Recently I wrote about spiders in the library. There are lots of connections between libraries and animals. Two of our staff were involved in dog rescue. Heather, our Children and Teens Librarian, remembers well the day a basket of puppies was left at a library’s back door. Homes were found for all!
Effie, our Circulation supervisor, recalls her own doggie episode from many years past. One of her colleagues arrived at work tearfully late, explaining that she had been delayed looking for her lost dog, Kelly. That dark and rainy evening after work, as Effie walked home, she met a great big black dog galloping along her street. A dog running loose on her street was a most unusual sight. Taking a giant leap of faith, she called out “Kelly!” and the dog immediately galloped over to her, tail wagging. Effie brought the grateful dog to her house, and toweled it dry. As the dog slobbered all over the faces of her small children, Effie called her colleague. “Is your dog black with a red collar?” As unlikely as it seems, lost dog found.
Effie also has a story of a fat sleepy skunk in her backyard – but let’s not go there.
Cats too, have a long association with libraries. Many years ago, the library where I worked had a library cat. Every day for a week, a tiger-striped stray made a determined effort to make the library her home. When a staff member put her out the back door, she’d sneak in the front door with the next patron. Many times, she’d look at you and open her mouth, but no sound came out, so we called her –appropriately enough – Whisper. She stayed with us for about six months, lazing on a chair in the sunshine at the front of the library, or sprawling across a patron’s open magazine or text book. One day a patron came in with a friend who wasn’t a regular library user. He said to his friend “Isn’t that your cat?” The other man said “Wow, has she ever grown!” So Whisper went home, to the relief of the asthmatics and ailurophobes.
A recent book about a similar cat is about Dewey Readmore, a marmalade stray who won over the hearts of residents in Spencer, Iowa. Found in the library book drop on a cold day, Dewey charmed everyone he met. Vicki Myron, the Library Director who rescued him wrote his story in Dewey : the small-town library cat who touched the world. His story was turned into a bestselling adult book, and now there’s a children’s book as well: Dewey –There’s a cat in the Library.
Both books are of course available at the library, but there are no puppies, kittens or skunks!