Friday, March 29, 2019

Shelley Sackier & Haggis

Who is in the photo at right?

I’m Shelley Sackier, here with Haggis—seriously, he is the smartest hound I’ve ever had the pleasure of keeping company with. Haggis is a nine-year-old golden doodle who probably shares half my brain, and definitely half of my food.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

Haggis is with me nearly 24/7, so whatever I’m cooking/baking/drinking/eating, he offers up his palate as beta taster. Brave of him. And kind.

What's brewing?

Usually my cup is full of some small farm organic, Fairtrade, South American grind—something so strong it’ll scrape the tartar off your teeth. Then, once my eyes have gone to their fully opened position, I switch to herbal teas—but punchy, tart, and tangy ones.

Any treats for you or Haggis on this occasion?

Our coffee is always accompanied by a large spoonful of almond butter. Make that two. One for me, and always one for Haggis.

How were you and Haggis united?

I met Haggis about a day after he was born. He was piled up with about 8 or 9 other brothers and sisters—all of them just working on breathing. Necessary skills on day one. I then came back once he’d perfected this, along with the talents of running and tumbling, about 6 weeks later to take him home with me. Happy, happy day.

How did your dog get his name? Any aliases?

Haggis is named after my favorite food. A Scottish dish that’s a little bit like a round sausage. There are a few more bits and bobs than just meat within the “sausage,” but as some of those ingredients tend to make people a teensy bit queasy, I shall refrain from including them in this description. But oh, wow, yum. Seriously. Nearly as scrumptious as my hound.

He is also referred to as Mr. Muttonchops and The Fluffernutter.

Does Haggis do more to help or hinder your writing?

Haggis is a perfect writing companion. My beta reader for sure. He lies in a giant pile of white fur under my feet until he hears the keyboard stop clacking, or he sees the sun slant at a specific angle. Then it’s time for a walk to put some necessary oxygen in our brains.

Have any actual dogs ever inspired dogs in your fiction?

Yup. Haggis is in my middle grade contemporary humor book Dear Opl, but known to readers as “Mr. Muttonchops.”

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

Haggis and my cat Smudge wrestle together beautifully. I know that is a challenging thing to envision, but they are the best of friends. Smudge is much braver and will chase Haggis everywhere, but sometimes I think he’s just so big hearted that he’s making Smudge think she’s super courageous to be “attacking” a big dog. It’s hysterically funny.

And throw in bunnies, fox, deer, raccoons, skunk, bobcats, and bear as his other chase-worthy companions. Haggis sees them every day, but realizes that entire group runs much, much faster than he does. He’s also a big birdwatcher, and will sit for hours just enjoying their flight patterns.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Nope. Not much of a toy kinda guy. Mostly he’s just chewing on the remnants of deer bones from the woods. Such a fierce warrior. [snort]

Where is Haggis's favorite outdoor destination?

Haggis and I live on top of a mountain in the Blue Ridge of Virginia. We hike every single day. So any path in a forest is his favorite place to tread. There is just so so much to smell.

Who is Haggis's best pet-pal?

Definitely Smudge. I just love their friendship.

What is Haggis's best quality?

Haggis has the greatest smile ever. He’s the happiest dog I’ve ever seen. You call him, and he comes a’runnin’.

If Haggis could change one thing about Virginians, what would it be?

I think he would ask them to leave a bit more meat on the deer bones they give him as treats. We have a lot of hunters here, and he’s the lucky recipient of anything they might not find a use for.

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

Could you please tell me if anything hurts? Please?

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

Bill Murray.

What advice would Haggis give if asked?

Stay away from the small black things that look like wambling, chubby dogs. Their mothers are incredibly mean—they roar and bite.

Also, we should eat more meat. I meant you. You should eat more meat. I’m fine with this stuff in my bowl, unless, of course, you can’t finish what’s in yours. Then I’m happy to help. But there really should be more meat in your bowl.

Visit Shelley Sackier's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Antidote.

--Marshal Zeringue

1 comment:

  1. Haggis is a pretty chipper looking mate and no doubt a great writing muse. Cheers!