Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lisa Acciai & Lady and Muffin

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Lisa Acciai, a pet portrait artist, and at right, is my dog Lady and her best friend Muffin. Lady is a 12 year old female Lab mix and Muffin (my parents' dog who visits every day) is a 6 year old female Cavachon (which for those who aren’t familiar that is a mix of a Bichon Frise and Cavalier King Charles). We all live in Blacksburg, Virginia, home of Virginia Tech, along with my husband, and our two boys.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We walk the dogs every morning. Today, we decided to have coffee on the front porch with the girls before we headed out on our daily walk. Lady is definitely a creature of habit, so morning works are pretty much mandatory.

What's brewing?

Starbucks Veranda Blend K-cups.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Yes, homemade biscotti!

How were you and Lady united?

Lady and I met 9 years ago when my oldest son was 8 and begging for a dog. We went to the humane society with the intention of just “taking a look.” We almost missed seeing Lady that day. Her cage was on the other side of two cages that contained some very angry sounding dogs. Since the boys were afraid to go past the these dogs we were about to leave until the volunteer suggested I go and see her. I did go see her and I fell in love immediately. We went back to get her the next day.

Any treats for Lady and Muffin on this occasion?

Always! Lady and Muffin are very food motivated, so they are having the mandatory doggie biscuits (pretty much required after any trip outside). Most of the neighborhood knows these two, and there are numerous stops on any walk where “the girls” know “who gives out the best treats”!

How did Lady and Muffin get their names? Do they have any nicknames?

At the humane society they called her Baby which we didn’t like but we wanted something similar so she didn’t get confused. Lady fit perfectly. Muffin of course got her name because she looks like a brown muffin. I often call Muffin “muff” but Lady is always “Lady.”

[portrait of Muffin by Lisa Acciai, left]

Does Lady do more to help or hinder your art?

Lady lays by my side while I paint and when I get on a roll and forget the time she nudges me to take a break and eat – I think this may be more for her benefit!

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

In Lady’s younger days it was a squeaky toy, but these days she can’t be bothered. Her hips are too sore to do much playing. Muffin, on the other hand, can still chase a tennis ball for hours and chew a squeaky toy to bits in a matter of minutes.

Postman, cat, squirrel...?

UPS man – he always brings a treat with his packages. Both dogs are deathly afraid of cats – they had a bad experience where a cat attacked them for trying to invade the cats personal space. As for squirrel’s and other yard critters (we have a groundhog living next to our garden), neither dog could care less; if there isn’t food involved, it’s not worth their effort.

Where is Lady and Muffins favorite place for an outing?

Walking in the woods behind our house.

Who is Lady's best pet-pal?

Muffin! (or the treat bin, it’s sort of a toss up...)

What is Lady's most endearing quality? And Muffin's?

Lady has never met someone she didn’t like. She has a smile and wag for everyone she meets. Even cats ... although they don’t always like her! Muffin is a cuddler.

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

That it become a state law, that all delivery people be required to bring dog treats with any postage or packages left. She is absolutely thrilled when the brown UPS truck shows up, and it’s one of the few times when she actually barks (so you know it’s got to be pretty important). For the FedEx and USPS folks, she’ll barely raise her head up from a nap.

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

I’m thinking Julia Child, with more of a Southern accent, versus British - although I’m not sure how much Lady likes wine with her food.

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

I would ask what she dreams about; she seems to be doing a lot of running in her naps, yet she’s not the most active dog during her waking hours. So is she a “closet squirrel chaser,” who is just too old to keep up with those young critters….

Visit the website for Lisa Acciai's pet portrait art.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. Such beautiful pups. Favorite Young Man (my son) has two new boys in his house. He drove by two emaciated dogs and couldn't bear to leave them. Now they receive food and medical care and live in Favorite Young Man's comfortable house with his dog. I don't know if they'll stay with him, or he'll find homes for them. I'm grateful that he's so tender hearted, and grateful that you found Lady. The dog of my life, Faulkner, knew the pet sitter when we came across her while she was out making her rounds and we were walking. He always stuck his long nose in her purse, where she kept her stash of dog biscuits.


  2. What a lovely duo. You really captured the Cavalier doe eyed look in Muffins portrait. Lady looks like her name really suits her. I look forward to checking out your site.

  3. Lisa is a great portrait painter! And it is nice to hear a breed name like Cavachon- a mix that sounds cool beside some of the dippy sounding combo names out there. (I mean, cockapoo? Really?)

  4. Wow! Beautiful artwork! Enjoyed her coffee chat and canines!