4th annual Library Pet Show celebrates good pet care and beloved childrens’ book

Paul Karboski shares his Chinese pygmy hamster, Batham Ironham Sonic Karboski the First.

Two ferrets, Chunky and Pepper, arrived on the back of a motorcycle. Chinese pigmy hamsters, a hermit crab and, of course, dogs were also there.

Young owners brought their pets of all shapes and sizes and presented them center stage at the fourth annual Library Pet Show on July 3, outside the Lee Road Library.

Master of ceremonies Brian Hare wore a full tuxedo for the event. His performance was marked by puns, some of which drew groans, and animal jokes set off by well-timed sound effects, including drum rolls and crickets.

“What rings true for every pet is that they are well-loved and cared for,” said Hare, who is head of youth services for the library.

The pet show started four years ago with a grant from the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation. Keats was a children’s author, known and loved in the library world, who developed the use of collage in his illustrations.

Keats’ 1973 book The Pet Show inspired the Library Pet Show. Just as in Keats’ book, every pet received an award. Also, as in the book, many different types of animals participated. A mural of an illustration from another Keats book, A Whistle for Willie, hangs in the atrium of the Lee Road Library.

“The pet show gives us a chance to take library programs outside and engage with people in a different way,” Hare said. 

Rain and Kaya Wilson, owners of the ferrets Chunky and Pepper, noted, “We name most of our pets after things we can eat.”

The pet show drew almost 50 people, many of whom were passersby who stopped to see what was going on and were pleasantly surprised.  

Julia Murphy

Julia Murphy is the marketing assistant for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 2:24 PM, 07.31.2014