AVON LAKE, Ohio, (WEWS) — A few months ago, employees at the Avon Lake Public Library in Ohio found a small stuffed animal among the books in the children's section. From that moment, the toy has had quite the adventure and its story is one of fun, love and the generosity of one young boy.
When the cat was found around November, it was going to be placed in the lost and found bin. But the library's communications manager, Shea Alltmont, had a different idea.
"I said, 'Why not? I'm going to take the stuffy and do a little post and see if anybody knows whose kitty it is,'" Alltmont said.
Alltmont posted a picture of the toy on the library's Facebook page, one with text that said the cat was looking for its owners and other photos with the cat helping around the library. The posts were fun and lighthearted—and well received by friends of the library on the social media platform.
"Reaction, actually, was pretty swift on our social media Facebook page. And I saw a lot of people had already kind of liked it and 'Oh, I hope this stuffy finds its home,'" Alltmont said. "It was doing what I wanted it to do, which was to make some awareness about the little kitty."
But while the first few posts were getting traction, no one came forward to claim the stuffed kitty, which the library had named Aurora.
Alltmont and the Avon Lake Public Library staff didn't give up hope, however. Pictures of Aurora were frequently posted to the library's social media accounts, and her antics increased.
From exploring the library's science-based learning center Discovery Works, to perusing Scottish poetry, and even getting dressed up for movie premieres and fashion shows, Aurora stayed busy through the holiday season.
Still, someone had to be looking for her.
"Kitty's been part of our family for three years," said Maribeth Stahl. "Truly every car ride, every trip to the store. Our family—I feel like one of the phrases was, 'Where's kitty?' So this is not really very surprising that she ended up here at the library."
Stahl's son, 6-year-old Anderson, got the animal he calls "Kitty" at the start of the pandemic.
Since then, the two have been inseparable—until the day Anderson left her at the library.
"I was trying to find Kitty everywhere—in the basement, on the third floor and everywhere," Anderson said.
The family searched for weeks but couldn't find Kitty, but then, the Stahl family stumbled upon the library's picture.
"My mom found the pictures of Kitty on her phone at the library," Anderson said.
Stahl contacted the library and told them she thought Aurora was actually Kitty and they'd been searching for her for weeks. She sent pictures she had and the library confirmed. The goal of finding the owner had come to fruition.
"She was going to go home and the adventure would have kind of a nice little bow tied up and and, you know, be done," Alltmont said.
But after meeting at the library to pick the toy up, Anderson had a different idea.
'He said, 'No, I think she should stay and have more adventures," Stahl said.
Her son had chosen to let the library keep Kitty—now officially Aurora—so she could continue her adventures and let other kids enjoy her as well.
"Such a brave and thoughtful thing for a 6-year-old to have that kind of just big heart and know that her adventures were so much bigger and not finished yet. Sort of a gift that he really gave to all of us," Stahl said.
Aurora now lives at Avon Lake Public Library where she continues her adventures and brings joy to those of all ages.
And of course, Anderson makes sure to visit his old friend often when he takes adventures of his own to the local library.
"She's not lost anymore. She's found that she has a home and that we get to come and visit her any time that we want," Stahl said.
This story was originally reported by Camryn Justice on news5cleveland.com.