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Dewey: The perfect book for animal lovers

If you're reading this column, it's pretty safe to assume you like books.

And if you like books, it would stand to reason that you have a good relationship with your library.

At your library, you can get all sorts of things: the newest best-seller; a dictionary; books that will tell you how to remodel your home, feed a giraffe, or diaper a baby. You might even find music, movies, and equipment on which to play them.

And at some libraries, you can get a quick snuggle.

In the new book, Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter, you'll read about a cat who adopted a town, or the other way around.

On a freezing January morning, Vicki Myron and one of her co-workers discovered an interloper in the Spencer, Iowa, library drop-box: a tiny, half-frozen 8-week-old kitten with frostbitten paws. Thinking he was gray, they pulled the kitten from the metal box and warmed him in water, where they discovered his rich orange color and his steady personality. The kitten had no reason to trust, but he did.

As the library's director, Myron petitioned the board to allow the kitten, named Dewey, to live at the library. After a few nervous patrons with allergies were reassured, Dewey found himself a home.

He was a town secret at first but, as library visitors got to know Dewey, the cat quickly made friends. He was a regular during story hour, and always chose a different child to sit with during the read-aloud. Dewey attended all meetings in the library's meeting room. He seemed to have some sort of time-clock and, at 9am sharp, went to the library's front door to greet earlybird readers.

And since Spencer fell in love with Dewey, it was inevitable that the rest of the world would soon find out about the wonderful, beautiful cat who seemed to understand all conversation and who was a natural in front of the camera. Soon, national media began to swarm to Iowa in search of Dewey. Fans arrived by car and bus. A movie company from Japan came to film the feline.

But pet owners, as Myron is quick to say, always know that the price for loving an animal is to outlive it. And Dewey had health issues...

Part candid memoir, part fierce love story to small-town living, and part biography to a beloved cat, Dewey" is a book that any pet owner will cherish. From the first pages (which will hurt animal lovers to the quick) to the last two chapters (a three-hanky read, to be sure), authors Vicki Myron and Bret Witter weave their tale with the same gentleness that Dewey used as he wove around patron's ankles.

Do I need to say this? I loved it all. If you were mad for Marley, put that book away. Dewey is the Marley of this year, and the perfect book for anybody who adores animals. Set aside some time to paws with this meow-velous book soon.