For Kids

Mr. Poofy’s Puppy

  • by Kathy Merchant February 1, 2024
Mr. Poofy’s Puppy

Mr. Poofy’s Puppy: Saving Cheetahs in Africa is a new children’s book, ideal for ages five through eight, inspired by Cathryn Hilker’s fabulous stories of cheetahs in Namibia. Younger children will be delighted by the beautiful illustrations!

I was first introduced to the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) and its founder Dr. Laurie Marker in 2020 while I was writing Cathryn Hilker’s biography. Cathryn is widely known locally as the Cincinnati Zoo’s “cheetah lady.” She spent more than half her life devoted to cheetah conservation and remains passionate about the cause at age 92!

Here’s the back story. In the early days of CCF, Cathryn and her late husband were very involved in establishing CCF’s home base in Namibia. Because it was a treasured moment in Cathryn’s life, an entire section of her biography is devoted to her relationship with CCF, beginning with this introduction:

Cathryn’s biography captures many stories and fond memories of those remarkable days. One of her favorite stories is the basis for Mr. Poofy’s Puppy, which we have adapted for children’s fiction. Here is a synopsis of the book:

Mr. Poofy’s livestock are dying and he needs help

Are cheetahs killing his goats, sheep and cows? His solution is to poison the cheetahs, but when he calls the Cheetah Conservation Fund for help, Dr. Laurie Marker asks him to think twice since cheetahs are on the list of threatened species.

Enter Puppy, an Anatolian Shepherd.

Anatolian Shepherds are commonly employed by farmers to prevent big cats from causing big problems. Puppy is a big, strong, independent dog who wants to protect Mr. Poofy’s livestock. A hesitant Mr. Poofy is willing to give it a try, even though he’s skeptical.

Will Puppy live up to his reputation?

Mr. Poofy’s Puppy was written by Kathy Merchant and Dr. Elizabeth H. Brown, and illustrated by Kevin Necessary.

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