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May 21, 2013

Reading is Fundamental – For Animals

Our mission statement is both clear and compelling: Celebrating animals, confronting cruelty. While the confrontation side of our work gets most of the headlines – through investigations or corporate or public policy campaigns – we never forget that animals do so much to enrich our lives, our community, and our world. 

This month, for the second year, our friends at Penguin USA are kicking off the summer reading season with Read Humane, which features six of Penguin’s best-selling romance and mystery titles produced as special Read Humane editions. Each of the authors – including Read Humane spokesperson, Jill Shalvis, along with Linda O. Johnston, Miranda James, Leann Sweeney, Judi McCoy, and Ali Brandon – feature animals in their story lines. These are entertaining books, but Read Humane also has a serious purpose: Penguin USA is donating $25,000 to The HSUS’ Animal Rescue Team, and using the promotion to raise awareness of our work to rescue animals. You can read a review of Linda O. Johnston’s book, “Hounds Abound,” in the current issue of All Animals, and there’s an excerpt from it on the iPad version of our magazine. You can find out more about all of the books, as well as where to buy them, on the Read Humane webpage.

Read Humane

The Read Humane authors don’t just write about animals. From having their own pets, to promoting adoption and rescue or educating people about puppy mills, they celebrate the bond in their personal lives as well. And they are not alone.

Photographer Robin Layton, along with authors Kimi Culp and Lisa Erspamer, created a wonderful book, “A Letter to My Dog: Notes to our Best Friends.” Filled with Robin’s beautiful photos and touching notes to their dogs from celebrities and ordinary dog lovers, the book is sure to move you. The authors have also pledged a percentage of their royalties to support The HSUS, and Robin donated her services as a judge in our recent Pet Pageant photo contest.

Another Pet Pageant judge, photographer Seth Casteel, hit the New York Times Best Seller list with his photo book, “Underwater Dogs.” We’ve all seen a water-loving dog dive exuberantly into a pool after a ball. But Seth has captured what goes on beneath the water’s surface in amazing and hilarious photographs.

As successful as the book has been, in our opinion, it may not be Seth’s most important work. For several years, Seth has volunteered with animal shelters and rescue groups to take transformational photos of adoptable pets. Instead of “mug shots,” his photos reveal each animal’s personality in photos beautiful enough to put on any wall. Take a look at some of his before and after photos and you’ll see what I mean. Seth is now expanding this important project by conducting photography workshops (with the assistance of Greater Good, The Animal Rescue Site, The PetFinder Foundation, John Paul Pet, Halo and Free Kibble) to conduct workshops for shelters and rescues so every pet can be showcased in photos that literally show them in their best light.

I hope you’ll join us, and these remarkable authors and publishers, in celebrating animals.

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