Greenwich author Jennifer Quasha has heard her share of shaggy dog stories and cat tails -- make that cat tales.
The co-author of two new books in the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series, "I Can't Believe My Dog Did That," and "I Can't Believe My Cat Did That," pored through more than 2,000 stories on the pets before selecting 101 for each of the new books.
One of the stories she shared in the "My Dog" book tells of a woman and her son who regularly walk their pet Labrador on the Greenwich Country Club Golf course.
One day, the son hears funny clicking sounds when rubbing the dog's tummy. A trip to the vet finds the dog had ingested 13 golf balls.
In "My Cat," you can read the tale of the missing car keys.
A cat owner can't find her car keys anywhere, and suspects her cat is somehow involved in their mysterious disappearance.
Unable to prove it -- or find the keys -- the owner is resigned to buying a second set. Months later, her cat tries to make off with a piece of leather string. Oh no you don't, she says to her cat. No string for you. "You're not disappearing with this like you did with the car keys!" Her cat suddenly leaves the room -- and returns with the car keys.
To learn more about how Quasha goes about finding these quirky stories and how she collects them for each of the Chicken Soup books, Greenwich Citizen asked her a few questions.
Q. How did you come to write these two new books?
A. Before co-authoring "I Can't Believe My Dog Did That" and "I Can't Believe My Cat Did That," I worked on two other dog and cat books for Chicken Soup, "My Dog's Life" and "My Cat's Life." Before that, I worked on 12 other books on dogs and cats -- I love dogs and cats!
I have two kids, 10 and 8, and they love it when I read them "Chicken Soup" stories. I also do freelance writing for Fox News.com on pets and motherhood. I've been freelance writing since I was 16. I've written some 40 books for adults and kids, all nonfiction. I love writing.
Q. How do you go about collecting the many stories?
A. "Chicken Soup" has on file 10,000 writers from across the world who have written for them. We send them email blasts about the subject of a new book. For these two books, we've had authors submitting from everywhere from Nevada, Ohio, North Carolina and Alaska, to India, New Zealand, Canada and England -- and for each book I will read anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 stories. I then grade them and choose those with the highest grade.
Q: Some of the cat and dog stories are truly off the wall. How do you know these stories are really true?
A: "Chicken Soup" spends a lot of time fact-checking -- and each writer signs a legal document confirming their story is true. Over the years, you learn which people you can trust.
Q. So what's your next writing assignment? Are the crazy antics of birds in the picture?
A. Maybe we should do "Chicken Soup for the Chicken's Soul!"