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?

Café 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