Tale of stray more than “just a cute doggie story”

By The Active Age | December 1, 2022

Cathy Feemster

Cathy Feemster never forgot her grandmother’s story about a stray dog. Now she’s turned the tale into a children’s book, “My Friend Rachel by Shep, the dog.”

Feemster’s grandmother, the late Rachel Brooks Coates, is a main character in the book along with her brother, Jake. Shep, a stray dog the siblings adopt, narrates the story.

“Friendship is the main theme of the book,” Feemster said. “This isn’t just a cute doggie story.”

The story, set in 1901, follows the Coates family as they move from Burden, Kan., to Wichita so Jake can be treated for an injury by Dr. Andrew Fabrique, a medical pioneer whose office now sits in Old Cowtown.

“He was under Dr. Fabrique’s care for a long time because his leg never got well,” Feemster said, adding that she met her great uncle when she was a teenager.

“There is a certain amount of sadness in the story, but with an uplifting ending,” Feemster said.

Feemster is the former owner and managing editor of the East Wichita News. The book, which retails for $11.95, was illustrated by Dominique Manga of Andover.

Feemster intends the book for children aged 5 and older. A book launch and signing party is planned for 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at Grace Presbyterian Church, 5002 E. Douglas. For more information, visit myfriendrachel.com.