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Arts and Entertainment

New Book Shares Story of a Dog Who Helped Find Joplin Tornado Survivors

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Reedy Press
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Children of all ages are invited to two Springfield-Greene County Library branches this week to hear from an author who has a book out about a dog that helped find survivors of the Joplin tornado.  Carolyn Mueller tells the story of a Weimaraner named Lily.  KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more.

The book is about a dog named Lily who is trained in search and rescue.  Author Carolyn Mueller says “Lily:  a True Story of Courage and the Joplin Tornado” tells the story of how  the Weimaraner and her owner, Joplin resident Tara Prosser, responded after the storm that hit Joplin three years ago.

"The book just kind of celebrates all those helpers out there that pick up the pieces after a disaster like that," she said.

Mueller says she found out about Lily on Facebook.  She’d already published a book, Bubbles, the Dwarf Zebu, and her publishers wanted her to tell Lily’s story.  She learned that the hero dog is also a survivor—like those she found in the rubble after the tornado.  Exactly a month before the storm hit Joplin, Lily got sick, was diagnosed with Addison’s disease and almost died.

"That was kind of an important part of the story for me.   I kind of wanted to use Lily as an analogy for Joplin in that Lily recovered from this illness.  She's still obviously not 100 percent.  She still has to get steroid injections every month to stay healthy, but she's OK, and she's doing fine, and it's sort of the analogy I wanted to use for Joplin.  Obviously, it's a challenge to return back to normal after a storm like that, but Joplin's going to be OK, and Joplin's doing fine," she said.

Mueller doesn’t just write children’s books—she also has a day job.  She’s a carnivore keeper at the St. Louis Zoo, taking care of animals such as tigers, lions, bears, red pandas and anteaters.  She calls herself “an accidental zookeeper.”  She majored in English at DePauw University, but her heart has always been at the zoo where she worked summers in the education department.

She’ll talk about her job at the zoo as well as her new book, and she’ll sign copies tonight (7/15) at 7 at the Brentwood Branch Library and tomorrow (7/16) at 5 at the Park Central Branch Library.  To learn more, thelibrary.org.