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Owners and customers of Looking Glass Books in La Grande are missing the store’s unofficial mascot, Amber. The 6-year-old female cat has greeted customers at the bookstore for the past year. The cat went missing after an author signing at the store on July 22. (Phil Bullock/The Observer)
La Grande bookstore owners, customers missing store’s feline mascot
The unofficial mascot of Looking Glass Books is missing. Amber, a mellow and affectionate 6-year-old tabby who has lived at Looking Glass Books the past year, mysteriously disappeared on July 22.
Her absence means visitors to Looking Glass Books can no longer count on having a cat who snuggles up with them when they’re reading or jumps on their shoulder when they are bent down perusing bookcases.
“She is a very calming, gentle presence,” said Sharon Porter of La Grande, a Looking Glass customer.
Amber’s absence is being felt in a big way.
“At least a dozen people ask about her every day,” said Jessica Bogard, co-owner of Looking Glass Books with her husband, Greg.
Carol Evans, an employee at Looking Glass, echoed this thought.
“All day long, people have been asking about her. It is pretty amazing,” Evans said.
Amber’s disappearance is particularly disturbing because she rarely left the bookstore in the past. Previously, Amber had never done anything more than wander 3 feet outside the store to lay in the sunshine.
Jessica Bogard believes Amber went outside on July 22 and became upset when she could not get back inside because the door was closed.
“We think someone picked her up while she was crying, thinking she did not belong to anybody,” Bogard said. “I think someone took the cat out of the goodness of their heart.”
Amber disappeared about the time the store had a book signing for Craig Johnson of Wyoming, the best-selling author of the Longmire Mystery Series. Close to 50 people came to the signing, but Bogard does not believe that Amber was frightened by the crowd. Amber, Bogard said, has not shied away from crowds at past book signings.
“She’s not afraid of people at all. She’s always right there for everybody,” Bogard said.
The Bogards obtained Amber about a year ago from an animal shelter to be their bookstore’s cat. Amber has been a perfect fit.
“She is older and is really good with children,” Jessica Bogard said.
Porter is among those who have seen Amber almost every day for the past year since she walks daily through Looking Glass Books on the way to her shop, The Blue Turtle Gallery.
“She’s my greeter every morning,” Porter said. “She makes me happy every morning.”
Porter has taken a special interest in Amber because she is a former librarian.
“I always wanted to have a cat in a library. I’ve done this vicariously through Amber,” she said.
Sixty flyers about Amber’s disappearance have been distributed throughout
Greg Bogard said many people come into Looking Glass Books just to sit on a couch, read and have Amber lay next to them.
“A lot of people treat Amber as their pet. That is why we are really trying to find her,” he said. “A lot of people are counting on us. Amber brings a lot of comfort. What is a bookstore without a cat?”
The Bogards will not rest easy until Amber is found.
“We really feel like she is part of the community,” Jessica Bogard said. “She belongs to everybody.”