Ten-year-old Sean struggledwith reading aloud at school. But one Saturday in 2013, his mom, Kristi Rodriguez, brought him to the Animal Rescue League of Berks County (ARL) in Birdsboro, Pa., where she worked as a program coordinator. She handed him a book and told him to go read to the cats. Sean loved the experience so much that he asked to come back.
Realizing that other kids could also benefit from a furry, nonjudgmental audience, Rodriguez launched the shelter’s Book Buddies program in August 2013.
Brittany Dell’Aglio Mitchell’s voice cracks when she talks about the 40 traumatized cats abandoned in a trailer. Another local group, Thundering Paws, rescued and placed most of the cats in April 2013, but contacted Austin Pets Alive! (APA) to help 12 cats who were covered in ringworm, a fungal infection spread through spores.
Stray cat Tabby showed up at Jonathan Rosenberg’s door in 1984, and decided to stay. He lived a long life, despite being FIV-positive—but of course, his life wasn’t long enough for Rosenberg and his wife Sharon. They were heartbroken when 16-year-old Tabby was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in April 1999 and had to be euthanized.