lola1Lola is my cat. As you can see from the pictures, she’s very into books. (OK there may have been catnip involved…) I didn’t grow up with pets, but a few years ago, I became a cat person when I adopted a beautiful 9 year old cat from the ASPCA. She was lovely and taught me almost everything I needed to know about cats. But she was diagnosed with cancer less than two years later and has since passed on.

I am fortunate that I have family members who live nearby. Admittedly, my grandmother is not very fond of animals, but being my grandmother, she listened to my blubbering and was sad about my cat’s death because I was sad about it. I didn’t think she could really help but then she did something unexpected: drawing on an inherently grandmotherish trait, she played cat matchmaker.

lola2Around the time I was grieving for my cat, a friend of my grandmother’s inherited a cat from a relative who had died of cancer. Now this woman was fond of cats, but didn’t really have time for a pet, and Lola had only lived with her relative for a year, so it wasn’t like she was a cherished family pet. But they still wanted to make sure Lola (who was simply called ‘Cat’ at the time) went to a good home. Lola was from a municipal shelter on Long Island and they knew if she went back there she might eventually be euthanized, if no one adopted her. So our two tragedies ended up creating an opportunity for me and ‘Cat’.

The Humane Society is a great organization because it advocates for animals on a national level. While the society doesn’t run shelters, those are run locally, it seeks make the public aware of the many animals that end up in shelters with nowhere else to go.

Lola_sleepingWe hope with Read Humane, you’ll read some great books, but also that when you think about getting a pet, you think first about going to a shelter rather than a breeder. We’ve loved sharing our pets with you on the blog this month. Click here to see a list of all our pets featured.

-Julie Schaeffer, Sr. Online Content Coordinator

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hershey1Hershey and I met one winter afternoon in 2007. Our first family dog, also a rescue, had recently passed away and we were looking to give another shelter dog a home. My internet search led me to Abandoned Angels, a cocker spaniel rescue group in Queens, and within days I was sitting on the floor at a vet’s office in Flushing, playing with a tentative, skinny, shaved-nearly-to-the-skin chocolate brown dog with the most adorable face and little tan socks I’d ever seen. At the end of my visit, he put his front paws in my lap and licked my face, and I was done for. Hershey came home with me just in time for the weekend, and six years on, he’s my mischievous, playful, loving, not-so-skinny fur child whose full bodied wiggle of a greeting when I walk in the door at the end of the day never fails to melt my heart.

I am so proud to be a part of a company that is committed to raising awareness about rescue animals through the Read Humane campaign, and I hope my post and the stories of my fellow co-workers inspire you to learn more and visit a shelter today!


- Farin Schlussel, Publicity and Marketing Assistant, Gotham/Avery

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familyportaitI never considered myself a dog person – that is, until my husband Sean and I adopted Jacob.  Now I know that I was just waiting for the right dog.

Jacob was picked up on the street with a pack of wild dogs and dropped off at a kill shelter in Georgia.  Second Chance at Life, a New Jersey rescue organization consisting mostly of a small network of foster homes, found Jacob and posted him on their website for adoption.  When we came across the posting, we immediately fell in love with him.  Our first several months with Jacob were difficult, as we dealt with a severe case of fleas, social anxiety, and separation anxiety.  He just always looked so sad and scared.  I remember telling Sean that I thought dogs were supposed to wag their tails.

jakeAlmost three years later, Jacob is a happy, incredibly loved, and (mostly) normal dog.  While I admit getting him to this point hasn’t been easy, I wouldn’t change a thing.  Knowing that we have dramatically increased the quality of his life is the only thing that really matters.  The difference we’ve made is clear to me whenever I see Jacob happily wagging his tail (it does work!).

I am incredibly proud to work for a company that supports the fight against animal cruelty and understands the importance and impact of programs like Read Humane!

-Sonia Lynaugh, Recruiter

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me and stinky I met Stinkyboy in 1998 at the San Francisco SPCA while accompanying a friend who was looking to adopt a cat. While she was busy looking at kittens, I was busy being wooed by the scraggly-looking, slightly cranky, white-and-brown alley cat in the next cage.

Stinkyboy had just been rescued the week before and was a complete mess: covered in cuts and scratches, had every kind of intestinal parasite you can imagine and his left eye was completely swollen shut. (Also? He smelled pretty bad. Thus the name Stinkyboy). Of course I took him home.

A year later, Stinkyboy and I moved to New York City to start my career in publishing; once we got buddycatthere I decided that Stinkyboy needed a cat of his own. This time I hit the Kitty Kind shelter in Union Square, and found BuddyCat, a sweet six-month old black kitten who had been found half-frozen in a snowdrift. I fell in love instantly, and BuddyCat came home to live with us. The three of us have been an oddball furry little family for nearly fourteen years now; I can’t imagine not having either of them in my life. Every day I am cognizant of the fact that my four-legged family wouldn’t exist if it were not for rescue organizations and the dedicated people who run them. I’m thrilled that Penguin donates money and time every year to the Humane Society’s Animal Rescue Team with their Read Humane partnership; I hope you’ll choose to support Read Humane as well!

- Colleen Lindsay, Marketing NAL/Berkley

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HollyMy daughter Olivia always wanted a kitten. And having grown up with cats, I know that there is nothing that makes an apartment or house feel more like a home than the company of an animal.

So, one day after we moved to Brooklyn, Olivia and I went over to BARC (Brooklyn Animal Rescue Center) to adopt a kitten. When we got there, Olivia noticed an orange female nursing a litter of 4 kittens. She asked the shelter worker on duty about all 4 kittens, and found out that 3 of the 4 were already adopted. The worker told her that kittens were adopted quickly, and that Olivia was lucky that there was even one left!

Olivia picked up a kitten, pet it and put it back down. Then, she asked the worker what was going to happen to the mother of the kittens. The worker told her that it could take a long time, but that hopefully the mother would eventually find a home too. Then Olivia said, “Dad, I think I’d like to adopt the mommy. She’s the one who really needs to find a home. I’ll name her Holiday Hills and we’ll call her Holly for short.”

We love our new addition to our family and I am so proud that Penguin recognizes the importance of the Humane Society Animal Rescue Team by supporting it with a program like Read Humane!

-Hank Cochrane, Director Trade Paperback Sales

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spot and beth1When friends meet my rotund, midnight-black cat, they invariably ask me: “Why would you name him Spot? He doesn’t have any spots on him.”

His name makes perfect sense to me. Ten years ago I had a friend with an adorable black-and-white spotted cat. I dubbed him “Cow Cat.” I had just moved into my own place, and the apartment felt somewhat empty. I wanted a pet for companionship—one that was as cool and friendly as Cow Cat.

I visited many rescue homes and shelters, looking for just the right cat, but all the spotted cats that I met seemed either standoffish or frightened. After weeks of searching, I arrived at the Yonkers Animal Shelter, where a skinny black cat with a huge head ran up to me and didn’t leave my side the entire time I was there. I gravitated toward the cow-like cats, and still, this big-headed black cat continued to rub against my legs. He chose me and now was doing all he could to let me know that, no matter what, he was going spothome with me. Who was I to argue?

I didn’t need much convincing. The more I petted him, the more I thought that he was the pet I was looking for all along. He was the black spot from Cow Cat. From then on, he became my Spot.

And he is the friendliest, most snuggly cat I have ever met. He may not be skinny any longer, and his head no longer is freakishly spotout of proportion with his body, but he still follows me around everywhere, reminding me every day of why we were meant to be together. Even if it takes some explaining, Spot truly is the perfect name for my 20-pound snuggle machine.

I love the idea of Read Humane and am so proud to be a part of an organization that values rescue animals and organizations. You can tell when you bring home a rescue how appreciative they are, and you get back so much love from them.

- Beth Parker, Associate Director of Publicity, Gotham/Avery

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Abby came to us from a breed rescue in Alabama—and while she’s certainly no pure bred, she’s best in show to us!

I’m proud to work for a company that not only publishes great books, but also recognizes the needs of organizations like the Humane Society and partners with them to help

- Kristen O’Connell, Director of Consumer Marketing and Social Media

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RoninI adopted Ronin two years ago after my cat of 14 years passed away.  I couldn’t have wished for a more amazing cat!  He makes me smile everyday and I am so grateful that we found him. I am pleased to see Penguin supporting the “adopt don’t shop” ideology with Read Humane.  There are so many wonderful animal companions (of all ages) that need good homes.


- Morgan Green, Assistant Manager Paperback Sales Administration

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cheesedoodle readhumanebooks marianne and cheesedoodle

There’s no greater love like the love of an adopted pet. I found my forever friend in Cheese Doodle!

Change your life and help save theirs. Adopt a rescued cat or dog today.

I’m so thankful for Penguin’s continued support to fight against animal cruelty and its donation to The Humane Society.

Please join this cause and pick up a Read Humane book at your nearest retailer.

- Marianne Pappas, Assistant Manager, Distributor Sales

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shells and me shells belly

I have a soft spot for rescuing adult cats: while everyone coos over adoptable kittens, I’m the one leaning down to pet the cranky, elderly cat alone in its cage. You know, the one rolling its eyes and decisively NOT batting at any proffered string or mouse. This is how I found Ms. Shells: on a ferociously hot summer day in Brooklyn, walking down Smith Street, I saw an enormous adult tabby looking sad and alone in a Rescue Animal cage display. When I learned this gorgeous girl was scheduled to be killed the following day because no one wanted to adopt an adult cat—despite her being in perfect health—my stomach lurched and I knew I would be taking her home.

Like any new adult relationship, Ms. Shells came with a lot of baggage from her past: intimacy issues, a severe biting problem, and a penchant for urinating in purses. But who amongst us hasn’t been there? It was nothing that time, love, and a $300 cat psychotherapist couldn’t solve. Years later, my plump and beautiful tabby is a well-adjusted cat who loves feather toys, tuna, chatty conversations, and showing off her enormous white belly while she naps.

My love of animals and vegetarianism is one of many reasons I am proud to work at Penguin Books, which for the second year now is donating a large sum to The Humane Society through their Read Humane program, in support of the thousands of animals that depend on humans for kindness, food and shelter. Thanks for reading about me and Shells and I hope you will support this terrific Read Humane program!

- Jynne Dilling Martin, Director of Publicity, Riverhead Books

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