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The Story Behind The Story ‘Gummy And The Ferret’

One woman’s lifelong love for animals leads her to publish a book about two pets abandoned at an animal shelter who form an unlikely friendship.

covers of the book Gummy And The Ferret
Courtesy of Barbara Morgan 
Barbara Morgan wrote and illustrated “Gummy And The Ferret,” which is her first book.

Although it seems that the trend to adopt pets has been growing, it doesn’t seem to be growing fast enough — despite pleas from celebrities, animal activists and shelters themselves. Too many unwanted pets sit behind bars or, worse, are euthanized. New author Barbara Morgan of Allentown, Pennsylvania, is trying a different approach to help solve the problem by reaching out to small children through her wonderful new book, “Gummy And The Ferret.”

Meet The Author
Morgan is a retired corrections officer. After being a caretaker of people for 20 years, she saw the opportunity to go back to her first love in life — being a caretaker of animals. And so for the last two years she has been working for her local animal shelter as an on-call emergency driver. While others comfortably slumber in bed, she answers calls to pick up stray animals after shelter hours. During the day, she helps the shelter with other tasks, such as transporting animals back and forth to the veterinarian. She is also on-call to assist the police when dealing with stray animals. They often call upon her expertise when faced with more aggressive pets.

She is a self-described “fixer” of things and enjoys working on her house as well as tweaking an occasional phone or TV for neighbors and friends. It seems that the drive to fix things has extended through to her passion for animals. However, she knows that no matter how handy she is with a hammer, there is no easy fix for the serious problem with animal abuse and neglect in our society. Yet she still works to help as many needy animals as she can get her hands on, in any way she can. With her new book, she is able to reach the masses and bring the problem to light. Best of all, her message reaches the most impressionable of minds — children.

Morgan lives with her partner, Jocelynn Cordes, and three beloved dogs: Jack, a Jack Russell Terrier; Libby, a mutt; and Tesla, a Labrabor/Pit Bull mix. She states that her favorite small pet is the mischievous ferret. When not tinkering with gadgets, carrying a hammer or caring for human and non-human souls, she is an avid reader. 

Barbara Morgan and Tess
Courtesy of Jocelynn Cordes  
Tess is one of three dogs who found a home with Barbara Morgan and her partner.

Bitten By The Writing Bug
Morgan’s journey into writing began one day when she was called upon to transport a couple of pets from the shelter to the veterinarian. When she arrived and asked who was going with her, she was told Gummy and the ferret. That’s when it struck her. What a great concept for a children’s book, she thought. 

“So I used those two as an example of what life in the shelter would be like,” Morgan said. 

Cordes, an author herself, encouraged Morgan to pursue the project and realize her dream of becoming a writer. She explains the brilliance behind the concept of the book.

“By presenting animals with personalities and quirks of their own, maybe it will help people to be more conscious of their dogs as ‘furry people,’” Cordes said, “and in turn, that will help dogs be treated with more care.”

Targeting children will make more of an impact in that it may help them to develop a different attitude about animal shelters by the time they grow into adulthood.

Morgan always dotes over the animals she helps rescue and makes sure they know they are appreciated as an individual. She rarely has an empty seat beside her in her special truck. 

“I let animals sit up front with me all the time! They love it!” she said. “I am always so happy to pick the animals up from the vet, as they seem to really know who I am and that I am there for them… they are not abandoned.”

The day she drove the dog Gummy and the ferret to the vet, Gummy rode shotgun and the little ferret was close by. All the while the brainstorm swirled in Morgan’s mind and her creative juices brewed more and more on the way to the vet. 

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About ‘Gummy And The Ferret’
Although the book’s message is a heart-tugging one, the story is inspirational and educational. It is told by Gummy and her ferret friend in an uplifting and entertaining way. Gummy is a small, white and gray Pit Bull with sweet, friendly eyes. Her shelter mate is a ferret filled with curiosity who has a cute, little face. Fate brought the two together, and they made quick friends in the unlikeliest of places, the animal shelter. Just as all animals in a shelter, one pet’s detailed history is known, and the others remain a mystery. They shared their daily routines, feelings and dreams together and quickly became BFFs — Best Friends Forever! The book takes you through their emotional journey during their time at the animal shelter from start to finish.

Morgan not only wrote the book, but did all of the cute illustrations in it and self-published it using Amazon’s CreateSpace. 

“It was tricky, but I managed to do it all myself,” Morgan said. “I have it for sale on Amazon as a paperback and Kindle version. The CreateSpace team also has it for sale on numerous other sites like Barnes and Noble. I am also able to sell it through my Facebook page and my new website has links to purchase it.”

You may also find the book at the animal shelter she helps and any book signings she attends.

“My wish is for the children to understand the importance of pet adoption,” Morgan said. “There are so many animals looking for their forever homes.”

Morgan is planning to write other children’s books. At least one will be based on another true story about animals in a shelter. She is also looking to expand her writing to unrelated animal stories for children and even a possible autobiography. 

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Critters · Lifestyle