Mindy Norton

Host: Speaking of Pets

Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.

She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and graduated from UAB. She got her first real pet at the age of 9 when her family adopted a mixed Boston Terrier pup they named “Scamp”. As an adult, a friend invited her to help with a humane society event, and that was the beginning of her involvement with group efforts to help animals. Since then, she has been on the boards of directors of three animal welfare organizations, serving as president of two of them.

For seven years, Mindy wrote and recorded a weekday spot called “Pet Patrol” for Birmingham’s WBHM Public Radio, for which she won an Obelisk Award in 1979. After she and her husband (and three cats) moved to Tuscaloosa, she talked the station manager at the time into giving her two minutes every Saturday morning to talk about pets and pet care.

Since 2006, “Speaking of Pets” has been available as a podcast, consistently one of APR’s most popular offerings. (In fact, staff members have referred to her as the “podcast queen”!) That’s no surprise to Mindy who believes the reason for its popularity is the subject matter. “After all,” she says, “I get to talk about our best friends every week!”

Her APR spot about the link between animal abuse and cruelty toward humans has been featured on the American Humane Association’s website.  As a volunteer, Mindy feels she is so blessed to have a soap box with a microphone in front of it – plus, she gets to help two causes at the same time, animal welfare and Alabama Public Radio.

Adopt a Dog Month

Oct 6, 2018
DodgersMom Photography [Flickr]

Adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue group saves that animal's life and changes yours for the better in ways you cannot imagine.  And it will make a space in the shelter to give another dog a chance to find a home!

****************

Tobias Klüpfel [Flickr]

Sure it feels good to scratch an itch, but in a pet it could be a sign of a flea problem.  While it's important to keep your pet healthy (and that includes keeping fleas and ticks away), consult with your veterinarian about the best and safest products to use on and around your furry friend.

*******************

World Rabies Day

Sep 22, 2018
RabiesAlliance.org

Rabies is prevented, by vaccinating animals that come in contact with humans.  If it's been a while since your pet was vaccinated  make an appointment with your veterinarian this week.   

***************

CaseyFay (Casey Robbins) [Flickr]

You can put together an emergency kit for your pet in a hurry.  Most of what you need will fit in a plastic zip bag.  Food and necessary medications are at the top of the list.  And - some folks might pack their best friend's rain gear!

*******************  

Coming Home (to APR)

Sep 8, 2018
Lawrence Rayner [Flickr]

It's true - a pet can make wherever you live feel like home.  That feeling of comfort and familiarity is born from a relationship that develops over time.  If you have been listening to Alabama Public Radio for a while, maybe it's time to make a contribution.  Welcome home!

************************  

Labor Day Pet Safety

Sep 1, 2018
georgiaolive [Flickr]

Keeping your pet happy, healthy and safe should always be part of your holiday plans, and Labor Day is no exception.    The idea is to enjoy sharing the celebration with your best friend, not rushing your furry buddy to the emergency vet clinic!


American Humane Association

The 2018 Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways. Dogs are nominated in one of seven categories: Service Dogs, Emerging Hero Dogs, Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs.

The Emerging Hero category honors the partnership that often develops between human and dog. Some of these animals are trained in such areas as detection of diseases such as cancer; others are just pets who, without any special training, instinctively assist their human companions, and some are overcomers who have triumphed over adversity in an extraordinary way.      

********************

American Humane Association

The 2018 Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways. Dogs are nominated in one of seven categories: Service Dogs, Emerging Hero Dogs, Law Enforcement/ Arson Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs.

A Guide Dog is trained to lead, follow commands, ignore distractions, and even disobey a command that would put its human partner in danger. The human also must be trained on how to handle the dog and how to be a good leader of the team. A Hearing Dog is specially trained to alert its deaf owner to sounds we all take for granted. Unlike a Guide Dog that must be of a certain body size in order to lead a person, a Hearing Dog can be large or small, pure-bred or mixed breed. Many are shelter animals who are determined to have the intelligence and temperament to serve as a Hearing Dog. It is a perfect blending of needs - deaf individuals have the opportunity to live an independent life, and dogs who may literally die for lack of homes are given a purpose and owners that will love and care for them. Guide dogs and hearing dogs are living examples of the trust bond between human and animal.

In the world of Search and Rescue operations, dogs have a very special place.  Their keen sense of smell, excellent night vision, extremely sensitive hearing and endurance have made them crucial in efforts to locate people or animals who are missing or trapped.  They truly are life savers!

*********************

American Humane Association

The 2018 Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways.  Dogs are nominated in one of seven categories:  Service Dogs, Emerging Hero Dogs, Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs. 

Interacting with an animal can be very theraputic for humans. While other animals can be great therapy animals, dogs really excel in helping humans who are going through a difficult or troubling time. A certified Therapy Dog can make a significant contribution to many treatment programs.

Dogs began helping our military forces as early as World War I, but it wasn't until World War II that the Army established its first K-9 Corps. They serve as scouts, detection specialists for explosives, and assist on guard duty to protect US service men and women around the world. Nowadays, dogs have their own military service records and can be awarded commendations for outstanding service. It is not possible to count the number of lives military dogs have saved, sometimes at the extreme cost of their own. The Military Dog category seeks to recognize the dedication and valor of these extraordinary animals.

***************************

American Humane Association

The 2018 Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways. Dogs are nominated in one of seven categories: Service Dogs, Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs, and Emerging Hero Dogs.

The Service Dog category includes animals that assist people with disabilities other than sight and hearing. Most have received special training.

Law Enforcement dogs include what we often think of as police dogs, animals specially trained to patrol, search buildings, track criminals, and to detect drugs, narcotics and explosive devices.  Arson dogs are animals trained to sniff out accelerants that may have been used to start a fire.      

******************

lizasperling [Flickr]

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration  is investigating a possible link between incidents of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs and extended consumption of "grain-free" dog food, after several reports from veterinarians.  

**********************

Chaining a Dog

Jul 21, 2018
fvfavo (Mario Micklisch) [Flickr]

Not only is chaining (or tethering) considered inhumane and unsafe for animals, it is illegal in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia.


Pet Fire Safety

Jul 14, 2018
Dan4th (Dan4th Nicholas) [Flickr]

One of the best ways to keep your pet safe is to keep your home safe.  And often, one of the best ways to keep your home safe may be to keep your pet from dangerous situations that could cause a fire!

************************  

anneheathen [Flickr]

Being outside on a sunny summer day may seem like a great idea, but hot humid weather can be dangerous for our furry friends.  Your four-legged companion depends on you to keep it safe and healthy in the sweltering summer heat.

***************************

4th of July Pet Safety

Jun 30, 2018
petfinder.com

We love to include our pets in our celebrations, but this is one time they might be better off at home.  Loud, noisy fireworks are not fun for your furry friend.  Add the summer heat and the dangers in some of the holiday foods, and including your pet might not be the best choice.

A Real Fat Cat

Jun 23, 2018
Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA [Facebook]

Chubbs, a Himalayan mix estimated to be about 10 years old, was grossly overweight.  His long fur was so matted it seemed to be painful for him, and much of it had to be shaved (or cut) off.  Perhaps he was never brushed, or he was just too large to groom himself.  

***********************

Pet Sitters International [Facebook]

Take Your Dog To Work Day is always celebrated on the Friday after Father's Day.  It tops off  Take Your Pet To Work Week, all created and supported by Pet Sitters International to celebrate dogs as great companions and encourage adoptions of homeless pets.

************************  

Pet Left in Hot Car

Jun 9, 2018
Greg Walters [Flickr]

A happy dog sitting in a car, hoping to go for a ride - what is wrong with this picture?  Nothing really, if the human makes sure the pet can ride safely, and does not leave the animal alone in the car, even for a few minutes.  

***************************

Cats and Boxes

Jun 2, 2018
docoverachiever (Sheila Sund) [Flickr]

What is it about boxes that cats love so much?  They are good places to hide, snooze, relax - and it doesn't have to be roomy.  Facebook is full of videos of cats scrunching and snuggling down into unbelievably small containers.   If you want to entertain your feline friend, just find a clean empty box.

*******************

NOAA Photo Library [Flickr]

A military or war dog can be a soldier's greatest asset and the enemy's worst nightmare.  They are loyal, intelligent,  and they have an average accuracy rate of 98% in sniffing out bombs, gas, drugs and enemy forces.   It's no wonder that most of them are adopted by former handlers when they retire!

**********************

Pet Travel Rules

May 19, 2018
Can Do Canines [Flickr]

If an animal is behaving badly  (growling, hissing, biting), chances are pretty good it is not a true service or support animal.  A legitimate service or support animal is trained to move through crowded areas and confined spaces without acting out.  

*******************

Pet Moms

May 12, 2018
Jack-JackT [Flickr}

Hugging a pet may not do much for the animal, but it sure can bring the human a great feeling of companionship and comfort.  If you have a pet that likes to be hugged, you have a special friend!


Be Kind to Animals

May 5, 2018
American Humane Association

Each of us may have our own idea of what it means to be kind to animals, whether it's showing respect for other living creatures, or becoming involved in helping to protect animals and making sure they are not mistreated.  This is a good week to fill your bird feeder and make sure the water in the bird bath is clean.  Or plant a bush that attracts butterflies.  Or just spend some extra quality time with your own furry buddy!

******************  

Muffet (liz west) [Flickr]

Keeping your home safe for your best friend may mean limiting the use of things like essential oils.  That includes diffusers which may put oils into the air that could harm your pet's sensitive respiratory system.  

**************************

Bark in the Park 2018

Apr 21, 2018
Bark in the Park [Facebook]

Humans and their furry friends are invited to the 5th Annual Bark in the Park Fundraiser benefitting the Will May Dog Park, part of Sokol Park on Watermelon Road in Tuscaloosa.  There will be live music, food trucks, a Pet Parade, children's activities, dogs available for adoption, and much more! 

*******************

First Aid for Pets

Apr 14, 2018
theopie [Flickr]

Knowing what to do for a pet in an emergency can make  a big difference.  For example, applying a splint may seem easy, but done incorrectly, it could do more harm than good.  Learn the basics for pet first aid so you can help your four-legged friend in need.

***************************

Indi Samarajiva [Flickr]

Taking care of your furry friend makes for a great relationship with a faithful companion.  Taking care of your favorite public radio station makes for great listening.  If only a few people do it, it can be expensive, but if a lot of us do it, it will be healthy  -and affordable!

**********************

Easter with Pets

Mar 31, 2018
stacydubuc [Flickr]

So much of what we enjoy about the Easter celebration can mean trouble for our best friends.  Almost everything in the Easter basket should be kept away from our pets, and much of the food on our table, including anything with grapes, raisins, garlic, onions, avocados.  Uncooked breads containing yeast also should be kept away from an animal that likes to sneak a taste or two.   Enjoy the holiday, but remember to keep your furry buddy safe to help celebrate all year long.

****************  

Pets Are Living Longer

Mar 24, 2018
Mindy Norton

Our cat, Sasha, benefited from the expertise of a veterinary specialist who performed major surgery to remove many kidney stones.  Today she is doing just fine, thanks to a wonderful team of doctors - her local veterinarian who diagnosed the problem and the specialist who did such a great job with her surgery.

******************

Irish Pets

Mar 17, 2018
Martin Hasketh [Flickr]

Knowing the history of a pet's breed and the purpose for which it was originally bred can help you appreciate the animal.  The Kerry Blue Terrier was originally bred to hunt rabbits and foxes; it would also herd cattle and sheep.  It is a hardy, devoted and playful friend.

************************  

Pages