Beloved cat inspires local author's stories

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For anyone who's ever loved an animal, the bond you share with your furry friend is something to cherish. The new book "Squeaky's Farm, Our Lives in Rural Spain" by local author Carolyn Parker, exudes this love. The book honors the adventures of her cat, Squeaky, a cherished member of the family.

The book is a story of love and courage, a story to show the unending connection between humans and animals. It describes the love shared within the family, Carolyn Parker, her husband Scott, and Squeaky, the cat who chose to live with them for about 15 years. The family of three journeyed to a rustic farm in Spain and the adventure unfolded. Then they moved here from Spain and Parker began her book. Part of the proceeds of author direct sales are being donated to various animal rescue programs.

Through the years, Parker has written about her interests and passions, such as natural foods, olive oil and of course, Squeaky. Parker enjoys writing. "I like quiet and I enjoy reflecting on things," she said.

The writing was completed recently and the book printed. In the midst of the anticipation of this aspect of the project, Squeaky seemed to need more attention. Parker sensed that and stepped up to give her lots of extra time and love. Then on Feb. 22, with her earthly journey completed, Squeaky suddenly died in Carolyn's arms, three days before the books arrived.

"Her memory prevails. I miss her so. I miss her presence," Parker said.

Although grief-stricken, Parker has been fortunate to have many animal friends throughout the years.

"I've always loved animals. We had stray dogs that we took in when I was a child," she said. She and her husband had their previous cat "Dishes" for 19 years. The couple was in West Seattle when Dishes died.

"We loved her," Parker said. But grieving takes time and energy, so after Dishes died they were going to be cat-free, to focus on work and travel but Squeaky had other plans. A long-time friend of Parker's rescues feral and abandoned cats. When she found Squeaky, the Parkers couldn't resist and the rest is history.

Parker has always had one pet at a time, to foster an intense, one-on-one relationship.

"When we traveled to Spain, Squeaky was so brave, in that cargo hold. But she was much younger. She was so brave and so connected to us. We just clung together like a little tribe. It was beautiful." When you have one animal you can devote yourself totally rather than having the challenge of sharing and balancing love with several animal companions.

"That way you can really get connected," she said. "We just don't give animals enough credit. They will show you so many things but you have to pay attention. Animals bring out your good nature, they are forgiving and they give you all that love. They forgive you easily and they just love you. Loving an animal is simple, they don't play mind games, they don't whine and complain," Parker said.

Squeaky's gifts to them of course, included unconditional love and much more. "We gave each other, between the three of us, an attitude of ‘I will not abandon you,' all that comfort and security," Parker said. "She gave us joy, humor at just the right moment. And she had a little sassy attitude when necessary. She could tell if I was upset, the paw on the hand--that connection between us."

The book is this creature's story, a memorial to love and devotion.

"She was a gigantic spirit," Parker said. "She liked us. She liked to spend time with us and didn't like it when we would have company over. She liked peacefulness, quiet, calm music and just the company of her people." If there was more energetic music playing, she'd head into the basement and wait until it was over before venturing back out again.

According to Parker, we could learn so much about ourselves and the world by paying more attention and respect to animals. We could learn more about love and the multitude of other joyous and heart-rending gifts they bring.

The book is available from the author at squeakysfarm.com, through Book & Game Co., Blue Mountain Humane Society and amazon.com.

Meet the author:

Carolyn Parker will be signing copies of her book, Squeaky's Farm, on Friday, April 22, 3-5 p.m. at Book & Game Company, 38 E. Main St., Walla Walla, 509-529-9963.

Saturday, April 23,10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Blue Mountain Humane Society, 7 E. George St., Walla Walla. 509-525-2452.

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