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Dogs can be heroes in these entertaining books

By Jim T. Whalen

Rowan Public Library

A librarian in a movie theater notices what looks like a bear sitting next to him. “Are you a

bear?” asked the librarian, surprised. “Yes.” “What are you doing at the movies?” The bear replied, “Well, I liked the book.”

When you think about librarians you think about a comfy sweater, glasses, tea and almost always a cat, never a dog, a bird, and certainly not a bear. Why a cat? Maybe the stereotype has been around so long that is the first thing you think about.

There have been many books written about crime and cats. Lilian Jackson Braun, who created Koko and YumYum, is the first one readers think about. Many other books before hers featured cats. Can you think of a fiction book featuring a dog?

There have been several. “Little Yellow Dog” by Walter Mosley, Robert Parker’s Spencer and his faithful dog Pearl, Dashiell Hamlett’s Asta. Most are just dogs. They are not crimefighters or murder solvers. That is, until Chet.

Bernie runs the Little Detective Agency, sometimes breaks even, but mostly is just hanging on.

Created by Spencer Quinn, the stories are told through the eyes of Chet. Chet narrates the entire book and brings his innocent way of looking at the world to the story. Some events bring back memories of past adventures. Chet always says “more about that later.”

Chet is a dropout from the police academy’s K9 program. A 100-pound mutt, with his one white ear and his one black one, he is clever and loyal to a fault, and says he’s seen it all, but he just doesn’t understand humans. You ought to see him sniff out clues, except when a squirrel crosses his path.

The books are a joy to read and give a dog a chance to be the hero. Chet and Bernie books are available at RPL. “Dog on It,” “Thereby Hangs a Tail,” “To Fetch a Thief,” “The Dog Who Knew Too Much,” “A Fistful of Collars,” “Scents and Sensibility,” “The Sound and the Furry,” “Paw and Order.

Also try Spencer Quinn’s latest novel “The Right Side”. It is about a deeply damaged female soldier home from the war in Afghanistan who becomes obsessed with finding a missing girl, gains an unlikely ally in a stray dog, and encounters new perils beyond the combat zone; also available at RPL.

Chapter Chats: Weekly book club for teens 14-17, primarily for participants with developmental or intellectual disabilities, though all are welcome. Mondays, 5 p.m. at East Branch, Rockwell. Contact Tammie Foster at 704-216-7842.

Teen Hour: Bring your favorite games to challenge friends, talk about your ideas for upcoming events, or just hang out. Headquarters, Oct. 24, 4:30 p.m.;  South, Oct. 26, 4 p.m.

Rocktober Fest: East, Oct. 1-31. Rowan Rocks can be found all around Rowan County, but Rowan Public Library Rocks may be harder to find. If you happen across a rock with our name on the back, bring it to the East Branch to get a prize. This program is for kids up to 18 years old. Find the library Rocks fast as this program will only run in October. Check out Rowan Rocks on Facebook.

Cards for a Cause: Headquarters, East and South, now through Dec. 18. Create holiday cards that will be delivered to active service members in the U.S. Armed Forces and to veterans at the Hefner VAMC in Salisbury. More details TBA. Questions? Call Laurie at 704-216-7732.

Displays: Headquarters, Purple Shoe display for Domestic Violence Month, Family Crisis Council and Makerspace exploration by library staff. Grids, “Through a Soldier’s Eyes: Remembering Vietnam” (photographs) by Edith M. Clark History Room. Gallery, Vietnam Remembered featuring veteran’s artifacts, Waterworks Visual Arts Center. East, replicas of eastern Rowan churches by Tim Linker; South, Miniature Doll House Month, by Donna Deal and Terri Correll.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

Baby Time: Birth-23 months. Highly interactive 30-minute program for children and their adult caregivers. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Mondays, 10 a.m.; South, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.

Toddler Time: 18 to 35 months. Highly interactive 30-minute program for children and their adult caregivers. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Mondays, 11 a.m.; South, Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m.

Preschoolers: 3-5 years. Highly interactive 30-minute program for children and their adult caregivers. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; South, Mondays, 10 a.m.

Noodlehead Storytime: Pre-K to fifth grade. Interactive storytime. Headquarters, Thursday, 4 p.m.; East, Tuesdays 3:30 p.m.; South Wednesdays, 3:30 p.m.

Art programs: Pre-K to fifth grade. Learn art terms, techniques and work on art projects; 30-45 minutes. Art in the Afternoon, headquarters, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; Bethany’s Brushes, East, Tuesdays, 4 p.m.; Canvas Kids, South, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.

Tail Waggin’ Tutors: 7 to 9 years old. Children can practice reading skills in a relaxed, dog-friendly atmosphere. Canine listeners provided by Therapy Dogs International. Headquarters, selected Tuesdays, 4 p.m. Call 704-216-8234 for details. East, selected Mondays, 3:30 p.m., Call 704-216-7842 for details. South, by appointment only. Call 704-216-7728 for details.

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