In this exclusive interview, we delve into the world of Joanna Vander Vlugt, an accomplished author and illustrator whose debut novel, “The Unravelling,” has captured the attention of readers and critics alike. Joanna’s passion for storytelling extends beyond the pages of her books, as she draws inspiration from her own experiences as a dog parent. With her beloved mini-schnauzers, Ozzy and Pepper, by her side, Joanna finds solace, companionship, and even a touch of mischief. Join us as we explore the unique bond between Joanna Vander Vlugt and her canine companions and discover how their presence has shaped her life and creative endeavors.
HELLO AUTHOR AND DOG PARENT JOANNA VANDER VLUGT, WELCOME TO DOGOPPO. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A DOG PARENT?
Our daughters. I didn’t want our girls to be scared of dogs like I was as a child, so we got a mini-schnauzer. We then got another mini-schnauzer, so we now have two.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR DOG AND HIS/HER PERSONALITY?
Ozzy is the 11 year-old mini-schnauzer, and he’s very routine driven. After his walks, Ozzy just wants to curl up beside me or my husband. Pepper is the 1 year old, and he has so much energy, but he, too, likes to curl up beside his people.
HOW DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR DOG’S NAME?
Ozzy has one blue eye and it made us think of the blue Australian shepherds. With Pepper, it was his colourings. He has a mix of white, brown and black fur and black eyes.
WHAT’S THE MOST MISCHIEVOUS THING YOUR DOG HAS EVER DONE?
For Ozzy, it’s standing up on his back paws, because he was trying to get my sausage roll. For Pepper, it’s eating toilet paper and playing with socks.
WHAT’S YOUR DOG’S FAVORITE TREAT?
Both dogs enjoy eating baby carrots, apples and bits of lettuce.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT A SPECIAL MOMENT YOU’VE SHARED WITH YOUR DOG?
When Ozzy was younger, he and I would go on great runs. He was such a great runner. I don’t take him running as much anymore, because of his age. With Pepper, it has to be working on my novels with Pepper stretched across my lap like a cat.
WHAT’S YOUR DOG’S FAVORITE TOY?
I don’t think I have one. What’s the most challenging thing about being a dog parent? I would say finding someone I feel comfortable leaving them with so I can go away for a few days.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR DOG HEALTHY AND HAPPY?
I don’t overfeed the dogs, they get two meals a day, and we daily go for two walks, one longer and one shorter, unless it’s snowing.
HOW HAS YOUR LIFE CHANGED SINCE BECOMING A DOG PARENT?
Having a dog is a little more work than having a cat, but our dogs, Ozzy and Pepper (“our boys”) love us unconditionally.
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO’S CONSIDERING BECOMING A DOG PARENT?
Realize that having a dog is like having a two-year old, especially when the dogs are puppies. The love you get from your dog is amazing. They know when you’re sad or not feeling well.