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Mantecan hopes to open her own no-kill animal shelter

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Mantecan hopes to open her own no-kill animal shelter

Lolita Morris holds up a copy of “Mike and Me-Sha” – the children’s book that she wrote to convey a message about responsible pet ownership that she hopes will help her raise enough money to open h...

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin


POSTED January 10, 2013 12:20 a.m.

Growing up, Manteca resident Lolita Morris was never allowed to have pets.

Dogs, cats, rabbits, reptiles -- they were all things she wished she could have kept and loved and cherished and played with throughout her youth.

So it only seems fitting that today she aspires to open a no-kill animal shelter capable of taking in any type of animal. And she’s hoping that sales of her recently published book – “Mike and Me-Sha” – will help her get there.

It’s through her writing that Morris says she’s able to convey a message that she wouldn’t otherwise be able to put out into the world.

“It’s really a children’s book but it’s also a lesson about being a responsible pet owner,” she said. “I’m hoping that this will help me raise the funds to get started with my real goal, and that’s opening my own no-kill shelter – one that accepts not only cats and dogs but also horses and rabbits and snakes and turtles and anything that somebody can’t take care of.

“I don’t want to see animals abused or neglected, and I think that by providing another shelter for them we can take a step towards that goal.”

The story revolves around the character “Mike,” who falls in love with his neighbors’ Doberman Pinscher and asks his parents to get him one. Instead of going the purebred route, Mike’s parents take him down to the local animal shelter where he learns about the pressing need to adopt a homeless pet.

He adopts a mange-covered dog – Me-Sha – and learns all about what it takes to care for an animal.

Morris said that she loved the process of writing the book and already has a second story lined up and ready to go; the next one outlining the life of a pit bull and how it is misunderstood by the population.

The learning curve, however, has been steep.

After penning the story and getting her stepdaughter – Bay Area artist Haley Hartelius – to handle the illustrations, she had to navigate the choppy waters of the publishing world. Without any other works to submit it was difficult to get the attention of publishing houses, so she opted for the relatively young self-publishing route – putting up the necessary money to get things started.

So far things have gone pretty well.

According to J.A. Garcia of the US Review of Books, “the Story of Mike and his little dog, Me-Sha, will prove both engaging and instructive for young readers.”

“That part has been difficult, but aside from that it’s been an overly positive experience,” Morris said. “I’m looking forward to writing the second book and getting the message across that it’s not an animal that’s born mean.

“It has such a bad reputation and yet they can make such loving pets. It really depends on the owners, and I think that’s something that people need to understand.”

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