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“I like a dog at my feet when I read, Whatever his size or whatever his breed.”  Edgar A Guest, American  (b. England) 1881-1959

It is early Sunday morning and my dog, Hooper, is fast asleep at my feet as I write so I thought the above quote was especially appropriate for this “guest” blog post by Veterinarian, Dr. Patrick Mahaney of Los Angeles.  Patrick requested to review my book and I really appreciate this, but as he is a doctor and gravitates toward Non-Fiction for the books he reviews for his Blog, (not that he doesn’t enjoy Fiction),  I wondered how he would handle this.  I really enjoyed how he “examined” the animal characters, seeing them through a vet’s eyes, without compromising the emotional heart of the stories.  He will  present two more parts of his review and I can hardly wait to learn of his diagnosis for the other five “tails!”  Thank you Patrick…

Lisa Begin-Kruysmans Somethings Lost and Must Be Found: Six Short Tails of Inspiration on a Long Leash is an intriguing collection of stories profiling the familiar and otherworldly relationships between people and companion animals. In reviewing the tales, my scientific…read more via link below and check out Dr. Pat’s adorable Welsh terrier, Cardif!….

via Dr Mahaneys Book Review- Somethings Lost and Must Be Found by Lisa Begin-Kruysman Part 1.

“A really companionable and indispensable dog is an accident of nature.  You can’t get it by breeding for it, and you can’t buy it with money.  It just happens along.”  E.B. White, American, 1899-1985

The Dog Daze of summer are upon us!  Check out the National Dog Week Community Page (not a business) and give that page some LIKEhttp://www.facebook.com/Dogasaur?ref=ts#!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974

Meet Bocker, NDW Dog of the Week!

Welcome to my Blog.  To read more about my work on behalf of National Dog Week, please see ABOUT.  My Short Story Collection, SOMETHING’S LOST AND MUST BE FOUND, is available as a Kindle download on Amazon and doing nicely with 26 five-star reviews. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_33?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=somethings+lost+and+must+be+found&sprefix=somethings+lost+and+must+be+found

Here is Part Two of STILL LIFE OF DOG WITH RED COLLAR. This story was inspired by the beautiful statue created by scultor Brian P. Hanlon from Toms River, NJ, and is located on the riverfront of Windward Park in Brick Township, NJ.  Please note that as are all the stories in the collection, this story is a work of fiction. Please see previous post for Part I.

STILL LIFE WITH DOG IN RED COLLAR (PART II)

…The following day in the art room, I worked with a new energy. Prepping a canvas, I began my preliminary drawing. Mrs. Turner smiled and nodded in my direction.  But my newfound enthusiasm faded as I rehashed the previous morning’s confrontation at home.

Scribble, sketch, scribble, and sigh.  My inspiration drained as the classroom clock methodically ticked away the minutes. Safe-sound, safe-sound, it taunted, delivering a message from my father.

My change in mood hadn’t gone unnoticed by my teacher.  “Kevin, you have a tendency to discourage too easily. You see your work finished before you’ve even taken the time to lay the foundation.”

I put my brush down. I would try again later.

“Keep your eye on the big picture and worry about the details later,” she offered.  “Don’t worry so much about the final result. Things have a way of working out.”

I knew she was right, but the next few days weren’t much different. I was beginning to think like my father, stuck in a negative place.

To get out of my funk, I returned to work at the place that had inspired me; at the riverfront in the park. It was the first day of autumn and with the cooler weather, the park was nearly empty. But the slight chill in the air served as a reminder of my approaching deadline. 

Before I set up to work, I walked up to the statue, really looking at it for the first time as more than just my subject matter. Carefully reading each name etched on her pedestal, I traced the raised letters with my fingertips.

One man’s name stood out. A financial advisor, he had been the uncle of one of my classmates. A talented photographer, I recalled reading in his obituary he had hoped one day to pursue his real passion to become a full-time photographer. I was struck by the realization that his “one-day” would never come.

I walked down to the sandy edge of the river. A thicket of sumac cast a crimson blush on the water, its surface smooth like a mirror. From across the river, a woman called her family to dinner, a dog barked and lights slowly came on in windows like tiny candles. At that moment, my mind was as still as the water below me, and the statue that loomed behind me.

I was holding my breath. When I stooped down to examine the image of my face, I exhaled slowly causing a slight ripple to run across my reflection. With my finger, I traced the outline of my likeness in the cool water, as I had done with the names on the statue. I realized now that despite my father’s well-meaning concerns, in today’s world, there was no such thing as a safe choice. I knew then that this would be the start of my “one-day.”

Returning to my easel, I discovered someone had placed baskets of orange and white chrysanthemums near the base of the angel’s pedestal. Amid the faded summer-weary Impatiens and geraniums, their freshness stood out.

I started to paint with a purpose. I don’t know how long I worked, but when I looked up from my easel I noticed that the black dog was now sitting among the flowers at the base of the pedestal. He looked directly at me as if posing.

“What is it boy?” I asked.  “Do you want to be part of the picture, too?” He sat as still as the statue beside him as I sketched his likeness.” When I was finished I looked up, but he was gone again, like a phantom.

This dog seemed to be searching for someone who would never arrive. I thought about all the dogs that had waited at home that day after the tragedy in downtown Manhattan, never knowing why their humans had never returned for them. 

I recalled reading about the brave search and rescue dogs that had helped in their own special way at the site of the collapsed towers and during the days and weeks afterward. Over three hundred of them; used in the largest canine search and rescue mission in the nation’s history, Dobermans, shepherds, retrievers; reaching places where humans could not, tireless, brave, fearless. And when their work was done, offering comfort to their human partners and giving hope to those waiting for some news at home.

I collected my materials and put the canvas away. Looking around, I saw no trace of the dog. I headed home with a renewed conviction about the choices I would now make.

Later that evening, after dinner, I went through the motion of thumbing through slick college catalogues filled with smiling students walking through perfectly landscaped campuses. I even filled out several applications for good measure.

Then, in the privacy of my room, I quietly filled out the form for the art school scholarship I now wanted more than ever.  I pictured myself rambling through the gritty streets of a city like New York, portfolio in hand. That image would buoy me during the battles that were sure to come as I stood my ground.

The next day, I approached my work with a newfound energy that would continue throughout the day. Mrs. Turner must have sensed it because she kept her distance while keeping a watchful eye on me. 

At the end of the room, Mr. Ed, the custodian, began clearing the old murals from the room’s window. The vinegar scent of window cleaner traveled toward me.  “Make room for the new,” I heard him mutter to no one in particular.  With each swipe of his squeegee, he erased a little of my past, where soon some bright new talent would leave his or her mark.

I was so focused on my painting I hardly noticed the acorn that shot through an open window. It bounced off my canvas landing at my feet; a tiny smudge of yellow paint covered its tip. I knew who had thrown it without looking up.

“Hey Picasso!” a voice called.  It was Tommy. “How’s your masterpiece coming? Let’s have a look,” he said pushing half his body through the window.

But I wasn’t ready to share my work. I took a break and went over to him.  He told me about all the fish he and John had caught the day before and their plans to go surfing after school.  “Come with us. We’re heading out now.”

 “No thanks, I’ve got something to finish,” I answered.

“Well go kick some scholarship butt, Van Gogh,” Tommy said, quickly moving on.

That was good, because I had finally come to the part I still loved best, working on the details. With a tiny brush loaded with burnt sienna, I put the final touch on a pot of chrysanthemums near the angel’s knee. But my eye went to the figure of the dog; something was missing. I painted a red collar around its neck. He had now become an official part of the picture, finding a forever home and a place of honor for his fellow canines there on my canvas.

When my painting was finished, I signed it in the lower right hand corner. Then I sat still, silently thanking the sculptor whose own inspired creation had given me a new outlook on life. I offered a moment of silence for those memorialized by this angel, and the thousands of lives lost, or changed forever on that day.

From the back of the room, Mrs. Turner quietly hummed a tune as she shuffled around the room preparing for her next class.

That night I completed my official entry form for the scholarship judging process.  On the line requesting the painting’s “Title” I neatly printed, Still Life with Dog in Red Collar.

If my father asked me again what I had been learning in that art room, I still didn’t know if I could put it into words.  But it didn’t matter; in my heart I knew.  Exactly.

“For it is by muteness that a dog becomes for one so utterly beyond value; with him one is at peace, where words play no torturing tricks.”  John Galsworthy, English 1867-1933

NOTES FROM THE BLOG…it’s been a difficult time for dog-lovers…Nike has awarded Michael Vick a great big bone of an endorsement deal and James Lovell, the man who dragged the sweet “Little Brown Dog” showed up in court this week in Tennessee only to find he gets another seven months to roam free until a new court date in February despite the best efforts of some hardworking advocates… Let’s carry on anyway…

The 83rd Observance of National Dog Week will be honored the week of September 19th.  Use it as a time to make a difference.  For more information, please see ABOUT.

As promised, I am publishing the seventh story of my short story collection, SOMETHING’S LOST AND MUST BE FOUND.  It is still only available as a Kindle version, but as requested, it will be available in softcover by August.  http://www.amazon.com/Somethings-Lost-Must-Found-ebook/dp/B0051ZMYG2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1310822775&sr=1-1Please remember that a portion of all proceeds will go to help some deserving animals (I’ve already chosen the first recipient and will share soon). Next time someones asks what book they should download …please keep this in mind!

 I thank those who have been able to read it. Currently, it has received 26 Five-Star Reviews!  Below, is Part One of STILL LIFE WITH DOG IN RED COLLAR, an updated version of a short story that was awarded an Honorable Mention in the 75th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition.  I will print its conclusion in the next post. 

 

Still Life with Dog in Red Collar

 “What exactly have you been learning in that art room anyway, Kevin?” My father talked at me from across the breakfast table on this warm mid-September morning. 

I chose not to answer.

“You have to start focusing on your S. A. T.s.  In case you’ve forgotten you’ll be retaking them soon.  Your last scores weren’t exactly spectacular.”

Exactly was a meaningful word for my father, a Certified Public Accountant.  In his world, exactly was a word that fit.  And as to his question, I couldn’t exactly explain what I was learning in that art room. But I was well aware that I wasn’t the conventional college-bound A-plus son he desired.

Despite my silence, he persisted.  “By the way, how are we doing in our S. A. T. prep classes?” 

We? Our? I wanted to say. But I just managed an “Okay.”

Lately, it seemed the inhabitants of my universe were so hung up on S. A. T. scores, grades and choosing the right colleges. It all seemed pointless to me because most of my classmates didn’t even have a clue as to what they wanted to do with their lives. At least I did.

I knew the real purpose of this conversation was to further discourage my career choice of becoming a fine artist. A fine lawyer or even a fine investment banker was more to his liking, something he deemed safe and sound. I knew he was only thinking of my welfare, but the subject was getting old.

“My art teacher, Mrs. Turner, said I have a good chance at an art scholarship if I turn in a strong senior project for my portfolio,” I said.  “Or I can enlist in the military and go to Afghanistan.”

This strategy worked. My father stood up so fast he knocked over his chair. He slammed down his coffee mug, breaking off its handle. 

“Damn hand-made pottery,” he muttered for my benefit. It had been purchased by me last June as a Father’s Day gift at a local arts and crafts fair. 

He stormed out of the room, but hurried back to the kitchen, groping through a messy stack of papers and junk mail for his car keys.  He seemed eager to escape to the sanctuary of his orderly office several safe miles away. “And since you brought it up, how are you doing on that senior art project of yours anyway?” He spoke to me over his shoulder, just before making his final exit.

“Good,” I answered, a little too quickly.

Mrs. Turner’s encouragement and praise throughout the past three years had fueled my desire to seriously pursue a career in art. But the truth was I had not found much creative inspiration during the long summer break. How could I, in this environment?

Later that day it became apparent that I was dealing with a serious creative block. The conversation begun earlier with my father had now followed me to the school’s art room. “Kevin, what’s going on with your scholarship project?” Mrs. Turner asked, sneaking up on me as silently as a cat.

I said nothing. How could I tell her I hadn’t even chosen a medium or subject yet?

“Focus on your strengths.  You’re a talented painter,” she said as if reading my thoughts.  “Just get started and stop hiding your light under a barrel.” 

But what would I paint? I had grown tired of meaningless still life compositions, bowls brimming with boring green and red apples and pale yellow roses. 

I poked half-heartedly at a glob of cerulean blue paint on a clean palette with a stiff new brush, staring at a white canvas.  A rap at the window startled me. I looked up to see the face of my good friend, Tommy.

“Hi Kev,” he shouted.  His blond head was partially concealed by a faded mural painted on the windowpane; a sappy mountain scene I had helped to create during my freshman year. 

“Me and John are headed to the marina after school,” he spoke quickly.  “Meet us there at three.  We’re going fishing.” 

From across the room, Mrs. Turner cleared her throat, continuing to advise me. “Guard against outside distractions,” she warned.  But Tommy had already ducked out of sight and I returned to staring at my blank canvas.

After school, I wandered toward the marina. I knew I should have been heading for home to look at the college brochures my father had collected for me. But it was one of those late summer afternoons, just before the leaves began to turn. I knew these days were numbered.

I entered the park next to the marina and stood at the edge of the river, its murky brown water flowed like a stream of spilled flat cola. Pausing to admire the scene of a brilliant blue sky dotted with huge white clouds rimmed in gray, my eye caught the movement of a black dog darting among a wooded area.  He looked like some kind of lab-mix.

“Hey Kev, over here,” Tommy yelled, distracting me.  He was on board his father’s boat handing a fishing rod and bucket to John. Further down the dock, a group of young kids squealed with laughter. They struggled with a heavy crab trap, trying to yank it free from the shallow river bottom. Two tiny blue-clawed crabs had escaped and scattered off the dock. They plopped back into the river to temporary safety.

I started to walk over to the dock, but something else now had my full attention; in the center of a circular rock garden, just a few yards from where I stood, appeared the image of an angel. I recalled that this statue had been erected sometime during the summer, but I had never even taken the time to notice.

The angel was on her knees, hunched over a pedestal engraved with the names of local people who had perished a year earlier on September eleventh.  The skilled hand of the sculptor had convincingly conveyed the angel’s pain through her slumped posture and folded wings. She had been caught off guard. Her head hung in sorrow over the etched image of the World Trade Center. 

“Yo man, what are you doing? C’mon!” Tommy’s voice carried over to me from the dock. But inspiration had struck. I recalled Mrs. Turner’s warning about outside distractions. There was no time to explain to my friend; somehow I knew he wouldn’t understand.

“Got to go,” I answered, waving and running away from the dock and out of the park.

At home I gathered up my sketch pad, a handful of charcoal pencils and a tin of watercolors. I almost escaped out the back door unnoticed.

“Kevin, what about those applications?” my mom called from upstairs.  “You promised your father.”

“I’ll look at them tonight. Gotta go, can’t lose the light.”

Back at the park, the dock was quiet; Tommy and John had gone fishing. I sketched quickly, using the watercolors to make color notes. 

It was then that I again noticed the big black dog. This time, he came out of the woods and stood just yards away from where I worked, watching my every move. He wore no collar.

“Here, boy,” I spoke to him.  But the skittish dog kept its distance, circling me a few times before disappearing into a stand of pine and pin oak. I wondered if he had a home…To be continued

Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Begin-Kruysman

All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be used, reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law, or in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.  For information, contact pst39crd@aol.com.

“The battle for the kind heart is never won; it must be fought steadily with every child, with every person with every new generation.” Captain William Lewis Judy – Founder of National Dog Week

http://www.amazon.com/Somethings-Lost-Must-Found-ebook/dp/B0051ZMYG2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1310214977&sr=1-1 My Short Story Collection continues to do nicely over on Amazon…Thanks for reading and the great five-star reviews.  Next week, I will present the newly added seventh story in its entirety here on this site (a Writer’s Digest competition Honorable Mention) .  SOMETHING’S LOST AND MUST BE FOUND now has 21 Five-Star reviews and will be the Book-of-the-Day on Amazon on December 5th! Watch for more exciting news.

…Lisa, WHO do we bug to get this going for those of us in the stone age that dont have tech readers yet. That kindle money has been set aside, and used for other things, saved up, set aside, used again for dog things, saved up, spent on better dog food…..sigh Wait, my BRAIN has been lost and must be found… a Comment from a potential reader!  Thank you, I am working on this…

 

In a blog post of May 15th, I presented an interview with Thomas Cole of Shelter Revolution. Thomas discussed the challenges he faces when explaining his concept of communal living models as a remedy for our failing shelter system. Shelter Revolution promotes a healthier more natural way of housing homeless animals, letting them live and play in groups (in a carefully monitored and orchestrated manner) making for well-adjusted and happy pets that are more likely to find a forever home.  Shelter Revolution is a new concept to many, one that invites lively discussion among animal-lovers so I encourage your comments and welcome questions so that more can be learned. I established this blog to encourage a positive exchange of ideas about all sorts of issues affecting dogs, and I am glad that it does.

Hopefully, with more emphasis on Spay and Neuter efforts, we might be able to lower the number of displaced animals in America, and by “managing” a smaller population of homeless pets in a more humane and positive way, we can see less suffering in the world, for both animal and the humans who love them. 

Dog Trainer, Robert Cabral, of Malibu, California has found a way to use his Martial Arts background to train and socialize dogs.  He also embraces new ways of looking at how shelter dogs are housed, like those proposed byThomas Cole’s Shelter Revolution Model.  Upon hearing that I was writing a post about Robert, Ed Boks, Executive Director at Yavapai Human Society in Prescott, Arizona commented, “I’ve worked with many trainers over the past 30 years, from the famous to the ridiculous. Robert is the real deal. His methods transform unruly, even dangerous, shelter dogs into responsive companion animals. For shelters looking for alternatives to killing dogs for behavioral reasons, I recommend Robert Cabral.”

 The following is my interview with Robert:

Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you “went to the dogs?” I rescued my first dog almost 8 years ago.  When I brought him home I didn’t know much about training dog, but I knew how to teach karate.  I wondered if using the teaching skills of the martial arts would apply to dogs, and it did.  I never taught dogs to punch or kick, but I used a very fundamental approach to teaching my dog(s) what was right and wrong and they learned.  Throughout the years I’ve seen this system work on every dog I’ve dealt with from obedience to aggression (fear and dominance based) as well as desensitization and a host of other issues.  I began working with rescues, shelters as well as private clients; often times getting the dogs no one else wanted to deal with. 

 Robert, I “discovered” you after watching a video about a dog named Snowflake that was posted on the Shelter Revolution’s Facebook page.  Can you tell us why you made this video and the message you wish to impart? Snowflake was one of those typical dogs that “falls through the cracks.”  She had some behavioral issues, namely barking and growling at her kennel door.  Understanding this behavior and dealing with it is quite simple, but people usually approach it in the wrong fashion.  Snowflake had been abused and was covered in specks of white paint, that’s why I named her Snowflake.  I believe in making the most of the positive and Snowflake had a lot of great attributes.  We were able to get her rescued after showing that her kennel issues were just that, kennel issues.  Whoever put her in the place that ended her up in the kennel is responsible for her issues – not Snowflake.

Groups like Shelter Revolution call for reform in the way shelter animals are housed.  They promote the concept of Communal Living for our pets.  Do you think this can work? 

I’ve always been an advocate for at the very least doubling dogs in the kennels at shelters.  This has many benefits:  it increases a dog’s social skills, saves space and eases the stress of being isolated in shelters.  I believe social kenneling can work, but there will be some issues including fights and more – however I think it’s worth the trade-off.  Done properly, this is one of our greatest hopes for solving this crisis. 

What needs must be addressed to make this possible and successful? As I mentioned above, this change won’t be without its downsides, but they are far fewer than the millions of animals that we are killing now.  Establishing pack order will be important and I believe this should be handled by people who are skilled in dealing with this, not just rescue volunteers.  This aspect should be taken very seriously.  People need to understand that dogs are pack animals and need to be worked into the environment.  Dogs will survive and I think we owe it to the dogs to see who is best suited and who is not suited to being placed into this environment.  Some dogs should not be put into this situation until they are ready, for example fearful dogs, dominant dogs, sick dogs and old dogs and puppies. 

There are those out there who say Communal Living is not a good idea, it cannot work.  What do you say to them? Dogs are pack animals…get a clue!

What are the major issues concerning dogs, and dog-ownership, facing your region of the nation? The same concerns that plague Los Angeles plague the rest of the country and world.  Ignorance on canine behavior patterns are at the forefront.  Until people understand how dogs act and think, they think they need.  They should reconsider their choice of pet.  I’d rather see much fewer people owning dogs and see those dogs placed with responsible owners…not people who think they’re stuffed animals or a badge for their bravado.  Dogs are living, sentient beings that we must strive to understand.  We must give them what they need, not what we need.

I thank Thomas and Robert for trying to implement positive change.  I am sure we will hear from them again  To learn more about Robert and his work:

www.boundangels.org

www.blackbeltdogtraining.com

“Rambunctious, rumbustious, delinquent dogs become angelic when sitting.” Ian Dunbar, 1947

Five years ago today, the dogs of the nation, and their humans, lost a very good friend with the passing of Captain Arthur Haggerty, the “Grandfather of  American Dog Obedience” and staunch supporter of the National Dog Week Movement.  On this most patriotic of holidays, we can honor his memory with the fair and humane treatment of dogs (and all animals) everywhere.

Welcome Handsome Hardee, from Las Vegas, NV, our Dog of the Week on the National Dog Week Community Page.  This page will feature some of the special dogs that have been part of our Blog’s 111 posts! Go on over and LIKE us and watch for new updates! http://www.facebook.com/about/login/#!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974

SOMETHING’S LOST AND MUST BE FOUND climbed the chart and remains #9 Top Rated in Amazon’s Animal Care and Health Category.  Now with a seventh story that won an Honorable Mention in a Writer’s Digest Competition. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_33?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=somethings+lost+and+must+be+found&sprefix=somethings+lost+and+must+be+found

Patriotic Hardee is our NDW Dog of the Week!

It was a dark and stormy…morning.  Up in my writer’s loft, I blogged away while Hooper, my loyal dog, dozed peacefully on the couch.  Suddenly the silence was shattered; once again, that dastardly woodpecker drilled away at our house like a jack hammer. Hooper flew into action, barking and circling. “Let’s get him, Mom,” she growled, bravely heading for the door.  But the roar of thunder drove her back, shaking and trembling at my feet.  And thus, another day of distractions, courtesy of Mother Nature, had begun.

Some authors take their “mews” in the feline form (Twain, Hemingway).  But many I know look to a muse of a more canine-kind for their inspiration. It does seem that many writers work with a dog at their feet. Last August, I was contacted by blogger/writer Marshal Zeringue.  He asked if I would be interested in talking about Every Dog has its Week on his blog, Coffee with a Canine.  Hooper and I obliged and we were very happy when he again sought us out upon the release of Something’s Lost and Must be Found, a Short Story Collection inspired by this blog.

Many creative types get lost in their work.  It can be a solitary life; creative efforts usually require a quiet and reclusive environment.  A dog, cat, or other pet, reminds us that (gasp) life is going on around you.  We need to take a break, be aware of others, and take the time to focus and care about those who need us most.  A good pet can do all of that, asking so little in return. 

Enjoy your life, family, friends and freedom on this Fourth of July Weekend!

Please enjoy the following interview with blogger and writer, Marshal Zeringue:

Can you tell us a little about your background? I’m a former academic who now spends most of my time writing, re-writing, fine-tuning (over and over again) as-yet-unproduced screenplays as well as tending to a number of blogs. I was born and partly educated in New Orleans, went to graduate school at the University of Virginia, then stayed in Virginia to teach.  I’m now somewhat nomadic but find myself in south Louisiana more often than not.

We hear you write and moderate three blogs, what are they? The blog count is actually greater or smaller than three, depending on how you tally these things.  I’ll explain: Coffee with a Canine is a blog more or less independent of my oldest blog, Campaign for the American Reader. So one might count that as two blogs.  But CftAR is the hub for a network that includes The Page 69 Test, My Book, The Movie, The Page 99 Test, Writers Read, Lit Lists, Author Interviews, HEPPAS Books, and New Books.

I’ve actually got plans for a few more CftAR-related sites (and an idea for another canine/food-related blog) but I’m trying to resist.

As we’re all about dogs here, please tell us about Coffee with a Canine.  When and why did you start it?  Are all your subjects writers or in the arts? Two influences led to Coffee with a Canine, each independent of the other but both hit at about the same time.  One, I noticed that a great many of the authors who helped with content for CftAR posts mentioned their dogs in the bio on their websites.  At about the same time, I realized that the clear majority of my 10 or 12 closest friends had dogs.

It’s actually coincidental that so many of the blog guests are writers.  More on that below.

How do you find the people you interview? Many of the interviewees are authors with dogs.  This has, understandably, led many blog visitors to infer that CwaC is yet another of my lit related blogs.  But being a writer is not a prerequisite for an interview.  I’m actually interested in having dog-lovers from all walks of life on the blog.  So I troll around the blogs to see if interesting bloggers have dogs.  Also, I’m hoping to soon start visiting coffee shops and parks with my camera and recorder so that I can interview some dog-lovers in person.

What is the coffee connection? Mostly accidental. I wanted to build the Q&As around an event, but nothing too demanding or that required a lot of planning…or even leaving the house.  So I ask the interviewee to plan a “coffee-date”–even though any beverage will do.  I really do like the interviews that involve a visit to a cafe (New Orleanians as much as anyone like food and drink with their conversation); that’s one spur to the plan to get out there and do some in-person interviews at coffee-shops.

Thank you Marshal for taking time to share with us.  I don’t know how you manage three blogs, one is challenging enough!  I hope we get to see some of these taped events. We will definitely follow-up as this new idea brews.