Hey everybody, it's Truffles! Did you know that one of Mommy's nicknames for me is her "little bedbug"? Wanna know why? You can find out in today's interview with Doodle, the bedbug-hunting star of Susan Kroupa's Doodlebugged mystery series!
Welcome, Doodle! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions today! Could you tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be a sniffer dog?
Well, I started out as a service dog because I’m an Australian labradoodle. We’re supposed to have with “all the warmth and bonding of a Labrador retriever combined with the intelligence and the hypoallergenic coat of a poodle,” according to my breeder. Only it didn’t exactly work out that way for me. I seem to have missed the Labrador part. At least that’s what my first boss said. He claimed I had an excessive amount of poodle independence. “Too much doodle. Not enough labra,” was how he put it.
So I flunked out of service dog school (partly because of that incident with the skunk) and had a career change, which really means I was fired. And after some events I’m not too keen on remembering, I got rescued by a man who trained me to be a sniffer dog and taught me how to detect bed bugs. And then, I got a job as a bed bug dog for a new boss, Josh Hunter. We make a pretty good team, even though he’s sometimes a little stingy with treats. But his daughter Molly and I make a really good team, except somehow we often end up in trouble.
What the heck is a bedbug and how do you hunt them?
Dogs have fleas. Humans, at least the unlucky ones, get bedbugs, small insects that live off human blood. (I don’t actually get fleas because the boss gives me meds, but I don’t think they have meds to keep people from getting bedbugs. Good thing too, or we wouldn’t have any work!)
Bedbugs mostly hide in the seams in mattresses or in the cracks between the molding and the floor, but they can be in other places, too, which led to my first adventure with Molly in Bed-Bugged. Humans hate them, but, frankly, for me they’re just something I’ve been trained to find. And they don’t taste bad, although I don’t normally eat them.
So when my Mommy calls me her "little bedbug" it must mean something completely different, right?
What? Why would your Mommy call you a bedbug? Bedbugs don’t smell ANYTHING like cats. Humans are blind when it comes to scents. Know what I mean?
Note from Truffles' Mommy: I call Truffles my "little bedbug" because her favorite place to be is in bed. I'm a night owl, she's not, and when I finally crawl into bed around midnight Truffles is on top of me before I even get into a comfortable position! Either my bed or one of her cat beds is usually where you'll find her :)
What kinds of trouble do you get into in "Bad Mouthed"?
Well, there was that rat in the Christmas pageant, although I’m still not sure what everyone was so upset about. I mean, one less rat in the world is a good thing, right? But I have to say that while, in the past, some of our adventures might have been started kind of accidently by me—like the time I chased the turkeys in the woods--this time round, it’s Molly who gets in trouble by talking to that blog lady too freely and by trying to track down clues about the man threatening Miguel, my old trainer. And then there is the fire and that really angry man who chases her. Good thing she has me to help her out!
What's Christmas like at your house?
I was interested to see what Christmas would be like with the boss and Molly, since all my other ones were either spent in a kennel or, when I was living with my second boss (the bad one), desperately needing to go out to pee while he was passed out on the couch. First surprise: turns out there are TWO Christmases, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Who knew? Second surprise: well, not really a surprise—Christmas is more about people and, for some strange reason, sheep, than for dogs. Third surprise: all the gift-giving, which I have to say worked out very well for me. You’ll see when you read the book.
How do you feel about kitties?
I have to admit I haven’t been around cats much and they make me a little nervous, but I don’t hate them like I do possums, which have such a vile scent and those beady little eyes. True, I chase off intruder cats—the ones who like to come pee in my yard—but I wouldn’t actually hurt them if I caught them, which, sadly, I never seem to do. The only cat I’ve officially met is Miga, a calico who lives with Molly’s mother. I have to say she’s one confident cat—not a bit afraid of me—always rubbing my legs and purring, which to be honest, even though I pretend otherwise, I kind of like.
Is there anything about yourself that your fans & readers might be surprised to learn?
Probably lots, as humans are often clueless about dogs, especially when it comes to their body language and their sense of smell. They simply have no idea what our noses can detect. And my nose is better than most dogs. Not to brag or anything, but not only can I find bedbugs, I can sniff out the difference between a dead bedbug, bedbug eggs, and an actual living bug. In fact, I have to do that to pass my certification tests. The boss thinks certification is important because it proves I can really find the bugs, and it means he’s “not just some guy with a dog and a business license.”
Also, a lot of the stuff I know comes from my service dog days, since our bosses took us trainees into all sorts of places: stores, malls, buses, rest homes, churches, and schools. That’s where we learned about Christmas trees-- that we were not allowed to eat anything on a tree, or walk too close to it, or even sniff it, and even if a Christmas tree was outside, we’re absolutely not allowed to lift our leg anywhere near it. Just sayin’.
Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Friday, December 12th for your chance to win an e-copy of Bad-Mouthed.
Doodle’s antics during the pageant draw the attention of a popular video-blogger, who asks to do a feature his on sniffer-dog skills. But when the blog airs, pretty much the opposite of what Molly and the boss expected, the boss’s phone rings off the hook with distraught customers who think Doodle’s bed bug “finds” can’t be trusted. Molly, searching for a way to set things right, befriends the blogger’s son, a boy alienated from his mother who wants only to go live with his father.
Throw in a handful of threatening letters, some lost dogs, and a devastating fire, and Molly and Doodle have their hands—well, in Doodle’s case, his paws—full finding out just who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.
A charming cozy for all seasons and for dog lovers of all ages.
About the author: Susan J. Kroupa is the award-winning author of the Doodlebugged mysteries, which have been called, “. . . the perfect blend of mystery, suspense, and laugh-out-loud doggy observations” by best-selling author Virginia Smith, and which feature Doodle, the irrepressible canine narrator of the series.
She is also a dog lover, currently owned by a 70 pound labradoodle whose superpower is bringing home dead possums and raccoons, and who just happens to be the inspiration for some of Doodle’s more obedience-challenged behavior.
She now lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in Southwestern Virginia, where she’s busy taking photos and writing the next Doodlebugged mystery. You can see samples of both on her webpage, www.susankroupa.com.
Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.com/author/susankroupa
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