Monday, September 28, 2015

Sanae Suzuki & Leo, Oro, Kula, Bubu, Lumi, and Happy

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Sanae Suzuki, Bach Flower Registered Practitioner with the Bach Centre, UK, Whole Health Macrobiotic Nutrition Educator, Counselor for People and Pets, Co-owner of Seed Kitchen in Venice Beach and recent author of Healthy Happy Pooch.

The pooches are Leo, Oro, Kula, Bubu, Lumi, and Happy.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

The occasion is the release of Healthy Happy Pooch.

What's brewing?

My homemade Lavender and Lemon Balm Tea.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

The dogs are snacking on sweet potato cookies or kale cookies while I munch on Seed Kitchen's original gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Originally they were all named after different countries gold. For instance, Kula is Hawaiian gold, Oro is Italian and Spanish gold. Once Leo came, we thought he was a handsome boy like Leonardo Dicaprio, hence the name Leo. BuBu was so cute, so that name just stuck. Lumi is from the French word Lumiere...the French Light. The last one, Happy is extremely squeaky and happy, so we named her Happy!

How were you and your dogs united?

I once saw a photo of Leo, with a big smile and felt a connection that I adopted him from the shelter. From there he fell in love with Oro. I was involved with PAWS team, who raises dogs for disabled people and had received a puppy, Kudha. All of my dogs had made direct eye contact with us and that is how we knew they were our dogs.

Cat, postman, squirrel....?

Strangers coming onto our property, squirrels, and people they don't like.

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

Favorite toys are soft and squeaky-toys are their favorites. They also enjoy playing with balls and sticks when outdoors.

Where is your dogs' favorite outdoor destination?

Each of our dogs love Manzanita Lake in North Fork near Yosemeti National Park where they can swim and dive off of rocks.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Their best pet-pals are Yogi; when we go to North Fork he loves chasing all of the girl dogs.

What is each dog's best quality?

Leo is a lover-boy, he loves many people and gives everyone a big smile and is really faithful to Oro.
Oro is a certified K-9 good citizen training to be a search dog. She is a very thorough and careful and detailed orientated.
Kula is very gentle, obedient, service and therapy dog that receives directions very well. Also, a very good leader.
Bubu is very active boy and is a great agility dog. He has never missed jumping over a hurdle during his classes.
Lumi is very alert, smart and won't take BS from anyone. (Example: if we promise to take her out for a walk, she will not let us forget) She is also in training to be a K-9 Good Citizen.
Happy is our baby who loves to be around with us and enjoys watching good, funny movies.

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

If my dogs could change one thing, it would be to open a dog-restaurant, but also humans could eat there as well.

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

Leo - Leonardo Dicaprio
Oro - Carrie Underwood
Kula - Meryl Streep
Bubu - Bradley Cooper
Lumi - Sandra Bullock
Happy - Jessica Alba

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

What's for dinner?

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

Don't do so much and have fun.

About Healthy Happy Pooch:

Healthy Happy Pooch is the remarkable story of a woman and her dogs. Over the last 20 years, Sanae Suzuki has pulled herself back from the brink of death — twice—by using a healthy diet and a holistic lifestyle approach. During these periods of brave struggle, she pondered the idea that what was working for her might just work for her pooches. By feeding them human-grade, plant-based foods, she saw them recover from illness, become more vibrant, and live to ripe, old ages. Healthy Happy Pooch is their story.

Visit the Healthy Happy Pooch website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Polly Dugan & Tripp

Who is pictured in these photos?

I’m Polly Dugan, a writer and the author of two books, So Much a Part of You, a linked short story collection, and a novel, The Sweetheart Deal. I’m married with two sons and I also have a little dog-sitting business, so I’m often surrounded by multiple dogs when I work.

Tripp is an English type Labrador Retriever who will turn six in October. He’s very handsome and gets by on his good looks a lot. He’s very popular at my sons’ school and considers himself the Mayor of the Beach since anytime we go to the coast he has to meet and greet every other dog he sees, sometimes from a great distance. He likes the canine company my dog-sitting generates. Some of our guests have included an English bulldog named Mac, a standard poodle named Rosie and a career-changed guide dog from Guide Dog Foundation named Jack Pot.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I’m a daily coffee drinker so I begin every morning with at least the first cup in bed with Tripp lying between my husband and me. He doesn’t sleep with us but he knows once we’re awake that he’s allowed in ‘his spot’ in the middle. If I’m dog-sitting there may be one or two other dogs on the floor next to the bed waiting to be fed. When school’s in session my final cup in the morning is in a travel mug so when I drop my boys off at school my accessories are Tripp’s leash in one hand, my mug in the other.

What's brewing?

We brew Starbucks Italian Roast, ground on 7 ½, in our Cuisinart coffee maker equipped with a timer so the coffee’s hot and ready to drink, black, first thing.

Any treats for you or Tripp on this occasion?

Tripp’s diet is pretty unremarkable, although he would eat himself to death if he had the opportunity, which I take pains to prevent. Every day is a standard fare of kibble with treats of baby carrots and pieces of apple. He knows he’s going to get lucky when I get the apple corer out of the drawer. When the school year is in session I occasionally stop at a local coffee shop and get a breakfast bagel sandwich. They have a jar of free dog treats and I’ll nab a couple for him so we can indulge together.

How were you and Tripp united?

Tripp is a very finely bred English Labrador Retriever but when he was a little over two years old, 85 pounds and still unneutered, his original owner planned to surrender him at her local animal shelter until her friend intervened with an alternate option.

The friend had Tripp neutered and then posted him on Craigslist, which is where I found him. He was a great addition to our family as we had just lost one of our two beloved dogs to cancer a few months earlier, but he was a handful, never having had any kind of discipline or training.

Because the friend provided the breeder’s information, I was able to get in touch with her and let her know her dog had been rehomed with me. Because Portland is the small town that it is, not long after I got him I discovered that another family at my sons’ school owns one of Tripp’s littermates, Lily. We’ve celebrated their birthdays together.

[photo right: Tripp and Mac]

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Tripp’s breeder named him because, being an incredibly loyal dog, he follows his people everywhere and is often underfoot. We’ve literally tripped over him more times than I can count. We never tire of joking: “Why isn’t your name Waldo again?” because we always know exactly where he is unlike Waldo, who always has people wondering over his whereabouts.

He has a bunch of aliases: Triple Dog (because he was such a handful when he first came to us, he was like having three dogs), Trippy, Triples, The Grand Poohbah, Poohbah, Pooh, Baby Bear, Baby Buffalo, The Black Dog, Bubba.

Does Tripp do more to help or hinder your writing?

He for sure helps, simply by keeping me company, since I spend so much time alone, but his constant companionship is never intrusive since he’s a pretty chill guy. And he keeps me mindful for things like taking breaks to eat or take a walk or just go outside to enjoy the day for a few minutes.

Has Tripp inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Yes. In “Collateral,” the last story in my first book, So Much a Part of You, a firefighter and his family own a dog named Emmett, who was completely inspired by Tripp. Although Emmett isn’t a central character in the story, his supporting role is significant.

What is Tripp's best quality?

His temperament. He’s just a giant, gentle spirit.

Who is Tripp's best pet-pal?

My dear friend Carolyn’s three-legged black Lab mix named Jane. They have a great time together wherever they are. Jane bosses Tripp around and he adores her unconditionally, which is a mutually successful relationship model.

[photo right: Tripp & Jane]

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Tripp lives with his cat sister, Ritz, and the two of them enjoy a pretty unremarkable cohabitation. Yet any other cat or dog walking down the sidewalk in front of our house sends Tripp into a barking frenzy. And there are always squirrels in our yard, so as soon as he’s out the back door, everyone is off and running—the hunter and the hunted. I swear they lay in wait to taunt him. One summer there was an opossum that nightly lounged on our fence and tormented us all.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

If Tripp had his way, I’d give him a new squeaky toy every day, which he would eviscerate within the hour, so that never happens. Like any good Lab, he loves a game of fetch with a tennis ball, especially with a Chuckit! to achieve those long-distance throws, but he’s not obsessed the way some dogs are. And, the truth is, another dog’s ball is always far more interesting than his. He’s mostly a stuffed Kong, nylon Galileo bone connoisseur.

If Tripp could change one thing about the good people of Portlandia, what would it be?

He’s generally averse to change so he would probably consult me first, and we would co-answer: 1) don’t get a pet unless you’re committed to a responsible, life-long relationship with her/him; 2) pick up your dogs’ poop; 3) keep your dogs on leash; and, 4) if you’re living on the street, don’t get a dog.

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

In no less than 300 non-identical words, what’s it fundamentally like being a dog? For example, ‘Great!’ 300 times is not an acceptable answer. You’re going to have to work a little harder.

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

Someone who is funny and affable who can also do voices. Tripp alternately employs a begging puppy bark he relies on when necessary as well as a fierce, intimidating, deep killer-bear bark, which keeps primarily invisible and imaginary (and perhaps some genuine) threats out of our yard. I’d go with either Tom Hanks or Jimmy Fallon. They’re both popular nice guys and so is Tripp.

What advice would Tripp give if asked?

We should spend more time at the beach and also, let’s get a puppy.

Visit Polly Dugan's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: The Sweetheart Deal.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tamara Ellis Smith & Winn-Dixie

Who is in the photo at right?

This is me, Tamara Ellis Smith. I am a children's book author. I recently had my debut middle grade novel come out – Another Kind of Hurricane. I live in Vermont with my husband, four kids, seven chickens, two cats and this guy, Winn-Dixie. Winn is a border collie mutt. We're not sure exactly how old he is, but we think about 9.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Because I am a freelance writer, most of the time I work from home. But sometimes I work from our local bakery, Sweet Simone's, for a change of scenery, to be away from the mounting dishes in the sink and laundry in the upstairs hall, for a mocha latte. They've got a lovely outside area with tables and because today is unseasonably warm here in Vermont, I thought I'd take Winn-Dixie for a coffee date!

What's brewing?

Sweet Simone's makes the most delicious mocha lattes around. It's delicious, and there's this heaping sludge-like pile of chocolate sits at the bottom of the cup when you're done.

Any treats for you or Winn-Dixie on this occasion?

We might just grab ourselves a Morning Glory muffin. Chunks of candied ginger in a carrot-bran type muffin. Also delicious!

How were you and Winn-Dixie united?

Winn-Dixie came to me late one night off of a plane at airport in Burlington, Vermont. The flight attendant opened his crate and he walked over to me and put his head in my hands. Love at first touch.

I spent a long time before that on Boy, is that website addicting! I was looking for a very specific dog, modeled after my good friend, Kara's dog Cody, who was part border collie, part who knows what. (We used to say he was part Holstein cow, because he was this huge black and white guy!) When I saw Winn Dixie's picture I knew he was the one because of his eyes. They stared straight into the camera. Straight at me. I showed him to Kara and she said, "Yup, he's it." He has the same eyes that Cody had.

He was in a shelter in North Carolina. So that's why the plane ride.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Winn-Dixie came with the name Windsor. But that definitely felt too formal for him. He's playful and also a hard worker. It didn't take long to come up with Winn-Dixie – from Kate DeCamillo's Because of Winn-Dixie. Both dogs are strays. Both came from the south.

My brother, who is the ultimate nicknamer in the family, sometimes calls Winn-Dixie either Windex or Window.

Does Winn-Dixie do more to help or hinder your writing?

Winn-Dixie is the quiet supporter-type. He lies down under the kitchen table, where I work when I'm at home, and emanates good energy.

Has Winn-Dixie inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

He hasn't…yet. My first novel does have a dog in it. His name is Brae and he plays a pivotal role in the story, but Brae is based 100% on Cody, actually. Winn-Dixie's turn will come! And of course, the funny thing is that the reverse is, in fact, true for Winn. A fictional dog inspired him (or at least his name!)

Who is Winn-Dixie's best pet-pal?

Winn-Dixie's best pet-pal is probably our cat Bantam. They're a little bit like ships passing in the night – Bantam is a night owl and Winn is a morning kind of guy – but they rub noses as they pass.

What is Winn-Dixie's best quality?

His best quality is, hands down, his loyalty. Winn sticks by me no matter what. He waits for me if he goes way ahead down the trail, he waits for me when I am out of the house. It's nice, being the mom of four kids with all of the watching and worrying that comes along with that, to have someone else doing the watching and worrying over me!

If Winn-Dixie could change one thing about Vermonters, what would it be?

I don't think Winn-Dixie would change anything about Vermonters, but I do think he'd change Vermont ever-so-slightly. He is from North Carolina after all, so I think he would probably change the weather. Maybe not a lot, but I know he'd love to get rid of the 4 feet of snow/-10 degree weather combination. Ice chunks on his feet are not his favorite things.

If Winn-Dixie could answer only one question in English, what would you ask him?

Who did you live with before we adopted you? And what was it like? (I'd hope to squeeze that follow-up question too!)

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

My husband, Derek, used to voice both Winn-Dixie and our old chocolate lab, Fundy. It was hysterical. And then my oldest son wrote a one-act play starring both dogs and that was even more hysterical. Based on both of their takes on Winn, we'd need to find a voice that emanated wisdom and just a little bit of superiority over the rest of the canine world. Maybe Alan Rickman? Or Danny Glover?

What advice would Winn-Dixie give if asked?

Be present and connect.

Visit Tamara Ellis Smith's website.

My Book, The Movie: Another Kind of Hurricane.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Nolwen Cifuentes & Parsley

Who is in the photo at right?

Hello! My name is Nolwen and I’m a photographer in Los Angeles. My dog’s name is Parsley, she’s a little lady about 5 &1/2 years old. Not exactly sure what her breed is as she was a rescue but I believe she’s a Maltipoo.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Every day is take your dog to work day so it’s a daily ritual.

What's brewing?

Always a fresh hot cup of Colombian/French roast with almond milk and honey.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Madeline cookies.

Any treat for Parsley on this occasion?

Parsley doesn’t like just any dog treat. Actually she doesn’t really like dog treats at all, she’s very picky. Her favorite treats are veggie sticks from Trader Joe’s.

How were you and Parsley united?

Tailwaggers in Hollywood was hosting a rescue fair. I went thinking “I want a short haired dog with pointy ears.” Parsley looked straight at me, like she knew I was the one. Of course she was very shaggy with long dangly ears. I saw her staring right at me, she didn’t seem to care for one single other person around so I went over to her. I picked her up and she melted in my arms. Immediately I knew she was my dog. I brought her home and she’s been my best buddy ever since.

You've got some great photos of Parsley on your site: is she a happy model?

She is quite the fantastic model. We’ve been in a few shoots together, a commercial and she even has her own Instagram @parsleyboo.

I'm told you'll soon publish a photo book of a trip you and Parsley took across the country; what's the status of that project?

Parsley and I went on a solo road trip from Los Angeles to New Orleans, camping along the way. She loved it! The book is called Lone Star and documents my journey through photographs and a few of my diary entries. There are 12 limited edition copies being released in about two weeks, they are currently getting printed & bound.

Does she have any nicknames?

Parsley has a ton of nicknames! Parsley Boo, Parcel, Parse, Lil P, Little miss… my family somehow started calling her La Paly which quickly became Palita. She answers to them all.

Squirrel, cat, postman...?

She loves to chase cats… anything else she will probably run away from or scream at. She’s kind of sassy.

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

Parsley’s favorite sport is definitely soccer. She also pretends to be really tough with her toy squirrel.

Where is Parsley's favorite place for an outing?

Parsley loves the beach! She loves to run in the water and jump in the waves. We like to sneak into Malibu beaches together. On our road trip we went to the Galveston pier in Texas and spent a few hours running through the waves.

Who is Parsley's best pet-pal?

Parsley’s best friend in the world is no doubt her mom, me. I feel like the second she saw me, she knew, that’s my best friend right there.

What is Parsley's most endearing quality?

That’s a hard one to answer, she has so many! She gives high fives and often when you stop petting her she will lift her paw and ask for more.

If Parsley could change one thing about Angelinos, what would it be?

Parsley really dislikes most other dogs… I think she would want dogs to be banned from the city. She would like to be the only dog in the city. Well in the world probably if she had her way. She’s not a big fan of other dogs. Or humans. Or anyone that’s not her mom. Really she’s a cat in disguise.

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

I think Lucille Bluth of Arrested Development is Parsley as a human. Well, with more cuddles.

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

I would ask Parsley where she came from and what her life was before she met me.

Visit the Nolwen Cifuentes Photography website and follow Parsley on Instagram @parsleyboo.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 14, 2015

Fiona Reid & Harris

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Fiona Reid and I’m a journalist and blogger living in Edinburgh in Scotland. I write about interior design and architecture and my blog is called Copperline. I’m owned by Harris, a 4-year-old miniature wirehaired dachshund, who hangs out on Instagram.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Usually Harris and I spend our days at home while I’m working, so we have tea together every day, but we’ve just been on holiday – a staycation, visiting places for day trips – and these photos were taken on a trip down the east coast to the beach at Seacliff.

What's brewing?

Black tea, no sugar. Always. I gave up coffee many years ago as it didn’t agree with me. Here, I had a flask of Twining’s Afternoon Tea, which is my go-to cuppa.

Any treats for you or Harris on this occasion?

We actually packed a picnic for this trip. I’m vegan, so there were hummus and salad gluten-free rolls, and Montezuma’s Sea Dog chocolate is my addiction. Harris had some milky chicken bones, which are his addiction.

How were you and Harris united?

My partner Richard and I had been talking about welcoming a dog into our home for a while, but then my Mum got a wirehaired dachshund called Bracken – more on him below! Richard has always been a ‘big dog guy’, but then we spent time with Bracken and realized that dachshunds are not small dogs. In fact they’re not really dogs. They’re little gruff and hairy humans who basically come into your life and take it over.

So from that point on we knew we would be getting a pal for Bracken. Bracken’s breeder recommended that we go and see Harris’s breeder, as we wanted a pup and we wanted a boy. There were two pups, one of whom the breeder was thinking of keeping. Only I laid eyes on him and knew he was coming home.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

We wanted something Scottish and also kind of gruff, as by this stage we knew something of the dachshund character. Baxter was in the mix. Richard is from Northern Ireland so we also thought about an Irish name – Murphy. But then we brought Harris home and thought, no… Harris suits… Harris. It’s the name of an island in the Outer Hebrides that’s known for its beautiful beaches, and while we live in the city Harris is very much a beach pup. And it’s a gutsy Scottish name.

Aliases? Toodle. My Mum called me Toodles as a kid (when I was very young) and the shortened name has passed to Harris. And ‘wee man’, of course.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

We live in a top floor flat in the city. Harris is alerted to the postman when he swings closed the gate on the neighbouring property. If he misses this moment, there’s the buzzer as the postman requests entry to our communal stair. Harris goes nuts. Not just a little bits nuts. Full on crazy hound nuts.

Cat: we don’t see many, but I do feed a neighbour’s cat when they’re away and she teases Harris mercilessly, so he doesn’t understand cats. Neither do I for that matter, although I respect their independence.

Squirrels: we have squirrels in the giant tree in our communal back garden. They dig in the garden, and Harris smells them. He’d like to get his paws on a squirrel, I sense.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Harris got sent a squeaky Kong ball as part of his monthly DukeBox from Ruby & Duke, and he drove us insane for a few weeks until the squeak died. It was the only time he’s ever shown interest in a ball. Now, anything that appears with a squeak is used to taunt us, usually at about 9pm when we’re settling down to watch some TV or a movie. Every month, there’d something squeaky in the DukeBox…

No sticks though. Harris doesn’t fetch. You throw something and he looks at you as if to say, “That’s interesting. Are you going to get that?”

Who is Harris's best pet-pal?

His Uncle Bracken. Harris was introduced to Bracken (not his actual Uncle; we discovered recently that Harris is actually Bracken’s Uncle but this revelation was too confusing for anyone to deal with) on his second day home with us. For Harris, it was love at first sight. He came home with us, thought, “Who are these weird humans?” and the very next day, he met another him, only 18 months older and about 100 years wiser.

Uncle Bracken remembers this encounter differently. He wasn’t exactly delighted. Indeed that’s an understatement. Harris spent weeks, in fact, months, hanging from his Uncle’s beard at all opportunities. Bracken didn’t appreciate this. He liked his solo hound status. We thought he’d appreciate a friend, but he didn’t. It took time. Now, thankfully, they’re best buds.

What is Harris's best quality?

This is not a good question to ask a crazydogmama! Not unless you want a 1000 word reply! Okay, his affection and loyalty are profound. Harris is like my shadow. Wherever I am, he is. He’s such a devoted young man.

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

Harris wishes I didn’t spend so much of my day with technology, shifting from MacBook to iPad to iPhone. This is an addiction he could do without. Harris would want me to leave aside the tech and be a more outdoorsy person. Or someone who wanted to snuggle with him for 8 hours at a stretch.

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

Difficult question. Harris is an anxious little guy. He suffers from really bad anxiety when we’re in the city, when he’s out on his own with me. When we got Harris as a pup, Richard was unemployed – Harris was a “this recession sucks” pup – and he grew up with two of us around. That became his norm. Then Richard started working again and can spend long days away, and this change seemed to affect Harris’s confidence. So he struggles going out in the city, and I struggle knowing what to do to really help and to change the way he feels and acts.

So I guess my question would be: what do I need to do to make you feel secure and less stressed, and to believe that you’re always safe when you’re with me?

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

My first thought was James McAvoy, but Harris consulted some of his friends in the #SausageArmy (yes, this exists on Twitter) and the consensus is Ewan McGregor. Uncle Bracken would need to be in this movie too, so he would be either Patrick Stewart or Bill Paterson: the gruff and grounded voice of maturity.

What advice would Harris give if asked?

So I asked Harris this, of course, and he said: find yourself some good humans, and then give yourself six months or so to figure them out, understand their quirks, and work out how to go about their training. Humans can be resistant to change so you need to be patient with them. And if you’re doing to do a whole lot of bad stuff – peeing, pooping, barking, squeaking - develop a killer-cute look that will render your humans incapable of being annoyed for more than 5 seconds.

Good advice I think.

Visit Fiona Reid's Copperline blog and Harris's Instagram page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 10, 2015

"Earl Lover" & Earl and Ethel

Who is in the photo at right?

Online, I go by the name of 'Earl Lover', and these are my two Border Terriers, Earl, a male 5 year old, and Ethel, a female 14 month old. I train and compete in agility with them regularly.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I never used to like coffee, however recently, I have taken a huge liking to it! When it's a nice day, I like to sit outside and enjoy one, accompanied by my two best friends.

What's brewing?

Our usual brand is Kenco, but we sometimes have Nescafe, too. I also like lattes, but usually have them when out and about, not at home. Cappuccinos are a little too strong for me, although I have tried one before!

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

I love making healthy homemade treats for the dogs, but if I haven't on this occasion, a couple of our usual dog biscuits do just fine! My dogs are real foodies, and love just about anything I put in front of them!

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

When we got Earl, my parents were into the show My Name Is Earl, and we all liked the name. It suits Earl incredibly well, too, because he's the most proud and regal looking dog I have ever seen! We also like the older names, as they suit Border Terriers! Ethel got her name this way, too.

How were you and your dogs united?

I'd been wanting a dog for ages, when finally, I came across a litter of beautiful Border Terriers puppies. Earl was the one who snuggled up on my lap and fell straight to sleep, so we both chose each other! With Ethel, we were looking for Border Terriers for agility, as I compete with Earl in this and wanted a good dog to follow. Ethel's line was known for this, and therefore we chose the only girl in the litter! We had heard boys get on with girls better than with the same sex.

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

Food! But yes, my dogs love squeaky toys and balls, but not sticks. They also enjoy games of tug with me and each other!

Squirrel, postman, cat....?

Squirrels and cats are high on the agenda, and they both go crazy for anyone who comes to the door, whether that be a postman or just a general visitor!

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Each other, of course! They're always playing together! But they also love playing with and spending time with the other agility dogs at our training club.

What is each dog's best quality?

Earl is a loyal, loving dog, who's always up for a cuddle and always does as he's told.
Ethel is a sprightly little girl who's always on the ball, always making you laugh and bringing you a toy.

Where is your dogs' favorite outdoor destination?

The dogs absolutely love the beach, but they also favour the woods, too. There's nothing better than a good place to exercise!

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

They'd make me more chilled. Sometimes I overthink things, and they'd be the ones to sit me down on the sofa with TV!

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

I don't know actors very well, so I'll just say someone posh for Earl, and someone wild and daring for Ethel.

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

I would ask them what their most favourite thing in the world is. Then, they could do/have more of it!

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

Never take no from a human for an answer. If they don't want to play or give food, keep at them! Oh, and use the eyes!

Visit the Earl's World! blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 7, 2015

Susanna Zachary & Ripley

Who is in the photo at right?

My name’s Susanna Zachary and I am the owner-designer of SysterLi. I make handcrafted bohemian clothing for dogs. My mini doxie’s name is Ripley and she’s 3 years old.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We just picked up some more fabric for ponchos and decided it would be nice to answer these questions on my laptop in the sun and away from the house and distractions.

What's brewing?

Today is a Chai Tea Latte kind of day. I found a new print for the Azalea & Oliver line we’re developing for SysterLi, all with repetitive animal prints, and it reminded me of something out of a Parisian child’s closet. For some reason I always drink chai tea lattes and Sangrias when I’m in Paris.

Any treats for you or Ripley on this occasion?

We share a banana.

How were you and Ripley united?

My husband Justin and I got her right before we got married, 3 ½ years ago. She wore a bow tie in our wedding.

Your Doxie Pool Pawty is getting famous. Is it going to be an annual event?

Is that what people want? Haha, yes, we’ve been getting a lot of requests to bring the event back as soon as possible. We were the first to throw a dachshund only pool party in the Hollywood Hills, so this thing is an entirely new species that we’re exploring and learning from. The response so far has been nothing but wonderful – so, yes, it would be heartbreaking not to bring the event back next year. Even as early as Spring.

Does Ripley have any corporate duties at SysterLi, your handcrafted dogwear company?

Ripley has demanded that she’d be the face of SysterLi. And we of course couldn’t say no. She is the most pleasant model I’ve ever worked with! I try to take her with me as often as I can, to restaurants and cafes, and grab a few stills of her in her ponchos and bandanas. There are so many inspiring places in Los Angeles. I’m drawn to the native, bohemian spots that serve eclectic food and drinks. I’m a sucker for hot sauces so naturally you’ll find me at places like Gracias Madre in WeHo who have one of the most beautiful outdoor seating plus they love canines.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Squirrels all the way. We have a couple of avocado trees in our garden and Ripley goes absolutely nuts when she hears the little creatures nibbling away.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Mini tennis balls with a squeaky-toy inside; right hand on the sewing machine; left hand tossing tennis balls all day.

Who is Ripley's best pet-pal?

Her best friend is a large grey cat named Kubrick, who we sometimes babysit.

What is Ripley's best quality?

She’s a loving cuddle buddy.

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

To slow down and enjoy the better things in life such as giving kisses, eating, playing and taking loooooong naps. To enjoy each moment. Oh, and less traffic. “I get so twaumatized when there are so many cars on the stweeets” – she says.

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

I love you, do you love me? Imagine hearing her say the words, “I love you.”

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

My husband is an actor and he has developed his own unique puppy language with her. Hence her speech impediment. “Who is a fuzzy whittle wazzzy little pooo pooo> youzeee izzzzz.”

What advice would Ripley give if asked?

When in doubt, hide under a blanket and reappear when you’re ready or when there’s food around.

Visit the SysterLi website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch, and check out photos from the Doxie Pool Pawty.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, September 4, 2015

Michelle Kaffko & David Bowie the Dog

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Michelle and my fiance's name is Joel-- I'm a portrait photographer by day and Joel's a graphic designer by day... by night we're both obsessed with our dog, who is a male Shiba Inu named David Bowie the Dog. We added "the Dog" just so no one confuses him with David Bowie the Human. Bowie turns 5 on October 1st.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We just had our engagement photos taken and had to include Bowie since he's such a big part of our lives-- so we asked a fellow photographer [ed. note: credit all images for this entry to Sally O'Donnell Photography] to join us at the park for some photos... which were mostly of Bowie and we were just props. And we're okay with that.

What's brewing?

I'm a tea drinker all the way and my latest obsession is decaf green tea with some mint leaves from my little backyard garden.

Any treats for you or Bowie on this occasion?

Any occasion is an occasion for Bowie treats! To get him to look at the camera for these photos we gave the photographer a handful of tiny chicken-flavored training treats to pull out of her pocket now and then and say "Bowie, want noms?" It definitely worked. He's a spoiled, grain-free pooch and sometimes I make his own treats. One of his favorites is dried sweet potatoes. I slice a peeled sweet potato really thin and then put the slices in a food dehydrator to make crunchy chips. They last a long time, are good for his digestive system, and are really cheap!

How were you and Bowie united?

I knew I wanted a Shiba Inu but I also wanted a rescue dog so I found a few breed-specific rescue associations in my area and watched their adoptable dogs. I adopted Bowie from the Shiba Inu Rescue Association on March 22nd, 2011 when he was about 6 months old-- he was rescued from a puppy mill at 3 months old. He had 9 applications in for him and I was worried that someone else would get him, so the night before the decision was to be made, I sent a quick email to the forever home choosers to remind them of how awesome a life he would have with me. I told them what food I'll feed him, which vet I'll take him to, that I work from home most days so I'll be with him more often than away from him, and that he'll romp around the dog park several times a week. It worked and they picked me! I couldn't be luckier- he's the best dog ever.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

I'm a big fan of David Bowie the Human so I just had to name my dog after him. We call him Bowie, though his full name is David Bowie the Dog. He also responds to BoBo, BooBoo, Fuzzypants, Bowiemonster, and sometimes Numbnuts.

You're a professional photographer. Do you think your clients tell their friends, "Hey, David Bowie's personal photographer took photos of me today!"?

Oh definitely. When I'm taking headshots of my clients sometimes he'll sneak into the photo and sit on their feet or lie down on the ground to distract them. He was actually recognized on the street one day at a festival we went to. Someone stopped us and said "is that David Bowie the Dog? I follow his Facebook page!" If he could write, he would have signed an autograph.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Sometimes Bowie will chase the occasional cat or squirrel, but mostly to say hi. Shibas are hunting dogs but he's so used to seeing other critters on the street that he doesn't really care to hunt them anymore because they never give him bacon. He did once see a slice of pizza on the sidewalk. I've never seen his prey drive come out that strongly until that day...

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Balls. Bowie is an absolute fetch-aholic. He also loves squeaky toys and plush toys but he hardly gets to play with them because they only last about 5 minutes until he shreds them to bits and yanks out the squeakers.

Who is Bowie's best pet-pal?

Our neighbor has a Boston Terrier named Little and they'll sniff each other through the fence and run back and forth to play. He used to have a girlfriend but we moved last fall so he doesn't get to see her that often anymore. I think they might have broken up or are seeing other dogs now so he's single and ready to mingle.

What is Bowie's best quality?

Bowie is really smart and very communicative. I taught him to ring a bell when he has to go outside and he'll sometimes also ring it to alert us of his other needs-- like if he wants us to pull back a window shade so he can have a sunbeam to lie in, if we wants to go out and play fetch, or if we've got dinner in the oven and he thinks it's done and we should check on it. He seriously knows when dinner is ready and lets us know- I don't even own a kitchen timer anymore.

If Bowie could change one thing about Chicagoans, what would it be?

I think he would change the contents of their pockets to bacon. Every time he meets someone new he checks their pockets and any bags they have and when he doesn't find bacon he walks away.

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

I think I would ask him why he eats his poo now and then. About once every year or so he'll randomly eat his own poo once or twice and I thought he was smarter than that. It baffles me.

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

You would think David Bowie the Human would voice him, but I have to honestly say that I think Sir Patrick Stewart would be a better fit. His voice is confident, authoritative, but every so often perfectly silly and always classy.

What advice would Bowie give if asked?

I think Bowie would tell people not to take things too seriously and that sometimes you need to take care of yourself-- take time off when you need it, even if it's just for an afternoon to go to the park or lie in a sunbeam. Also I think that if he were given the opportunity to hand out unsolicited information, he would just list a whole bunch of recipes that use a lot of bacon.

Visit the Organic Headshots website and the David Bowie the Dog Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Nicole Galland & Leuco

Who is in the photo at right?

The adorable canine is Leuco, my 6-year-old Portuguese Water Dog, a dog of such excellent qualities that my friends have been known to squabble with each other over who gets to dog-sit when I’m out of town. I’m Nicole Galland, usually an historical novelist, who recently jumped genres to write Stepdog, a lighthearted tale of blended families, Irish music, and unexpected road trips with sociopaths. I also write a tongue-in-cheek advice column for the Martha’s Vineyard Times, and with my friend Chelsea McCarthy I direct a theatre project called Shakespeare For The Masses.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Midafternoon break. Stepdog just came out and so I’m a bit scattered, my writing schedule is all thrown off…but we’re spending a few months living on an old farm on Martha’s Vineyard, so I let myself come up for air and chill outside with the ukulele, a mug of coffee, and Leuco. Wherever I am, there’s Leuco.

What's brewing?

French press coffee! I love the aesthetic of it, the benign artisanal pretentiousness, the very word: cafetiere. I always add cream. I never add sweetener unless it’s a stand-in for dessert.

Any treats for you or Leuco on this occasion?

Leuco has been getting more than enough treats from the elderly (but still working!) stone mason we’re sharing the farm with, so I’m trying to limit what she imbibes the rest of the time. But we received some awesome doggy-swag from Polka Dog Bakery last week for a reading – a bag of dried codfish skins – and she’ll get some of them later on.

How were you and Leuco united?

My first husband and I both wanted a dog. I wanted a rescue; he wanted a purebred. He won. We found a very reputable breeder, who interviewed us twice and made us sign so much paperwork that, as my dad said, we could have adopted a child from Kazakhstan with less oversight. When we went to get her, the breeder came out with this monkey-faced furball and plopped her into my arms, and I’ve hardly let go of her since then. When I left my marriage, less than a year later, she was practically the only thing I took with me. It’s a longstanding joke among all who know me how hyper-attached we are to each other.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

She’s a Portuguese Water Dog, and so we wanted to give her the name of a Portuguese water goddess. We couldn't find any that we liked, so we settled for a Greek water goddess, Leucothia. That was shortened to Leuco, although as all of our friends who know Latin kept pointing out, “Leuco” means white and she is black. It also sounds like a male name, and she’s a girly-girl. She has no official aliases but she gets called “pup” as lot, as in “Who’s the puppiest pup that ever pupped?” I try to only do that in private. In fact I can’t believe I just admitted to saying that.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Squirrel! Squirrel squirrel squirrel oh boy squirrel! And maybe cat, depends on how squirrelly it is. But never Postman. We love Postman because he is Human, so we will sit at his feet and look up at him hopefully in case he’s planning to give us a treat. Maybe if we wag our tail just a little? Or lean against his shin?

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

At the beach, with Billy teasing her, Leuco goes bananas over balls, sticks, Frisbees… It is literally the only time she ever barks. Otherwise, she mostly just wants floppy toys that are full of stuffing so she can eviscerate them and then play tug with their carcasses.

Who is Leuco’s best pet-pal?

She “grew up” with a friend’s English shepherd, Jackson, whom she still loves, but after playing together for about 10 minutes, they ignore each other like an old married couple. With Obie, on the other hand – a dog we often dog-sit for – she gets more excited and playful the longer they are in each other’s company, so that evening generally finds them tumbling all over each other and tearing all the tug-toys apart. But Henry (immortalized in Kate Feiffer’s Henry, The Dog With No Tail) has been her big brother from puppyhood, and although he’s an old man now, and can’t even take walks with us, I believe he holds a particularly sacred place in her heart.

What is Leuco’s best quality?

I have gotten used to hearing “She’s the sweetest dog I’ve ever met.” “Sweet” is such a generic and uninteresting adjective, but her sweetness is neither generic nor uninteresting. She very gently throws a ton of love at everyone. I think she has a calling to be a therapy dog, but unfortunately I don’t have the time to be a therapy-dog-handler.

Does Leuco do more to help or hinder your writing?

Oh I wish I didn’t have to face this question. The truth is, I get more done when she’s not around, but I like having her around. (I would like to point out that this is also true about my husband.)

What is Leuco’s favorite book?

Stepdog, of course, because she is the Stepdog. (Or she was, anyhow.)

Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your writing?

Cody, the dog in Stepdog, is Leuco dressed up as a Golden Retriever. Peter Sagal, who kindly read an early copy and wrote a blurb for us, wrote me to ask if Leuco was actually as endearing as the dog in the book, because it was hard for him to believe any dog could be as endearing as the dog in the book.

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

I would grow an extra arm and hand so that I could give her belly-rubs 24/7.

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

“Do you understand that when I give you a bath, it’s not because I’m a sadist?”

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

This is a great question…she’s so quiet that I can’t imagine her speaking at all. Maybe Barbara Luddy, if she were still alive - she was the voice of Lady in Lady and the Tramp, and Kanga in Winnie-the-Pooh.

What advice would Leuco give if asked?

Be gentle.

Visit Nicole Galland's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Stepdog.

My Book, The Movie: Stepdog.

Writers Read: Nicole Galland.

--Marshal Zeringue