Before “Marley” made the big screen, “Dewey” captured pet lovers’ hearts

Dr. Burns and I spent a lazy morning hanging around the house and listening to NPR’s morning programming on New Year’s Day. The radio had faded into the background by the time we finished breakfast, but a fun segment on the Diane Rehm Show turned our attention to a small town library and its feline ambassador of goodwill.

The segment, a rebroadcast of a November 2008 interview with author Vicki Myron, is about Myron’s recent book, Dewey: The small-town library cat who touched the world, and the cat who inspired it. The story of a foundling kitten that lifted the spirits of a small Iowa farm town from the farm crisis of the 1980’s until his death at almost 20 years of age, Dewey is described by its author as a tale capturing the life of a special cat, the magic of libraries, and a farm town that pulled together to overcome adversity. To me, one of the most compelling segments of the interview was Myron’s discussion about the difficulty—and necessity—of letting Dewey go. Letting go, she observed, is part of loving a pet.

Dewey reached #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list this fall, even before the film adaptation of Marley and Me topped the box office charts over Christmas weekend. There’s no doubt that pets make for compelling reading; as I type, Dewey is catnapping at #2 on the hardcover list, and Marley is enjoying his cinematic success with America’s best-selling paperback. Listening to this story, I decided that this avid reader of dog books would add a cat story to the shelves. That Amazon gift certificate I received for Christmas? A slice of it is already earmarked for Dewey; I’ll let you know what I think!

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