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BOOK REVIEW:

When Harry met Minnie : a true story of love and friendship

Martha Teichner is a tough-minded, thoughtful journalist who has seen a great deal of the world while reporting on some of its hotspots (Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudia Arabia). Covering the Gulf War in 1990-1991 she was among a small, select group of women journalists who were embedded with U.S. field troops.This book, her first, riffs on the title and content of the movie, When Harry Met Sally. The movie was an unlikely love story between two people, and it was fiction.  Harry and Minnie are two bull terriers, who also are an unlikely match, and theirs is a real-life story. At a crucial time in their lives the two dogs save each other and find a type of true love. The humans involved in the dogs’ matchmaking discover some life truths about themselves and develop loving friendships of another sort. More than the love story in Nora Ephron’s romantic comedy, this tale offers something beyond a love match between two dogs. It is about humans and their pets; about humans interacting with other humans; and about several chance encounters that even an unsentimental journalist like Teichner marvels at.

For non-pet owners and cynics some of this might sound mawkish and cloying. Firstly, all of us who have had pets, feathered, furry, with fins or scales, we know that our pets own us. They are a part of our household, our family, our friendship, and we are the better for having had them in our lives. They are not a replacement or substitute for other human beings. And pets, like Harry and Minnie, can be unwitting instigators for other events to take place in their lives, and in the lives of the human beings who take care of them.

Teichner's calm, analytical writing style delivers a love story to New York City and several of its neighborhoods, including the Union Square farmers market, where this adventure begins, “So, on that July 23, as Minnie and I made our way to the Union Square Market … We had no idea what we were about to walk into, that our lives were about to be transformed, that a chance encounter would soon set in motion a sad and wonderful New York story … this story.” From the five-minute, serendipitous exchange, Teichner and others became " ... characters in a remarkable story, a very New York story, about friendship and community ... about Life and Death, as gloriously rich and funny as it inevitably turned out to be achingly sad."

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