News Hounds is an illustrated, amiable comic memoir about a weekly newspaper editor's life on Martha's Vineyard. Through all the years of editing and owning newspapers on the Vineyard, Doug Cabral enjoyed a generous assist from the dogs, the small host of them that made his family's house their home, plus the odd and occasional cat and a selection of the beasts of the field, the air, and the forest who, for some reason, claimed a shockingly large relative share of his attention. It's an odd, intimate, behind the headlines account of an accidental career in newspapering and the peculiar, insular, and notorious place where this career unfolded. Oh, and working together, he and the creatures strike glancing blows at genuinely important people and stories, such as the practice of journalism, of politics, of development regulation, of exalted visitors, and of prolific turkeys.
Often, the stories celebrate – and, infrequently, deplore – the lives of the non-human critters with whom Doug lived. The impulse to follow their lead was importunate and compelling. The critters were interesting, never critical – though occasionally sorely disappointed with him – often comforting and amusing. They, especially the cast of dogs that marked the passing years of his family’s life, were not political, they did not debate or vote, or write angry letters. They didn't make budgets or develop property or decide the tax rate, but they rewarded frequent consultation and offered useful advice, and they ignored, correctly so, much of his foolishness. They complicated his life with their comings and goings and their occasional waywardness and downright peccadilloes, but they never complained when he put words in their mouths or made their opinions his own. What more could a newspaper writer yearn for?