BOOKS: How It Was With Dooms
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1997:
How It Was With Dooms
by Carol Cawthra Hopcraft
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
(1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020), 1997.
64 pages, hardcover, $19.95.
If James Ramos Austin, age 2, of Dallas,
could review a book, he could tell us exactly what’s
wrong with How It Was With Dooms. Austin lost his
right index finger, his right heel, and suffered a severe
facial wound on April 2, in a mauling by a bobcat that
one Carl Pool kept illegally in his home.
“Most parents would not allow their three-yearold
child to sleep curled up next to a full-grown wild
cheetah,” admits Simon & Schuster associate publicist
Rebecca Grosee, then informs us without a hint of criticism
or qualification that former magazine cover model
Carol Cawthra Hopcraft did just that, building her first
book around a photographic self-indictment. Living in
Kenya, taking in orphaned wildlife, Hopcraft evidently
thinks of herself as a New Age saint, writing in a style
ranging from merely precious to overt religiosity. But
Dooms dies young, as most wild felines kept as pets do.
Dooms’ doom is evidently an impacted hairball. There
is, however, what Hopcraft seems to consider a happy
ending: she and family get another orphaned cheetah,
whom she imagines conversing with Dooms’ spirit. If
such a conversation ever occurs, Dooms may transmit
quite another message than Hopcraft thinks.
Photos like the one illustrating this review will
undoubtedly stimulate demand for pet wild felines, to
their own detriment as well as to the peril of human victims
like Austin. Since 1986, we have recorded 106
comparable cases involving pet African lions, 51 involving
pet tigers, 46 involving pet pumas, 21 involving pet
lion/tiger hybrids, 21 involving pet bobcats, and 21
involving other exotic cats kept as pets. Of these incidents,
more than half have occurred since 1995, reflecting
a population explosion of such cats in private hands.