Monday, August 10, 2015

Jenny Chapman & Dexter

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Jenny Chapman. I go by the alias "ZooGirl" online and I am a green and white Michigan State University graduate with my degree in Zoological Sciences. I have done pretty much any zoo-related job you can think of: event planning, zookeeper, veterinary care, you name it! My wildest dream though, is to get involved in the field of zoo education, so that I may use my experience and enthusiasm for wildlife to teach others about the world and all the furry, scaly, and feathery neighbors we share it with. I like to do this through a medium of YouTube videos, blogging, and social media. The handsome furball next to me there is Dexter. He is a 2 1/2 year old (if you ask him, the half counts!) Pembroke Welsh Corgi. He is also an avid MSU fan (smart dog!) and my best friend.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

For me, it's hard to even think about hopping onto the computer without a mug of coffee in my hand! It's always nice to be able to start the day with a nice cup of coffee and some canine company before I tackle my wild project for the day! I think Dexter understands the routine and looks forward to what is usually the only calm point of our day.

What's brewing?

It is hard to imagine a world without Dunkin Donuts. Whether it's sunny or snowing, I am an iced coffee fan all the way. I like it "extra extra," the New England way, with plenty of cream and sugar. I also love coconut and never forget a shot of the yummy flavor in my chilly brew.

Any treats for you or Dexter on this occasion?

Being a corgi, Dexter is very prone to getting overweight. While he does get the occasional treat (he loves peanut butter pupcakes!), I've resorted to using the two meals of kibble he gets a day as a reward in itself. I clicker-train him and because corgis are so food-motivated, he doesn't seem to know the difference between kibble and treats. As long as my voice sounds excited, he's excited!

How were you and Dexter united?

In late winter of 2013, I began looking into PWC litters in my area. I had always been a corgi admirer and finally felt ready to take on the tough job of being a mom to a stubborn, hyper, stubby-legged furball. After a bit of searching, I stumbled across a picture of Dexter and his littermate, the last two red male pups left at a breeder in Western Michigan. The next day, I drove the 2 hours to Paw Paw (yes, that's really the city's name!) and met the 5-week-old babies. I met Dexter's brother first and he was very calm, sweet, and loving. He seemed perfect and I almost didn't want to meet the other pup. The breeder then introduced me to Dexter. He came barreling at me at top-speed, tripping over his awkward short legs, floppy ears bouncing, whites of his eyes shining. All five pounds of puppy fluff hit me like a truck. I believe I smelt like puppy breath for days after. I've often heard that when you go to "pick a puppy," the dog really picks you instead. Now I know it couldn't be more true; it was meant to be. The breeder asked me, "Are you sure you want him?" and I told him I had never been so sure. Despite the breeder's warning about Dexter's larger than life personality, three long weeks later, I brought him home. We've been together ever since.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

I had liked the name "Dexter" for quite a while. It was reminiscent of three TV shows I loved and a popular bowling brand (I had been spending a lot of time at a bowling alley at the time). As I got to know him, he eventually got his full name of Poindexter Parkour Chapman. You see, I love the movie Revenge of the Nerds. Also, ever since Dexter was a puppy, he was very clumsy in how he moved. "Parkour," according to The Office, is "getting from Point A to Point B as creatively as possible" and my new puppy did that to a tee. While I rarely use his full name, he most often hear me calling him "Dex," "Stubby," or sometimes even just "Corgi."

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Dexter has quite a strong prey drive, probably because of his breed's herding instinct. He is very friendly with people but has a tendency to assume any other living thing is either a threat or food. Whether it's a squirrel, bird, or sometimes even a leaf, he is very good at the two professions he gave himself: guard dog and glutton.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Dexter is pretty playful with most toys but especially loves anything that he can eviscerate the cotton guts out of. He even has to sleep with a plushie toy that he mouths like a pacifier until he falls asleep. Oddly enough, he's been a bit skittish around sticks ever since a branch fell out of a tree and hit him in the noggin. He is happy and healthy and I assure you, Dexter has been an exceptionally dopey dog from the beginning.

Who is Dexter's best pet-pal?

My boyfriend's dog, Zack, is by far, Dexter's best friend. They are about the same size and both have high energy levels so they wrestle and play all the time. They generally like each other's company, though if you were to give Dex a choice between Zack and a dog treat, the edible option would win every time. After all, he has his priorities.

What is Dexter's best quality?

My favorite thing about Dexter today is the same thing that made me fall in love with him in the first place: he has an enormous lust for life. He has an energy level I can only hope to experience with all of the Dunkin Donuts on the East Coast. He is playful, hilarious, and always up for an adventure. He is also a "satellite dog." He follows me everywhere and always has to be in the same room as me. I can not even take a shower without him waiting by the door so I never feel lonely, even if I do feel slightly stalked!

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

He would certainly make me less strict about his diet. He would probably also insist that it is futile for me to keep trying to fix the cotton stuffing toys.

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

That's a tough one. I feel like Dex and I understand each other pretty well, but it'd be very tempting to ask him if he understands how much I love him and if I bring him as much joy as he brings me. Although, on the flipside, I've always wondered how he feels about not having a tail to wag (though he does just wiggle his butt instead).

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

I "hear" Dexter's voice all of the time. He's a very opinionated dog. However, when he does try to articulate something, he always has the voice of "Dug" from the movie, Up so it is sometimes hard to take him seriously. As bright as he is when he applies himself, he usually just oozes with dopeyness, ADHD, and klutzyness. It must be why he sheds so much; he's making room for all that personality!

What advice would Dexter give if asked?

Chase your dreams even if your legs are stubby, listen to your heart with giant ears, and wag with happiness whether you've got a tail or not!

Visit the Be-Zoo-Logical blog, Twitter perch, and YouTube channel.

--Marshal Zeringue


  1. Oh, Dexter is sooo cute! Look how nice he sat for his picture. Great post and have a nice day, Jenny! Enjoyed hearing about you and your buddy.

  2. Thanks again for this opportunity! I absolutely love reading this blog and any chance to share Dexter and I's adventures is a lot of fun. (:

  3. That's awesome Jenny, I miss you and the Dex man! 😄