-pal?

Real-life Shiner spends most of his time with his adopted sister, “Dog who fell from the clear blue Sky”, so-named because we found her dumped alongside the highway between snow storms. She’s your typical little sister, an annoying pest who pokes you, gets you into trouble, and is always breaking your toys. Both dogs try their best to avoid the two-year-old kitten. She takes the cake in the pest department. Literally. Her name is Patience, but not because she’s got any.

What is Shiner's best quality?

He is gentle and kind with everything that lives (he’s just kidding with the squirrels). He was even voted the “most gentlemanly square-dance partner” at Camp Winnaribbun dog summer camp one year.

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

He would ask Californians to stop wasting water giving baths to dogs! Use it to fill up lakes, ponds, and rivers to swim in instead. Dogs who go swimming don’t need baths anyway. Unless they find a delicious rotting salmon, which, since it is salmon fishing season here, is tantalizingly likely.

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

Dogs live in a different universe than humans, a universe of smells. If there are words in English that could describe Shiner's universe, I wish he could tell me what that's like.

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

Marcel Marceau. Just kidding. Marceau was a mime. Like Marceau, Shiner doesn’t speak. He hardly ever even barks. The very idea of Shiner speaking completely wigs-out his human friends. Like your typical border collie, Shiner is non-stop activity. If he ever started speaking, he’d never stop.

What advice would Shiner give if asked?

Shiner is very concerned about the rate of human over-population and how they are taking over the best beaches, parks and trails. He believes firmly that spay and neuter programs should be instituted and fully-funded for humans immediately. He does admit that baby humans smell yummy, and their cheeks are so lick-able. He just thinks there are too many of them.

Visit Cherie O’Boyle's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 16, 2015

Greg Hartwich & Lady

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Greg Hartwich. I'm the artist behind Little Beagle Studio, my traditional art and graphic design business. Lady, my five year old dog, is the "little beagle."

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

This is a special occasion, because I don't get to see Lady a lot. Jacqui (my fiancée) and I recently moved to Upstate New York, and my little beagle stayed behind in Massachusetts with my parents and my younger sister. I was back in MA visiting my family, and I really liked the idea of spending some quality time with Lady by having coffee in my hometown's park.

What's brewing?

Straight black coffee from the Dunkin' Donuts down the street from my house. I like to keep it simple.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

A bacon, egg and cheese croissant breakfast sandwich. Not health food, but one of my favorite ways to start the day.

How were you and Lady united?

Lady joined our family three years ago. She was a rescue from a shelter in Massachusetts. My parents, my sister and I visited Buddy Dog (a local animal shelter in Sudbury, MA), and out of all the dogs they had, Lady was the only one with whom we felt an instant connection. We were lucky to get her, because she was actually scheduled to be picked up by someone else. She ended up coming home with us when the other interested party was a no-show. Their loss, our gain.

Any treats for Lady on this occasion?

She loves chicken jerky, so I brought some along for her. Once, when we left her alone for a few hours, she ate an entire bag of this stuff. She was so happy! No regrets.

How did Lady get her name? Does she have any nicknames?

Like I said, Lady is a rescue dog, and we kept the name she came with. She's accumulated a few nicknames over the course of the three years that we've known her: my neighbor calls her "Lady Jane,“ and Jacqui and I call her ”Ladybug."

Please tell us about Little Beagle Studio.

Little Beagle Studio is a joint effort between myself and my fiancé, Jacqui. I make the art, she handles the marketing and website upkeep. I draw portraits of pets, design logos, and make other custom artwork. We are currently starting on our holiday season, and are ramping up with orders for custom portraits of dogs, cats and more. I take a few pictures from people who place orders on my website or email me directly about having a portrait of their beloved pet. I take those pictures and draw a portrait of their pet and have it enlarged to whatever size the customer wants. Then I mail them the original image hand drawn usually only 3x5 size and the enlarged size they want. What makes me unique is how small I draw the original drawing. I like to get a lot of small details into every image from those little things that make your pet unique, to texture and this is done by working very small.

What role does Lady play in your design work?

Lady is my muse. Whenever I run into a little artist's block, I'll draw her to get past it. I also do funny sketches of my little beagle for holidays, which I typically post on our Facebook page. One of my first pet portraits featured Lady, her face is part of our logo that's featured on business cards, stickers, our website... She's a huge part of my design work.

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

Lady gets really excited about any toy that 1. looks like an animal (fox, squirrel, skunk, etc.), and 2. has a plastic bottle inside it that she can crunch. Her favorite thing to do is to sprint around the house while chomping on her toys.

Postman, cat, squirrel...?

She loves people, so mailmen are no problem. Any stranger coming to our door gets a quiet, sweet, enthusiastic greeting. Apparently she hates rodents, though. Anytime she spots squirrels, rabbits or chipmunks, she has to chase them.

Where is Lady's favorite place for an outing?

Lady's favorite place to walk is at the state park in Ashland, MA. The scenery is beautiful, there are about five miles of trails to explore, and there are plenty of other dogs and people to socialize with.

Who is Lady's best pet-pal?

Lady's best pet-pal would have to be the next-door neighbor's dog. Darcy is a female black lab with lots of energy, and both her and Lady love to sprint around and roughhouse. They don't get to see each other a lot, so whenever they meet, sparks fly.

What is Lady's most endearing quality?

Lady's especially endearing because she's so loving. She used to be nervous around people, but that only lasted a few weeks after we got her. Nowadays, it seems like she hasn't met a person she doesn't like.

If Lady could change one thing about upstate New Yorkers, what would it be?

Lady likes to get to the park quickly, which is not a problem around Bostonians who drive fast. When she's visiting us out here, it takes longer to get start our walks because of the slow upstate New York drivers. If she could change that, she would! I think mostly Lady would love Upstate New York, it has more parks than where we lived in MA and she loves to go to parks and on long hiking trips.

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

The consensus is Emma Stone, because she's sassy, which I suspect Lady secretly is as well.

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

I was thinking I'd ask her this: "Who's your favorite, me or my dad?" However, I know the answer, it's my dad. She loves him more than anything. Oh well. I'm not sure what my question would be.

Visit the Little Beagle Studio website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue