Books by Teresa Banik Capuzzo

NON-FICTION
Released: March 9, 1998

This companion volume to the Capuzzos' Cat Caught My Heart (p. 31) follows the same format: songs in praise of pet ownership, culled from material sent to Michael Capuzzo's syndicated ``Wild Things'' column, only this time the adored object is Rover. Dogs of every rank and radius are profiled here: dogs rescued from abuse and dogs who rescue others from abuse, dogs who are mentors and dogs with diabetes, a dog who went to meet his master at the train station each day for ten years after the master had died (found under the chapter heading ``Loyalty''), a dog on Valium because he attacks and destroys ringing telephones (found under ``Perseverance''), and, of course, a mention of Balto, the dog who saved Nome, Alaska, from a diphtheria outbreak and inspired the Iditarod sled race (found under ``Heroism''). Most of the contributions are short and submitted by the common citizenry, though a number of celebs make appearances: Ann Landers weighs in with some dreadful, heavy moralizing, Dave Barry goes for the yuks with a stab at fecal humor, and James Herriot chronicles the woes of a boxer with terminal flatulence. A mere handful of the stories reach for high drama (``Dragging her crushed hips along the ground, whimpering in pain, the dog struggled to Ray's side and nudged his face to keep it out of the water'')—and they aren't the pick of this litter. The best are those that wish only to briefly serenade a much-loved pooch, let the mutt stand up and take a bow, or bask in an elegy, as in this epitaph to a coon dog in Colbert County, Ala.: ``He wasn't the best, but he was the best I ever had.'' Just so. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: March 9, 1998

For anyone who has ever been owned by a cat, these selected letters from readers of Michael Capuzzo's (with coauthor Teresa Banik Capuzzo, a Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist) syndicated column, ``Wild Things,'' will surely sound many familiar notes. This is very much an either/or book: Either you'll be nodding merrily along as the correspondents detail the strange and curious, the edifying and touching moments of a life shared with a cat; or the whole thing will fly right over your head (likely you and a cat have never cohabited), perhaps setting your teeth on edge when things get mawkish or infantile. A few of the names encountered here will be familiar to any reader of feline literatureElizabeth Marshall Thomas, Roger Caras, James Herriot, Cleveland Amory, though all of their letters read more like snippets from their booksbut for the most part the folks writing to Capuzzo are everyday Joes and Janes (and Hartriono Sastrowardoyos, whose cat, unbeknownst to Hartriono, recorded a greeting message on his answering machine), and they feel fresh and spontaneous and at times terribly vulnerable and quite personal. The chapter headings tell it all: ``On Love,'' ``Loyalty and Friendship,'' ``Heroism,'' ``Healing and Faith,'' ``Mystery and Mischief,'' etc.; the letters, most just a page or two long, are humble tales of a good mouser or a cat that felt the presence of the departed. Some retell an apt folktale, and there are a few poems and many stories of saying good-bye, of letting go. Not surprisingly, a number of the better pieces, those that with an economy of words convey the beguiling, sphinxlike qualities of a cat, are bylined Michael Capuzzo. In the end, all these letters attest to one simple point: Cats play cat-lovers like stringed instruments. Read full book review >