09 October 2010

Dewey's Nine Lives - by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter

It's a cold morning in Iowa, the ice creeping through every crevice of the city street and buildings.  So cold that perhaps it seemed merciful to put a kitten through the book chute of a library, when really there was a drop into a cold metal box, with up to an additional twenty-four hours before the kitten could be found.  There was no warmth where he landed, only what was really an ice-cold refrigerator.

We've all heard about Dewey, the library cat from Spencer, Iowa, and his special ability to bond with anyone who walked through the library doors.  He knew what each person needed,  whether it was to play a game with him, or for him to simply curl up in a lap and fall asleep.  He just knew what you needed.  This is Dewey's "magic."

In Dewey's Nine Lives -- The Legacy of the Small-Town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions, Vicki Myron partners with Bret Witter to tell us about his magic once again. Scheduled for release this Tuesday, October 12th, there are two new stories about Dewey and seven other stories of those who were inspired to tell Vicki about how their cat brought out the very best in them.  It is a book to inspire us all to remember how valuable our animals are.

Just so you know...I cry a lot through books about how an animal can make you feel, their inspiration, and their complete and total unconditional love to us, but it's such a good cry. I just love to be reminded of how incredibly important animals can be in our lives and how they deserve our mutual love, respect, and protection.  An animal can't speak for themselves and tell you what's right and what's wrong, or what hurts. We have to do that for them, to help them, and care for them, to stand up for them when something is wrong or inhumane.  But sometimes it's forgotten what an animal's love can do for them, the inspiration that they can provide.
Dewey's Nine Lives reminds you that the magic of an animal's love and devotion can be found everywhere, not just in one library in Spencer, Iowa -- but one little cat named Dewey had such an amazing story that it brought out the personal stories of people with their own cats, in such an incredible outpouring of love, inspiration, and most especially, the amazing bond one can have with their precious pets.
Dewey's Nine Lives is such a feel good book that reminds us of the importance of animals in our lives, perfect for the holidays!

So in honor of Dewey, and in preparation for the new release this Tuesday, I figured I'd do a short tribute about the cat that is in my life.

Three years ago, I would have told you that I was a dog person only.  But that was before a small dark gray and white kitten began to hang out in our backyard.  My husband and I never really knew what to do with him, especially since every time we opened our door, he took off.

A couple of weeks later on Valentine's Day, it was a cold night in North Florida -- about twenty degrees.  We were packing to go on a short vacation and I was excited -- it was my birthday present to my husband and he had no idea where we were going.  In the midst of our packing, we happened to look out our slider door and saw the little kitten sitting at the door and facing us.  And he was mewing.  Loudly.  I'm sure I actually heard him say, "let me in," but that could just be me...

We opened the door and instead of running off, he walked in with a bit of assurance that made us smile.  When we sat on the floor, he immediately got onto my lap and fell asleep.  Twenty minutes later, he was still asleep, and needless to say, I hadn't finished any more packing for our early 6 a.m. flight.

We managed to give him a little food and some water but we didn't know where to put him in the house, considering my husband was incredibly allergic to cats.  Putting him back outside seemed like a bad idea, but we weren't sure what else to do.  So we crafted a home for him out of one of our thick plastic storage boxes, layered it with blankets and towels and shielded it from the cold, facing it towards the house in a protected corner.  We were terrified that it wasn't enough, but when we looked outside later on in the night, we saw he had curled up deep down into the blankets and looked incredibly comfortable.  We put food and water out in the back and left for our short trip.  We were nervous, but typically characteristic for North Florida weather, we knew it was going to warm up the next day, and warm up it did.

We came back and found that the cat was still in the backyard, and he was still purring.  I was ready to take him to the local shelter, but I held back.  I was getting used to seeing him in the backyard, running to see me when I opened up the back door, and I was jokingly calling him Puppy the Cat.  And my husband was building up some sort of tolerance -- he didn't sneeze or get red and puffy eyes anymore.  After many doctor visits, it was clear that he was ours.  And we never considered changing his name -- it's fun to take him to the vet and announce that Puppy the Cat was ready.  But what truly made him our cat, so ferocious we are now to protect him, was when we learned that this kitten had actually been a pet of someone in our neighborhood.  And when this neighbor's girlfriend left him, he decided to get back at her by kicking the tiny kitten out of his house in the cold weather.  There was no doubt anymore, this cat was mine.

About three months later, we found a stray Vizsla/Pit Bull mix that we brought home.  There was no fur on her chest, and the collar had grown into her skin.  We immediately fell in love with how peaceful and sweet she was and named her Roma after the city we love so much, but we questioned if this dog and this cat could get along...

I've shared this picture with you before, but I think it answers the question we had.  What do you think?

Happy Reading,
Coffee and a Book Chick


  1. Thank you for sharing your story with us! Like you, I considered myself a dog person. I grew up with dogs and only adopted my first cat nine years ago, kind of an appeasement to my husband who graciously accepted my dog into our lives despite his not especially liking them. And I fell head over heels. Now I have two cats (and my dog, of course) and I consider myself a dog and cat person.

    And like your Roma and Puppy, my cats and dog get along very well. The cats adore Riley. He isn't much of a cuddler (unless it's me), but he sure does love playing with them and they with him. Who said cats and dogs can't get along?

  2. First before I get into Puppy the Cat, I must say that they are cetainly milking the Dewey thing. There is the regular book, and this enhanced one, and a picture book, and a middle grade one. Sheesh! Not that I wouldn't cry at each and every one of them, because I do. Now this kitten. You sound like me. We must have a reputation in the neighborhood as the place to go when you have no food and want a home. We have five that we have taken in (the latest looks alot like Puppy!). Your picture makes me want to weep from the sweetness. No way you can walk away from animals like that.

  3. i really want to read the original book but haven't yet had a chance. this follow up sounds sweet and heart-warming--purrfect for winter. lol. :)

  4. What a wonderful story. I grew up with cats but much later, for whatever reason, I developed some terrible allergies - go figure. So dogs came into my life and have remained. But I still love cats from afar. I always say no house looks quite as homey as when a cat lies sleeping on a chair.

    As far as I'm concerned 'rescue' is the way to go. ALL my dogs have come into my life that way.

  5. Oh Natalie, I love this story! It seems like Puppy and Roma were meant to be a part of your life. We are big animal lovers here and have taken in a stray or two ourselves, and can't imagine life without them. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful story with us!

  6. that is about the best photo i've ever seen. how fantastic that they have such a happy happy home!

  7. Natalie, what a precious story of Puppy the Cat. I love that photo.

  8. I knew I liked you and Jason from the moment I met you two! Anyone who rescues animals like that is a great in my book. Roma and Puppy look like they're the best of buddies.

  9. This is such a heart-warming story, thanks for sharing it. You guys are so awesome, you really did a great job by rescuing he cat. Roma and Puppy look so cute in that pic!

  10. That's a great story! I had a slight allergy when I first got my cat but luckily it went away, too.

    I saw this book was coming out and wasn't sure if I would pass on it or not. I read the previous Dewey book and liked it. Thanks for the review!

  11. Thank you for sharing that story! And what a kahUTE pic!

    Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

  12. Awww, I love this post! (And the picture!!)
    I haven't actually been interested in reading this book but your post makes me think it's one that I would love. My dog is pretty much the center of our household, lol!

  13. SUCH a fantastic picture!!! I love it! I adore animals as well. I grew up with cats and dogs, but have lived in apartments since graduating from college so I can only have cats. I have one cat -- who is absolutely treated as a human child, of course. :) Love this post.

  14. I have only read one animal book becuase it made me cry so much. I would look at my dog and think about that day someday....well whatever.
    love that you rescued your kids. That picture is adorable! Makes me want to curl up with mine. Beautiful post.

  15. I love your story about how Puppy came to be your kitten. And if I could I would go to your neighbor's house & pound him on the head with my crutches (they come in handy as weapons, occasionally!). To throw a kitten out for any reason is beyond cruel & should be criminal (in some states it might be)- the girlfriend was no prize either just leaving Puppy when she left your neighbor.

    Smart Puppy knew she'd found good people in you and your husband. I always say that my cats chose me, not the other way around.
    Puppy is adorable, too & isn't that kitten purr the best sound?!

    I have yet to read either of Dewey's stories but I will. I, too, cry when I read books about animals. They are so full of love, compassion and caring and are so inspirational, the stories about them constantly amaze me and put a smile on my face.

    ~ Amy

  16. A beautiful story and one I can so relate to!
    Gray tabby Riley adopted this dog-loving family about two years ago, shortly followed by his side-kick tuxedo-marked Reggie!

  17. What a wonderful story-that is how we were also introduced to cats-through our precious stray Buttons. I always thought I was a dog person until her. The one lesson I learnt from Buttons-she was an indoor/outdoor kitty-is that a kitty is much safer outdoors. We both learnt that lesson the HARD way and never again will I let a cat go outside. Like yours mine was someone's pet-who knows why she was outside but I decided after awhile that I would not return her and she was mine.

    I am not sure how they could have put her out.

  18. I love everyone's personal stories with their dogs and cats -- they are so important to all of us!! :)

  19. Oh my goodness, what a sweet final picture. And what a terrible ordeal Puppy the Cat went through... what kind of person exacts "revenge" on an ex by abandoning a defenseless animal? Seriously. People like that aren't fit to be pet owners, and thank goodness your cat and dog found their way to your home instead!


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