The Scoop: Jen Bilik and Paco
Jen Bilik is the owner and founder of Knock Knock. With a background in book editing, writing, design, and arts and crafts, Knock Knock was a natural way to bring all those interests together. Knock Knock’s witty, design-driven books, gifts, and stationery products are sold across the United States, not to mention Canada and the rest of the world. In addition to her boring CEO duties, Jen continues to serve as Knock Knock’s executive creative director. Also? She’s ridiculously funny. Let’s meet Paco, the four-legged muse behind Knock Knock!
Nickname? Paco Paco Paco Paco (called out in an ululating tone, fast and high pitched, almost like imitating a chicken clucking; please refer to the attached recording). Oh—I do call him “Goofball” a lot. And Snugglepuss.
Age? 6.5 years young.
Breed? Golden retriever.
What’s “The Scoop”? Paco came to me when he was five months old, a refugee from a family who no longer wanted him, via a friend who was a dog trainer working with the family. They had a two-year-old daughter and wouldn’t teach her how to be around a puppy. She sat, jumped, and pulled on him until he snapped at her, at which point they decided he was Cujo and put him in permanent boarding until the trainer could find him a new home. He came to me with a big black garbage back containing all his worldly belongings: food, shampoo, a dog bed, a stuffed octopus, etc. It was heartbreaking! A month later, they acquired a snappish shih tzu. I’ve always loved golden retrievers, but I believe that all pet dogs should be rescues, so this sort-of-rescue situation allowed me to have a golden!
Favorite Toy? Paco is not a toy guy. However, he lets me know that I’ve stayed at the office too late by traveling from wastebasket to wastebasket, ferreting out foodstuffs left by fellow Knock Knockers, and shredding the associated paper. I’ll leave my office, having had my head down for too long after 6:00 p.m. (the moment when Paco punctually agitates to take a break) and find a trail of ripped-up packaging in the hallway. Paper’s actually his favorite toy. When he was a puppy, he could not get enough of eating used tissues. Yum!
Favorite Food? Anything not meant for him, particularly things that have fallen out of dumpsters that make his breath smell like . . . well, let’s just say there’s often a Greenie after walks to freshen the kissing.
Favorite place to sleep? When we first go to bed, he sleeps right next to me, with his head on the pillows I’m not using. When I turn out the light after reading for a while, he moves to the opposite corner of the bed, on top of the covers next to my feet (whereas our dearly departed Maisie, my first love, who died last March from cancer at eleven years old, always went completely under the covers). Later at night while I’m sleeping he gets onto the small sliver of floor between the foot of my bed and the wall. When I wake up, he pounces back on the bed for an early morning snuggle. Please see diagram.
Pet Peeves? I assume you mean his pet peeves, not mine. He hates statues and people who are shaped funny when he encounters them at night—and by shaped funny, I mean sitting on the ground, or wearing a big hat, or pushing something on wheels. In August, I spent two weeks in Berkeley, my hometown, and I walked him a few times on the Cal campus, where there are many statues. Despite repeated exposure, he protected me vociferously from each and every one of them, even the ones that are not human shaped. When Paco was a puppy, he hated manholes and wouldn’t walk over them. Oh—and he’s not a big fan of other dogs getting attention (see compendium of a resentful Paco with the various dogs I’ve fostered and/or guested over the years).
Best Trick? His masculine wiles. He is good looking and he knows it, and he uses it to every advantage to get loving affection and attention. I think his best skill in this regard is lowering his head and rolling up his eyeballs, rather in the manner of a beguiling young Lady Diana.
Gear? I now have a leash from a brand called Alite that I would have invented had I invented it. It’s so thoughtful—I wonder why it didn’t come along sooner. Features include a built-in bag dispenser, another pocket that can fit a key and a $20 bill, and a clasp at the handle so you can easily park it around a pole while you run into a store. I had one that wore out, and my only issue with it was that the zippers for the poop bag pocket and the regular pocket were indistinguishable—but I just ordered a new one and they’d fixed that! I love seeing smart midcourse corrections. Preferring to run around off-leash, Paco doesn’t seem to think it’s anything special, but I do.
If your dog were another animal what animal would that be? A pretty pretty princess.
What’s Paco’s best knock-knock joke?
Howl you doin’?
Thanks Jen and Paco!