Karen SandyAs an Ocean County-based resident of the Jersey Shore, Karen Sandy (pictured) had a front row seat to the devastation and displacement wrought by a certain Superstorm with whom she reluctantly shared a name. As an animal lover, the longtime community volunteer also knew that the epic natural disaster impacted the lives of wild creatures and domesticated pets, every bit as much as it did the people of the tri-state region.

It was a visit to Popcorn Park Zoo Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, the Forked River facility operated by Associated Humane Societies of New Jersey, that inspired Karen Sandy to create Zach to the Rescue, a story for young readers that touches upon themes of life-changing loss, readjustments, and the healing power of new friendships. Just released earlier this month as the author’s first published work, the book receives its first Monmouth County showcase event this Sunday, July 31, at one of the most animal-friendly venues on the greater Red Bank green: the Paws for a Cause annex of Frame to Please.

Boasting colorful illustrations by Toms River artist Kevin Hebborn, Zach tells the tale of a young boy whose family is forced to leave their seaside home by a devastating storm. An attempt to pick up the pieces of their lives finds the boy experiencing “a sadness that only a new friend can cure” — and when he and his father visit a local animal shelter, the boy discovers the companion that was missing from his life: a rescue dog named Zach.

The author and her book are sure to find a sympathetic setting with Frame to Please owners Megan Prenderville and Mike Harper, who established Paws for a Cause — a “pop up” store located just outside their framing shop/gallery business within the Galleria of Red Bank — as a pet boutique business dedicated to raising funds for animal-related charities. Featuring such items as organic pet treats, toys made from recycled materials, and animal aromatherapy candles (all by small, independent manufacturers), Paws for a Cause has previously hosted events featuring the pet-themed picture books of Little Silver photographer Kim Levin — and between the hours of 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, the owners will welcome Karen Sandy in a personal appearance, for which signing copies of her book will be available for purchase.

The author has announced that all royalties from Zach to the Rescue will be dedicated the ongoing operations of Popcorn Park — and, as an added incentive for animal lovers, representatives from the Associated Humane Societies will be on premises with pets who are available for adoption. Call (732)741-8062 for additional information.