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Authors Spin Tale of Stray Cat's Legacy of Love

The late Milo still brings a sense of ease and comfort to Dr. Donald Cohen's family therapy practice in Weston.

Milo, or "My Love," was a stray cat who wandered into Cohen's life and was the inspiration for his poem, "My Stray Cat," which he wrote in 1999. Gayle Gleckler, whose son was once a patient of Cohen's, worked with him to create the children's book, "Milo, My Stray Cat," based on the poem.

"I thought it was timely. We need more love in the world," said Cohen. He describes his book as a love story between a boy and his pet, who were fated to be together.

Children in Amanda Geffner's after-school creative writing class met Cohen and Gleckler last Friday. The kids heard the story of Milo and presented their own stories.

First-grader Carly Rutske wrote a book called "Lilly Shan and the Zoo Mystery" about a girl who solves mysteries. She also wrote "The Bear that's Naughty," inspired by her little sister, and "The Three Little Wolves and the Friendly Hunter."

"It's fun, and I can write my own books that no one else has written before," said Carly.

Geffner teaches alliteration, character development and the idea of a problem and solution to her class. The kids don a rainbow scarf before reading their stories to the class.

Geffner is working with Cohen and Gleckler to make "Milo, My Stray Cat" into a play. Cohen will be at the Norfield Fair on June 18 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to sign books and talk about Milo. The book is also available for purchase at Lang's Pharmacy in Weston.

"Milo, My Stray Cat" includes a CD with a recording of the poem, the book – in male and female voices – and a musical rendition of the poem created by one of Cohen's patients.

Cohen has lived in Weston for 32 years. He is a licensed family and marital therapist and has produced and hosted the weekly television and radio show, "The Kids are Talking," in Westport. This is his first children's book. He co-authored "My Father, My Son" with his dad in 1996. His first sing-along, "Star to Star," is also available on iTunes. He and his wife, Dee, have two children, Emily and Jared. Gleckler is an advertising creative consultant living in Westport and is the artist behind the drawings in "Milo, My Stray Cat." She is the proud mother of four – one son and three cats.

The children's creative writing class is part of the Weston's One World (WOW!) after-school programs, which has been in place for about 15 years, said Charlene Monn, program coordinator. "The programs are nonsports-related, fun, exciting, enriching and allow children to try things they might not otherwise. The programs are affordable, and there are three sessions during the year, coinciding with the school calendar," said Monn. Children can register for the programs online at www.westonyouthservices.org. For more information, call Charlene Monn at 203-222-2586 or email her at cmonn@westonct.gov.

How has a pet changed your life? Send your story to shenry@thedailyweston.com.

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