FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Author and former Wilton resident Kim Kavin has always been a dog lover. But until she met Blue, she didn’t know much about the dog rescue industry in the United States.
“I thought I knew a lot,” she says. “Our dogs were always rescue dogs.” So when Floyd, Kavin’s 16-year-old beagle mix died, Kavin went to Petfinder.com to look for another furry friend to rescue and take her mind off her sadness. That’s how she found Blue. “I just fell in love with him,” Kavin says of the hound mix. A few clicks later, and she was on her way to being the proud owner of another rescue dog.
What happened next, however, was completely unexpected. Kavin’s new book, “Little Boy Blue: A Puppy’s Rescue From Death Row and His Owner's Journey for Truth,” tells the heartbreaking, but ultimately hopeful story of the true state of dog rescue in America.
“I found out Blue was coming out of rural North Carolina,” explains Kavin. “He wasn’t local at all. And when I picked him up, he was covered in scabs.” Kavin, a free-lance journalist and a former daily newspaper editor, immediately started questioning the pet adoption process as it was unfolding. “The more I found out, the more questions I had.” Blue, it turns out, had been “treated” for ringworm. “He had been bleached,” says Kavin.
When she finally tracked down the shelter from which Blue had been rescued, she was shocked by what she discovered. “The shelter has a gas chamber,” she says. “And they have a kill rate of over 90 percent.”
Through investigative research, Kavin discovered that Blue’s former shelter is like many animal shelters in the southern United States. And she also discovered a network of rescue agencies based in the north who are working tirelessly to rescue dogs from certain death. “It’s like an underground railroad for dogs,” she says.
Once Kavin started digging, she also started writing. “I want people to know what’s really happening,” she says. “I thought I was educated on this topic, but I had no idea of what’s really going on. 15 million tax payer dollars a year go to support animal shelters with gas chambers,” she says. “Tens of thousands of dogs are being killed every week. As a lifelong journalist, I have come to believe that the way you make change is to shine a light on the truth. And once people know the truth, they will do the right thing.”
A portion of the proceeds of the book will go to The Petfinder Foundation to help stop the cycle and find homes for the thousands of animals in need. And Kavin will make an appearance at Elm Street Books in New Canaan this autumn. Dates for that appearance have not been announced, but will be available on the Elm Street Books website.