Book Review: Dewey, A small-town cat who touched the world

Monday, April 11, 2011

Eeveryone who knows me as an animal lover will not be surprised that I read this book. However, I was surprised as to the extent of this cat's ability in uplifting an entire community, his story that made news around the world.

Dewey starts like many "rescue" stories where he was dumped, in this case, in the book-return slot of the town library of Spencer, Iowa. Lucky for this ginger, frost-bitten kitten, Vicky Myron the library director, found him and nursed him back to bouncing health.

The staff is endeared by this orange furball and Vicky entreaties the board of directors to allow him to stay at the cost of individual staff and not library funds.  Baptized  Dewey Readmore Books, he proves his worthiness. This stray cat earned international fame and recognition not just for himself, but for the small town of Spencer, Iowa. This is a valuable lesson for any neighborhood, town, hotel or condo with a flock of stray cats. The situation can be turned around to everyone's advantage. Even economic gains, but it has to be a genuine story.

I know animals are intelligent. However, this cat takes the prize until I read or learn about other cats of equal or greater abilities.  Dewey was sociable thus disspelling the myth that cats are standoffish. He literally welcomed  the morning library guests. Like many pets, he follows a routine. After salutations, he heads to the children's room where he carefully selects his resting point. Most impressive of all, Dewey melts the hearts of curmudgeon members, and even more amazing, he helps a little girl with special needs to come out of her dark shell.

A small tight-knit farming town has its advantages and disadvantages. With regard to the latter, hostilities may arise between residents even family members. Dewey with diplomatic repetoire, eases tensions between a strained mother and daughter or even coworkers.  (If only there was a Dewey for every office).

That ability and his social skills also make for an ideal poser. Yes Dewey posed on cue for photographs like a supermodel. Soon word spread to neighboring counties. The unknown town was now receiving visitors from out of town, across state lines, and soon internationally.  A Japanese film crew flew half way around the world to film the library cat. The library's email inbox exploded to the verge of crashing. Keep in mind, visitors had to drive three hours from the closest main town to make it to Spencer, Iowa.

The reader will learn about the landscape, economy and the people of a midwestern town in 1988. You will also follow the life triumph and trials of the author and library director, Vicky Myron. Dewey's life was inextricably linked to Myron, the town, the staff. The world was his audience.

The most important lesson of all, this story supports the growing studies and evidence that cats aid people with medical and physical ailments and do wonders for our health.

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