Sunday, July 29, 2018

Amber Brock & Bitty, Fred and Vicki

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Amber Brock, teacher and author of A Fine Imitation and Lady Be Good. Bitty has joined me for coffee today! She’s one of my three rescue dogs, and she’s a nine-year-old miniature Australian Shepherd mixed with mystery mutt. My other two (not pictured) are Fred, a fourteen-year-old German Shepherd/Australian Shepherd mix; and Vicki, a five-year-old Chihuahua mix.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

In the summer, I get to have coffee with my dogs every morning before our big walk. They definitely prefer that to the school year, when I have to rush out the door early.

What's brewing?

I drink my coffee black, and I have since I started drinking coffee in college.

Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?

My dogs like to get their “cookies.” Their favorite is Lose-a-Finger, a local Atlanta brand.

How were you and your dogs united?

Ever since I adopted Fred twelve years ago, I’ve been committed to always adopting rescue dogs. When we’re ready to adopt, we meet as many dogs at the local rescue as possible and consider who would be the best fit in our pack.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Fred came from the rescue with his name, and he was such a perfect “Fred.” I couldn’t bear to change it! Bitty was originally Chex, but I started calling her “Little Bit” and “Bitty” because at the time she was the smallest in our pack. Now we have Vicki, who was Cinderella at the rescue. Vicki is an obscure reference to an episode of The Simpsons, and we gave her the name because she does a little tap dance when she’s excited about dinner—bonus points to anyone who knows it!

Do Fred, Bitty, and Vicki do more to help or hinder your writing?

Vicki likes to be in my lap, which can make it challenging to find a comfortable writing position. Fred is content to stay on the couch and ignore me when I’m working. Bitty usually sleeps on the bed all day—she likes a little luxury.

Have any actual dogs ever inspired dogs in your fiction?

Loco in Lady Be Good is inspired by Bitty’s look and Vicki’s “Velcro” qualities. Much like Loco with my main character Kitty, Vicki always wants to be by my side!

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

All are cause for raucous barking, and all three dogs are convinced that someday, somehow, they will catch a squirrel.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Vicki immediately shreds any toy she gets her teeth in, even the supposedly indestructible ones. Bitty has “her” toys, and she doesn’t like to share (probably due to Vicki’s destructive tendencies). Now that Fred is fourteen, it’s rare that he’s interested in toys. But when he gets interested, he’ll play with anything!

Who is each dog's best pet-pal?

Bitty pretends to be distant, but she can’t bear to be separated from Fred. If he goes to the vet or on his special, shorter walks, she waits anxiously to celebrate his return. Vicki seems to think she’s a person and is mostly baffled by the other two.

What is each dog's best quality?

Vicki is the sweetest, Bitty is the funniest, and Fred is the most loyal. He’s always trying to top himself on the “good boy” scale.

If Fred, Bitty, and Vicki could change one thing about Georgians, what would it be?

They would request fewer fireworks! The poor girls don’t care for July 4th or New Years’ at all.

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

I’d probably ask all of them if I’ve been a good dog mom. They seem really happy, though, so I guess I’m treating them well.

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

Fred: Tom Hanks (doing a goofy voice, for sure)

Bitty: Retta (Donna on Parks and Rec)

Vicki: Yeardley Smith (the voice of Lisa Simpson)

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

They would always, without fail, advise people to take more naps and give more cookies!

Visit Amber Brock's website.

My Book, The Movie: Lady Be Good.

--Marshal Zeringue

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