Monday, June 29, 2015

Amy Fellner Dominy & Riley

Who is in the photo at right?

Hi! I’m Amy Fellner Dominy, the author of novels for teens. My latest book just came out a couple of weeks ago, A Matter of Heart.

Riley is a Sheltie. He’ll be thirteen in August.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

A relaxed morning sitting out in the backyard, enjoying a cup of coffee and Phoenix sunshine.

What's brewing?

Keurig coffee, Starbuck’s Pike Place, black. (Dairy allergy really takes the fun out of coffee drinks.)

Any treats for you or Riley on this occasion?

No, Riley is a night snacker. (And, um, so is his owner.)

How were you and Riley united?

He was first introduced to my daughter, Rachel, by her third grade teacher who brought in a litter of puppies. It took one afternoon for her to convince us that we had to adopt Riley.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Riley was a Scottish-sounding name and seemed to fit. Though he’s most often called Roo-Dog or simply, The Roo. He answers to anything if you have food.

Does Riley do more to help or hinder your writing?

He tries to be supportive by lying at my feet as I write. Normally, it’s nice but all bets are off on days when he snores.

Has Riley inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

You know, I was just thinking that I should have a dog in one of my books. I’m going to work on that!

What is Riley's best quality?

He doesn’t drool.

And, he dances with me.

Who is Riley's best pet-pal?

He gets along with our cat, Lola, but he’s most interested in the random butts of dogs in the neighborhood.

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

He would want them to be more clumsy and drop more food along the street and on the trails.

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

Have you actually lost your hearing or are you only pretending not to hear when I call you?

What advice would Riley give if asked?

Start everyday with a good stretch—you’ll feel much better.

Visit Amy Fellner Dominy's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Brooke Johnson & K.K.

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Brooke Johnson, steampunk author extraordinaire, and my dog K.K., a five-and-a-half-year-old Jack Russell-Chihuahua mix.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Curled up on the couch for some one-on-one snuggling while the little one is taking a nap. Or maybe I took him with me on some errands and stopped for a cup.

What's brewing?

At home, Dunkin’ Donuts original blend with a dash of caramel flavoring, sweetener, and almond milk. Abroad, either a caramel latte, whatever the seasonal blend is for the month, or a chai latte if I’m not in the mood for coffee.

Any treats for you or K.K. on this occasion?

I’m likely to get myself a scone. I can’t turn down a good scone. For K.K., I might share. Maybe. If it’s an ultra-big scone.

How were you and K.K. united?

I’ve always had dogs growing up and love their snuggly company, so I really missed that when I moved off to college, where I couldn’t have pets. When my now-husband and I got engaged my last year of college, we decided that we wanted to get a dog and then searched for puppies for sale nearby. We found a listing on Craigslist and drove almost two hours to see them. There were two puppies left when we got there. One was really energetic and playful, and the other shy and a bit on the small side. My husband and I both played with each of them, but the second pup was the one who came back for more snuggles once we set them both down. So he’s the one we took home.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

On the drive home, my husband and I discussed names, going through the usual gamut of Norse gods and fictional characters for naming pets, as you do. I wanted to name him after the dog Waif in the Diana Wynne Jones novel House of Many Ways, but my husband wouldn’t go for it. In the end, we settled for K.K., after K.K. Slider, the guitar-playing canine songster from the game Animal Crossing, which I was binge-playing at the time. As for aliases, we call him lazy-bones, stinky-bones, Killer Khan, and other choice words when he’s not behaving himself.

Does K.K. do more to help or hinder your writing?

He’s a source of constant company when I’m writing. He has a bed right next to my desk, and sometimes, he takes up residence at my feet or in my lap. He’s less of a hindrance now than he was when he was younger, when he’d crawl up onto my desk and lay on my arms like a cat. Now he just sleeps nearby, keeping me from getting lonely.

Has K.K. inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Absolutely yes. There is a fantasy novel that I’ve been working on since we first brought him home, in which he inspired a magical dog in the first draft that has since evolved over the course of several rewrites into a loyal animal companion for the main character. If I ever finish that novel and get a chance to publish it, I plan to dedicate the novel to him.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

He hates pretty much everyone and everything—squirrels, birds, rabbits, cats, postmen, joggers, children…. If someone or something is outside and in his sight, they are an enemy that must be vanquished, and he will not rest until they have gone. Luckily, he only thinks he’s vicious.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

K.K. prefers furry animal toys to anything else and loves a good game of tug-of-war.

Who is K.K.'s best pet-pal?

My husband’s grandparents have a dog that wandered onto their property last winter, a white curly-haired mix named Molly. They love to romp around and chase each other around the yard.

What is K.K.'s best quality?

His concern for all of us and eagerness to comfort. When one of us is feeling down, whether it’s after a hard day at work for my husband, an emotional breakdown on my part, or the little one falls and bruises her knee, K.K. is there for some top-notch snuggles and loving doggy kisses. He knows just how to make us feel better.

If K.K. could change one thing about Arkansans, what would it be?

That they allowed pets to go places humans do! He hates being left at home. Most businesses aren’t at all dog-friendly around here, so he doesn’t get to leave the house very much, unless we’re going to the park, visiting family, or camping—which he hates.

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

Are you happy? Ever since we added a baby to our family, I often wonder if he resents us for it. His mood has gotten better now that my daughter is older and no longer pulls his ears or fur, but we still have a ways to go before he’s back to the way he was when he was our only child. I just wish I knew if he was content, and what I might do to make him happier if he’s not.

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

My husband and I have joked around that if he could talk, he probably has a Morgan Freeman voice. I think a deep, suave voice for such a tiny dog would be comically absurd, and yet also perfect.

What advice would K.K. give if asked?

Don’t give up. He’s annoyingly persistent at times, so I think his advice would be something along those lines. Whatever it is, don’t give up if it’s something that you want. Eventually the world will cave and give it to you.

Visit Brooke Johnson's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Brass Giant.

The Page 69 Test: The Brass Giant.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 22, 2015

Nellie Krumlauf & Tini

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me, Nellie Krumlauf, and Tini! I am the President & Founder of the nonprofit organization Nellie's Catwalk for Kids. We focus on helping make life a little easier for kids and teens battling cancer. Tini and my male rescue fur baby. He is 10 years old and is a toy poodle.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I work a lot of hours which require a lot of coffee. Tini loves to be around me so I try to stay home and work when I can. He would cuddle all day long with me if he could.

What's brewing?

I love Dunkin' Donuts French vanilla coffee-yummmm!

Any treats for you or Tini on this occasion?

Tini loves bones! A little too much! That's why I have to keep working to pay for his bones.

How were you and Tini united?

Tini and I were united about four years ago through a friend of mine working at an animal hospital. Tini's previous owner dropped him off to be adopted. My friend told me about him and that he was going to be put down if they didn't find him a home. Never in a million years did I think I was going to adopt him. I even joked to bring him into the office so we could put him in our silent auction for our event. Once I met him I fell in love with him and knew I had to adopt him. We have been best friends ever since.

Please tell us about Nellie's Catwalk for Kids. Does Tini have a role?

We focus on helping make life a little easier for kids and teens with cancer. We work with each family and Nationwide Children's to assist families with their financial and emotional burdens during their cancer journey. Our three signature events a year are: Our annual Fashion show, Gala and Reindeer Run 5K. All the kids love Tini so much. He is a cute furry animal, how could they not? We joke that he is our unofficial mascot. He comes into the office, some events and does videos for the kids with me.

Who is Tini's best pet-pal?

He much rather be around humans.

What is Tini's best quality?

He unconditionally loves you and makes you smile.

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

Can I get more bones?

Visit the Nellie's Catwalk for Kids website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Becky Lehman & Boots

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Becky. I am a sign language interpreter, a blogger, and I’m studying to become a personal trainer and health coach. The handsome fellow next to me is Boots. He’s a 3 ½ year old border collie.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Saturday is Boots’ favorite morning of the week, because we go on a long run, then stretch and have breakfast together. This week, we ran 7.5 miles and he still came home with energy to spare!

What's brewing?

More like “blending!” I’m sipping on my favorite green smoothie (vanilla protein powder, apple, almond milk, spinach, & pumpkin).

Any treats for you or Boots on this occasion?

I’m having almond butter and strawberry preserves on wheat toast and Boots always gets a little bite of crust.

How were you and Boots united?

Boots was found wandering around New Mexico when he was just a year old. The Arizona Border Collie Rescue found him and a sweet woman who owned a ranch fostered him with about 10 other border collies. When I drove up to her house to meet him, all of the dogs were chasing after a ball, but Boots was the only dog that separated from the pack and ran straight up to greet me. I fell in love with him immediately and he hasn’t left my side since!

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

The rescue organization decided to call him Boots, because he has white “boots” on his paws. I thought about changing his name, but it just seemed to fit him! I often call him “Bootsy” or “Bootsy Bear.” It’s a good thing he’s confident in his masculinity!

You're an active recipe-tester. Does Boots have role in the kitchen?

Oh, Boots plays a vital role in recipe development! He is always a willing taste-tester, but his primary role is supervisor. He oversees all of the prep work and is always eager to offer a lick, tail wag, or paw shake of encouragement. However, he is not a fan of the harsh sound of vegetable chopping. He tends to scoot into the living room whenever I pull out the cutting board!

When you and Boots go for a run, who tires first?

Me! That dog could probably run indefinitely! Even after running 5 miles, we’ll come back home and he will immediately bring me a toy to throw for him. The dog has boundless energy!

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Lizards and bunnies! We live in Tucson, so whenever we go out for a walk or run, lizards and bunnies scurry across our path. Boots is a gentle boy, though. Sometimes lizards crawl on our backyard fence and when I let him outside, he excitedly bounds over to them, then he just stops in front of them and wags his tail. He doesn’t want to catch them; he just wants them to play!

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

His stuffed moose toy. When I was in high school, I started liking moose and over the years have developed quite a collection of moose stuffed animals, moose figurines, moose salt & pepper shakers, etc. Whenever friends and family see moose paraphernalia, they buy it for me. Apparently my love of moose has rubbed off on Boots, because a friend got him a moose Kong toy and it is his absolute favorite toy.

Who is Boots's best pet-pal?

That’s an easy one – me! He sticks pretty close to me as often as he can. It’s very rare that he’s in a different room than me. The friends that watched him for me a few weekends ago when I was out of town said that he spent most of the weekend melancholic and staring at the front door, waiting for me to come home.

What is Boots's best quality?

His sweetness. He’s a cuddly pup and kind to everyone. The groomer comments that during every session, Boots offers his paw to him as he works. He loves sitting on laps (which can be quite interesting as he weighs almost 50 pounds!), licking toes, laying his head on your leg, and curling up at your feet. He wants to be friends with everyone!

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

He would love if they would make more restaurants and stores dog friendly. He loves to run errands with me and relax on restaurant patios.

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

What would make your life better?

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

Jonathon Taylor Thomas. I think he would bring the same sweet, spunky spirit to Boots that he brought to young Simba in The Lion King.

What advice would Boots give if asked?

Love unconditionally, forgive, and seek joy in every moment of every day.

Visit Becky Lehman's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 15, 2015

Edie Jarolim & Madeleine

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Edie Jarolim, and I’m a freelance writer. I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to finish and publish a memoir of my days as a travel writer, Getting Naked for Money.

My dog is Madeleine, which is the name she came with when I adopted her last July from the Southern Arizona Humane Society. A lot of people call her “Maddie” but I always use her full name. Maybe when I’m angry with her I should call her the shorter version.

She’s about 5 now and, though I didn’t realize it at the time, she’s probably at least 90% Jack Russell Terrier, with all that implies about her energy level.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Madeleine waits for me semi-patiently to brew my coffee – these days I like the organic dark roast I get at Sprouts with a few hazelnut beans thrown into the mix – because she knows she will get a treat while I am drinking it. I am having breakfast, which varies day by day; she is having a dental chew bone (shhh, don’t tell her it’s good for her).

How were you and Madeleine united?

A friend of mine who knew I was about ready to get another dog after my beloved Frankie [see Coffee with a Canine: Edie Jarolim & Frankie] died posted Madeleine’s Humane Society picture on Facebook and I thought I would take a look. This friend had an almost mystical sense that we were meant to be together.

Does Madeleine do more to help or hinder your writing?

Madeleine probably helps my writing by insisting on long walks – 45 minutes minimum. She has short legs but she’s very fast. I balk at having my work interrupted but really it’s a good thing that she forces me to take a break.

[photo left: the picture on Facebook that convinced Jarolim to go look at Madeleine]

Although your forthcoming book is a travel memoir, will any dogs rate inclusion in the story?

The late, great Frankie will figure at the very end of the story. Adopting him made me realize I could write about a variety of different topics, not just travel. And Madeleine is the official spokesdog for my Kickstarter video. Although she is not in the book, she is a great representative for it.

What is Madeleine's best quality?

She is very friendly to everyone. She figures that they are potential sources of treats (above all else – except maybe lizards, which are her obsession -- Madeleine loves to eat). She loves me, of course, but I don’t have to worry too much about leaving her with a friend/petsitter because I feel confident she will be not be terribly unhappy as long as she is fed.

Who is Madeleine's best pet-pal?

She is kind of a femme fatale, even though she no longer can officially be a seductress, what with having no active female hormones. Several friends’ dogs that have come to stay at my house try very hard to engage her attention. She is mostly indifferent, but the one who has best succeeded in getting her to play with him is Earl, who is small but very persistent.

[photo right: Earl sitting on Madeleine, not a very romantic move]

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

It was clear that Madeleine had had puppies not too long before I adopted her but she was found as a stray without them. I’m curious about what happened to them – if she knows. Of course it might be a painful topic. I wouldn’t force her to answer. Still, I’d bet they’re darned cute if they look anything like her.

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

Kickstarter-Campaign-BadgeAs it happens, I held a contest for who should voice Madeleine for my Kickstarter video. I was lucky: One of the videographers was chosen, so it was easy for the voice to get done. Several of my friends participated. It wasn’t Hollywood, but it was fun.

When the movie is made of her life, I think Madeleine should be played by Uggie of The Artist fame – another talented JRT.

View the shortened version of the Kickstarter video in which Madeleine is featured or the full version.

Visit the Will My Dog Hate Me? blog and Edie Jarolim's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Edie Jarolim & Frankie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Lauryn Evarts & Pixy and Boone

Who is in the photo at right?

I am Lauryn Evarts, creator of The Skinny Confidential.

I have two amazing dogs, both chihuahuas named Pixy Bean and T. Boone Pickens.

Pixy is female, 9 years old, chihuahua.

Boone is male, 1 1/2 years old, chihuahua.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We go for coffee with the dogs when we walk them. They love it. As long as they get to go with Mom and Dad, they're good. The like to sit in our laps when we drink coffee. They're prissy, kind of! Ha!

What's brewing?

Hemp milk cappuccinos with coconut milk!

Any treats for you or Pixy or Boone on this occasion?

Pixy and Boone love raw treats, pumpkin puree, chia seeds, watermelon, & coconut oil! I love three ingredient cookies with almond flour, almond milk, and maple syrup. And I love chips and salsa.

How did Pixy and Boone get their names? Any nicknames?

Pixy got her name because she looked like a little pixy fairy and there's a Y at the end because my name is with a Y.

Boone is named after the billionaire T. Boone Pickens. My fiance and I thought he had the coolest name on the planet, so naturally we had to name our baby boy that.

Pixy's nicknames: Mr. Lee, Bogue, The Most Gorgeous Girl in the World, Penguin, Gru, Goo, Lover Do, Gorgy, Mister.

Boone's nicknames: TBP, Boone P, Boonice, Weasel, & Peekens.

How were you and your dogs united?

Pixy: We were united when I was in high school. I laid eyes on her and had to have her. She's been my ride or die every since.

Boone: He was united with my fiance originally. They locked eyes and fell madly in love immediately. They are soul mates. Boone loves his mommy though too.

Who is Pixy's best pet-pal?

Definitely Boone. But she also has a posse. This posse includes Chloe who's proper and polite, Ricky who's a real rascal, and Abby who's quiet but sweet. They are like a little gang and have playdates at least twice a week.

Where is your dogs' favorite outdoor destination?

They love the park, the juice shop, going to their grandparent's AKA where the gang lives, and going to their dad's office.

Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?

Pixy loves her Pom Poms (these are like doing a drug deal if you can find them, they're so hard to find) and they're cat toys. She also lovessss her gorilla.

Boone loves his cat rats (those little rats that are made for cats), his banana (you'd think they were friends), his flamingo, and last but not least his fox.

They both love their teepee!

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Pixy is more aggressive whereas Boone kind of a puss. Pixy has growled at a horse, true story. Boone runs if a flea approaches him.

What is each dog's best quality?

Asking me this is like asking the most difficult question ever. Pixy has a million. She super affection, funny, witty, annoyed with Boone, boguey, princess-ish, loyal, sweet, smart!!!, savvy, and doesn't put up with BS. She also has a secret language with me that she understands. And she is connected to me in every way.

Boone: he's affectionate where he will sit on your chest, he's also hilarious, sweet, timid, energetic, and playful. A real boy.

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

Pixy: probably the dogs. She wants to be the main dog in the world.

Boone would change the allergies. His poor eyes.

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

Pixy: Lucy from I Love Lucy. She's a character.

Boone: Simba from The Lion King.

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

Pixy: Are you happy?

Boone: Why are you such a wuss? Hahaha.

What advice would you give to Pixy and Boone?

To Pixy: stay close to her dad, he looks out for her big time.

To Boone: don't worry an ant won't hurt you.

Visit The Skinny Confidential.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 8, 2015

Wesley Banks & Story

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Wesley Banks, author and engineer. This is my dog Story. She’s a 6 year old Carolina Dog. And we just got done exploring the outer rim of the Grand Canyon in this picture.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We’re celebrating my new novel, Hope In Every Raindrop, which came out in May! And of course it’s got Carolina Dogs in it.

What's brewing?

Believe it or not, I just recently tried my first ever ice coffee. The jury is still out.

Any treats for you or Story on this occasion?

We aren’t that big on treats, but…we can’t pass up anything fried. I try not to share too much with her, but she has perfected the head-on-lap and sad-puppy-dog-eyes face.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

Story is a play on the word history. She was born at Lynches River Kennel to Mingo and Biscuit. Her father Mingo, was reunited with breeder Don Anderson and the line of black Carolina Dogs thought to be lost, was preserved. Don Anderson, told me this litter was “history in the making,” and that’s how I came up with Story.

I call her “Storebador” most of the time. I really have no idea why. I think it makes her sound like a superhero, haha.

How were you and Story united?

I knew Don Anderson from my previous Carolina Dog, so when I found out he had a black Carolina Dog litter, I drove up there immediately.

How does Story help--or hinder--your work?

Story (and my first dog Pace) were the inspiration for Hope In Every Raindrop. Without them I may not have had the idea for this book.

Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your novel?

Hope In Every Raindrop is about a best-selling author who happens upon America’s oldest dog breed and the man that raises them. The breed just happens to be a fictional breed called Carolina Gray, which is a cross between a Gray Wolf and a Carolina Dog. A lot of the dogs in the story are based around personality traits of dogs we’ve had in our family over the years.

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

I think Story has a special cat radar. I know there is a cat nearby when she stops dead in her tracks.

Who is Story’s best pet-pal?

Definitely our other dog Linkin. He’s a rescue, dalmation/boxer mix, and a couple years older. Though sometimes she has a little too much energy for him.

What is Story’s best quality?

It may sound kind of cliché, but her passion for life is unmatched. She goes at everything 110%.

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

She would probably prefer that we live outside and purchase about 1000 tennis balls. Even after an hour walk, or a long hike, she will go sit by the door and hope someone plays catch with her.

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

That’s a tough one. I’m going to go with Rachel Weisz, only because she was the voice of Saphira in Eragon, and that seems fitting.

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

Am I as good a friend to you, as you are to me?

What advice would Story give if asked?

There is a book by Mark Rowlands, The Philosopher and the Wolf. In it he discusses the difference in the way humans perceive time, versus the way wolves or dogs perceive time. He eventually comes to the conclusion that humans struggle to fully live in the moment because we are so focused on the past or future, unlike dogs who fully commit to every experience.
I think Story would simply say, “Be great in the moment, and your moments will add up to greatness.”

Visit Wesley Banks's website, Facebook page and Instagram page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Kris Calvin & Lily

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Kris Calvin, a former local elected official and now a political mystery writer—my debut novel, One Murder More, is now out from Inkshares.

With me is the lovely Lily, a two-year-old mixed breed rescue (mostly cattle dog/blue heeler).

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Lily and I like to end our morning walk with a little peaceful time in my front garden.

What's brewing?

Light roast coffee, with a splash of almond milk. Today it's Peet's Columbia Luminosa.

Any treats for you or Lily on this occasion?

Cheddar jalapeno scone for me (from Lester Farms Bakery in Winters, California, unbelievably good) and peanut butter dog treats for Lily.

How were you and Lily united?

For more than a month, Lilly was reported by nearby residents as running loose in a field outside Sacramento. She was extremely skittish, and each time Animal Control showed up she would take off at breakneck speed—no one could catch her. They finally succeeded by using a self-closing trap left overnight, with bacon as bait.

My son and I met Lily a few weeks later at an adoption fair. At under 20 pounds and timid she wouldn't have been my first choice—I've always thought of myself as a "big dog", "happy-to-see-you dog" person. But within minutes of their meeting my son was certain Lily was the dog for us. He's not prone to snap judgments, so I had to believe there was something special happening.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

Lily was so frightened of everything when she first came home with us that we figured her true personality had yet to show itself, and we were hesitant to select a name when we didn't really know her. So for a week we referred to her only as "Dog". In the end, a friend suggested "Violet" or "Lily", and Lily was the name that stuck. Now I couldn't imagine calling her anything else, it's always " Lily", never "Lil'".

Does Lily do more to help or hinder your writing?

Lily has a need for structure and a set schedule. If I don't feed her first thing in the morning and then take her for a long walk, she paces nervously and her anxiety makes it difficult for me to even think about writing. So there are definitely days when I get out of bed with an idea and a desire to go right to my desk, but Lily has to come first. That can be frustrating. But I almost always find that once I'm outside and walking with her, my good idea gets better.

Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your writing?

Camper [photo right], our family's beloved lab-pit bull, was alive when I started writing One Murder More. Two years ago, at age 16 she passed peacefully in her sleep, while the novel was in process. I had initially given her a bit part in the book, but I think because it was so difficult to lose her and she was on my mind so much, Camper ultimately became a star member of the cast.

The one thing I had to do, though, was change Camper's gender for her expanded role. The lead human character, Maren Kane, a lobbyist who becomes an amateur sleuth, is a woman. I found it difficult to write scenes for the two of them, using the pronoun "she" and then having to do something with the phrasing to make it clear whether I was talking about Camper or Maren. In the end, it was easier to change Camper's gender in the book. (Changing Maren's gender would've been far more challenging at the point that I was at in the story.) Camper always struck me as practical and in touch with both her masculine and feminine sides, so I think she would have understood.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Lily doesn't chase anything.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Plastic yellow squeaky toy shaped like a bone.

Who is Lily's best pet-pal?

Lily was terrified of our cat, Nigel [with Lily, left], for the first month, during which time I renamed Nigel "Dr. Doom" because just Nigel's "menacing" appearance in a room would send Lily under the bed or into a corner. But as my more animal-savvy friends predicted, the two are now best buddies, and are rarely more than a few feet apart from one another, awake or asleep.

What is Lily's best quality?

Courage. Whatever it was that she endured that made her so frightened, Lily had the strength to survive it. And she continues to overcome her fears a little more each day. That speaks to me of an extraordinary reservoir of bravery.

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

I am moderately allergic to both cats and dogs, but canine and feline companions are so important to my children that I've found myself always part of a pet household. So long as I don't pet them (which I gather releases their dander) I do pretty well. Lily would love to change that about me so that I could pet her. But my kids and friends see that she gets tactile love, and I talk to her a lot, walk with her and try to show her in every other way how important she is to me.

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

"What happened to make you so frightened?" I guess it doesn't matter, she's here with us now and safe, but it's hard not knowing.

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

Lucy Loken, age 16, is a wonderfully talented young actress. Lily should be voiced by someone with depth, who can present her quiet courage. Ms. Loken could do that.

What advice would Lily give if asked?

"Take nothing for granted, a good life is a gift."

Visit Kris Calvin's website and follow her on Twitter.

Photo credits: Eileen Rendahl.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 1, 2015

Sally Gould & Pebbles and Jade

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Sally Gould and I'm a children's author. Pebbles is the white dog. She's four years old and a Spoodle (which is a cross between a poodle and an American Cocker Spaniel). Jade is the chocolate coloured dog. She is two years old and she has the same father as Pebbles.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Everyday is a good day to have a coffee with Pebbles and Jade.

What's brewing?

A Jaspers cafe latte. They use organic fair trade coffee with biodynamic milk - yum.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Rawhide sticks wrapped with smoked chicken breast, which they only get after my coffee.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Pebbles got her name because when we first got her she kept bringing pebbles in from the garden to chew on. Jade still does that. We're constantly finding pebbles in between the sofa cushions. My youngest son calls Pebbles, Willie Nelson, after Paul Rudd's dog in Our Idiot Brother.

How were you and your dogs united?

My youngest son desperately wanted a dog, but my oldest son was allergic to animal hair, so we got Spoodles from a breeder because they don't shed hair.

Do your dogs help--or hinder--your work?

They hinder my work. They sit on the window ledge of my study and bark at passers-by and they ask for tummy rubs. Sometimes I threaten to take my laptop and write at the local library, but of course I never do.

Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your books?

Yes, my husband owned a dog named Sandy when he was young and she inspired a picture book that is currently being illustrated by Leanne Argent. Sandy was a golden Labrador. The book is titled The City Dog [illustration, left] and is about a dog who has to move from the city to a sheep farm when her owner moves overseas. Essentially it's about adapting to change.

Rabbit, postman, cat....?

Postman and anyone who dares to walk past our home.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

They're best friends. They often sleep in the same bed, they play together and one gets sad if the other has to go to the vet.

What is each dog's best quality?

They are both unconditionally loving.

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

I asked them and they said, Nothing, they're perfect as they are!

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

I love the southern accents of Julia Roberts and Reese Witherspoon, so they'd be perfect.

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

Are you really still hungry?

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

Bigger servings make for happier dogs.

Visit Sally Gould's website, Facebook page, and Pinterest page.

--Marshal Zeringue