Angel: a story in three versions, by Pete Watson and Noah Nogueira
Local man writes book about his cat to benefit Guelph Humane Society
by Joanne Shuttleworth
They called her Angel, but don't let that fool you.
Peter Watson's cat was a handful, and she got herself into a peck of trouble.
And although Watson and his wife Joy were looking to adopt a grey cat with white feet from the Guelph Humane Society, it was that calico cat named Angel who wound up choosing them.
And that put their lives on a different course.
"We locked eyes and that was it," said Watson, 77. "She was a very loving animal and we had some entertaining experiences with her over the years. I always wanted to write a story about
And he did, here and there, until Angel has her Wings was finally ready to publish. That's when he found Lisa Browning, editor and publisher at One Thousand Trees, an independent publishing house based in Guelph. And that's when his single book turned into three.
Although Watson's novella was good, "there's not a big market for adult books about pets," Browning said in an interview. She conceived of creating three books — Watson's version as
written, a version geared to young readers aged eight to 12, and a picture book for preschoolers.
Watson wanted all proceeds to benefit the Guelph Humane Society, so Browning arranged for a reading with the animal shelter's Junior Humane Club to introduce the story to a young audience and cast about for a young author and illustrators.
She found Ethan Kilmurry and Jamison Staines, who drew pictures for the Angel by Numbers counting book. She also found Noah Nogueira, who retold Watson's story in his own words.
"I love cats. I think that's why my name was given for doing this." Said Noah in a phone interview. "Angel was quite a different cat, though. She was adventurous and curious."
Noah's mother, Michelle Nogueira, said they'd read Peter's words and then Noah would retell the story in his own words with her transcribing.
"The last chapter was brutally painful for both of us," she said. "Most people can relate to the loss of a pet. But this was really positive for Noah. It's neat to have local kids involved."
Watson offered some glimpses of his much-adored cat in an interview, but detailed stories are in the book.
Like the time Angel went missing for three days. Everyone in the neighbourhood had their eyes peeled for her, and even the letter carrier chatted up her disappearance, which eventually led to Angel's safe return.
Or the time Angel was hit by a car, and the vet had to amputate her tail. "It was such a beautiful tail," Watson said.
The above article was originally published in the Guelph Mercury.