>Interviewee comes to the rescuePosted: March 18, 2008
>Often after an interview, writer and interviewee never speak again. If they meet on the street, they may stare at each other for a moment, thinking, I’ve seen this person somewhere before, but it’s lost in the blurry past.
Sometimes, however, interviews can provide connections that help in real life. For example, when I interviewed a local dog trainer, I had no expectation that I would need her services. My old dog was perfectly behaved, and I had done my time in doggie school, thank you very much. I chose to profile the dog trainer because she fit the criteria for my column, and I loved dogs.
But things change. Four months after our old dog Sadie died, we adopted Halle. Although the shelter claimed she was quiet and well-behaved, perfect for any family, they were wrong. She faked them out. If you ever read the book Marley, she’s a Marley, hell on wheels. One minute she’s eating the remote control, the next she’s on the bed tearing up my pillows, the next she’s jumping up behind me licking my ears, her massive paws on my shoulders.
We quickly reached the point where it was us or the dog. But before we took the long sad trip back to the shelter, I called the trainer. By 2:00, she was here.
It was like having the Supernanny come for a visit. Our problems are not solved. Halle and I are not speaking to each other this morning, but the trainer did show us a lot of tricks we didn’t know, including how to work the door on the massive crate we had spent a fortune on but were not using because we couldn’t figure out how to get the dog in there and lock the door.
I believe having interviewed the trainer gave me the leverage to get her out to my house right away, not in a few days. It helped that I already knew a lot about her and her classes,that I already had her helpful handouts in my file cabinet, and of course I knew whom to call.
I still don’t know whether it’s going to work out with Halle. I may not have the energy to keep up the hand-to-paw combat until she calms down, but I do know that having interviewed the dog trainer worked to my advantage when I needed her expert help in real life.
Now I wish I’d interviewed a plumber so I could do something about that leak in the bathroom.
I’m not saying you should interview people so that you’ll have special advantages with them later. Remember, most of the time they won’t remember you personally; you just represent the newspaper for which you’re writing. And I still had to pay the dog trainer for her time. But sometimes making a connection through an interview comes in handy.