Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lisa Goldstein & Bonnie

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Lisa Goldstein, a writer -- my latest book is Weighing Shadows. The dog is Bonnie, a female Labrador mix. She just turned five.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

No occasion -- I just like coffee and I like dogs.

What's brewing?

Just regular coffee, made with Costa Rica Estrella.

How were you and Bonnie united?
We were just at the point of looking for a new dog, and we saw Bonnie at an adoption event put on by the Milo Foundation, a local dog and cat adoption group. I liked her a lot, but unfortunately I had to go out of town for two weeks. The two weeks turned into four weeks, but when I got back she was still available for adoption -- inexplicably, we thought, given how beautiful she is. So we snapped her up.

How did Bonnie get her name? Does she have any nicknames?
Bonnie and her brother went through about four homes and foster homes together, and when they arrived at the Milo Foundation someone named them Bonnie and Clyde. I don't know if this was because of her anti-authoritarian streak, but in any case we didn't see it as a warning. Perhaps we should have…

Does Bonnie help or hinder your writing?

Help. Sometimes she'll lie under my desk and look up at me adoringly.

Has Bonnie inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Not yet, but I do think about it.

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

Tennis ball.

Postman, cat, squirrel...?

All of the above, unfortunately. If she saw all of them at once I don't know how she'd be able to chose.

Where is Bonnie's favorite place for an outing?

We used to go to Point Isabel, a terrific dog park with lots of trees, lots of dogs, water to swim in, old tennis balls lying around for the taking. Four years after we started going she suddenly decided to head off on her own, and she left the park, went out into traffic, crossed several streets, one of them fairly busy, headed into a parking lot where I lost her until some people pointed her out to me, and then finally returned to the drinking fountain at the park, where I caught up with her. So unfortunately we can't go back there until she shows she's under voice control, though I'm thinking about investigating fenced-in parks.

Who is Bonnie's best pet-pal?

She loves a dog that used to live next door, a Bernese mountain dog. The owners moved a while ago, but even now she'll try to pull me toward the house where they used to live. Sometimes the owner comes to the neighborhood to visit, bringing the dog, and Bonnie practically explodes with happiness.

What is Bonnie's most endearing quality?

Her affection. She comes up to us a lot, looking to be scratched. When she gives her heart to someone it stays there.

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

She'd definitely like me to be more generous with the treats.

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

There's an actor named Kristen Schaal who has the kind of goofy voice we imagine for Bonnie. And, looking at her Wikipedia page, I see she does voice work! Perfect!

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

Bonnie is -- how can I put this? -- not the most obedient of dogs. (See "Favorite Place," above, also "Postman, cat, squirrel?") However, she is very food-motivated. It seems strange to me that she still doesn't fully understand the basic dog-human interaction, where the human gives the dog a treat if the dog behaves well. So it's not really a question, but I guess I'd like to try to explain this to her, because I know she'd like the extra food.

Visit Lisa Goldstein's website.

The Page 69 Test: Weighing Shadows.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 28, 2015

Kerry Alan Denney & Holly Jolly

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Kerry Alan Denney aka The Reality Bender, multiple award-winning published author of various horror, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, and supernatural novels and short stories, with my Golden retriever Holly Jolly the professional Therapy Dog. In the photo, we’re disguised as Holly Jolly Claus and SuperSanta. Look at the expression on Holly’s dog-face: I swear I believe she actually knows when she’s being photographed. She’s such a ham for the camera! She’s so photogenic.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Any chance to share Holly’s unique unconditional love, affection, playfulness, and joie de vivre with others is a good occasion. As a fully trained and well-behaved Therapy Dog for six years now, Holly loves people and dogs of all sizes and ages, and loves making others happy... and making Holly and others happy makes me happy.

What's brewing?

For me, hot chocolate with marshmallows; for Holly, a bowl of fresh, clean water.

Any treats for you or Holly Jolly on this occasion?

I may be allowed a few double-chocolate fudge brownies, or some chocolate chip cookies. Holly gets 100% all-natural chicken jerky treats—no preservatives added!

(An important note for dog owners: Always check the list of ingredients on packaged treats you buy for your dog, and never give them anything with propylene glycol in it! That’s basically anti-freeze. It’s poison, and will shorten the life of your furry friend, and eventually kill them. I believe it should be illegal to put this preservative in dog treats, and that packages should be clearly marked with a warning when it’s used, but the companies that use this preservative to extend the shelf-life of the treats aren’t regulated by the FDA, and don’t care if they shorten the lives of our canine friends. It’s up to us to be the watchdogs for the health of our furry buds!)

How were you and Holly Jolly united?

In the late Fall of 2006, I searched for reputable breeders of Golden retrievers. I found a mother-and-son combination in Michigan who occasionally bred them (not a puppy farm!), and they had posted photos of a litter of Golden pups all dressed in various Christmas regalia: festive bows, Santa caps, decorative ribbons, etc. They were irresistibly cute. After personally contacting the breeder and determining that she and her son were respectable and legit, I submitted my request just in time, and got the last pup of the litter, a female they had named Sandy.

On December 21, 2006, I went to the cargo pickup warehouse at Atlanta, Georgia’s Hartsfield International Airport and picked up Holly as a nine-week-old puppy. She was so cute it made my chest ache. It was love at first sight for both of us, and we’ve lived happily together here in Stone Mountain, GA ever since that unforgettable day. Holly is nine now, and still happy, healthy, and as playful and energetic as a puppy.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

On the evening of December 20, 2006, I went to bed early still trying to come up with the perfect name for my new furry friend. At 3 a.m. the next morning—the morning I was scheduled to go pick her up—I jerked fully awake with the famous Burl Ives tune “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” playing in my head as if it were blaring out of my stereo, and I thought, “Eureka! Of course!” After that, there was never any doubt: Holly Jolly she was. And the name fit her personality perfectly.

Does Holly Jolly do more to help or hinder your writing?

Definitely help! She is the best writing companion I could ever hope or ask for. Her unique joy for life and unbridled enthusiasm inspires me endlessly.

Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your writing?

Absolutely! Holly herself inspired my short story “Old Coot,” about a remarkably gifted Therapy Dog. It was published online at Page & Spine to critical acclaim on November 1, 2013.

Additionally, Holly and several of her canine buds have inspired me to write about amazing and remarkable dogs in all of my published novels, as well as a few not published yet (and one coming out in 2016). I love writing about dogs, and believe they are the greatest gift our creator has ever given us. Treat your canine friends well and they will shower you with unconditional love all their lives!

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Amazingly, Holly has never been the type of dog to chase or be aggressive or defensive over any creature. Plus, because of her thorough training, she is so well-behaved that she knows better than to leave my side without permission. We’re constantly complimented on her excellent behavior and obedience. In our interaction with other dog owners with Golden retrievers, I’ve noticed that the breed is so eager to please that most people who own them have commented on how easy they are to train.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

All three! She is an excellent “play fetch” companion, and has been since she was just a puppy.

And she loves to swim. We go to the lake at Stone Mountain Park two to three times a week, where she plays tennis ball fetch in the lake. And she loves her plush stuffed toys too: She even identifies several of them by name when I ask her to choose one (doggie, froggie, bear, seal, turtle, leopard).

Who is Holly Jolly's best pet-pal?

Definitely Josie, a beautiful half-Golden retriever half-German shepherd owned by my great writer friend Lynda Fitzgerald. Holly and Josie play so well together, and have from the moment they met. Lynda and I believe they were best buds in a past life, reunited in this one.

What is Holly Jolly's best quality?

Definitely her joie de vivre (exuberance; energy and love of life). She has many remarkable qualities: affectionate, loyal, sweet, enthusiastic, gentle, playful, endlessly happy. But her joy of life is her shining star.

If Holly Jolly could change one thing about Georgians, what would it be?

That’s a tough one! My best guess would be that we would love cold weather more. (Native Georgians by and large can’t stand the cold, and being a native Floridian, I’m no exception.)

Holly absolutely loves cold weather and especially snow. See for yourself in her YouTube video.

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

Another tough one. I may change my answer to this question ten times or more after I’ve answered it. I would ask her what I can do to make the world a better place for us all to live in, but she’s already answered that many times before just by her sheer nature, which I put as the answer to the last question here. There are so many questions I’d love for her to answer! Such as:

Will I see you on the other side? (If there is a God, I surely will.) But I’ll go with this one: What can I do to make her live a longer, happier, healthier life?

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

If Hollywood made a movie about my life in which Holly could speak, I’d let her choose who would do her voice, and then we would Snoopy dance together on the ceiling. However, my choice would be the talented voice-over actress Mila Kunis. Because of her past experience in voice-over acting, I believe she would create the perfect voice for Holly.

What advice would Holly Jolly give if asked?

Easiest question yet. She would share her motto, her creed, which she has shared all her life by example: Live your lives with wind-in-fur.

Visit Kerry Alan Denney's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Julia Knight & Frek

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Julia Knight, and I’m a fantasy author. The cheeky chap with me is Frek, who is an 8-year-old collie/spaniel cross. The photo is titled “You stopped cuddling me for a whole nanosecond so I must lick your face” which is what always happens when I try to get a picture of us together!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Actually I prefer tea and I never knowingly refuse a cuppa so I often stop by the dog-friendly café in the park.

What's brewing?

Proper builder’s tea – hot and strong. PG Tips (English breakfast) for preference.

Any treats for you or Frek on this occasion?

Whenever I eat, Frek always gets a little bit of it, and on this occasion that means ginger nut biscuits, perfect for dunking.

How were you and Frek united?

Frek is a rescue dog – a charity close by rehomes puppies. My husband got him for me one birthday as I missed having a dog around after my last lady died.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

As he was a rescue, he already had a name, Freckles. However I refused to stand in the park shouting that, so we shortened it to Frek. He’ll actually answer to anything ending in “eck” so Shrek is also a common one. He also gets called Frekadoodle, I have no idea why....

Does Frek do more to help or hinder your writing?

Walking the dog is a great way of working through plot tangles, so he definitely helps!

Has Frek inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

He has appeared in my book, Fade to Black (under the pen name Francis Knight) as a puppy called Freckles, but only in conversation.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

He’s afraid of cats – one of them is currently trolling him by sleeping in his bed all day and not letting him in it. He sits next to his bed and whines instead. He loves our post man as he knows he can always get a quick cuddle. Squirrels on the other hand he chases like no one’s business, though I suspect if he caught one he’d just try to play with it. He’s a big old softy like that.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Despite our best efforts to train him, he never actually brings anything back (or often even bothers chasing until it lands), so a stick is a must unless we want to traipse after the ball. He also barks like crazy at the beach for us to throw stones but after diving around into the water he makes no effort to actually get it and barks for another one!

Who is Frek's best pet-pal?

He loves going for walks with a fellow collie of friends of ours, Willow and Charlie.

What is Frek's best quality?

He is totally soppy – he wants love all the time! I’m actually just about to enroll him with a charity that does hospital/care home visits with dogs and he’ll be in doggie heaven.

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

He’d give me an extra arm so I could constantly cuddle him at all times.

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

Why is it that when we’re out you have to jump in every single drop of water – especially that green pond once that covered you in stinking green algae – but you hate having a bath? (A bath which was very necessary after the green algae incident.)

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

Bob Peterson (who voiced Dug in the film, Up) because he completely nailed the soppy daftness!

What advice would Frek give if asked?

Cuddle me more. No, more, more! Never stop! Except perhaps to feed me?

Visit Julia Knight's website.

The Page 69 Test: Warlords and Wastrels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 21, 2015

Donna Balzer & Kelly

Who is in the photo at right?

That's me, Donna Balzer, and my dog Kelly.

I am the No Guff Gardener - I make gardening less complicated for my audience but I never make it stupid because that’s just dumb. I write and speak about gardening to various audiences and I have a regular phone-in gardening show on CBC radio in Canada, regular column in the local newspaper (Calgary Herald), a blog, and a YouTube channel (No Guff Gardening).

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Kelly looks for an excuse to relax and unwind and we encourage this because he was such a crazy overactive dog when we first got him eighteen months ago. Every morning, after his big exhausting off-leash run in the woods with dad, Kelly puts on his best neck-tie and joins me for coffee by the fire.

What's brewing?

Kelly still drinks from puddles but I love a good cup of French Press coffee and I prefer Kick Ass coffee from Kicking Horse Coffee in Invermere, BC.

Any treats for you or Kelly on this occasion?

I love toasted nuts and Kelly loves his Stella’s Super Beef Dinner Patties (although a frozen chicken neck really makes him happy too). We tried to convince Kelly he would like the Stella’s lamb after the store ran out of the Beef but he declined and waited it out until the beef were re-stocked.

How were you and Kelly united?

As beautiful as he is Kelly was a rescue dog, returned to the breeder because of discipline problems and an insecurity that made him aggressive and gave him a bad rap. The breeder had already had another batch of puppies plus her breeding dogs so there was no room at the inn for a big bad brother. My husband heard of his availability through his daughter and we took him on trial. And he was bad. And he has attitude. But when people meet him at our house for the first time they fall all over themselves touching him and snuggling with him. He is a real Jekyll and Hyde type dog.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

At 18 months old, Kelly came to use as Pele. Apparently this is the name of a famous soccer player but I was always pronouncing it wrong so we went with the almost-rhyming Kelly. And he took to it right away. He wanted to forget about his past and move forward. And we know the harsh sounding letter K gets a quick response in the park so it works for us all.

Does Kelly do more to help or hinder your gardening?

Kelly likes to chase people away from our fence and he sometimes helps with liquid nitrogen applications but he was previously trained to do his business on gravel and that is very helpful for us and keeps certain items out of the garden. He is a very loyal dog and likes to be right with us as much as possible so whether it 90 degrees in the greenhouse or pouring rain outside he is right on hand for whatever is required.

Cat, postman, squirrel…?

We learned from our dog trainer that poodles are actually trained French Police dogs and they take their work seriously. They try to keep the thugs in the neighbourhood pinned down and controlled.

Kelly took to natural garden patrol the first week we had him. He chased a deer down the street and over a tall fence into the backyard of a neighbour. When we caught up with him he had the deer down on the ground and had him firmly by the neck. This is a city dog, born and bred. We were shocked but not as shocked as the lady having coffee on her back patio when the scene from the Serengeti played out beneath her in her own yard. We leashed and brought Kelly home and we are keeping him on leash now until he gets his natural impulses a little more restrained. Meanwhile my husband lets him gallop at will in a natural area where he pursues deer but refuses to go off trail and mess up his pretty fur. So he is really turning into quite a pussycat.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick…?

Kelly chases a ball but doesn’t have the retriever instinct so we let him run toy-free so that we don’t have to learn to retrieve either.

Who is Kelly's best pet-pal?

Our older dog Kepla was best friends with the boy Sheltie across the street so of course we thought Kelly would want to continue that friendship. The owners were game even though Kelly was less than friendly initially. After a date in the fenced off-leash park the dogs came to an agreement. They tolerate but don’t sleep with each other. Kelly is not as amendable to letting Troy finish his dinner like Kepla used to do. and Troy never shares his bed with Kelly. Quite simply, Kelly prefers people and appreciates a strong master and commander.

What is Kelly's best quality?

Everyone says he is handsome. He walks like a princess and looks good when he trots (on-leash) down the street.He is also loyal and can leap over tall fences to bring home the game or defend us against toy terriers.

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

He would get me on a training program so that I could run with him daily. He can’t figure out why I move so slow compared to him and stick with my morning walks on the beach when he goes off-leash with Keith.

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

I would like to know what happened in his first life that made him so antsy around little dogs. We like all dogs but realize we can’t trust him yet with others so we have to keep him on a short leash when we are in town.

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

Definitely Peter Sellers because Kelly has respect for authority so would like to be voiced by Inspector Clouseau.

What advice would Kelly give if asked?

He would say I should work less and lie around more and he has been learning this skill himself. He would say I should follow my nose and not my heart. He would say we should age gracefully together and recently he has started going grey and is supposed to be fully grey before he turns five so maybe we will look more like a match then.

Visit Donna Balzer's website, Twitter perch, Facebook page, and YouTube channel (No Guff Gardening).

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ellen Jackson & Abby

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Ellen Jackson, children’s author, dog-lover, and member of the fellowship of flawed human beings. On my lap is Abby, a 14-year-old schnoodle (schnauzer/poodle), also known as dogface and pupcakes.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Coffee and canines are two of my favorite things. Santa Barbara has many dog friendly places where people can dine with their pooches. One of our favorites is the Mesa Cafe.

What's brewing?

Just the house coffee. Did I say “just”? It’s quite good.

Any treats for you or your dog on this occasion?

Abby gets special low-fat dog treats, which she loves.

How were you and your dog united?

Abby’s mother was found wandering the streets without any identification. A very nice dog rescuer took her in and soon discovered that she (the mother, not the dog rescuer) was pregnant. Abby was the last to be adopted from that litter. In my case, it was love at first sight.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

She came with her name, and I didn’t want to confuse her by giving her another one. She was confused enough, having first been adopted by someone who could not provide for her—and then returned to the original dog rescuer.

Does Abby do more to help or hinder your writing?

She warms my feet when she snoozes under my desk in the morning. And she looks cute on my webpage. Definitely helps.

Have any actual dogs inspired fictional dogs in your writing?

Ah, yes indeed! A homeless dog named Boozer (sorry about the name) wandered the streets of a small town in New England many years ago. The dog just couldn’t seem to settle down with any one family. Everyone in the town loved Boozer. The towns folk finally took up a collection, got Boozer a license, paid his vet bills, and declared him to be the only dog in history who belonged to–himself.

I wrote The Ballad of Booster Bogg a few years ago. Boozer’s name was changed to protect the innocent, and also to give him a handle that rhymed with “dog.”

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Definitely cats and squirrels. My most recent book, Beastly Babies, features a number of naughty animals and their antics, including a few kittens and puppies. My book, Tooling Around, highlights a number of animals who use tools or objects from their environment in their daily lives, including a certain species of squirrel.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Some of each.

Who is your dog's best pet-pal?

Abby, unfortunately, thinks she’s a human and doesn’t associate much with her own species if she can help it. She’s had two doggie friends in her life: Wookie and Bucky. Sadly both moved away. But she absolutely loves people and will eagerly jump into the lap of anyone she sees sitting on a park bench, sprawled on the grass, or otherwise available for canine companionship.

Where is Abby's favorite outdoor destination?

Any outdoor vacation we go on suits her just fine.

What is Abby's best quality?

She loves people–all people. But especially children. She’s the most affectionate dog I’ve ever known.

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

More supermarkets that allowed doggie customers. There’s actually one up in the Tahoe area that we know of.

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

What’s it like to smell in technicolor? What’s it like to hear the squeaks of cockroaches and detect people’s emotions with a sniff or two?

What advice would your dog give if asked?

Abby: Well, Ellen, you’re a pretty good dog owner, all things considered. But you could hold off on some of those baths. Sheesh! Just when I’m starting to smell like a dog you put that goop all over me. I’d like to have less of that and more rotten garbage and dead fish to roll in.

Visit Ellen Jackson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 14, 2015

Laura Norris & Charlie

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Laura, a freelance writer and running coach, and this is Charlie, a 3-year-old male rescue puggle.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We just finished a run, which is one of our favorite activities to do together, and heading out to grab a cup of coffee!

What's brewing?

Black coffee for me, which is my favorite, and water for Charlie.

Any treats for you or Charlie on this occasion?

Charlie will probably enjoy some homemade chicken broth when we get home, which is his favorite treat.

How were you and Charlie united?

My then-boyfriend (now husband) and I decided to adopt a dog to keep me company when I lived alone in a strange city for graduate school. We found Charlie through Petfinder and immediately knew he was the dog for us.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Before we even knew of Charlie, my husband and I decided that Charlie was the perfect name for a dog. It just came to us one day! We also call him "Snuggle Puggle," and "Chuckles" as nicknames.

You have a very lively blog about food and running. Would you tell us a bit about Charlie as a runner and as chowhound?

Charlie loves to run and to eat! He first starting running when he was 9 months old, and now runs 3-5 miles a few times per month. He also loves to go hiking and explore the outdoors. Charlie is quite the foodie and loves wholesome foods such as roasted chicken, homemade chicken broth, any time of cheese, and (oddly enough) raw cabbage and cauliflower.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Where we live there are lots of birds, and Charlie will always try to chase them! Meanwhile, the USPS and FedEx workers are usually terrified of him, because he will bark at them.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Charlie's favorite toy is a Durabone, but he also has several squeaky-toys that he is fond of. He removed the squeakers from most of them though!

Who is Charlie's best pet-pal?

Charlie's best pet pal is his puppy-uncle Frankie, who is my parents' 2-year-old puggle.

What is Charlie's best quality?

Charlie's best quality is that he is kind and friendly. He always knows how to put a smile on someone's face!

If Charlie could change one thing about Washingtonians, what would it be?

Charlie would change how they drive! He doesn't like the traffic around here and wishes he could get to the park sooner.

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

I would ask him how we could make his days even better, since he is such a sweet dog and I want the best for him.

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

The voice we gave Charlie sounds a lot like Ralph Wiggams from The Simpsons, so the same actor would have to voice him.

Visit This Runner’s Recipes, like This Runner’s Recipes on Facebook, and follow on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Peter Hutson-Jones & Skipper

Who is in the photo at right?

In the photo is myself, Peter Hutson-Jones. I am a crime thriller writer represented by "A for authors" agency. I am also a dog walker (to pay the rent!). My dog Skipper is a 9-year-old female Airedale terrier. She was born in Utah, and came to us via Boston when we lived in Nova Scotia. She is a well travelled woofer. We currently live near Warrington in Cheshire, UK.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We regularly have a coffee at the Dingle Farm tea shop, Appleton after my wife and I have finished our dog walking day. Any excuse for me to refuel on the staple of any writer, and Skipper looks forward to any left over dog treats I have in my pockets.

What's brewing?

On most days I enjoy just a shot of espresso - preferably short and strong - on today's visit I opted for the in-house latte as I had skipped lunch!

Any treats for you or Skipper on this occasion?

I had a toasted teacake and shared a slice of spiced pumpkin cake with my wife Andrea, usually I just have coffee. Skipper had half of my treat, as usual, I just can't deny her anything. For the record she even has a roast dinner with us every Sunday.

How were you and Skipper united?

Skipper was destined to be our dog. As I previously stated, she was born in 2006 in Utah. (I've never been but I believe it gets hot there.) We were living in Nova Scotia, Canada at the time and had lost our first dog "Buddy" just before we left England. Buddy was 18 when he passed, and after a short time we realised that our house was not a home without a dog. I had always wanted an Airedale - 'the king of the terriers'- but couldn't find a local breeder. After a long search I came across a recognised breeder in Utah who had just one of the latest litter left. Initially I was sceptical about flights, travel time and the like, but after reassurance from the breeder that it would be OK, I drove 18 hours to Boston to meet her and Skipper at Logan. When I arrived Skipper was already a huge hit with the cargo personnel, so much so that she had been taken to their staff room for everyone to get 'their Airedale fix'.

Fast forward 2 years and we returned to the UK and naturally Skipper came back with us. Fortunately we managed to arrange for her to stay with friends in Canada whilst her rabies shots were given - this enabled her to fly in without having any time in quarantine. I'm certain she would have hated that.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

When we first decided to get another dog we had moved to a house right on the ocean and had a boat. Our young daughter, Freya decided on the name Skipper as she wanted her to go on the boat with her. It mattered little that our new dog was female. For my part I was happy that Freya had chosen a name normally associated with male dogs rather than Tinker Bell or something similar.

Does Skipper do more to help or hinder your writing?

Funnily enough I seem to write better when Skipper is at at my feet in my office. Apart from her gentle snoring, she appears to have a very positive influence on my work.

Has Skipper inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

In my first novel Jacob's Dory I actually included a dog called Skipper - rather tragically my main protagonist killed the dog and then her carcass was fed on by rodents - a bit gruesome but totally fictional!

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Definitely squirrel - a terrier thing. She loves our postman too much to bark at him.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Squeaky toy - although she prefers my socks to anything other than something edible.

Who is Skipper's best pet-pal?

Being dog walkers she comes into contact with many different dog breeds, all shapes and sizes - her favourite is a cavapoo called Kip. We use Skipper whenever we take on a new puppy as a client, she's so gentle with them, even if the dog's owners look at her mouthful of teeth (she has an unnerving propensity to smile) with a degree of horror!

What is Skipper's best quality?

Despite Airedales having a reputation for being stubborn and aloof, our Skipper is the most loving dog I've ever come across. She is loyal, funny and is happiest when she sits on the sofa between us all. She is our baby, no doubt.

If Skipper could change one thing about the English, what would it be?

The thing she would change about the English is she would tell us "Get some sunscreen on, you know you burn at the first sight of the sun." She would also change anyone who is uptight about dogs.

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

I would ask Skipper "Are you happy and contented little woofer, and if not, what can I do to make it better?"

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

Now if Hollywood came knocking I would want - despite her being a female dog with a male name - either James Mason or Orson Welles to speak her part.

What advice would Skipper give if asked?

Her advice would be "Eat, Love and bazz about that's what will make you happy."

Visit Peter Hutson-Jones's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 7, 2015

Caroline Cowen & Fenway

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Caroline Cowen and my dog is Fenway. She is a two year old rescue who we believe to be a lab, boxer, hound and pitbull mix. We own and operate Fenways Runway. There are lots of photos of her at the site or by using #fenwaysrunway on Instagram or Facebook.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Coffee is life blood when you work with animals. We always have a coffee in the morning on the way to the dog park!

What's brewing?

Starbucks Christmas blend k cups!

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

A homemade fruit smoothie.

How were you and Fenway united?

We rescued her through lost dog rescue foundation. I now volunteer for them occasionally.

Any treats for Fenway on this occasion?

She's had her morning treat after going potty this morning.

How did Fenway get her name?

I was born and raised in Boston, what more can I say?

Does she have any nicknames?

Fen, feng shui, snuggle butt, little love.

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

Fox or giraffe are her favorites at home- if we're at the park a tennis ball or stick will do. She would always prefer to play with another dog though.

Postman, cat, squirrel...?

She could care less about squirrels cats or bunnies, she doesn't bark ever, but she's been known to growl at a plastic bag or a baseball hat.

Where is Fenway's favorite place for an outing?

Great falls or the beach.

Who is Fenway's best pet-pal?

She loves so many dogs because we have so many friends stay with us!

What is Fenway's most endearing quality?

She will always love. She will snuggle and cuddle and love more than any animal I've ever met. She's very protective of me but of other animals as well.

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

Their bad driving habits.

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

Great question, Isla Fisher.

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

What do you remember from the first 2 months of your life? (Before we rescued her.)

Visit the Fenways Runway website, Facebook page, and Instagram page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Bethany Whitfield & Maddie

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Bethany Whitfield and I am a Print Co-Ordinator for a polythene manufacturer in the UK. What's probably more interesting is that I am a Nail blogger. I write a blog called B Nailed To Perfection, where I write about reviews, nail art and other nail related things. Maddie is my little sweet Puggle and she will be two years old in February next year.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I never need an excuse to sit down and relax with my girl. In this picture we decided to have a sit in our garden...then she decided to invade my sunlight and sit on my knee!

What's brewing?

Just a good old Yorkshire brew!

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

A few chocolate favourite!

How were you and Maddie united?

My boyfriend and I had been talking about getting a dog for a while and we saw her advertised by a local breeder, went to meet her and we fell in love!

Any treats for Maddie on this occasion?

She has plenty of treats in the kitchen drawer haha but she loves her Stag bone at the moment.

How did Maddie get her name? Does she have any nicknames?

We really didn't know what to call Maddie when we met her. We had to wait another week before we could go pick her up and we just searched for female names on Google and settled on Maddie. It was quote appropriate too as she is mad.

She has loads of nick names but the most common ones are Maddie moo and Stinky butt!

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

She gets obsessed with new toys so unfortunately rarely gets them as within 10 minutes they are ripped to shreds. I think her aim is just to de-stuff them, but she doesn't play -- she destroys! She does have a couple of rubber toys that she has had from being a puppy; she plays fetch with them everyday and they are still intact.

Postman, cat, squirrel...?

Pussy cat! Where where?!

Where is Maddie's favorite place for an outing?

She loves going up to the field on a weekend morning as that is the time she gets off lead play with her favourite fetch toy.

Who is Maddie's best pet-pal?

She loves Hank who is a Pug and they see each other quite a lot as he just lives up the road.

What is Maddie's most endearing quality?

Her big eyes. She just looks at you and makes you happy.

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

Probably my job so I could spend alllllll day with her!

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

Gosh that's a tricky one....maybe Sandra Bullock?

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

Do you love being with us? Which I'm sure the answer would be yes as she seems so happy.

Visit Bethany Whitfield's B Nailed To Perfection blog and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue