A Children’s Book that Promotes Kindness to Animals

animal kindness

Tom Alexander explains what motivated him to write My Secret Dog and outlines the book’s positive message in promoting kindness to animals.

It wasn’t supposed to be published. Honest it wasn’t. I was just trying to get my sister a birthday present…

My sister Lois has always wanted a dog, but she lives in central London and keeping a pet is not only impractical, it’s specifically forbidden by the terms of her tenancy. (To avoid confusion, I should mention here that Lois is my older sister.) From this, I had an idea to write a story about a little girl in a similar position who goes the extra step and tries to keep a dog hidden from her mum and her teachers. I wrote it in one sitting and even though I failed all my art classes in school, I knew it needed some illustrations to break up the text. After a few terrible, terrible attempts at drawing a dog, I came up with this:

It wouldn’t win any portraiture awards, but there was no denying it was a dog. More specifically, it felt like the dog. Once I had that, the rest of the illustrations followed. Before too long, I had a collection of pages with text and pictures that I printed out, stapled together and gave to my sister on her birthday. She liked it, so I breathed a sigh of relief, put My Secret Dog in a drawer and left it there. As far as I was concerned, the folded, photocopied sheets were as much of a book as it was ever going to be. Continue reading

Exclusive interview with Southwark Cathedral’s resident cat – Doorkins – and author Lisa Gutwein

Southwark Cathedral’s resident mouse-catcher recently secured her first book deal. We caught up with author, Lisa Gutwein, and the book’s star – Doorkins. 

For those who might not know the story of how Doorkins came to be the resident cat of Southwark Cathedral, could you give us a summary?

Lisa: Doorkins was a stray cat who made Southwark Cathedral her home almost 10 years ago.  One morning she was just waiting by the door when the cathedral verger came to open up for the day.  After that she made the cathedral her home and has never left!

Doorkins: Southwark Cathedral is the perfect place for a cat, it has lots of impressive chairs to nap on and secret corners to explore. Borough Market is right next door and my friends there always have lots of tasty scraps to feed me! I have made so many friends who like to come and visit me from all over the world, and the Dean relies on me to keep things running smoothly.

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