Monday, January 03, 2011

Kasey to the Rescue by Ellen Rogers

Kasey to the Rescue by Ellen Rogers
Copyright 2010
Hyperion - Nonfiction/Memoir/Animals
288 pages

Kasey to the Rescue tells the story of Ned Rogers, a young man who became a paraplegic after an automobile accident severely damaged his spine, and the capuchin monkey who brought help, friendship and new meaning to his life.

I've been reading stories about paraplegics and people with spinal cord injuries, in general, for as long as I can remember, beginning with Joni Eareckson Tada's story, which I believe I read way back in the Seventies. Most are written by people who survived and thrived, so it's no surprise that Ned Rogers has turned his injury into a positive, sharing his experience as a speaker in the hopes that he'll help prevent future traumatic spinal cord injuries that are easily avoidable. (Rule #1: Wear your safety belt.)

But, Ned's story is really amazing and unusual in many ways. First, he has actually healed enough that he can speak, breathe and even use his hands to a certain degree. Considering the fact that his injury was so high in the cervical spine (between C1 and C2), that's nothing short of miraculous and certainly is a story worth spreading around because it could definitely give hope to patients who've experienced a similar kind of trauma.

Second, Ned's mother Ellen was very determined to get him a monkey to help him with various tasks when she heard about Helping Hands, a service that provides trained capuchin monkeys to patients who are both in need of help and have someone willing to keep up with a monkey's needs (the monkey's care is practically a full-time job). Her determination and dedication to her son alone makes for a triumphant story. She doesn't hedge about the exhaustion and frustration that go with the job of caring for her disabled son full-time but you have to admire the fact that she has a Just Do It attitude.

Third, the monkey is described with a great deal of affection but also with frankness -- you'll come out of the reading with an appreciation for the tiny capuchin monkey's intelligence and you'll smile at Kasey's antics. You'll also understand just how big a job it is caring for a monkey.

And, last but not least, Ned was already a devoted positive thinker who had taken a Dale Carnegie course and memorized uplifting quotations. You can't help but root for him and occasionally cringe at the agony he experienced.

I loved this story of traumatic injury, breathtaking love and support (Ned has quite an amazing family), fear, hope, friendship and ultimate triumph. Kasey to the Rescue is truly an amazing story. Highly recommended to readers who like personal stories of surviving hardship and tales about animals, in particular, but it's a quick read that I'd recommend to anyone.

Cover thoughts: The pictures on the cover are both grabbers, in my opinion, but particularly the larger shot of Kasey. She's adorable!

Coming up next: Hmm, maybe a Books in/Books Out report. I've also got to take a picture of the books I've gathered for my personal challenge and post about that, finish my wrap-up post (be patient with me) and write the rest of my 2011 goals. I'm taking my time on the goals and wrap-up because we're still creating chaos as we purge ourselves of books and shift things around to ensure that Kiddo has a comfortable studying environment, this semester.

Since several of you enjoyed the photo of kitties playing with tissue, here's another of Fi diving under her kitty bed to attack the Christmas tissue:

©2011 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery and Babble or its RSS feed, you are viewing stolen content. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. Kasey to the Rescue sounds like a great book! I so admire people with a can do attitude like Ellen.

  2. Kathy,

    It's excellent. I admire people like Ellen, too. She was already quite a successful go-getter; she simply translated her winning attitude to caring for her son.

  3. What an interesting comment about the caring for the "care-giving pet"! I had never really thought about the work that the pet might need, I guess I just assumed that, like a guide dog, it would need potty breaks and food but not much else. Now I am really intrigued. Thanks for opening my eyes once again.

    I'm still plugging away at setting some goals. Maybe this slow and steady thing will work for me.

  4. Inside a Book,

    I was a surprised about the work involved in taking care of a monkey, myself. It's not like having a dog or cat. Monkeys have very specific diet and grooming needs and if they eat something they shouldn't, they can go into diabetic shock. Interesting, eh?

    My goals are sort of nebulous, at this point. I think slow works fine. One thing I was thinking about last night was that I need to rethink my goals as the year progresses and stop thinking of January 1 as the only time everything feels like a clean slate. If things aren't going well in April and I need to come up with new goals, why not? I want to be more flexible in that way. Anyway, I'm working on them. You and I may turn in our goal papers a little late but at least there's nobody around to penalize us. :)

  5. Ooh, I want to read this one! I've seen so many books about assistant dogs, but never one about a monkey. It sounds like a really inspiring story.

  6. I'm not sure how many books you read for the challenge, but there are 3 giveaways up for participants of the Vietnam War Reading Challenge. I hope you'll enter and spread the word.

  7. Jeane,

    I thought about you, as I was writing the review. I think you'd really enjoy the book. Kasey doesn't make a real appearance (apart from occasional inserts about how her youth prepared her for working as an assistant with Ned) until midway through the book, but unlike some books I think the story of how he improved enough to get to the point of even dealing with a monkey and bonding with her --and how she actually helped reduce his pain -- is so important that it doesn't matter where exactly she comes into the picture.


    I'll take a peek, thanks. I'm not sure how many books I read, actually.


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