Saturday, November 5, 2022

Alysa Wishingrad & Cleo and Lucy

Who is in the photo at right?

My name is Alysa Wishingrad, I write upper middle grade books with a historical and fantastical twist. My debut The Verdigris Pawn came out in July 21 and my next book Between Monsters and Marvels will be out Fall ‘23.

My friend here is Lucy, a 5-year-old beauty with some shepherd and who knows what else in her who, along with Cleo, was rescinded in Alexandria, Eqypt.

What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?

We like to have our morning tea outside anytime we can. This was a balmy Halloween morning- perfect time to sit in the sun!

What's brewing?

I have to admit I don’t drink much coffee anymore. But I am very devoted to, and picky about my tea.

AM: A cup of Joko tea with a splash of oat or almond milk – JOKO is a South African black tea in the style of a Morning Breakfast. had never been a fan of black tea my
best friend, who is from SA, introduced me to the tea. It’s so smooth and lovely, I can’t start my day without a cup.

Mid-Day is for a second cup of black tea– maybe a cup of Paris with steamed oat milk – the perfect treat!

Evenings are not complete without a cup of Rooibos, yup again, with a splash of oat or almond milk.

Any treats for you or the dogs on this occasion?

The dogs get plenty of treats throughout the day, so they tend to skip tea time.

How were you and the dogs united?

A friend of a friend rescued them in Alexandria, Egypt. She’s a flight attendant and had friends and family in Egypt who were devoted to rescuing street dogs – of which there are countless numbers.

Cleo [photo right] was found in a box with her siblings at just a few days old. They all had parvo, she was the only one to survive.

Lucy was found wandering the streets on her own at about eight weeks old. The rescuers put the two girls together and they bonded immediately.

How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?

Cleo was called Sugar in Egypt.

Lucy was called Princess.

We didn’t much care for those names, and the girls didn’t seem terribly attached either. It took our family days to land on their names but we finally reached an agreement.

As for aliases, how much time do you have?

Here’s how their nicknames have evolved:

Cleo (short for Cleopatra) > Cleopatricia > CleoPat > Patty Anne > Patty > Pat.

Lucy [photo left]: We had a lot of debate in our family before landing on her name – I wanted to call her Lulu, no one else did. So, we named her Lucy and ... you guessed it her nickname is Lulu!

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

When they were younger they did a lot more to hinder my writing, but now that they’re 5, almost 6 years old they don’t demand quite as much attention.

I do value my twice daily long walks with them though- I do some of my best thinking and knot untangling during our walks.

Have your actual canines inspired the creation of any fictional dogs?

I’ve yet to write any dogs into my books, although there is a little Beasty in my next book, Between Monsters and Marvels, whose personality was certainly informed by all the beasts I’ve had in my life.

Cat, postman, squirrel...?


[photo right: Lucy and Cleo back in Egypt]

And hawks, and coyote, fox and deer shouting in the night.

And cars in the driveway.

And deer off in the woods.

And and and and and....

Ball, squeaky-toy, stick...?

They used to love to tear apart soft toys and chew on antlers, but they’re not that interested in them much anymore.

What is each dog's best quality?

Cleo is the sweetest, most lovely girl, and she’s very funny too.

Lucy is a great big cuddle bunny, she’ll put her head on your lap and stay as long as you let her.

Who are your dogs' best pet-pals?

Mae, our cat [photo left].

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

That I’d give them a cookie every single time they walk back into the house.

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

Would you like to have dinner?

And they’d answer: We’ve been waiting for you to ask for hours!

(Reader: they eat dinner at 5-5:30, about 8-9 hours after breakfast, not exactly an interminable wait.)

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

Cleo: Scarlett Johnasson

Lucy: Tina Fey

What advice would your dogs give if asked?

Watch out for the basement door, there’s something down there!!!!!

Visit Alysa Wishingrad's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

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