This entry is in response to a comment and question by my fellow TWUC member, Gloria Varley. “Don’t stop there, Steve. Tell people the Poochini story — I’m sure they’d love it. And is she a character in a children’s book yet?”
First, for those entering the thread at this point, Poochini is our family dog whose name has appeared in some of my posts on the writers list-serves to which I belong. Unlike her male namesake, Poochini is a girrrrl. Like everyone else in my family she’s a mutt (an Al-Dal – half Alsatian, half Dalmatian) and she got her name from the fact we used to live next door to a wonderful Calabrese family (don’t ever call them Italian). Our backyard garden backed onto their garden which was very handy for trading plants or glasses of homemade wine. Besides giving me expert advice on how to grow killer tomatoes and basil, my neighbour Bruno used to play opera music loudly on outdoor speakers while we worked. Assuming (rightly) that I didn’t know one Italian composer from another, whenever the music changed he’d point to the speaker and say “Now that’s Rossini.” or “That’s Verdi.” and I would point to my dog and say “And that’s Poochini.” Never failed to crack him up.
Second, in answer to your question, Gloria. Poochini has not yet appeared as a character in a children’s book but she has appeared several published non-fiction humour stories. For example, she was the star of a story about me having to collect a dog pee sample for a veterinarian in a story that was published in Chatelaine. That’s also her nose intruding on the cover of my book of humour stories, “My Life and Other Lies”. The photo was an impromptu moment. Poochini likes to sleep under my desk while I’m working. When she decides it is time I need a break she surfaces and begins pushing random keys on my keyboard with her nose until I take her for a walk.
We had been struggling to get an interesting photo for about an hour and then Poochini intruded and we nailed the cover shot in one take. When she sleeps under my desk she sometimes has doggie dreams and begins to run in her sleep. This propels my desk slowly across the room and if I want to continue writing I’m forced to follow my desk on foot in a bow-legged half-crouch like Jerry Lee Lewis doing his famous no-seat “Great Balls of Fire” finale.