by Gail Cooke
Remember Marley: A Dog Like No Other, a canine greatly loved by his master? Well, here is Dewey, an abandoned orange kitten not only beloved by his mistress but by the entire town of Spencer, Iowa.
Dewey's origins were questionable as was his introduction to library director Vicki Myron. January 18, 1988 was a frigid Monday in Spencer. "It was a killing freeze, the kind that made it almost painful to breathe." When Vicki arrived at the library that morning her assistant told her she had heard a noise coming from a metal slot, the library's after-hours drop box behind the building. Soon, they both heard the noise and thought it was an animal. The opening of the box was only a few inches wide, so whatever it was had to be very small. Being metal the box was even colder than it was outside, and there in a corner of the box was a tiny kitten.
(Click to play the documentary of Dewey the Library Cat)
It was the most pitiful thing she had ever seen, so thin she could see every rib, and she could feel its heart beating, its lungs pumping. "The poor kitten was so weak it could barely hold up its head, and it was shaking uncontrollably. It opened its mouth, but the sound which came two seconds later, was weak and ragged." But one look into his big eyes and she was Dewey's and he was hers.
Dewey was not the only one who had endured hardship - Vicki was a single mom who had lost the family farm and survived an abusive husband. The people of Spencer were going through tough times during the farm crisis of that time. Depression, ennui seemed to be everywhere.
(Click to play the video below - Dewey - children's book)
Nonetheless, Vicki was determined to capture the interest of those who came to the small library and hopefully make them a little happier. With the help of Dewey she did that and more. For 19 years he returned the affection of the townspeople twofold, amusing them, enchanting them, rubbing against many hands in gratitude for their caresses.
What difference can one small animal make? Dewey's story spread across state lines and even around the world. In 2003 Japanese Public Television filmed Dewey, and his obituary ran in well over 200 newspapers. His story will warm your hearts, make you laugh and cry. Don't miss it.
(Dewey the Library Cat will be made into a movie starred by Meryl Streep as Vicki)