Thursday, January 28, 2016

Roxanna Elden & Rudy

Who is in the photo at right?

The dog: Rudy Elden. He’s an eight-year-old mix. We don’t know what breeds he is, but people love to guess.

The human: Roxanna Elden – teacher, mom, and author of Rudy’s New Human, a children’s book based on Rudy’s experience getting used to a new human in the house after years of being the “baby” of our family.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We went for a family breakfast at Latin American cafeteria. They have locations all around Miami. It’s a very family-friendly and dog-friendly place because most of the seating is outside. And the food and prices are great.

What's brewing?

CafĂ© con leche. In Miami, Cuban coffee is more popular than the American version. If you try it, you’ll see why.

Any treats for you or Rudy on this occasion?

We try not to feed Rudy off the table, but he knows if he hangs around near the high chairs, something is probably going to fall on the ground [photo, below left]. And we always take some leftovers to feed him on the walk home.

How were you and Rudy united?

A family was selling puppies from a box outside the supermarket. At the time I had no intention of getting a dog, but I picked up Rudy and he put his head on my shoulder and I fell in love. As I was shopping, I called everyone I knew who might be able to talk me out of buying him. No one answered. I ended up calling my friend Inga, a dog lover who grew up with dogs and has never been without one. She said, “I don’t know what to say to talk you out of this… life is better with a dog!” I decided that if he was still there when I finished shopping, I would buy him, and then suddenly felt like I couldn’t shop fast enough. When I got out of the store, there he was, and I took him home. He was my best impulse buy, ever.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

For some reason, I always knew if I ever had a dog I would name him Rudy. Now my daughter is just learning to pronounce his name, so he was “Beebee” for a while, and right now he’s “Ru-bee.”

Does Rudy do more to help or hinder your writing?

Help. He jumps onto the chair with me as soon as I sit down to write and sleeps next to me the whole time.

Has Rudy inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

The idea for the charismatic canine-narrator of Rudy’s New Human came from watching Rudy as he adjusted to having a new baby human in the house. Illustrator Ginger Seehafer also based her drawings on Rudy’s pictures. Like a lot of dogs, Rudy was the littlest, cutest member of our family before we had kids. Ever since, he’s had to deal with all kinds of indignities - pulled ears, missed walks, and lots of interruptions to his couch naps. And, of course, he’s had to learn to share the spotlight. Luckily, Rudy has channeled all of this into his literary debut, sharing his hard-learned lessons with other dogs – and human big brothers and sisters.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?


Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?


Who is Rudy's best pet-pal?

His girlfriend is a Jack Russell named Sushi.

What is Rudy's best quality?

He’s always wagging his tail, and he is so friendly – he will stare at strangers until they come over to pet him.

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

Probably to be home more often and give him as much attention as he deserves.

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

Aziz Ansari. Like Ansari, Rudy is enthusiastic and genuine and family oriented. And though I can’t be sure, I imagine he has a great sense of humor.

What advice would Rudy give if asked?

Seriously… you’re not going to finish that whole sandwich, are you?

Visit Roxanna Elden's website and the Rudy’s New Human website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 25, 2016

Lawrence M. Schoen & Gej

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Lawrence M. Schoen. I’m an author, a small press publisher, a psychologist, a hypnotherapist, and a Klingonist. With me is Gej. He’s about six and a half years old. To the best of our knowledge, he was an attempt by a puppy mill to generate a new designer dog — a Maltese/Pug mix. Or as I like to think of it, a “Mug” (not that I’ve ever seen any others).

What's the occasion for Diet Coke with a Canine?

I recently leased a new car, and it’s past time for Gej to get comfortable with it and take it out for a spin. Alas, he cannot drive it, not because of any lack of will, but simply because it’s a manual transmission and he only knows automatics.

What's on tap today?

We’re on our way to a nearby park that was recently renovated. It’s very dog-friendly, and has several miles of walking paths so we can both get some exercise.

Any treats for you or Gej on this occasion?

There is a brand new chew stick with his name on it waiting for us once we return home. He won’t actually chew (or eat) it right away. He’s apt to run around the house with it for an hour, showing it off as he clenches it in his mouth, until he decides where to hide it for a day.

How were you and Gej united?

I went to a puppy rescue to check out the dogs they had. I was sitting with one pup, and he looked up at me with an expression that said, “You, you are the most important thing in the universe.” It was really striking. Then a butterfly went by, and the pup tracked its movement, all the while with an expression that seemed to cry out to the butterfly, “You, you are the most important thing in the universe.” Uh huh. I picked up a pebble and rolled it past his field of vision, and wouldn’t you know it? That pebble was also…

So I left that dog behind and went to look at some others. There was one, a tiny puppy that the older dogs had been picking on; he had been given his own space to keep him safe. My wife and I visited with him, and he came over, stopped shivering, and sat with me a while. That was Gej.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

I don’t believe in giving dogs names that are people names. And I had to explain this to my wife when we went looking for a dog. To say that she disagreed with my way of thinking would be a mild way of stating it, but since this was to be “my” dog, she gave in.

When I looked at him the name popped into my head and I said, “Gej, your name is Gej.”

My wife did not approve. I reminded her that I did not want to burden a dog with a person’s name. She countered with the notion that I name the dog for something else. I remember suggestions that included choices like “doorknob.” In the end, I was able to keep “Gej,” but only after promising not to train him to respond to commands issued in Klingon.

As far as aliases go, now that he’s a respectable and civilized six and a half, I can say that as a pup he was a terror. He had a habit of opening latched handbags and distributing their contents around the house, or pulling my wife’s books (but never mine) off the shelves and chewing on the spines. But that’s all part of the usual rambunctious/destructive nature of puppies. Except, it was also about this time that he crept up behind my wife’s aging and sickly dog, gripped her hind leg (the dog’s, not my wife’s) with his mouth full of needle-like puppy teeth, and attempted to push her down the stairs. For this and a few other reasons, my wife took to calling him “Evil Fuck Dog!” To her credit, she has since forgiven him, and now speaks of Gej only with love and adoration.

I also sometimes call him “Mr. Boy,” though I’m not sure why.

Does Gej do more to help or hinder your writing?

Gej’s involvement is as a reassuring but carefully detached presence. When I’m working from my home office, he will lay on the floor by my feet, keeping me company as I pound away at the keys.

Have any of your actual dogs inspired the creation of fictional canines?

My previous dog was with me for eighteen years. She showed up at my doorstep as a stray puppy. We sat together on the steps awhile and I looked at her and said, “Ghang, your name is Ghang.” And so she was.

Ghang was my constant companion through the end of my college years, all through grad school (my doctoral dissertation was dedicated to her), and through all the colleges that I taught at. Her passing after a long and rich life hit me very hard.

So hard, in fact, that I spent half a million words eulogizing her in fiction without even realizing it. One of my readers (who was also a psychologist) pointed this out to me after reading one of my books in which the protagonist loses his dog, believes him to be dead, but gets the dog back by the novel’s end. That’s when I realized what I’d done, and that if my character could get his dog back, I could move on and have another one in my life. Soon after, I went in search of Gej.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Deer. We live out in the exo-burbs, and there are a number of wooded lots near us. It’s not uncommon to come out in the morning and find half a dozen deer milling around on my lawn. Gej is not a fan of them and will rush up to the fence and bark at them. They are generally disinclined to move on.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Definitely the squeaky. Do you know the toy that’s a long serpent with multiple segments and a different squeaker in each? Yeah, that one. Don’t get that for a dog that likes squeaky toys. The dog will be happy, but trust me, you’ll regret it very quickly.

What is Gej's best quality?

Just being himself and wanting to hang with me. It’s a great thing to just be with a dog. You either completely understand what I mean and are already nodding, or I really doubt I could explain it to you.

If Gej could change one thing about Pennsylvanians, what would it be?

Not surprisingly, given that he lives a privileged and somewhat sheltered life, Gej has never shown any interest in state policy or procedures. I tried to get his input on this question but he just stared at me.

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

Probably, “Gej, what question should I have asked you? Good dog.”

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

I’ve never really given this question any thought. Huh. Statistically speaking, I suppose it would be Michael Caine, but I don’t think he’d be a good fit. Hmm… maybe Tom Cavanaugh. I know, right? Not what you expected.

What advice would Gej give if asked?

“What is best in life? To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!” No, wait, that’s Conan. Sorry.

Visit Lawrence M. Schoen's website and Twitter perch.

Writers Read: Lawrence M. Schoen.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Theresa Kaminski & Hugo

Who is in the photo at right?

Sitting at the dining table is me, Theresa Kaminski, a history professor and author of the newly-published book Angels of the Underground. The canine with the rawhide chewy in his mouth is Hugo, a 5-year old basset hound.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I have my coffee and Cheerios every morning while Hugo settles in for his second nap. (He gets up very early with my husband, who gives him his breakfast and takes him for his first walk of the day.) Sometimes we’re in the dining area that’s just off the kitchen. If I’m anxious to start work right away, we’re in my study, also known as the Eeyore room because of the small stuffed Eeyore I keep on my desk as a writing mascot.

What's brewing?

Right now we’re finishing up a couple of bags of regional coffee that came to us as gifts: Tony’s from the Pacific Northwest and Tall Bean Coffee from Manitowoc, Wisconsin. A more typical coffee morning involves the Beaumont brand from the Aldi grocery store chain. I drink one cup a day, which I make with a single-serve pour-over Melitta coffee cone. I add enough 2% milk to turn the dark brown to beige.

Any treats for you or Hugo on this occasion?

No. I’m strict about no extra food intake in the morning. Hugo loses interest in his rawhide pretty quickly, preferring a nap.

How were you and Hugo united?

Not long after our golden retriever died, we started thinking about a new dog. We wanted a very different breed so we wouldn’t feel tempted to make comparisons between old dog and new. I started looking at various animal rescue organizations and my first choice was a greyhound, which my son and husband nixed. Then I found a small animal rescue organization that was adopting out two adult bassets and their six offspring. (In the case of bassets, “small” is a bit of a misnomer. They are short, but long and hefty.) The bassets had been removed from an abusive home.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Hugo seemed a fitting name since the breed originated in France. I sometimes call him Puppen, sometimes Stinky Boy. Because of their oily coat, bassets have a unique fragrance.

Does Hugo do more to help or hinder your writing?

Hinder, only because I have to pull myself away from my work to walk and feed him. If I forget, he reminds me with a wet nose wedged under my arm or a heavy paw on my thigh. Hugo has been inexplicably indifferent to my writing projects and deadlines.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Hugo loves cats and views them all as potential friends. He is crestfallen when they don’t see him the same way. Squirrels and rabbits are fair game, though. When they got into the yard, Hugo viewed them as interlopers and acted accordingly. He is very fit from regular exercise and can run fast. However, our new house doesn’t have a fenced yard so he won’t be out there on his own. Local wildlife is safe. Hugo ignores the postman except if we encounter him on a walk. Then Hugo wants to be petted.

[photo right: Hugo's mom, Molly]

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Right now Hugo is enamored of two toys, both Christmas presents. One is a gray plush toy in the shape of a dog that has an empty plastic bottle in its middle. He likes the crunching sound it makes when he chews on it or jumps on it. The other is a long knotted rope that he likes to drag around and show off. If I throw a ball for him, he watches to see where it went, then looks at me to see if I’ll get it for him.

Who is Hugo's best pet-pal?

Hugo was very fond of a Chihuahua named Jules who belongs to the people who pet sat him. He’s just met some new canine pals at a dog daycare near our new home. Hugo’s a sociable guy.

What is Hugo's best quality?

He’s very friendly and always happy to see us.

If Hugo could change one thing about Wisconsinites, what would it be?

I think he’s puzzled by why we have to take so long to bundle up before going outside in the winter. To him, it must seem a curious thing to do and it only causes a delay in his walks.

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

Why can’t you stop barking when I tell you to?

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

John Hillerman, who played Jonathan Quayle Higgins on Magnum, P.I. And he’d have to use the Higgins voice because Hugo would sound droll and always vaguely amused. If the movie were animated, it would take tremendous willpower not to draw Hugo wearing a deerstalker cap with a pipe in his mouth.

What advice would Hugo give if asked?

Take more naps.

Learn more about Angels of the Underground at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Angels of the Underground.

Writers Read: Theresa Kaminski.

My Book, The Movie: Angels of the Underground.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 18, 2016

Valerie A. Cody & Sundae

Who is in the photo at right?

Hello! I’m Valerie Cody, the founder, content creator and photographer over at Perfect Timing Photography. I also enjoy my time in front of the camera as a freelance model/brand ambassador. Find me on Instagram! I also work part-time teaching yoga to elementary school children. This little blonde “mini-me” is Sundae. She is a long haired, miniature, English cream dachshund. Sundae is a Libra who turned 2 on October 20th.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I haven’t had a cup of coffee in a while, so I decided it was time to enjoy one. Also, beautiful weather and lovely company! What more could I ask for?

What's brewing?

Black coffee from The Gourmet Shop in Columbia, SC.

Any treats for you or Sundae on this occasion?

Sundae just devoured a Bark Bar in the gingerbread flavor. We feed her these because they are made with vegan ingredients.

How were you and Sundae united?

Sundae is a Carolina girl, she hails from Wilmington, NC. We picked up our little girl a few weeks before Christmas of 2014.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

The thought process went like this: English Cream = Ice Cream = Ice Cream Sundae. The Cody household is absolutely overrun with nicknames, to the point where it is embarrassing. We try to limit our nickname usage when guests are present, but just know that we basically have our own language. Not even household appliances are exempt from the nicknames. So, naturally, Sundae has so many aliases that it feels unnatural even calling her ‘Sundae’ for the purpose of this interview. To name a few: Goose, Boppins, Sundance, Spook, Pookah, and Spookensyboppinschbeetle. No, that last one was not a typo.

You've got some great photos of pets and people on your website. Who are the more challenging subjects, pets or people?

Thank you! Overall, people are more challenging. Yes, pets have the shorter attention span, but that’s nothing which can’t be fixed by a dangling treat. However, it can be difficult to please people based on the bias they have of themselves. I may think he/she looks stunning in a photo, but the subject may be self-critical. It’s important to take a little time with clients before a shoot to help them feel confident and comfortable. This is the secret to capturing natural looking expressions and body language during a photoshoot.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Postman! Or pizza delivery man. Or passer-by. Generally, any human who isn’t my husband or me.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Definitely not a stick. But she loves a squeaky-ball!

Who is Sundae's best pet-pal?

Sundae’s best friend is Kona, a chihuahua-beagle mix. Kona lives in Florida now, but just the mention of Kona’s name will send Sundae into a frenzy. We attempted an ill-fated relationship with Royce, a pitbull mix. However, to no fault of Royce, Sundae is only comfortable around him when she is being held by a human.

What is Sundae's best quality?

She has extremely soft fur, which makes her extra cuddly. Oh, and her fantail. I can’t think of one dog owner who doesn’t love coming home to a wagging tail. It’s heartwarming.

If Sundae could change one thing about South Carolinians, what would it be?

I don’t think she would change a thing!

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

Do you think Leonardo DiCaprio will win an Oscar for The Revenant?

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

Definitely Robin Williams, circa Mrs. Doubtfire. (RIP)

What advice would Sundae give if asked?

She would tell us to keep calm and cuddle. To Sundae, everything can be solved with a warm blanket and a nap.

Visit the Perfect Timing Photography website and Facebook page, and find Valerie Cody on Instagram.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Amy Shojai & Magic

Who is in the photo at right?

Thanks for asking! The handsome canine is Magic, a 9-years-young German Shepherd boy who still acts like a delinquent doggy. He lets the cats run all over him, and is best friends with the chunky cat Karma, and is still trying to make friends with the 20 year old Siamese, Seren. Oh, and the human is me, Amy Shojai. I'm the "woman behind the pets" in this house, taking virtual dictation and keeping the food bowls filled and Frisbee handy.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

It was time for our daily Puppy Latte for Magic (that's a cup-'o-whipped-cream) and a caffeinated beverage for moi. I'm a coffee-a-holic, and admit it freely.

What's brewing?

For me, it's a double espresso, definitely. At least one and sometimes two a day. It helps me type faster!

Any treats for you or Magic on this occasion?

Well yes, it's always treat time for the Magical-Dawg. He generally wants anything that I'm having (hence, the Puppy Latte) but enjoys his healthier dog-specific treats as a chaser. We have some fat-free ones and (shhhh, don't tell the cats) he also enjoys Kitty Kaviar...extra stinky fish flakes. A dog's gotta do what a dog's gotta do, doncha know.

How were you and Magic united?

Magic was my much anticipated 25th anniversary present from my husband--and we were on a 2 year waiting list before he arrived so actually he arrived in time to celebrate my 26-1/2 anniversary. We're so fortunate to have met his breeder, a professional tracking dog trainer and AKC judge, and got to visit Magic only a few days after his birth. Since that time, I've even had the honor to help with puppy temperament testing with some of his breeder's subsequent litters.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Magic's litter was the "M" litter, since GSD often are tracked by this type of system. So we were encouraged to christen him with a name beginning with that letter--and it was a no-brainer. He's black magic, so it fit perfectly.

From the beginning, he has been "magical" for us, just a total joy making us smile. He's the smartest dog I've ever met, learns things so very quickly. So the folks on Facebook and elsewhere know him as "Magical-Dawg" and his breeder knows him as Mr. Magic and Magic-Man. And for me, he'll always be my Baby-Dog, even now at nearly 90 pounds.

Does Magic do more to help or hinder your writing?

Magic is my furry inspiration. In his younger days, he'd interrupt me and let me know when I (or he) needed a break. Now that he's older, that doesn't happen so much. He's slowed down considerably, with white sprinkled across his muzzle now. It helps me enormously just to have him nearby while I'm writing, as a furry muse.

Has Magic inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Yes! My hero dog, Shadow, in my pet-centric thriller series is based directly on Magic. I channeled my "inner dog" and Magic helped me create this marvelous character that has touched so many readers. Shadow debuted in Lost and Found as a nine-month-old service dog in training to an autistic child. In the sequel, Hide and Seek he'd chosen to instead partner with his trainer, September, a behaviorist who suffers from PTSD. And in the most recent book Show and Tell, he also has become a tracking dog of lost pets.

I really believe dogs have their own wants, desires, and emotions, and so Magic inspired the personality and abilities of his fictional counterpart, Shadow--who knows when a "good-dog" knows better than the human, and makes the right choice. Shadow doesn't "talk" in the books, any more than Magic "talks" to me, but has his own viewpoint chapters in which he has his own goals, understandings (and misunderstandings), and character arcs. Since I'm a behavior consultant, I wanted Shadow to be portrayed as a real dog, and act/react (and think!) based on my perception of canine behavior and motivations. It's been gratifying to hear reviewers say that Shadow is one of their favorite characters--and if so, I have to say it's because of my love for Magical-Dawg!

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Cat! Magic loves playing tag with his buddy Karma-Kat.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Ball, all the way. Magic will fetch forever, and must have a dozen or more balls from tiny to a huge field-ball tug toy filled with water.

Who is Magic's best pet-pal?

Oh that's Karma, the cat. Actually, Magic rescued him when the kitten showed up on our back patio about a year ago just before an ice storm. I thought Magic alerted to a bunny, and was surprised to see the abandoned cat. And as soon as the two of them met, they've been inseparable ever since. That's wonderful for Magic especially, since the old kitty has never liked him and Magic has always been frustrated wanting to have a furry friend.

What is Magic's best quality?

Magic is smart, very quick, and he's a comedian. He's learned how to make us laugh, and keeps us constantly entertained.

If Magic could change one thing about Texans, what would it be?

I guess Magic would prefer that Texans fed more treats. And gave dogs driver's licenses, so he could drive the Magic Mobile (he's sure the car belongs to him!).

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

He's getting older and he's given me so much for nearly a my one question would be, "What can I do that would make you as happy as possible?"

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

Gosh, that's hard to say. A young sounding voice, because Magic is a perpetual adolescent. Maybe Dev Patel?

What advice would Magic give if asked?

Live, love, wag and play--all the time!

Visit Amy Shojai's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 11, 2016

Kate Barker & Molly and Duke

Who is in the photo at right?

Hi, I’m Kate Barker. My Sweet Husband and I own Oregon Street Antique Mall in Redding, California. We’ve been married forty-nine years this January. We’ve had three boxers. This gal’s name is Molly…she’s a fabulous guard dog and gentle companion to her little brother and all of our grandchildren. She’s five. The little guy I’m holding is Duke…he’s a Chiweenie (Doxie-Chihuahua mix). He’s the baby…only three years old, very alert, fun-loving and affectionate…and loves playing with Molly.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We’re getting ready for a trip to Portland, Oregon. Takin’ our tea and coffee and our doggies! Oregon is a dog-loving state! They give doggie treats at all the gas stations…and most hotels do not mind if you have your dog with you. (Best to check first though, ‘cause there are some that aren’t able to accommodate dogs.

What's brewing?

My Sweet Husband is a fan of straight-up coffee…no flavors. I love tea…some flavored, but mostly just a robust black tea. In summer, we both devour lots of iced tea.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

We usually make a stop in Central Point, Oregon to pick up some delicious handmade chocolates at LillieBelle Farms Artisan Chocolates.

No chocolates for the puppies, of course! We carry our own goodies for them…but Molly doesn’t like to eat on the road…only after we settle in someplace. Duke eats any where, any time! Once, at an outside restaurant in St. Helens, Oregon, he had his own doggie version of spaghetti and meatballs [photo left].

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Our older boxer’s name was Max…and when we got the boxer puppy, Max and Molly just sounded good together. The Chiweenie was so tiny when we got him, we thought he needed a big name. Oldest Grandchildren thought of Marmaduke, but I was thinking of John Wayne. The puppy must have read our minds, cause he doesn’t know he’s a little dog! He’s got a big personality!

About how many times per year do you hear that you've got a great last name for a dog-lover?

Oh, Lots! And our entire family loves dogs…so it sure fits!!

How were you and your dogs united?

We were looking for a boxer puppy for our older Max to help raise. He was such a calm, quiet dog. Don’t know what happened…. Molly’s not like that at all…but she’s lots of fun. And a great guard dog…. Max cared more about making friends than standing guard.

Our little dog was born to a rescue long-haired Doxie. The gal who rescued her had no idea she was pregnant. Duke was one of those puppies and we offered to take him. We were happy to have a small dog again. He’s a joy…and added lots of laughter to our lives.

Cat, postman, squirrel....?

Molly loves other creatures…she’s curious about most and wants to make friends. But, she’s not keen on people she doesn’t know. Once we give the OK, she’s usually fine, unless they’re wearing a baseball cap or a hoodie. Then we have to work a bit harder to assure her they’re friends! Duke loves all people and most critters, except he’s decided his job is to keep birds out of our yard!

Squeaky-toy, ball, stick...?

Both dogs love to play…catch balls, fetch or chew up squeaky toys or chase one another…sometimes they just entertain one another.

Where is your dogs' favorite outdoor destination?

They are both great travelers and seem happy wherever we go. Probably, they love our ranch the best. Wide open spaces, many different smells and critters and lots of exploring. In the winter, coming inside to lie down near the wood stove is tops!

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

They’re crazy about our daughter and son-in-law’s two Labs, Dozer and Emma and little Gracie. They also love to play with our son and daughter-in-law’s Lab Sandy, German Short-Hair, Mickey, and little Dachshund, Spots.

[photo left: Duke and Spots]

What is each dog's best quality?

Molly is loyal and loving and fantastic with children of all ages. We always know when a baby has pooped, cause Molly follows him/her around until someone changes the diaper! If a baby is crying, she won’t leave it’s side and whines until someone comes and picks up the baby. Duke is friendly and playful and everybody loves him!

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

Slow down already! Smell the roses, enjoy the sunshine, have some fun!!

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

Maybe Katherine Heigl for Molly…kind and loving, but could be ferocious if necessary!

For Duke, of course, John Wayne, but since he’s no longer with us, maybe…Sam Elliott or Hugh Jackman…(as the Drover in the movie Australia).

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

Are ya happy?

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

Molly:You all should play more-chase me!

Duke: Have some fun-let's explore!

Visit Kate Barker's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Debra Pasquella & Lola

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Debra Pasquella, author, columnist & LGBT advocate. My dog's name is Lola. She's 4 years old and she's a Chiweenie (half dachshund, half chihuahua).

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I brew my own coffee since I work from home and most places do not accept dogs in their establishments. Coffee is for any occasion!

What's brewing?

Starbucks black coffee is brewing.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

Sometimes an egg on toast or cereal. In the afternoon it's just by itself.

How were you and Lola united?

I rescued her from a shelter. She was one day away from being euthanized.

Any treats for Lola on this occasion?

Yes. She loves her organic sweet potato cookies.

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

When my mother saw Lola's face, she kissed her and said, "Lola!!!" And there you have it! Her nicknames are funny. Sometimes I call her "The Boogs" or "Bubba" and even "Bugaloo". I have no idea.

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

Squeaky toy.

Postman, cat, squirrel...?

Obsessed with the neighbor's cat.

Where is Lola's favorite place for an outing?

The park -- but she hates dog parks. Not very sociable when out and about.

Who is Lola's best pet-pal?

My sisters white lab named, Dakota. She is in love with him!

What is Lola's most endearing quality?

The way she comforts me when I'm not feeling well. She totally knows when her mama isn't feeling OK.

If Lola could change one thing about New Yorkers, what would it be?

"Stop tawkin' so loud!"

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

Jennifer Tilly.

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

"Can you see spirits on the other side?" (Always wanted to know that.)

Visit Debra Pasquella's blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, January 4, 2016

Anna-Louise Taylor & Sadie

Who is in the photo at right?

Hey! I’m Anna-Louise Taylor, and my friends call me A-Lo. I’m a digital producer for BBC Food. This is my dog Sadie, a six-year-old female schnoodle! That’s a mix of Miniature Schnauzer and Miniature Poodle.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Sadie and I love a good mooch around Bristol on a Saturday – we cross the river from Southville and walk around the harbour, before taking in the gorgeous food at St Nick’s Market. Then no walk is complete without a stop in the best Bristol coffee shop, Full Court Press.

They really know their stuff in there, they have amazing specialty roasts every day, and they love Sadie.

What's brewing?

I grew up in New Zealand, so have been drinking flat whites since I was a teenager!

It’s always got to be a flat white for me, and I always choose my roast at Full Court Press based on their tasting notes. I love a caramel or liquorice note.

Any goodies to go with the coffee?

A Hart’s Bakery cinnamon bun, which Full Court Press always have in, unless they’ve already sold out. Honestly, the best baked bun I’ve tasted.

How were you and Sadie united?

I had been desperate for a dog of my own for many years, after growing up with an English Springer Spaniel called Rosie. I badly pined for one for about two years and did a lot of research in that time about the best type of breed for me.

Although I love big dogs, I needed a small dog that I could travel with around London and further afield. I also wanted one that didn’t moult, to reduce chance of allergies, one that was playful yet clever, sociable, affectionate, easy to train, and that liked sleeping. A lot like me!

So after settling on schnoodles, I found her through a breeder on the internet. She’s actually a Brummie!

Any treats for Sadie on this occasion?

Sadie often gets the pastry crumbs! She really does love human food a lot more than dog food.

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

She was going to be called Suki, but Sadie just suited her better. I also call her shadow, little black shadow, or little black mamba as she follows me everywhere.

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

She loves all toys she can rip apart and pull the stuffing out of! Anything with a squeaker…

Postman, cat, squirrel...?

She loves to chase squirrels, rabbits, and will regularly try and make friends with cats. That never works out too well.

Where is Sadie's favorite place for an outing?

Sadie hates water, but she absolutely loves the outdoors, anywhere she can be off lead, get muddy, sniff out scent trails and roll about in fox poo! She loves Ashton Court, The Downs and Snuff Mills in Bristol.

Who is Sadie's best pet-pal?

She goes wild for a beautiful little dog called Otto in our local park. But she’ll pretty much cuddle up to any other small dog!

What is Sadie's most endearing quality?

She is undeniably affectionate. She loves being picked up and cuddled, and once you’ve won her over she’ll be your friend for life.

Give her a cuddle and she will go straight in for face licks, and she loves to snuggle up on your lap, in the crook of your knee or sleep with her head resting on your ankle or shoulder.

If Sadie could change one thing about Bristolians, what would it be?

She wouldn’t change anything. Bristolians are the loveliest people.

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

Ooh tough question! Probably Amy Schumer. I am sure she would be completely hilarious and have an American accent.

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

Were you reincarnated from a person to a dog?

Photos credit: Bart Corpe.

Visit Anna-Louise Taylor's Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue