Saturday, June 4, 2022

Sulari Gentill & Rowly, Alfie, Miss Higgins and Pig

Who is in the photo at right?

I am Sulari Gentill. I’m a novelist. With me is Pig, my youngest. Pig is a 3-month-old English Springer Spaniel. With luck (and a little coaching) she'll grow up to be a truffle dog. We both live on a truffle farm in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

I take the hounds for coffee at the Wilgro orchard where we can sit among the trees outside.

What's brewing?

Skim milk cappuccino or chai latte.

Any treats for you or the dogs on this occasion?

Occasional slice of cake – we divide it by five. It’s important to be fair.

How were you and the dogs united?

Alfie’s original owner died and he ended up wandering the streets until my son brought him home one day. Rowly and Miss Higgins [photo left] were purchased from a local dealer breeder. And Pig joined our family recently after our old truffle dogs, Badger and Morse, passed away. She is in training to take over.

How did Rowly, Alfie, Miss Higgins and Pig get their names? Any aliases?

Rowly and Miss Higgins were named after the protagonists of the Rowland Sinclair Mysteries. Alfie came to us with his name and Pig was so named because pigs were traditionally used to hunt truffles.

Aliases: Roly Poly, Rolls, (Rowly), Miss Huggins, Higgs, Higgsy, (Miss Higgins), Alf, Boof, Alfred, (Alfie), Piggy, Pigsy, (Pig), or (Miss Higgins and Pig together) Higgeldy Piggeldy. And of course, darling (all of them)

Do your dogs do more to help or hinder your writing?

Rowly and Miss Higgins sit on my feet as I write – it’s a help in the Winter, less comfortable in the Summer. Alfie is indifferent to my writing and prefers to sleep in his own chair. Pig [photo right] is still a hindrance at the moment – but she’s a puppy. I’m sure she’ll grow out of it when she perfects the art of sleeping.

Have your dogs inspired you to create any fictional canines?

No, for the same reason I don’t write my family into my books. I write crime fiction – being one of my characters is pretty dangerous.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Each other.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?

None of the above…. Alfie [photo left] will however chase a stick as if his life depended upon it.

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

Alfie – stick and ball
Pig – ball and squeaky toy
Rowly and Miss Higgins – believe such things are beneath them.

What is each dog's best quality?

Miss Higgins is all about love… she bear hugs you and she has a magnificent smile.
Rowly [photo right] likes to be physically in contact but otherwise is not at all needy.
Alfie is very tolerant of puppies and is really sweet in a old man kind of way.
Pig is just hilarious.

If Rowly, Alfie, Miss Higgins and Pig could change one thing about New South Welshmen, what would it be?

They would require that we all carried snacks.

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

Which one of you took my left slipper and where is it?

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

Rowly – Stephen Fry
Alfie – Chris Hemsworth
Miss Higgins – Margot Robbie
Pig – Miley Cyrus

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

Never fail to take up an opportunity to sleep or eat. And when the humans say “no dogs on the couch” they don’t mean it. And bacon.

Visit Sulari Gentill's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

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