When Harry Met Minnie Is the Bull Terrier Love Story of a Lifetime
A new book by CBS News correspondent Martha Teichner shares an endearing tale of dog love and the unexpected friendship between their two matchmaking humans.
If the title above prompts a memory of all the gushy feels from the 1989 romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally, that's exactly what author Martha Teichner hopes will happen as she weaves a story about her bull terrier, Minnie, and her late-in-life relationship with Harry, another dog of the same breed.
The book begins with a chance encounter at a farmers' market with an acquaintance, Stephen.
"I half heard him say, 'Carol is dying of liver cancer. She's desperate to find a home for Harry, her dog. He's eleven and a half. She's more concerned about him than she is about herself. He's got some issues, but he's very sweet. Would you take him?'" Teichner writes in this excerpt of When Harry Met Minnie: A True Story of Love and Friendship, shared by CBS News.
"'What?' Suddenly, I was paying attention. 'Say that again.' He repeated what he'd just told me, but this time added, 'Nobody wants him. The vet has warned her she should be prepared to have him put down. Would you take him?'"
How could she say no?
According to The Columbus Dispatch, Teichner, an Emmy-award winning journalist and correspondent for CBS News and CBS Sunday Morning, is an avid fan of bull terriers, and Minnie was her fifth. "They're big characters. They're subversive. To me, having a dog that lies around and is completely docile is very nice but I think I'd get bored," she told the Dispatch. "Every single one of the bull terriers I've had has been different from the others but each one has been a clown, too smart for their own good. They have a lot of personality."
Adopting an additional dog wasn't in her plans, especially a senior pooch like Harry with health issues of his own. But over the course of six months, she and Harry's owner, celebrated designer Carol Fertig, arranged many playdates throughout New York to share their love of the breed and encourage a budding romance between their furry pet pals.
"Every bull terrier owner has a 'how I fell in love with bull terriers in the first place' story, since most people look at a BT and wonder why on earth anyone would choose such an animal. I've been told they look prehistoric. Four different times, I've been asked whether my dog was an anteater," Teichner writes.
She kept journals about their excursions together and with other dog parents, and the havoc that ensued as "Teichner, Stephen, and the rest of Carol's friends navigate transporting often mischievous and stubborn bull terriers through New York City in clogged traffic and wretched weather," the Dispatch indicated.
Upon reflection, Teichner realized the fairy tale relationship between Harry and Minnie was a catalyst to an unexpected but rewarding friendship with Fertig, whom she knew of but had never met. (We dog park parents can completely relate!)
Now, far be it for us to spoil the book's ending, but early reviews rave about the enriching poignancy and laugh-out-loud moments depicted with Teichner's witty style. To learn more about Harry and Minnie's time together (and oh, alright, what happened with the humans, too), visit Celedon Books for a list of Teichner's virtual events. She's a consummate storyteller and demonstrates a vast understanding of the importance of valuing connections.
"Friendship in the time of COVID-19 has been so difficult. To the best of my ability, I try (to maintain contact) with my friends. We have a Zoom brunch group and (such opportunities) are truly important to a sense of well-being," she said in her Dispatch interview.
"The thing about having a dog, if you're like me and live alone—you need touch. You can't hug people on Zoom. Having a soft dog to touch is so meaningful when you're otherwise isolated in the world."