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Staff Picks

September 19, 2016

When Fraser Met Billy: An Autistic Boy, a Rescue Cat, and the Transformative Power of Animal Connections

When Fraser Met Billy: An Autistic Boy, a Rescue Cat, and the Transformative Power of Animal Connections
by Booth, Louise
616.891658 BOO

Billy is a magic cat, although Louis Booth does not usually say this out loud. Dogs have a long and storied history as sometimes miraculous service animals, while cats – not so much.

Even Louise’s husband was initially skeptical. Yet from the moment Billy the Rescue Cat met their three-year-old severely autistic son, Fraser, he set about transforming this beyond stressed-to-the-limit household into a happier home for everyone.

Fraser has a meltdown? Billy sits down quietly in front of him or circles around him until Fraser gradually becomes calmer.

Hair-washing causing the outbreak of World War III? Magically, Billy appears, stretching his head as far as he can over the side of the tub to Fraser, getting soaked to the skin in the process, calmly wiping bubble bath off his whiskers with his paw: “Look, Billy doesn’t mind getting his hair wet, so why don’t you let me wet yours?” suggests Fraser’s father.

Fraser and his pal Billy have a mystical bond. They create their own language. They share their own world. And over time, this bond helps Fraser – who also suffers from dystonia, a rare muscle condition that makes his joints loose and floppy – to overcome the devastating prognosis doctors gave him at eighteen months old: Fraser would never attend a normal, mainstream school. He might never be able to walk.

Years later, after his first day of normal, mainstream school, six-year-old Frasier tells Billy – but not his Mum! – all about it: “Fraser sat with Zara … Then Miss told a story …” Then as Fraser realizes Mum is listening at the door, he moves in closer to his cat with a disapproving frown: “Sshh, Fraser is talking to Billy.”

--Recommended by Deborah Jones, Franklin Road Branch

 

 

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