Why you should buy one more cat book: Homer’s Odyssey
Because it’s a sweet read (well-written, too). Because it's an inspirational story on so many levels. Because Homer was my patient. And because I wrote the introduction.
Homer was a couple of weeks old when I found him … maybe 21 days at the most. A young couple brought him in after finding him––I can’t remember where.
His eyes were swollen shut. I recall the presence of maggots. Though the couple requested he be euthanized on account of his certain blindness and disgusting appearance ... I couldn’t do it.
How can I describe my feelings at the time? ... I was a young, idealistic veterinarian. I saw a patient I could help with a simple, pain-relieving procedure. And, of course, I saw great things in Homer's eyeless future.
I knew that a cat who had never achieved vision would never miss the sensory experience of sight. Why couldn’t he be given a chance to live a "normal" life on his own unusual terms?
That’s when I surgically removed what was left of his tiny eyes and hoped for the best.
Homer survived. He thrived. And he eventually remained with a family friend: one Gwen Cooper. Later, he moved from Miami to New York with her.
This was thirteen years ago. And now Random House has published Homer’s fantastic story, in gorgeous style courtesy of Ms. Cooper. The book became available just yesterday on Amazon and not only has it received rave reviews already, it managed to get profiled on public radio’s Diane Rehm show––and, I'm excited to say, I received a mention. ;-)
And just in case you doubt a cat’s ability to live a normal, happy life while blind, here’s a short video to prove one can do so with characteristic feline aplomb.
In case you’re wondering, Homer’s Odyssey will not be making me rich. My remuneration will be headed off to the University of Pennsylvania’s shelter medicine program. But then, it’s a reward in itself to have had the opportunity to change one cat’s life. And it’s a privilege to have had the chance to know him, to love him and, of course, to write about him.
Dr. Patty Khuly