News & Events

Backus volunteer, breast cancer survivor authors children’s book

December 7, 2012

With a full-time position working for the Connecticut Department of Public Health, Oakdale resident Carol Majewski had a vision of writing a children’s book, but struggled with finding the time to do so.

In 2010, Ms. Majewski’s world was turned upside down when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a bilateral mastectomy to spare her life. While recovering, Ms. Majewski searched for something to fill her time. Her husband suggested she start writing the children’s book she never had time for.

A pet therapy guide to canine companion, Maxwell, Ms. Majewski had been journaling for some time about the duo’s experiences together. In fact, yellow Lab Maxwell and Ms. Majewski make monthly trips to Backus to participate in the pet therapy program, sponsored by the Center for Healthcare Integration (CHI).

“I’m a former teacher and I’ve always enjoyed young children,” said Ms. Majewski. “I was so impressed by the effects of pet therapy dogs on children, the elderly and hospital patients, that I wanted to record them somehow. I started to keep a journal and would take notes after I came home from each visit. Soon I had a lot of notes.”

Ms. Majewski’s stories came together in one work of love, Room for One More. Published by in October, the heartwarming book chronicles the interactions between dogs and people in a range of situations, as told from a dog’s point-of-view. It illustrates how an energetic puppy emerges into a loving and effective therapy dog.

Trenton Forster Youngs, a local artist from Bozrah, illustrated the book.

“Trenton put so much feeling into the illustrations,” said Ms. Majewski. “He worked from photographs of Maxwell that I sent him. He internalized everything and put it together. We’re looking forward to working on our second book together.”

Ms. Majewski won’t have to wait long to start her second project. She’s retiring in eight weeks and plans on starting her next book then.

“I’ve accomplished the working part of my life, now it’s time to move onto the next chapter,” she said.

Going to the dogs

Don’t miss your chance to buy an autographed copy of Room for One More at a book signing

With Carol and Maxwell on Friday, Dec. 14, from noon to 2 p.m. at the hospital’s Gift Shop.

Handcrafted by Backus’ own Mary Bylone, paw print ornaments will also be on sale for $5. All proceeds from the ornament sale will benefit the Backus Catastrophic Fund.