Shortly after writer Kim Kavin rescued an adorable puppy named Blue, his quirky behavior and the puzzling scabs on his body inspired her to check out his background. The New Jersey resident learned he had been days, perhaps hours away from being put down in a county animal shelter in North Carolina where 90% of the dogs are killed in a gas chamber. Kavin was flabbergasted. “There was something going on behind the beautiful pictures of these wonderful dogs on the Web site. What I learned eventually became my book proposal.”

Kavin uncovered a horrifying story about shelters with a 95% kill rate that use gas chambers to put pets to death. She found out that close to $15 million in tax dollars are spent every year to support these shelters. “That knocked me back,” she notes. On the plus side, she discovered the huge network of volunteers who save thousands of pets every year from such horrific fates.

Little Boy Blue: A Puppy’s Rescue from Death Row and His Owner’s Journey for Truth (Barron’s, Sept.) is a real departure for Barron’s, which is known for its pet breed and pet training books. Barron’s president and publisher, Ellen Sibley, notes that they recently have been slowly branching out into different kinds of books for pet lovers. This muckraking book came along just as she and her acquisitions editor were looking for dog memoirs. Sibley tells Show Daily, “It wasn’t exactly what we had on our minds, but I read it and it was such a heart-wrenching story, I couldn’t put it down.”

Kavin points out that RV transport is the most common method of rescuing dogs. “There are entire companies dedicated to transporting rescued dogs to their new homes. That’s how much demand there is. She also discovered Pilots N Paws, a group of people who own private planes and are hooked up with the rescue community.

Even the author herself has started to foster dogs. So far she’s had 10 that have gone on to good homes. Barron’s is jumping on the rescue bandwagon as well. A portion of the book’s profits will be donated to the national organization In addition, they are coordinating her book signings with local dog rescue groups. Barron’s marketing manager, Eric Lowenhar, explains, “We’re suggesting that when we do an event we would like them to have the local rescue dog organization there so that people can learn more about what these groups are doing.”

Kavin trusts her book will not only educate people about the depth of the shelter problem and encourage them to rescue a dog rather than buy one from a pet store or breeder, but also inspire people to spay or neuter their pets—something that is sorely lacking in many southern states, which exacerbates the shelter problem.”

Meet Kavin and her wonderful dog, Blue, while she is signing books at the Barron’s booth (3645, 3646) today, 10 a.m.–noon, and also 2–3 p.m.