Tracey Stewart lives on a New Jersey farm with her husband, Daily Show host Jon Stewart, two kids, four dogs, two pot-bellied pigs, two hamsters, three rabbits, two guinea pigs, one parrot, and two horses. "All rescues," reports Stewart, "except for my husband and kids."
Many of these much loved Stewart family animals are featured in her book, Do Unto Animals: A Friendly Guide to How Animals Live and How We Can Make Their Lives Better (Artisan/Workman, Oct.). Part practical guide, part memoir of Stewart's life with animals, and part testament to the power of giving back, the book provides insights into the secret lives of animals (how to speak "dog-ese" and "cat-ese") and the kindest ways to live alongside them, whether at home, in your backyard, or on a farm.
Stewart worked as a veterinary technician until her children were born, an indispensable skill set when an average day now can require using a syringe to feed applesauce to an ailing pig. A portion of the book's proceeds will be donated to Farm Sanctuary, which works to protect farm animals from cruelty. "They named two rescue sheep Jon and Tracey, and mine had a baby named Hazleton. We're hoping they can come and live with us, but my husband's afraid people might be confused by the names."
For Stewart, writing the book was a way to "give back to the animals that have done so much for me. It's often hard to feel you can make a difference in the world, but animals are everywhere just waiting for you to help them. Hopefully, readers will learn something they didn't know before—the damage done to cats that are declawed—and be inspired to take action." Stewart describes writing the book as "a real journey in so many ways. I started as a vegetarian and now I'm a vegan. The most surprising thing was finding I had a story to tell about what I'd been doing in my life. It boosted my confidence and showed me that my love of animals is truly important—it's a serious thing."
To encourage everyone to show their support for our animal friends, Artisan (1039) will be giving away Do Unto Animals temporary tattoos both today and tomorrow. Stewart will be in the booth signing 100 color galleys of Do Unto Animals tomorrow at 10 a.m.
This article appeared in the May 28, 2015 edition of PW BEA Show Daily.