Thursday, September 29, 2016

Natalie & Max and Rambo

Who is pictured in these photos?

Hey all, I am Natalie, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, 21-Day Sugar Detox Coach, real-food blogger and photographer, a Type 1 diabetic (which brought me to the health and wellness field) and an American Sign Language Interpreter. Max (fawn coloring) is a 5 year-old Puggle but a very old soul; Rambo (black) is also a 5 year-old Puggle, but will forever be a puppy! They are not litter mates, but were born exactly 4 months apart.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

During the week I stick to homemade tea lattes, so it is basically just Caffeine with my Canines. My tea lattes are similar to my coffee beverages, except I swap out my favorite brewed tea for coffee. The weekends are meant for tasty coffee and relaxing in my front yard with the pups after our 6 AM walk.

What's brewing?

This is a Chai latte of my own creation; 1 cup coffee (Third Coast Coffee Roasters-Austin TX), 1/4 cup coconut milk, a splash of vanilla extract, 2 tbsp. Collagen Peptides, 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup, a pinch of sea salt and then a mixture of ground cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, all-spice and cloves. I throw all that in a blender which creates a lovely froth, then sprinkle on some additional cinnamon which helps to balance blood sugar levels.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

No matter the day, these dogs always get a little coconut cream. They love it!

How were you and your dogs united?

My husband and I were trying to agree on a breed. I love big dogs and he wanted small ones. We saw a puggle on TV and started our research. Two months later we got Max, and 4 months after that we added Rambo to the family.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Max's full name is Maximus Meridius, Russell Crowe's character in Gladiator. He also responds to Maxie. Rambo is named after Sylvester Stallone's character John Rambo. He looks pretty tough when he wears his red bandana.

Do your dogs have a role at A Nourished Appetite headquarters?

These dogs end up in most of my blog posts because there is usually some kind of kitchen shenanigans in which they are involved. They make great recipe testers as well, but do not provide much feedback! I also test recipes specifically for them, like baked sweet potato treats. They have both been on a grain-free diet since we got them due to Rambo's sensitive skin. Max recently started having idiopathic general seizures, which basically means the vets do not know why they started and what causes them. A holistic vet I took him to recommended I make their food and start treating his seizures with CBD oil and lepsilyte. Lepsilyte is a botanical medication formulated from extracts of skullcap and valerian. It significantly reduces the frequency and severity of seizures. CBD oil is derived from the cannabis plant and has been shown to greatly reduce seizures in animals and humans. We have had great success with this approach and I am happy to say his seizures are almost none existent. For their food, I throw a bunch of ground meats, organ meats, frozen blueberries, sweet potato, spinach, green beans, peas and carrots in the crock pot with bone broth. Sometimes their meals look more appetizing than mine!

Where is the dogs' favorite outdoor destination?

Luckily here in San Diego we have so many outdoor options. They love the Coronado Dog Beach! I try to take them there as often as I can but the trip always requires two humans because they both handle the beach in their own way. Rambo chases all the big dogs around, barking annoyingly when they won't play with him. Meanwhile, Max is busy raiding people's bags for snacks.

What is each dog's best quality?

Max is one of the smartest dogs I have ever owned. Unfortunately, he uses those smarts to manipulate treats from me! He will purposefully bring in rocks, sticks, clumps of dirt knowing he will get the "drop it" command and then walk directly to the treat cabinet to receive a reward. Now that I am on to him and his schemes, he only gets belly rubs, which he also enjoys. Max would let you pet him all day long if you had the time. Rambo is a little Mama's boy and follows me wherever I go. He cannot be in a room without me. I should have named him Shadow. Unlike Max, he only wants attention on his own terms. He tenses up when people try to pet him, especially small humans. When he decides he need attention, he will make it known by crawling on your lap and throwing his tongue in your mouth!

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

They lose their minds for anything that squeaks, balls especially. Rambo will play fetch till his lungs collapse. Max will chase the ball once, then lay down and try to destroy it. The dog has the craziest teeth and has eaten through softballs, tennis balls, golf balls, couches, name it, he will destroy it. I do not keep toys laying around because they will be chewed up in minutes. Toys come out on special occasions and Max has to be monitored. Rambo is not a destroyer. He will play with a ball or toy by himself, batting it back and forth like a cat or laying on his back and playing with it like an otter.

Postman, cat, rabbit...?

Any noise outside of our fence warrants excessive barking. We see stray cats, lizards, coyotes and rabbits on our neighborhood walks . They lose their minds and try to chase them down, which is why these two pups are always leashed!

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

I am sure they would prefer I were a stay at home dog mom, unfortunately that is not the case. They do get walks in the early morning and wrestle, fetch, pet sessions in the evenings, which they love.

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

Why can't you brush your own teeth? It's a lot of work for me!

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

Max-Tommy Chong; Rambo-Steve Buscemi.

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

Please do not get a dog if you cannot walk them daily and give them all the love they deserve. Dogs are meant to be a part of the family, not something you tend to if time permits.

Visit the A Nourished Appetite blog.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 26, 2016

SJ Goslee & Chewy and Guster

Who is in the photo at right?

Hi, I’m SJ Goslee, and I write books in the dead of night (most recently Whatever) and work on web sites by day. These two goofballs are Chewy & Guster. Chewy, our girl, is a rat terrier mix and is 10 years old. Guster, our boy, is a cane corso, and is only 4.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

A typical weekend morning, Chewy has to be on or near me if I’m sitting down, and Guster likes to hover, jealous that he’s too big to be a lap dog.

What's brewing?

Black and burning hot, I’m on a Starbucks’ Pike Place Roast kick right now.

Any treats for you or Chewy and Guster on this occasion?

No treats! Sometimes I like something sweet with my coffee, but I rarely get to sit for more than five minutes at a time in the morning with kids and five animals in the house. Chewy and Gus only get treats when Poppy comes around!

How were you and your dogs united?

We were actually puppy-sitting Chewy for a friend who had rescued her from a neighbor nearly 10 years ago and fell in love with her. We asked if we could keep her and she’s been by my side (and under my covers) ever since. Guster came along the same year we had my oldest son. We thought it would be neat to have them grow up together.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Chewy came to us with her name—we usually end up calling her “Chew-Chew”, or “Chew-bird”, or “Hey Jerky.” Guster’s official registered name is actually Burton Guster (after the Psych character), but mostly he’s just “Gus” or “Yuck Mouth.”

Do Chewy and Guster do more to help or hinder your writing?

Hinder—especially if I’m home alone, they just can’t stand not having attention!

Have your dogs inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

As of yet, no, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

…cars, knocks at the door, books dropping, basically anything that makes a noise sets Chewy off, and then Gus automatically barks to help her out, even if he has no idea what’s going on.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Antlers, mainly, but if you give them a stuffed squeaky toy it’ll be torn apart in five minutes or less.

Who are Chewy and Guster's best pet-pals?

Chewy will only cuddle with Gus or our oldest cat, Maude—we got her maybe three months before Chewy. Gus likes our youngest cat, Mildred, because she tolerates getting slobbered on.

What is each dog's best quality?

Chewy is a snuggler, she sleeps every night along my side, not sure if I could sleep without her now! Gus is a big doofus, and all he wants are pets.

If Chewy and Guster could change one thing about Pennsylvanians, what would it be?

Everyone should carry lunch meat with them everywhere. That should be a thing.

If Chewy and Guster could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?

What the heck is living in the bushes that you’re so intent on getting?

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

Chewy: Kristen Wiig.
Guster: Vin Diesel.

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

Watch out for those striped black and white cat things, they stink.

Visit S.J. Goslee's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Stephanie Gangi & Enzo

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Stephanie Gangi, with Enzo at Bob’s Your Uncle in Manhattan. By the late afternoon, we’re both ready for a break, me from writing (my debut novel, The Next, comes out from St. Martin’s Press in October and I’m working on #2) and Enzo from sleeping off his busy mornings. He likes the long walk north from my apartment to the bar, through Riverside Park and then east across 106th Street.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Bob’s is owned by a writer friend of mine, Danielle. There are always dogs at the bar. Craig the bartender serves up the water bowls, the day-drinkers give scratches, the other dogs do the sniffing thing. It’s pretty mellow. I’ve got a Chardonnay and he’s got a fauxtini, and we’re engaged in our favorite Morningside Heights pastime, people-watching. Enzo is an eight-year old chocolate standard poodle. He’s huge, nearly 90 pounds.

Enzo has grown up in Manhattan. He is completely comfortable on the streets, especially because he gets a lot of attention. Out-of-towners always look worried – “That poor big dog cooped up in an apartment!” – but they don’t get it. I live a half block from Riverside Park, and dogs are off-leash before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m. We get out there early and do the ball thing, and he has his posse of dog friends and they run like mad through the underbrush, the mud puddles, across the fields, probably doing more socializing in the park than suburban dogs in yards. On the way home he stops to say hello to all the Superintendent’s hosing down the sidewalks – and charms them into letting him drink from the hose. I live in a dog-friendly building. He’s very popular in the elevator. He has a great, active city life.

How were you and your dog united?

I got Enzo during the end days of a love affair when I knew in my heart that it was truly over. I hadn’t had a dog in a couple of years, and I thought it would be a healthy diversion. Considering his size and personality, he’s kind of turned into my rebound man. In limited ways!

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

I wanted to name him Victor but my kids voted up Enzo. I had not yet read The Art of Racing in the Rain, a great book about a dog named Enzo but everyone assumes I named him after that guy, especially because I’m a writer. At this point, I just say, Yes! I named him after the dog in the book! because people seem disappointed if I tell the truth. His only alias is Poppy, which is what my kids called my dad, now gone, when they were very little. Nicknaming him after my dad’s nickname just kind of happened, and then became fortuitous. The connection between my father and Enzo – they never met – morphed into a key element of my novel, without me really planning on it.

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

Enzo is a tremendous help to me as a writer. First and foremost, he is an early riser, and therefore, so am I. We’re out the door by six a.m., off to the park, rain or shine. Watching him play with gusto and pure dog joy is good for my soul. Not to mention, early mornings are great for the writer’s constitution, and walking helps me think through plot challenges. During early drafts of The Next, Enzo hung out nearby and every once in a while he’d nudge my arm with his giant nose, to kind of say, Take a break. And I would. I had no intention of having a dog character in the novel, but he found his way into the plot and would not leave until he’d pretty much taken it over. It’s an aspect of the book that emerged in an almost mystical way, and it felt completely right to let him in in the form of Tom, the dog character. And of course, as you can probably guess, Tom was my father’s name.

Visit Stephanie Gangi's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lancey Morris & Henderson

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Lancey Morris and I'm the baker/blogger behind I live in Sydney with my three year old Miniature Schnazuer, Henderson. He has an instagram page which he tries to update regularly (henderson_the_schnauz), and loves broccoli.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Today we stopped to get a coffee at a local cafe on the way to the park. Henderson is a nightmare without his daily caffeine hit so I try to make the effort.

What's brewing?

I'm actually enjoying a French Earl Grey cup of tea!

Any treats for you or Henderson on this occasion?

Henderson is nibbling on a vegan doggy biscuit I brought with me, and I'm trying my hardest not to order a cookie for myself.

How were you and Henderson united?

Henderson and I were united when he was a 12 week old puppy. He was tiny and 90% personality, 10% beard.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

We wanted a name that suited a dog with a well trimmed beard and salt and pepper eyebrows, and Henderson seemed just right. He also goes by Hend, Baby H, and The Hend of the King, because he loves Game of Thrones.

Does Henderson have a role at Sweet Lancey HQ?

Because Sweet Lancey is a vegan food blog, unfortunately too much 'paws on' involvement would lead to being shut down by a food authority. Henderson's role is more focused on cleaning up fallen food, lending an ear, and of course, reminding me every day why animals should be our friends, not our dinner.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

The local cats aren't too fond of Hend, but he seems to get along with the postman just fine. No squirrel encounters thus far, but he's still young.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Hend loses interest in toys very quickly, and much prefers to destroy our furniture.

Who is Henderson's best pet-pal?

Henderson is a social butterfly and likes to interact with everyone he meets, though I have it on good authority that he spends a lot of time at the local groomer with a dog mysteriously called Ruby. No surname, no regrets.

What is Henderson's best quality?

Henderson's best quality is his affectionate and loyal nature. He is always up for a cuddle and likes to lie as close to your face as is humanly (or dogly?) possible.

It's a good thing this question only asks for his best quality, because I really could write an essay on the dynamic Schnauzer personality.

Where is Henderson's favorite outdoor destination?

Henderson enjoys the classics, like parks or anywhere with grass. We've taken him to much more exciting places, littered with toys and swarming with dogs, but we'll always find him sniffing a patch of grass by himself. It's the simple things in life.

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

He'd probably change the fact that I don't let him eat everything in his path, including my personal effects.

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

What a great question! I'd probably ask if he was happy, or if he means to shame people by staring so deeply into their eyes they feel he sees into their soul.

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

I think Michael Cera would do a good job, or perhaps Larry David.

What advice would Henderson give if asked?

I think he'd say, 'Take risks. Life is too short not to lick a stranger's sandwich in the park.'

Visit the Sweet Lancey website and check out Henderson on Instagram.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Zoe & Tina

Who is in the photo at right?

I am Zoe of I run a blog that focuses on anything and everything that makes a home more beautiful- from interior design and DIYs to fun ways to bond with the fam. Tina is a beagle/hound mix that we think is around 14, but she could be older.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Tina just got out of the vet hospital where she scared me to death- I almost lost her a few weeks ago. She’s finally feeling better and it was just cool enough to take her out a wee bit.

What's brewing?

I had a Cinnamon Dolce Latte from Starbucks. It’s not normally on the menu, so you have to ask for it and bat your eyelashes a little for them to make it. I swear it tastes like a cupcake!

Any treats for you or Tina on this occasion?

Tina has been promised peanut butter and toast after I finish this interview with you guys. She’ll probably start howling about it in 20.5 seconds to remind me.

How were you and Tina united?

I have only had her for less than a year. She lived at a wonderful, no-kill shelter called Hallie Hill in Hollywood, SC. She was there so long, they let her roam freely on the property. She was their mascot and greeting committee. We went to pick out a dog for my daughter there. She picked a big, fluffy dog named Ike and I ended up falling in love with Tina- so we brought two dogs home!

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

Tina came with her name, so we kept it so we would not confuse her. However, we quickly found out she is deaf, so I have many, many aliases for her. Tina Tootles is my favorite, but she is also “Boo-boo baby”, “lambchop”, “Shnookumsus”… it gets worse. Yes, worse! She doesn’t complain about the names like other members of my family do, so I just let ‘em roll!

Does Tina have any special duties at Evergreen HQ?

Tina is a lady of leisure in her twilight years. She basically sleeps through my workday at Evergreen.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

She sleeps through all of that- including thunder storms.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

She doesn’t understand toys or the use for them, but she loves my closet and picking out clothes for me. She also loves her drawer filled with her sweaters. She rummages through it (in winter time) and selects what she wants daily. She’s a bit of a clothes hound (pun intended).

Who is Tina's best pet-pal?

We have a cat named Linus that tries not to participate in any family functions, but he does rub across Tina’s face every morning. That is the extent of Linus’ relationship with anybody. She and my daughter’s dog ignore each other. She’s more of a people person.

What is Tina's best quality?

She loves to be loved.

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

Well, we live in Charleston and manners are rather important here, especially at the table. Not much food falls for her. I think she would definitely change our table manners so she could get more scraps.

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

“Should we get matching sweaters?” I’m pretty sure she would say yes.

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

Betty White. Tina often gets that blank look like “Rose” from the Golden Girls.

What advice would Tina give if asked?

Eat, Sleep, Love.

Visit the Designs by Evergreen website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 12, 2016

Lisa Alber & Fawn

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Lisa Alber, and I’m a novelist. I write a crime fiction series set in Ireland. My second novel, Whispers in the Mist, came out in August. With me is Fawn “The Ears” Alber, my mascot. She’s a four-year-old Chihuahua/wire-haired terrier mix.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I take Fawn with me everywhere I can, so any outdoor venue where I can sip coffee is great. Most of the time, I’m writing. Most of the time, she’s making new friends.

What's brewing?

I’m a soy latte gal.

Any treats for you or Fawn on this occasion?

I was thinking of buying a lemon poppyseed scone. And for Fawn? Crumbs! She’s so social and charming she makes friends everywhere she goes. She’s happy with back scratches as treats.

How were you and Fawn united?

About three months after my previous pup, Luna the One-Eyed Wonder Dog died (cancer), I met Fawn at the Oregon Humane Society. She was such a wee under-nourished thing. You could barely see her in her bed and was non-responsive. But I’m attracted to underdogs. She was so sweet, curling up on my lap straightaway. But, I asked the folks at OHS to check her out again because she didn’t seem well. Pneumonia and giardia and a few other intestinal things. Poor girl. She’d been trucked up from Southern California with OHS’s Second Chance Program.

How did your dog get her name? Any aliases?

The folks at Oregon Humane Society had named her Poppy. I came up with Fawn after I saw her curled up with her head resting over her back leg—she has such a long neck, just like a fawn curled up in a meadow. Plus, she’s fawn-colored. I call her all kinds of silly things: Nugget, Little Nuggety Nougat, Fawnzie, Fawnzarella.

Does Fawn do more to help or hinder your writing?

Good question! Have to admit, the feisty terrier in her can be a tad distracting. So, I’m going to say hinder, but that’s a-OK. So worth it to have her in my life. I’ve learned that she just wants to be near me, so wherever I’m writing in the house, I set her up in a bed next to me (i.e. on desk and table tops — she’s so small, it works OK). She settles down then.

The last time you visited Coffee with a Canine (May 5th, 2014) you had Luna, a Pekingnese mix, who inspired a dog character in a novel you were writing called Grey Man. Is that novel now Whispers in the Mist and is the dog character still in it?

Sweet Luna! Yes, I had called the novel Grey Man at the time. The publisher changed the name to Whispers in the Mist, which is a much better title. The dog character, Bijou, a French Mastiff, is still there and is still one of the heroes! In fact, she has a cameo appearance in my third novel, Path Into Darkness, which is coming out next year.

Has Fawn inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

No, I can’t say that she has—yet! Sometimes she’s so cat-like that she could inspire a cat character too.

Cat, postman, squirrel…?

She’ll run after squirrels all in good fun, but she’s protective when it comes to raccoons. She’s a little too fearless when it comes to them so I keep an eye on the raccoon situation. She likes cats, dogs, people — a total extrovert!

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick…?

She’ll chase anything, but she especially likes squeaky toys. She doesn’t always bring them back though. Actually, her favorite comfort toy is a ball of my dirty socks. They’re kind of like her Linus blanket.

Who is Fawn's best pet-pal?

That would be Trio my 15-pound old dude of a cat. She adores him even though sometimes she gets pesky enough that Trio bats at him. That pisses off Fawn rather than scares her—and just like the terrier she is, she goes right back at him to bug him some more. Hah! I love watching them chase each other in the backyard. It’s truly hilarious.

What is Fawn's best quality?

Her friendly, sweet charm. She doesn’t bark much and she’s not a spazzy small dog. She’s just this super sweet little dog who loves to meet-and-greet. Oh, and dancing on her hind legs!

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

Oh, I know this one. She’d want me to be able to sleep with her under the covers with me. She loves to snuggle, which is great—except when I’m sleeping. She sleeps on the bed, for sure, just not under the covers.

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

Trio the Cat is twelve years old, doing well, but he won’t be around forever. I’d ask Fawn whether she’d prefer a new companion (cat or dog?) or to be my only mascot.

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

A quirky female comedian—Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

What advice would Fawn give if asked?

Hey, I like everyone and you can too!

Visit Lisa Alber's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Coffee with a Canine: Lisa Alber & Luna.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Kristen Jackson & Bruno

Who is in the photo at right?

Hello! My name is Kristen Jackson and I am a Stage Manager on the North American tour of Newsies as well as the creator of The Touring Yorkie, a travel website with an emphasis on pet travel. My dog is Bruno, a male Yorkie who we guess is 5 years old.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I’m in LA with Newsies right now and decided to check out The Pie Hole, a sweet and savory pie shop with a coffee bar. I worked 80 hours last week so Bruno and I are spending the whole day together.

What's brewing?

Nitro Iced Coffee - I usually go for a soy latte but decided to try out this new coffee. It came out of a tap like a beer!

Any treats for you or Bruno on this occasion?

Strawberry lavender hand pie - it’s like a grown up pop tart.

How were you and Bruno united?

I’ve been dreaming of getting a dog for awhile and decided that having a traveling companion would make the road less lonely. My husband’s former roommate had a Yorkie we loved so we decided that would be a good breed for travel due to its size and temperament. We found him on Petfinder in January where he was fostered through the Randolph County Humane Society outside of St. Louis. He’s easy going and loves exploring new areas so it’s the perfect fit.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Bruno’s foster mom actually gave him his name. He had another name but was in a family with an abusive father. The kids were taken away and so was Bruno and the rescue didn't know his real name. We decided to keep Bruno so he wouldn’t get confused with all the new names. Aside from Bruno, we also called him Bug.

Readers can check out your blog, The Touring Yorkie, for travel insights. Care to share one or two of the more important tips?

It’s entirely possible to travel with your pet. I actually find that I see more because of him. We’re constantly going on walks, exploring new areas, and going down side streets to see what we can find. Plus, the pictures of Bruno in different cities is fun too!

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Any kind of bird. It’s funny watching Bruno run after a goose that’s twice his size!

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick…?

Surprisingly, he doesn’t like any toys. But he is treat obsessed!

Who is Bruno's best pet-pal?

Bruno makes friends everywhere he goes. He’s curious about every dog he meets on the street - no matter the size. We also try to take him to daycare on my long days so he makes lots of friends there too.

What is Bruno's best quality?

Bruno’s laid back attitude. We can throw any situation at him and he goes with the flow. This has made traveling him on airplanes and living in new hotel rooms every week extremely easy.

Where is Bruno's favorite outdoor destination?

He might only be 8 pounds, but he loves to hike. We had a great time in Denver going on long hikes in the mountains.

If Bruno could change one thing about your traveling companions, what would it be?

I’m sure Bruno wishes I worked less. This last week has been tough but my husband is on the road with me right now and able to watch him all day. But Bruno is definitely bonded with me and wishes he could be with me all day.

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

I’d want to know about his past. He was extremely shy and fearful in the beginning and has completely blossomed since then. We’ve taught him that he’s safe now and we will always take care of him. I’m just curious what his life was like before.

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

Bruno is such a grumpy old man sometimes. I could see someone like Robert De Niro voicing him.

What advice would Bruno give if asked?

I’d tell him to trust us. He will always be safe, get fed, get taken out and is our #1 priority.

Visit The Touring Yorkie website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, September 5, 2016

Gail Pyne & Bella Blue and Seamus O'Malley

Who is pictured in these photos?

That's me, Gail Pyne, Bella Blue and Seamus O'Malley. I'm a certified Fitness Professional and a Running and Wellness coach. I blog at It's not all about fitness. I'm quite opinionated on many issues, as it turns out. Bella Blue is a Blue Tick Coonhound mix. She turned 11 this year. Seamus O'Malley is an Irish Setter who just turned 5.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine? What's brewing? Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

In Canada, it is your civic duty to stop at Tim Hortons every morning for a cup of Joe. I'm not kidding. There is a Tim Hortons on every corner in most urban areas. I have one that I walk to. Tim Horton was a Canadian hockey legend, and we take hockey pretty seriously here in Canada. The shop that I go to has a convenient area that the dogs can be tied to and be admired by patrons as I purchase my medium coffee, double cream, single sugar. I rarely have anything other than my coffee, as I eat a pretty healthy breakfast every day at my home, but both dogs get a plain Tim Bit. They are given free to dogs, if you ask. If either of my dogs ever get lost, this Tim Hortons is where I would look first. They'd likely be sitting by the doors....

How were you and your dogs united?

Bella Blue was found wandering the streets as a puppy in 2005. She was promptly turned over to a local shelter which is where my husband and I found her. No one at the shelter had any background on her. We just call her awesome. It fits pretty nicely. Seamus O'Malley hails from North Carolina. We got him as a two month old puppy in 2011 when we were living in Raleigh. He turned 5 a few months ago. As a puppy he loathed being cuddled and would try and nibble my ears and then squirm out of my arms. Now that he is 80 pounds he absolutely insists on being cuddled and disregards his size as an obstacle to that. On the bright side, he has discontinued his ear chomping. He's our third Irish, so clearly we are obsessed.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Bella Blue was named by a neighbor. Seems rather "hands off" of me, I know. In my defense, I wanted Blue to be a part of her name. I could not just call her Blue because it was too male sounding. A neighbor suggested Bella Blue, and as it rolled off the tongue nicely, I jumped on it. I did not realize at the time that the Twilight series of novels were extremely popular and that Bella was about to become the most fashionable dog name ever. Thank goodness I had the Blue part.... Her alias is Basement Bella. She is terrified of storms and when one is brewing she bolts for her crate, which is in the basement. Lately she has been forgoing the basement and heading to a spare bathroom off our offices. We may have to change her alias to Bathroom Bella.

Seamus (pronounced Shay-mus) O'Malley was named by my husband and I, after we had a hotly debated back and forth Facebook post to my friends and family. I had thrown out the names Clancy, Seamus and Finnegan. Seamus won by a landslide. It was my favorite as well. I chose the O'Malley part. We've had second names for all our dogs and I didn't want to stop with Seamus. His alias is Shameless O'Malley because he's pretty much shameless. He's embarrassed by nothing and assumes he is always the center of attention.

You're a fitness professional and a runner; do your dogs run with you?

Sadly, Bella Blue's running days are far behind her now. She gets a daily walk, but that is all her arthritic hind legs can tolerate. Seamus O'Malley is my eager running partner. He's always game for a run, though in our hot summer months he can't come with me. His running alias is Sir Poops-a-Lot. I just look at our frequent poop stops as interval training. Heart rate up...heart rate down...heart rate up....the kids in the neighborhood call him The Big Red Dog. My favorite running loop takes us through the village of Bronte where the children love to watch him drag me along!!

Where is the dogs' favorite outdoor destination?

Lake Ontario. We are lucky to live within a couple of blocks of it. They love the water, the geese and the ducks.

What is each dog's best quality?

Bella Blue's watchdog skills and Seamus O'Malley's kindness. When I was diagnosed with cancer, and while recovering, Seamus seemed to know how sacred I was and would just be there for me. When I was at my lowest, he was there to remind me that wallowing in self pity was not going to help. Plus, even though I had cancer, Seamus still needed to go outside to pee....

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

For Bella Blue it is the tennis ball. Seamus? All three. He's never met a ball, stick or squeaky toy he didn't like.

Postman, cat, squirrel...?

For both dogs it's all three, but while Bella Blue wants all three dead, Seamus just wants to be friends.

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

Bella would erase from my mind all knowledge of nutrition and my belief in food portion control. There are days where I'm sure she thinks I'm starving her. Seamus O'Malley would change my attitude towards training and tell me that some runs don't need a Garmin GPS watch and proper pace....some runs can just be for fun.

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

I would ask Bella Blue why she loves to eat Kleenex and toilet paper. I would ask Seamus O'Malley why he is terrified to step on wet stones.

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

Dame Maggie Smith for Bella Blue. She has the right amount of imperiousness. Rupert Grint for Seamus O'Malley. I feel only a red head can get another red head.

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

To appreciate the now, rather than fret about the future. Also, always scrape the poop off the bottom of your paws, and then move on.

Visit the Capable Fitness website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Katie Welsh & Melo

Who is in the photo at right?

That’s me, Katie Welsh and I’m the blogger behind Coordinated Kate and also the photographer behind Katie Welsh Photography. And that’s my puggle Melo! He’s a little over one and a half years old. He’s actually a New Years Eve baby!

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Well, this is a special occasion, and Melo and I took a trip down to the deli on the corner to grab some breakfast.

What's brewing?

Well, I actually strongly dislike coffee and I usually only drink tea, but since this is coffee with a canine, I thought I’d grab an iced coffee and load it up with half & half and sugar to mask the taste of any kind of coffee.

Any treats for you or Melo on this occasion?

I grabbed a croissant and I brought him one of his favorite pig skin rawhides.

How were you and Melo united?

I’ve wanted a dog of my own for a long time! My husband and I lived in an apartment for a few years and because of a neighbor that was “allergic”, we were never able to get a dog. I don’t think he was actually allergic at all. I just think that he didn’t want a dog so he didn’t want to have to hear one barking next door either. Anyways, the day that he moved out I went to our leasing office and asked about getting a dog and they said they’d check and get back to me but I was already in the process of getting Melo. He actually came home with me the night before a really big snow storm.

How did your dog get his name? Any nicknames?

My husband, Sam, wanted to name him Carmelo because of his caramel colored coat, and the fact that he’s a big basketball fan, but we decided to just shorten it to Melo. But he does have a special nickname: Fat Baby, which I don’t think he appreciates very much.

I know from your website that you're very organized. Does Melo make it easier or more difficult to stay coordinated?

Yes, he definitely makes it easier, because if anything is on the floor or within his reach, it’ll be in his mouth and I’ll need to chase him around the house to try and get it back. Therefore, everything has to stay organized and in it’s designated space.

Who is Melo's best pet-pal?

Cookie! My sister-in-law Simone has a pit terrier mix and her and Melo will play and fight and chase each other around for hours! And since Cookie is a lot bigger than Melo we can always expect to come home and rinse Cookie’s saliva off Melo’s ears at the end of the day!

[photo right: Melo and Cookie]

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

You name it and Melo will bark at it, unless it’s a child! He’s actually really great at not barking and scaring little kids, which will definitely come in handy when Sam and I start our family.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Melo is just really into tearing things apart. If it’s something soft, he’ll rip the stuffing out within 3 minutes of receiving it. Sticks and bones are the way to go with him because it takes him a lot longer to destroy.

Does Melo have a favorite place to go for walks?

It sounds really gruesome but there’s a big, beautiful cemetery at the top of the hill by our house and we both really enjoy walking through there in the mornings. It’s always very quiet, and enough hills that it tires us both out.

What is Melo's best quality?

One of the reasons I really wanted a dog was because I had lost my dad a few months earlier and I was at home a lot more and feeling a little depressed and need a comforting companion and Melo is the perfect companion for me! He knows when I’m upset or pissed off and he comforts me accordingly. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a more intuitive dog.

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

I think I would ask Melo if he hates it when I call his harness a bra. He knows that he has to wear it and he really loves when it comes off but I feel like he may be a little emasculated when I say things like, “come here Melo, let me take off your bra.” So, that might be my one and only question for him.

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

After receiving these questions, I asked Sam who he thought should voice Melo and he was describing a specific type of actor and I had already decided who I thought would be perfect, so I screamed out “Jonah Hill” And he absolutely agreed. I feel like Melo has a great sense of humor and is a little quirky so I’d be super interested in a movie about my life but only if Jonah Hill is the voice of Melo.

Visit the Coordinated Kate website and the Katie Welsh Photography website.

--Marshal Zeringue