Carbondale children’s author shares deeper message about family stability

How Guinness Found Her Family Author Kathy Barger, left, and illustrator Jade Meyer talk about their favorite parts of the memoir set to launch Saturday night at the Dressed to the K9s event in Carbondale.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Imagine that you are a cat. You have lived in four different states and as many different homes. Now imagine doing this as a young child and how confusing it can be.

Local author Kathy Barger hopes to send a message of hope to these children who may not have had the most stable education.

“This is the most incredible true story,” said Barger, who will launch his book on Saturday at the Dressed for the K9 event in Carbondale. Proceeds from the theses will go to CARE (Colorado Animal Rescue) and Colorado Mountain College’s No Barriers program.

“How Guinness Found His Family” is a memoir told through the eyes of a cat named Guinness. His life began in Minneapolis as a little kitty lost in a big city. Soon after, he was adopted by Barger’s son and daughter-in-law.

Years have passed and the family has grown to include a dog and three little boys. Sadly, the stresses of everyday life broke the family apart. Guinness stayed with the mother and the three boys but did not understand why his father had left. This was the start of Guinness’ journey.

After the divorce, Guinness and her family moved to Indiana. After a crash with WD-40, which was placed on Guinness by the young boys, he went to live in Colorado with Kathy’s son. Years later, Guinness found himself transferred from house to house before ending up at Colorado Animal Rescue at the age of 15.

Barger, who shared a winter vacation home in Carbondale with her husband, was reading the Post Independent one morning and noticed an ad for Guinness that was available for adoption at CARE.

“I said, ‘Carter, we have to get Guinness Barger,'” she explained.

Soon they were in a small room to test if Guinness would get along with the family dog. The CARE staff didn’t know much, but Guinness and this dog already knew each other since, after all, they had lived together briefly many years ago as the young Barger family underwent change.

“Then we told them (CARE) what a Barger cat really was and about his adventure,” said Barger. “And they were in tears.”

The idea to write about Guinness came to Barger three years ago. “I really wanted to write a story about this little cat,” she said. “This cat has survived a lot of different changes in his life.”

The dissertation, a sophisticated book written to convey a deeper message of hope, can be read by 5-year-olds or by older children.

“It’s sort of two conspiracies, the first being a family in crisis,” Barger said. “The other element is the beauty of adopting a refuge animal.

“In this world where we are with these kids in Texas, we just need happy, loving and safe stories for the kids,” said Barger, referring to recent family separations at the border by federal officials. immigration.

Barger’s next goal after the book’s launch will be to have it translated into Spanish.

Although Barger initially had the idea for the book three years ago, she waited until she was a permanent resident in Carbondale to complete it and publish it with other members of the community.

The illustrations for the book were entirely done by then 12-year-old Jade Meyer, who is now a grade eight student at Waldorf School at Roaring Fork in Carbondale. The layout of the book was created by Lindsay Jones, also a resident of Roaring Fork Valley.

“I tried to bring in the community,” Barger said. “Everyone was on the same page and excited to work together.

The official book launch will take place on Saturday night at the Dressed to the K9s event at the Carbondale Recreation Center. The book will also be on sale in various shops in the Valley. For more information, visit

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Grover Z. Barnes

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