Notes from the Black Lagoon

Before You Were Mine (or everyone at the TPL loves animals)

Posted on: February 12, 2008

So the staff at the TPL and in the Children’s room love animals. We love picture books about animals. We love pets. We love pets so much that sometimes we let patrons and staff bring in their pets to visit even though it TECHNICALLY is against library policy. We also love animals so much that we decided the Children’s Room needed a pet. So we got a dwarf hamster named Scooter. Scooter didn’t last too long and she sadly died right before Christmas. Santa (aka Daisy, the assistant director) brought us a new, awesome, regular-sized Black Bear hamster that we’ve named Ratatouille.


He’s a great hamster and our patrons just love to see what he’s up to. Mostly, he runs on his wheel and hoards food. An exciting hamster life.

Most staff here also really value our local animal shelter and have rescued pets at some point in their lives (including me!) Thus, I was particularly moved when I read the review for Before You Were Mine by Maribeth Boelts. This pet story focuses on a young boy who imagines his dog’s life before the family rescued the pooch from the pound. The author covers all scenarios for pets’ past lives, including abandonment, moving families, and running away. All ends well as the Boelts finishes up her tale with a happy homecoming for the dog and the young boy’s family. This book was a real tear-jerker for us in the Children’s Room and touched us so much that we donated several copies to the Taunton Animal Shelter for families who adopt pets. Bonus: According to the dust jacket, Boelts will donate a portion of the profits to the Humane Society.

So that’s why we love animals here at the TPL and why we loved Before You Were Mine by Maribeth Boelts. If you are considering getting a pet, please consider your local animal shelter. If you aren’t ready for a pet yet, buy this book and help out the Humane Society.

Before you were mine


5 Responses to "Before You Were Mine (or everyone at the TPL loves animals)"

I agree that this book is a real tearjerker! My daughter and I frequently visit the local MSPCA near us (which always tempts me badly to adopt more animals). One of our cats came from the MSPCA, so we certainly know the value of getting good homes for these animals. A good book about adopting pets, for sure.

I was moved to tears just reading about Before You Were Mine! We’ll have to get it for our collection. We just donated our pet goldfishes from our Children’s Room to local families because of Children’s Room renovations but are looking forward to adopting a new pet. A hampster seems like just the pet we need…something cuddly! I’m wondering, though, does someone take Ratatouille home over long weekends? Or do you leave him at the Library and visit him for feeding and care?

Olivia, my cat, and I have a special place in our hearts for the Taunton Animal Shelter. Olivia resided there for a year, thank goodness for no-kill shelters, until an amazing series of events brought us together.

On the day I went to meet Olivia, then known as Shiloh, the author of this blog and two other librarians went with me. Please take note should you ever be asked how many librarians it takes to pick out a four-legged friend at a shelter the answer is four. These four have been Olivia’s faithful posse ever since.

This is a sweet, touching book that did indeed make me cry. Olivia approves whole heartily of the donation; even though the book is about a dog after spending a year in a cage Olivia wants all homeless animals to find that special person and that special home.

Mary Ellen- Ratatouille is a great pet! I highly recommend hamsters if you want a different sort of library pet. He does stay at the library on long weekends, as we are open most Saturdays. He has a tendency to hoard food, so he’s usually well-stocked. If we do feel he needs weekend TLC, Daisy, our asst. director will stop in and check on him since I live in RI. Let me know if you folks decide to get one!

Since you’re a hamster fan and a children’s librarian, you should be sure to read the Humphrey books by Betty G. Birney. He’ll make you wonder what Ratatouille is up to when you’re not around.

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