Author inspired by care home’s adored resident cat

A resident cat who brought comfort to a Louth author’s mum has found himself immortalized in her latest book.
Author Susan Dodd, left, and illustrator Abbie Bryson EMN-220322-172650001Author Susan Dodd, left, and illustrator Abbie Bryson EMN-220322-172650001
Author Susan Dodd, left, and illustrator Abbie Bryson EMN-220322-172650001

Susan Dodd, a children’s author from Louth, has unveiled her new children’s book which was inspired by a cat who brought her mum a huge amount of comfort.

Susan has already had three children’s novels published, set in and around Louth, which tell the stories and adventures of Benson, a talking ginger, cat and his friend Mr Elvic - who is based on Susan’s dad Vic Ackrill, who had a workshop on Cinder Lane called Elvic Ltd.

Susan said: “Over the years I have been asked if I had a picture book for younger children, so I decided to try and create one. However, the idea was put on hold as my mum needed a certain amount of care.

“When she eventually went to live at Fir Close Care Centre in Louth, my thoughts turned back to the picture book.”

At Fir Close Care Centre, the home has a live-in cat called Cookie who spends his days relaxing with the residents. And Susan said that Cookie has been a wonderful support to her mum and she loved talking to and stroking Cookie until she died in September 2020.

She explained: “The idea came to me to combine my fictitious ginger cat Benson with the real live cat Cookie. I have dedicated the book to Fir Close Care Centre as a tribute to how well mum was looked after and cared for.”

The book describes how Benson visits Cookie at the Woodlands Care home, and asks him why he likes living there so much. Cookie introduces Benson to the residents living at the home.

He meets Dowter, the big, black dog who comes with his owner, Mrs Mawks. He sees how happy the residents are to see Dowter as they talk to him and stroke him fondly.

When Mrs Gee comes for a sing-along, not everyone is pleased to see her though and the caring staff at the home throw Albert a lovely birthday party with a special cake and presents - and Benson starts to understand just why Cookie loves living at the care home so much.

When it came to illustrating the book, Susan enlisted the talents of Abbie Bryson, a talented local artist from Louth, who was only 14 years old at the beginning of their project.

‘Benson and Cookie the Care Home Cat’ is available from Amazon at £6.99. Copies can also be ordered through Susan’s website at