Monday, August 29, 2016

Matt, Rachel & Norman

Who is in the photo at right?

The photo at the right is of me (Matt), my girlfriend Rachel, and our puppy Norman (this photo was actually taken the day we got him!). I've also included two other photos of Norman, one being from our most recent coffee trip. Norman is a pomsky, half husky/half pomeranian, and he is 5 months old.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Sunday mornings are usually pretty relaxing for us, so we love taking Norman for a early morning walk, which includes stopping for some coffee.

What's brewing?

We like Blue Bottle Cafe on Beverly Blvd., because it's close to our home and they make great coffee! Rachel likes her lattes, while I'm more of an Americano kind of guy.

Any treats for you or Norman on this occasion?

Sometimes a muffin or a scone, but just getting to walk Norman and enjoy the day, is enough of a treat.

How were you and Norman united?

Rachel wanted a Pomeranian, I wanted a husky. A Pomsky just seemed like the logical solution! We found a wonderful breeder in Northern California called Northern California Pomskies, and they were nice enough to drive Norman down to meet us from San Francisco. It was love at first sight!

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

He is named after Rachel's late grandfather. The man had a wonderful sense of humor, so he would have gotten a kick out of us his using his name. Plus, Norman is family, so it's our way of honoring the memory of Rachel's grandfather. Norman has couple nicknames: Normy, Normando, Stormin' Norman, and Garbanzo bean (we're weird, we know).

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Cat. Rachel loves cats, so Norman would definitely go after the cat.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Definitely stick. He loves his bully stick.

Where is Norman's favorite outdoor destination?

Norman loves to swim, so his favorite outdoor destination would be when we visit our best friend's home. They have a large pool and Norman loves to go for a dip.

Who is Norman's best pet-pal?

Norman's best pet-pal would have to be Louie. He is a King Charles Cavalier, and when these two get together they can't stop playing!

What is Norman's best quality?

His personality. He loves everyone and is very friendly. You can't help but smile when you're around him.

If Norman could change one thing about Angelenos, what would it be?

He would want them to look up from their phones once and a while and live in the moment!

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

We would ask him why he insists on stealing our underwear.

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

Charlie Day.

What advice would Norman give if asked?

"Live life to the fullest," and "furniture is meant to be destroyed."

Visit Norman the Pomsky's Instagram page and website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cindy Orlandi & Trent

Who is in the photo at right?

I'm Cindy Orlandi. I write business proposals by day and am Trent’s chauffeur, nursemaid and ghostwriter by night. Trent is a 3 ½ year old male Weimaraner and author of Love is a Dog and Some Crayons: A Weimaraner Coloring Book to benefit Great Lakes Weimaraner Rescue.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Coffee always keeps me going just like Trent.

What's brewing?

Decaf, as I drink too much.

Any treats for you or Trent on this occasion?

Trent enjoys All Natural Dog Treats as both he and his brother won some for their photos and videos on the Happy Howie’s Facebook page.

How were you and Trent united?

Great Lakes Weimaraner Rescue.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

My husband named Trent. My first Weimaraner was Donner and so I named some of my other Weims after reindeer, think Comet and Blitzen. Trent has a pink nose so he is also my Rudolph.

Please tell us about your new book?

Love is a Dog and Some Crayons brings new meaning to phrases like “Work Like a Dog” and “A Dog is Man’s Best Friend.” Who says “You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks”?

Besides more than 20 pages of Weimaraners to color, this 48-page coloring book includes information on choosing and training your dog from knowledgeable individuals and organizations such as the Weimaraner Club of America and American Kennel Club. Trent’s book is for you whether your family is considering adopting a puppy or rescuing a dog like him. You’ll find questions to ask breeders before you buy. And, no matter where you live, you’ll find a rescue near you as this book lists U.S. and International Weimaraner rescue groups and tells you how to contact them.

Coloring is fun, educational and isn’t just for kids anymore. Like dogs who help us live in the moment, coloring is a great stress reliever. People who love dogs are happier, and once you love a Weimaraner you join our club that is forever loyal to the breed. We even have our own Facebook page to post a photo of your own Weimaraner and/or show us a page that you’ve colored from Trent’s book.

“Dog gone it,” just buy this book. Profits will go to Great Lakes Weimaraner Rescue, a 501c3 federally-recognized nonprofit organization. Trent is donating his author’s compensation to GLWR and Brent Darnell of BDI Publishers also generously is donating to help our volunteers help more dogs like Trent.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

UPS delivery guy.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Anything in the monthly Barkbox.

Who is Trent's best pet-pal?

His brother, Blue, a weimaraner lab mix that we got from Michigan Weimaraner Rescue.

What is Trent's best quality?

Courage as an epilepsy warrior and the ability to help me live in the moment like all my dogs.

Where is Trent's favorite outdoor destination?

The local metropark.

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

I am stingy with treats because I worry about the weight he has put on since taking AES medications.

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

What other languages do you speak? Could you translate your book for us?

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

Michael J. Fox, another talent who shows tremendous courage.

What advice would Trent give if asked?

How to color yourself happy instead of grey.

Like the Love is a Dog and Some Crayons Facebook page and visit the Great Lakes Weimaraner Rescue website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bruce DeSilva & Brady and Rondo

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me with Rondo, a rampant kisser, and Brady, who prefers hugs. Rondo is a five-and-a-half year-old mutt who looks like a cross between a Red Rock Hound and a Mack truck. Brady is a seven-year-old Bernese Mountain dog. They’re both big boys, each weighing in at 130 pounds. The third family member in the photo, the one with the most facial hair, is me, Bruce DeSilva. I’m the author of the Edgar Award-winning Mulligan crime novels including The Dread Line, which is being published by Forge on Sept. 6.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Most mornings, I pick up an egg-and-cheese breakfast sandwich and two extra-large cups of coffee just down the street. Then my wife and I plant ourselves in front of our computers to begin writing. Brady, who loves Patricia best, usually sits on her feet. Rondo, who loves me best, settles down beside me, sometimes resting his huge head in my lap.

What's brewing?

Dunkin’ Donuts regular, but we usually add a dash of hot chocolate to each cup. Patricia claims that was Brady’s idea.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

Sometimes, I sneak a couple of glazed donuts if my wife isn’t looking. I don’t outweigh both dogs added together, but it’s too close for comfort. The dogs, who get fed as soon as we get up, need to watch their weight, too, but they study us as we eat, hoping to snag a scrap. They never beg; they’re too proud for that. But they stare at us so hopefully with their glistening brown eyes that we can’t resist breaking off a bit of sandwich for them.

We know from an earlier appearance here on the blog that Brady and Rondo are named after Boston sports heroes. But Rajon Rondo is now with his third team since he left Boston in 2014. Have you thought about changing his name to, say, Isaiah Thomas, after the Celtics' current point guard?

Never. It would just confuse him. Besides, although Rondo is no longer a Celtic, he was the best player on the court when Boston defeated the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA championship in 2008, outplaying everyone including future hall of famers Kevin Garnet, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kobe Bryant. In our house, that’s still worth celebrating.

There are dogs named Brady and Rondo in your new novel. How do they differ from the real-life dogs of the same name?

The dogs that Liam Mulligan, the hero of my novels, adopts in The Dread Line not only have the same names as mine but have almost exactly the same personalities—something I consider a remarkable coincidence. Mulligan’s two dogs, like mine, are the best of friends, so inseparable that neither will go for a walk without the other. Both Rondos are protective, displaying a suspicion of strangers by barking incessantly at them. Both Bradys are gregarious and affectionate with everyone they meet. Both Rondos are eager to please, constantly studying their masters for clues about what they should do next. Both Bradys are stubborn and independent, obeying commands to come or stay only when it suits them. Both Brady’s refuse to fetch, watching balls sail over their heads with a look that says, “You expect me to get that?” But the fictional Rondo loves to fetch. The real one has no interest in balls. He’d rather roughhouse with Brady.

I'm always interested in how authors use dogs to flesh out a character. If a character kicks a dog, little more needs to be written to show he's a villain. If the protagonist rescues a beaten-down street dog, we know the character may not be all bad. (Think about the drug dealer at the center of The 25th Hour--novel by David Benioff, film adaptation starring Edward Norton. The very first lines of the novel are about the rescue of the wretched pit bull.) If a character dotes on his dog but casually kicks a child, we know he's a special kind of psychopath. Is there an example (or two) from your new novel showing how Brady and Rondo help define a character?

I agree that you can learn a lot about people, either real or fictional, by the way they treat dogs. That’s why I have always put a dog or two in my novels, even before Mulligan acquired his. Early in The Dread Line, when he goes to a nearby animal shelter to find a new friend, he sees a pooch swathed in bandages and learns that some creep had set it on fire. Immediately, he vows to track the bastard down. Meanwhile, Mulligan has an associate named Joseph DeLucca, a former strip club bouncer turned bookmaker who always packs a high-powered handgun. Outwardly he appears to be a big, dumb thug (although he’s actually smarter than he looks.) But when he shows up at Mulligan’s place in the new novel, the first thing he does is get down on his hands and knees to pet Brady. Next thing you know, the two of them are rolling around on the porch, roughhousing like litter-mates. That tells readers right off that Joseph must be one of the good guys.

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

They’d make me taller. Oh, wait. That’s what I’d change. I’m sure they’d want me to spend less time writing and more time walking them around the neighborhood and joining their play-fights in our big back yard.

What advice would Brady and Rondo give if asked?

Brady would tell Rondo not to get so worked up about thunder, the mailman and the vacuum cleaner. Rondo would tell Brady that he has to live forever because the younger dog would be utterly lost without his big brother. They’d tell me to write a series of novels about the Brady & Rondo Hard-Bark Detective Agency, but I’m not sure that’s a good idea.

Visit Bruce DeSilva's website and blog.

Coffee with a Canine: Bruce DeSilva and Brady (November 2010).

Coffee with a Canine: Bruce DeSilva & Rondo and Brady (June 2012).

The Page 69 Test: A Scourge of Vipers.

My Book, The Movie: A Scourge of Vipers.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Dale Kushner & Maisie

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Dale Kushner, (the one without the lovely white coat) with beloved Maisie, our fourth Golden Retriever.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine? What's brewing?

We’re at our cabin in Wisconsin’s northwoods. I’m a break from writing my blog for Psychology Today, stimulating my synapses with a cup of Colectivo Sumatra. We’re also celebrating Maisie’s first birthday and the completion of my second novel The Lie of Forgetting. (I’ve borrowed my husband’s HERO mug for the occasion.)

Any treats for you or Maisie on this occasion?

Maisie’s treat this morning is to blissfully sniff the ripe scent of deer, coyote, and porcupine in the piney woods.

How were you and Maisie united?

We drove across the border to Michigan to get Maisie from Malagold Kennels. Connie Miller has been raising superb Goldens for over forty years.

How did Maisie get her name? Any aliases?

We played around with several names for our new puppy, but “Maisie” had staying power. We hadn’t known it’s one of the most popular names in Scotland, short for Margaret, and since the breed of Golden Retriever originated in Scotland, we thought it was a good match. (Our girl is definitely a Maisie, not a Margaret, Meg, or Peg.)

Have Maisie or Malibu inspired the creation of any fictional dogs in your novel-in-progress?

Maisie has not yet appeared in my fiction, though my new novel is set in the northwoods, and wolves and coyotes make an entrance. However, I do have in mind a children’s picture book about a Golden Retriever who thinks she’s a cow.

Does Maisie do more to help or to hinder your writing?

Maisie has not yet elevated her status to muse. At the moment, she’s still in her “I- need-to-taste-everything-in-sight-phase,” which means I have to get up and check on her if she’s in another room and quiet for too long. I now have shoes with eaten straps, rugs with chewed edges, a slipcover with a large chomp hole in the middle. Maisie’s nickname is Mighty Mouth.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Our postman is gaga in love with Maisie and visa versa. When he sees her outside, he pulls over, gets out of his truck with a treat and gets a smooch. Squirrels and chipmunks whip Maisie’s brain into a froth, but lucky for them, the little critters are still too quick for her.

Does Maisie have a favorite place to go for outings?

Maisie’s fave place these days is snuffling around the edge of the lake in the reeds for frogs and other tasty specimens. Toad hang-outs are also of great interest to her.

What is Maisie's best quality?

Maisie’s best quality is her “mushballness,” that is, her deeply affectionate nature. She’s also super intelligent, which sometimes leads to naughtiness; she can easily outsmart her people.

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

If Maisie could change one thing about Wisconsinites, she might request they vote for politicians who have animal rights on their agenda.

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

I would ask Maisie why she beelined to us that day at the kennel.

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

Meryl Streep could do Maisie’s voice. Meryl Streep can do anyone’s voice. Second choice is Marisa Tomei.

Visit Dale Kushner's website, Facebook page, and Psychology Today blog.

Coffee with a Canine: Dale Kushner and Malibu.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 15, 2016

Alexandra Oliva & Codex

Who is in the photo at right?

Hi! I’m Alexandra Oliva. I’m an author, and this is my pup, Codex. She’s a shelter dog, so I’m not sure exactly what she is, breed-wise, but based on looks and temperament, my husband and I think she’s some sort of hound-retriever mix. If you want to get precise to the point of probable inaccuracy, I’d say she’s mostly a mix of Chesapeake Bay Retriever and Plott Hound. Whatever her breed, she’s about two and a half years old—and getting older by the day.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I needed my afternoon caffeine fix, and Codex got an extra walk out of the deal. (Lucky girl!)

What's brewing?

Cold brew iced coffee from a local cafe. I’m not sure what beans they use, but the sign said “single origin”, which I guess is a good thing? All I know for certain: It’s delicious.

Any treats for you or Codex on this occasion?

Nothing for me, but Codex is getting turkey-pumpkin bites because she’s a good girl who waved at the camera when asked.

How were you and Codex united?

When my husband and I moved to the Seattle area in 2014, we knew we wanted to get a dog ASAP. (We came from New York City, where our lifestyle didn’t mesh with pet ownership.) We found Codex online; her mom had been abandoned while pregnant and gave birth to a litter of brindled adorableness at a shelter. Codex’s coloring made her our favorite of the litter and once she hit eight weeks old, we road-tripped over to eastern Washington to pick her up and bring her home.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

It was important to me that my dog’s name not be common or overtly feminine. I can’t remember what made me first think of “Codex,” but it was some bookish word on a list somewhere. I was thinking it might be a fun name, and loved the literary connection (codices were the first bound manuscripts) but wasn’t sure the word was name-y enough until I remembered a web series called The Guild, in which a character’s gaming alter ego is named Codex. At that point, I was like: It is a name! And Codex has many aliases. Too many to list, in fact. Most are nonsensical rhymes like “Codex the Modex” or some variation on “Muffin.” E.g.: Muffin Face, Muffin Butt, Snuggle Muffin, The Muffin…

Does Codex do more to help or hinder your writing?

Hinder. Definitely hinder. She always seems to want to play at the worst possible time, writing-wise. I’ll just be hitting my stride with a scene and suddenly she’s shoving her tug-rope into the back of my knee or doing something equally adorable and distracting. Case in point: she’s literally doing figure eights between my legs as I type this sentence (I have a standing desk).

Has Codex inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

Nope. At least not yet.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Squirrel. She’ll sit at the back door just watching a squirrel until the time is right, then she’ll sprint out and try to catch it. But she’ll bark at the other options too; the hound in her seems to take great pride in letting us know whenever there is an “intruder” on the property.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Codex is totally ball obsessed. If we allow it, she’ll play fetch until she keels over. Sometimes my husband and I have to hide the ball and force her to take breaks.

Who is Codex's best pet-pal?

Codex is pretty indifferent toward other dogs… except for her “boyfriend,” a chocolate lab named Banks. She’s known Banks since she was nine weeks old and loves him to death.

What is Codex's best quality?

Her love of learning, which maybe sounds silly, since she’s a dog, but it’s true: training is her favorite pastime. Sometimes she gets so excited she can’t pay attention to what you’re actually asking her to do and she’ll just run through her entire repertoire of tricks, hoping to hit the right one.

If Codex could change one thing about the denizens of the Pacific Northwest, what would it be?

She’d probably like for them to pay less attention to her. She’s a shy pup who prefers to sniff strangers when they’re not looking to being approached. That, or for everyone to always be carrying squeaky balls. As shy as she is, she’s easily won over by a squeaky ball.

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

Instead of asking a question, I’d use the opportunity of her briefly understanding English to explain to her that we’re moving soon and that our destination will be her new home. I’m worried she’s going to have trouble adjusting.

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

I could do it! I spend much of my average day having conversations with Codex in which I do both our voices. It’s hilarious! To me, at least. Hollywood pros probably wouldn’t agree. In which case… Kristen Schaal. I think she could capture Codex’s mix of adorableness and absurdity.

What advice would Codex give if asked?

Probably something not FDA-approved, like: “Eat more bacon. Eat only bacon.”

Visit Alexandra Oliva's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Last One.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 11, 2016

David Hensley & Bishop

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is David Hensley and I am one of the Principals in Bar K, a new dog park bar/restaurant concept on the riverfront in Kansas City. Bishop is my 6-year-old black Golden Doodle, or as a friend coined “Phantom Doodle.” Sounds cooler, ha!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We enjoy hitting up Alamo Placita Park in Denver to play with other dogs and get in a early morning meditation. One the way, there’s a car wash that has good coffee.

What's brewing?

They serve Dazbog, a Russian born, Denver roasted brand. Bкусно! ("Tastes good" in Russian.)

Any treats for you or Bishop on this occasion?

Bishop always gets a treat at the car wash [photo left] so it’s one of his favorite stops.

How were you and Bishop united?

I was looking for a companion for my first dog and stumbled upon a farmer who had a litter of Golden Doodles. Picking out a puppy out of a litter is tough, but I looked for the one who was independent and adventurous. Bishop was sniffing around on his own and I knew that was my dog! Since then, I’ve learned quite a bit about rescue and will go that route next time.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Don’t remember where it came from. Just like it.

I call him Bubba B and have a 80’s style rap song I made up for him. “Bubba B in the house, Bubba B with a mouse, Bubba B he ain’t small, Bubba B he’s real tall, Bubba B wika…wika… (record scratch) and repeat. Of course it makes no sense and sounds like a 3rd grader came up with it, but he seems to like it!

Please tell us about Bar K.

Bar K will be a dog park, bar, and coffeehouse located on the riverfront in Kansas City.

My business partner and I got our dogs on the exact same day without ever mentioned the idea before. We started taking our pups to bars/restaurants and dog parks. Neither situation was ideal for enjoyment of both parties. We were either standing around at a dog park or the dog was tied up on a restaurant patio. We wanted to create a place that was fun for both human and companion. Bar K was born.

Cat, postman, squirrel…?

Squirrel. But I don’t blame him. They actually taunt him. They’re cute, but it’s only because of their bushy tails. Without that, they’re just tree rats.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick…?

One of each for about 1 minute, then he’s bored. Get him a body of water and he’s in heaven!

Who is Bishop's best pet-pal?

Bear and Benji, my business partner’s dogs.

What is Bishop's best quality?

He gives great hugs with his head. He nestles his ear right up against your leg and looks up at you.

If Bishop could change one thing about Kansas Citians, what would it be?

Put your phone down!

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

Marry, hump, kill: Lassie, Benji, or Cujo…? Go!

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

Russell Crowe. I’ve always thought he should have an Aussie voice. "Are you not entertained?"

What advice would Bishop give if asked?

Stop and smell the roses.

Visit the Bar K website, Indiegogo page, Twitter perch, and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 8, 2016

Ashley LaMar & Tebow and Wilkins

Who is in the photo at right?

​That's me and my two dogs at Fresh 2 Order in Midtown Atlanta. I'm Ashley LaMar, a writer (Technical Writer, Blogger, and Novelist). My sidekicks are Tebow and Wilkins. Tebow is a 6-year-old male chihuahua and Wilkins is a 3-year old male chiweenie (that's a chihuahua/dachshund mix).

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

​When we first moved to Atlanta we lived in Midtown​ and the city sights and noises scared my dogs (we were from a small town) so I took every opportunity to take them out and explore a little bit farther each week to get them comfortable. This photo was taken during our first trip to Fresh 2 Order. They have a dog-friendly patio (most places in Atlanta are pretty dog-friendly) so I grabbed a coffee and a cupcake while we hung out and greeted new people and listened to the sounds of the city.

What's brewing?

I indulged in a vanilla latte although I can't drink coffee super hot so I always have to wait about 15 minutes while it cools down just a little bit. The boys had water.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

But of course! I had a mini caramel cupcake and the boys had peanut butter biscuits. No complaints.

How were you and Tebow and Wilkins united?

My husband had Tebow before I met him so when we were married I just suddenly became a dog owner. After about a year together we thought we should expand the pack so we scoped out different local rescues and that's when we discovered Wilkins. He was 7 weeks old and living in a local doggie foster home recovering from some abuse he'd suffered in a previous location. We brought him home a week after meeting him and he's been a great addition.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

They are named after athletes we admire - Tim Tebow and Dominique Wilkins. They don't really have any nicknames, we like their names as-is.

Do your dogs have a role at your publishing company?

Office cuddlers and stress-relievers! They say that pet owners have less stress and anxiety than non-pet owners​ so I'll go with that. Both dogs are very affectionate so it's nice to take a break sometimes and just love on them.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

​Birds mostly. I'm not sure why birds set my dogs off so much but they do. They don't mind cats, squirrels, chipmunks, or any people but if they see a bird they will go completely crazy. Weird little dogs.​
​​Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

​Rope and socks. ​They love to play tug-o'-war more than any other game so anything they can sink their teeth in to and pull is what they want. In fact, Tebow has learned that "toy" means ball, stuffed hedgehog, etc but "rope" is a very specific red and white rope toy.

​​Do Tebow and Wilkins have a special pet-pal?

​Just each other.

​​What is each dog's best quality?

​Tebow is very gentle. Chihuahua's have​ reputation of being annoying yappy little dogs with semi-aggressive personalities but that's not the case with Tebow. He's a very gentle sweet dog although he does tend to be a loner. Wilkins on the other hand is a love-machine. All he wants is to be on your lap, in your face, receiving constant love and attention.

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

​Hmmm, well, Tebow would probably ask that everyone knock it off with the Tim Tebow jokes. They get old after a while. Wilkins would ask that Georgia pass a law that requires that everyone carry dog treats in their pockets at all times and give them to him on sight. He'll do anything for a treat.​

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

Omg...I'd ask Tebow if he prefers to sleep in his crate alone or in a shared crate with Wilkins. I swear, he's never happy. He definitely likes to sleep in his crate but sometimes he cries when he's alone and Wilkins is in his own crate. Other times he's cries if Wilkins is in there with him. I'd tell him to make up his mind already. As for Wilkins, I'd ask him why he will eat apple slices from my hand but not out of his own bowl. It's a weird trait and I hate holding the apple while he eats it.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which Tebow and Wilkins could speak, who should voice them?

Tebow would absolutely have to be voiced by Sean Connery! Ever since he was a puppy that's the voice we've given him when we imagine him talking. It's probably an odd pick but that's just what we imagine with him. Wilkins is the tough call but I'd probably pick a kid like Jacob Tremblay. Wilkins is just a hyperactive little child.

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

​Tebow would tell you to cherish your alone time because it's hard to come by while Wilkins would tell you to never miss the opportunity to tell someone you love them.​

Visit Ashley LaMar's website and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Tara & Henry

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Tara, and this is my boy Henry. By day I have a city job that I love, and after regular work hours I am a crochet addict! As a relatively new crochet fiend, I have recently started up a blog where I will be featuring my crochet items and adventures for my new found hobby love! You can come along on the journey at the Killer Queen Knits website or @killerqueenknits on Instagram.

My crochet partner in crime is my boy Henry. Henry is a 9-year-old English Bulldog who is the most delightful boy ever, and the best decision my hubby and I ever made.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

No real special occasion for this date with Henry. I just decided to take a few summer days off to hang out with my fave, and to catch up on some crochet WIPs & chill.

What's brewing?

Since I am from Beautiful British Columbia, Canada, I naturally have some Tim Horton’s coffee a brewin’. I’m pretty sure it’s the law in Canada.

Any treats for you or Henry on this occasion?

Henry is a lucky fella and has himself a single Timbit…. That’s a doughnut hole for the layman.

How were you and Henry united?

Henry has been with us since he was 9 weeks old. He’s still my big baby.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

The husband's favourite movie of all time is Goodfellas. I’m pretty sure I have seen it 100,000 times, and since Ray Liotta is the bomb, Henry is named after his character, Henry Hill. But Henry will also respond to: Pooper, Poopy Pants and Bubs.

Does Henry do more to help or hinder your knitting?

Henry can always be found by my side when I am crocheting up a storm. In fact, he is always by my side when I get home, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Henry is a big barker when anyone or anything comes near the house, but he’s all talk. He just wants to meet everybody, then he’s fine. Except for other dogs/animals/crawling babies on TV. He’s a nutball when any of these things are on. Such a weirdo.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

He has a terrible habit of mutilating anything stuffed, so he sticks with his Kong. It holds treats after all, and Henry is about that life.

Who is Henry's best pet-pal?

Henry’s best pal is a whippet named Sam. They are in love.

What is Henry's best quality?

Henry’s best quality has to be how snuggly he is. On his own terms of course. But when he’s in the mood, it is the absolute best when he sits right on top of you like (A) it’s comfortable, and (B) he’s a small dog. Which he is not. Henry also is probably the most friendly boy ever. He loves everybody, and everybody loves Henry.

Where is Henry's favorite outdoor destination?

Henry loves sitting on the patio and just staring into space. He’s real big on contemplating life. Otherwise, he does enjoy the dog beach when we can get there.

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

I think Henry would really like it if I would fix him a plate of whatever it is that I am having. This would make his life.

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

I think I would just like to know if I am doing everything for him to make him the happiest he could possibly be. I love my boy. Wouldn’t it be great if they could tell you how they feel too?

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

He would totally have a British accent. He probably sounds like Benedict Cumberbatch. Just sayin.

Visit the Killer Queen Knits website and @killerqueenknits on Instagram.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, August 1, 2016

Michelle Schurman & Charlie

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Michelle Schurman and I am a freelance writer and blogger living in Calgary. This is my 4-year-old chocolate lab Charlie. I write for several parenting websites and magazines and have my own blog called Party of Five.

What’s the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

A trip to the dog park is a daily ritual for Charlie. Calgary has many wonderful off-leash dog parks; some of them have access to the river so the dogs can swim - and like most labs, Charlie is a water dog!! It’s a great spot for him to run and play with other canines.

What’s brewing?

My favorite coffee is a Starbucks non-fat light foam latte with cinnamon on top. That’s a mouthful isn’t it? If it’s hot out, I will have an iced latte with one Splenda. Some Starbucks locations will make Charlie a puppy latte, which is a mini-cup full of whip cream - he loves it!

Any treats for you or Charlie on this occasion?

Warm banana bread is one of my favorite treats to have with coffee. As for Charlie, he loves cheese, carrots or a Kong filled with peanut butter.

How were you and Charlie united?

In the fall of 2011, we decided to get a family dog. I was raised with labrador retrievers and I knew this would be a friendly athletic dog and perfect for our family. I found a wonderful breeder outside of Edmonton who raises beautiful chocolates and we waited several long months for the pups to be born. We finally got to see the litter and my kids picked our dog at 6 weeks old. Back then he was known as Blue Collar Male…we chose him because he was unique with a tuft of white fur on his chest.

How did your dog get his name?

I remember driving with the kids one day and we were trying to think of a great names for the dog. Their favorite show at the time was called Good Luck Charlie. They kept suggesting names of the characters in the show - Toby, Teddy, Gabe and Charlie. We liked the name Charlie the best and thought it would be cute to call him Charlie Brown.

Cat, postman, squirrel…?

There are a few rabbits in our neighborhood and if he sees one he can’t help but run after them. Charlie also loves to retrieve tennis balls…he can fit two in his mouth and we wonder if some day he’ll get three in there.

Charlie was a Texan for a while and is now back in Canada. What do you think he makes of the change?

Charlie is so easy going and has done great with the move. I think he loves the cooler weather here in Canada; the heat and humidity in Texas made daytime walks almost unbearable. However, I know he misses our backyard pool.

Who is Charlie's best pet-pal?

Charlie’s best friend these days is a female lab mix named Hula. He also has loads of fun with his golden retriever cousin Oakley when they get to visit each other.

What is Charlie's best quality?

He has so many, but I think his best quality is that he is so friendly and social. He loves being where we are all the time, and he’s great with other dogs and kids.

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

Why, why, why do you eat crazy things like hair elastics, socks and food wrappers??

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

It’s funny you ask, because my husband and I often talk in what we imagine to be Charlie’s voice. It’s deep and kinda goofy. I think Don Messick, the original voice of Scooby Doo, would be the perfect voice for Charlie.

What advice would Charlie give if asked?

I think he would tell all of us to just “chill” and relax more. We are all so busy and stressed these days with work, kids and commitments. I think we all need to be more like dogs - happy go lucky and carefree!

Visit Michelle Schurman's website and the Party of Five blog.

--Marshal Zeringue