Who is in the photo at right?
I’m Jennifer Zobair, a recovering attorney and the author of the debut novel, Painted Hands. Shadow, one of my two dogs, is a recovering area rug eater and a skilled thief of food left on the counter. He’s also a 3-year-old Goldendoodle.
What's the occasion for Coffee with a Canine?
Tea on the deck this weekend.
Allegro organic green tea.
Any treats for you or your dogs on this occasion?
There might have been a handful of treats. This also might have been why the non-pictured dog, Dino, got too worked up to pose for the photo.
How did your dogs get their names? Any aliases?
Shadow got his name because when he was a puppy, he would jump whenever he saw his own shadow. And yes, we get all the comments about a white dog named Shadow. We adopted Dino at age two, so he was already named.
How were you and your dogs united?
Shadow [as a puppy, photo left] was a birthday gift for our daughter. We got Dino after my husband watched a documentary about all of the unwanted dogs in shelters. We were in the car a half an hour later, driving to a local shelter. We had actually been thinking about getting a second dog for some time, but not necessarily with such urgency.
How do your dogs help, and how do they hinder, your writing?
I always had this romanticized image of writing at my desk with a dog at my feet. This is very hard to pull off with Shadow and Dino. Even though they are both large dogs, they see themselves as lap dogs, not sit-at-my-feet dogs. It’s very cute, and also not very productive.
Are there any dogs in your new novel?
There are not, and now that you mention it, I feel like it’s a huge oversight. My novel is about contemporary Muslim American women, and a lot of Muslims don’t think people should have dogs as pets. There is some great scholarship refuting this prohibition, especially by Khaled Abou El Fadl, Professor of Islamic Law at UCLA School of Law. And now, I think I have to work a dog into my next book!
Squirrel, postman, cat....?
Our next door neighbors. It’s very awkward and we spend a lot of time apologizing.
Squeaky toy, ball, stick...?
Usually a ball, and usually they will deflate it in a matter of minutes.
What is each dog's best quality?
Shadow seems to genuinely love our affection. In the mornings, I feed the dogs together and when I put the food down, Dino dives right in. Shadow, on the other hand, waits for me to pet him and love him up and only then will he start to eat. Dino has such genuine enthusiasm to see us. When the kids are walking up the driveway from school, Shadow sits and waits, but Dino’s entire body wags.
If your dogs could change one thing about you, what would it be?
They’d make my lap big enough for both of them.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life in which your dogs could speak, which actors should do their voices?
For Dino, it would be Jack Black, because he’s funny and has a lot of personality. For Shadow, I would say Matt Damon, because he’s the more serious, composed dog, but still can be quite entertaining.
If your dogs could answer only one question in English, what would you ask them?
I would ask them if they are happy.
Visit Jennifer Zobair's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.
The Page 69 Test: Painted Hands.
My Book, The Movie: Painted Hands.
Writers Read: Jennifer Zobair.