Thursday, August 20, 2015

Katie MacBride & Sally

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Katie MacBride; a writer and a young adult librarian. On my lap is Sally, my 7 (ish) year-old Chihuahua-Terrier mix.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I’m lucky to have a Peet’s within walking distance of my house. It’s a perfect little walk for Sally and a late afternoon (hence the sun being in my eyes) coffee break for me.

What's brewing?

Iced coffee with a little almond milk.

Any treats for you or Sally on this occasion?

Sally loves these chicken rawhide things. I have heard that rawhide isn’t good for dogs but being the chicken-focused gal that she is, she just gnaws at the bone until she gets the chicken off. I think her teeth are too small to do any damage to the rawhide.

How were you and Sally united?

Sally came to me through the Oakland SPCA. She was terribly traumatized; she had been used as bait in a dogfighting ring. While she’s still nervous around new dogs and people, she continues to get a little braver every day.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

The trainers at the SPCA gave her the name Sally, but I have a million nicknames for her. Tootie (short for Tootie Bootie), is a common one, as is “Baby Girl” and, more recently “Butt Butt.” I don’t really know where that last one came from.

Does Sally do more to help or hinder your writing?

I’m just finishing a draft of a young adult novel and in order to accomplish that without disruption, I had to write the thing while Sally slept on my lap. I had to stretch over her sleeping body to reach the keyboard. This was not the most efficient process. That said, she keeps me happy and sane and those are two key ingredients to a daily writing routine.

Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your writing?

Yes! In my novel, the protagonist's boyfriend has a dog, Abby, who is inspired by the black lab my grandparents had when I was growing up. I know I have created a fictionalized account of her but it makes me feel a little less sad about losing her, knowing that she’s in the pages of my novel.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Sally’s responses: [to cats] please don't see me, please don't see me; [to postmen] Stranger Danger!; [to squirrels] Hey! The only thing I'm not too scared to chase!

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?


Who is Sally's best pet-pal?

She gets along well with my grandmother’s dog, Buzzy. They are about the same size, though Buzzy is much older. She wants Buzzy to chase her and Buzzy is more interested in getting a good sniff in Sally’s butt, but it’s a generally agreeable relationship.

What is Sally's best quality?

I know this could be said for all dogs, but Sally is 100% pure love. All she wants to do is kiss and cuddle (and eat and sometimes play) and I love her more than anything in the world.

If Sally could change one thing about Bay Area Californians, what would it be?

More dog friendly establishments! If I have to run into the store to pick something up, it can be tricky. I don’t want to leave her in a hot car and would be terrified if I tied her up outside and went into the store without her. It would be nice if I could just pop her in the cart while I grabbed a few groceries.

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

Why are you sometimes so picky about eating kibble but will happily eat other dogs’ poop?

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

The character that Sarah Silverman voiced in Wreck it Ralph, Vanellope, would be pretty dead-on, I think.

What advice would Sally give if asked?

Eat. Sleep. Cuddle. Try not to worry so much.

Visit Katie MacBride's website and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

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