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.

greeblie [Flickr]

Hugging is a universally recognized sign of affection that we humans use with each other, so of course we want to shower that love and affection on our canine friends, as well.  The problem is that our dogs may not appreciate it nearly as much as we might think!

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petful.com [Flickr]

Having a pet around the house may change the way you celebrate certain holidays, and that includes Easter.   Pets are attracted to shiny objects, or things that have a tantalizing smell.  Taking the time to make sure your best friend stays safe during the holiday will make it a happy time for everyone!

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Easter Bunny

Mar 27, 2021
NHDutch [Flickr]

Contrary to what most people think, rabbits need more to eat than just carrots!  A rabbit needs about 1-2 cups of fresh vegetables every day (like carrot tops, cucumber, etc.), some fresh fruit (apple without the seeds, bananas) and fresh hay - plenty of hay.  A rabbit's teeth grow continually throughout its life, and rough foods like hay help to file down the teeth!  And don't forget to keep the water bowl filled with fresh clean water.

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Nicolò Lazzati Photography [Flickr]

Separation anxiety can happen in a pet when the animal is strongly bonded to its owner and is not accustomed to spending any time alone.  It can be (or become) a serious condition and needs special attention from you to find a way to keep your pet calm in your absence.  It is one of the major reasons a new pet owner gets frustrated with their new furry friend.  Don't give up - you can fix this!

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Routines

Mar 13, 2021
Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue [Flickr]

Clocks don't mean much to our pets.  They keep time by knowing the routines of their lives - and that means they are aware of the routines of our lives.  When those change, it's not only an adjustment for us but our furry friends may also have to adapt to a new schedule.  

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Kelsey MacDonald (kmac989) [Flickr]

Keeping your pet comfortable and healthy means helping it stay free from pesky things like fleas.  But keeping it safe also means using products that will not harm your furry friend.  

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Spay Day 2021

Feb 27, 2021
Daniesq [Flickr]

How many puppies can you count in this picture?  Should be easy to find homes for them - after all, they're so cute!  But if the shelter has already received more than a hundred puppies that day, chances for these little guys are not so good.  Please spay or neuter your pet!

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When A Pet Owner Dies

Feb 20, 2021
KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO [Facebook]

The late Bill Dorris wanted  his faithful dog, Lulu, to be with someone who loved her and would care for her.  The $5 million trust he left for Lulu's care will be managed by a conservator who will reimburse her caretaker for all expenses.  

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Pet Theft Awareness

Feb 13, 2021
Phil Scoville [Flickr]

Estimates are that almost two million pets are stolen every year.    And in the pandemic, there was a significant increase due to the demand for dogs during the lockdown.  It's thought that many are stolen by dog flippers, who hope to make fast money by selling your pet; but unlike flipping a house, dog flipping does not improve the animal.  Your best friend counts on you to keep it safe.  Protect your pet by making sure it does not get stolen.

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Orbiting Sphere [Facebook]

In 2018, United Airlines refused to allow a peacock onboard its flight as an emotional support animal.  Now airlines have the DOT on their side as the new rules allow them to limit animals on planes to qualified service animals who are trained to assist individuals with disabilities.  

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Patches Comes Home

Jan 30, 2021
Animal Shelter Assistance Program [Facebook]

Three years after her owner was killed in a massive mud slide, Patches the cat was reunited with her owner's partner, all thanks to a small (and relatively inexpensive) electronic marvel called a microchip.

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Pet Food Recall

Jan 16, 2021
basykes [Flickr]

To be honest, most pets don't really care what the food bowl looks like - it's what is in the bowl that counts.  Unfortunately, some pet owners have learned that the food they have been giving their best friends every day could harm or even kill them.

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Canine Good Citizen

Jan 9, 2021
born1945 [Flickr]

`Training your dog is time well spent - for both of you.  It provides mental stimulation, exercise, and builds a solid and lasting relationship between you and your pet.  You will be a better friend to your furry buddy, and you will find you have a true companion that will be devoted to you!

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Mindy Norton

Many of the New Year's resolutions we make for ourselves could also apply to our pets - eat healthier, get more exercise, regular medical checkup and shots.  But this year my resolutions are for better treatment and concern for all pets!

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New Pet in the House

Dec 26, 2020
Jeffrey P. Home [ Flickr]

Having a new pet in your home can be a fun and exciting time for both of you, but it's important to get things off on the right foot.  Your new furry buddy will need some supplies, and especially attention from you.  After all, it takes time to adjust to all-new surroundings - and people!

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Animals at the Manger

Dec 19, 2020
Prayitno [Flickr]

Most Christmas manger scenes include animals, because the Christ child was born in a stable.  Other than Joseph and Mary, the animals were the only witnesses to the birth of Jesus.  So it seems natural that we would  include our pets in our Christmas celebrations!

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Pet Adoption Scams

Dec 12, 2020
Kim Alaniz [Flickr]

Some internet pet sellers are legitimate, but scammers often use available online photos (like the one shown here) to lure you in.   If you want a specific breed, statistics show 1 of every 4 shelter dogs is a purebred.  So be a hero, and adopt a new best friend from your local animal shelter or rescue group.

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Pandemic and Pets

Dec 5, 2020
brownpau [Flickr]

One way to keep your pet entertained in confinement is to play with it.   Most cats are easily entertained with a peacock feather.  It is lightweight, and usually easily replaced if needed.  For some reason, a cat finds it almost irresistable.  And playing with your best friend is a good way to strengthen the bond between you.

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JohnWDavisJr [Flickr]

Some Christmas decorations can pose a risk to our pets that may entice your furry friend into the tree.  Even bows and ribbon on gifts can cause problems if chewed and swallowed.  Protect your pet from Christmas dangers so you can enjoy the holiday now and for years to come!

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BobMacInnes [Flickr]

Many dogs go gray in the face as they get older.  Cats, on the other hand, tend to maintain their youthful color and often do not show their age until they are quite old.  Even so, senior dogs and even senior cats need extra attention and care to make sure they (and you) can enjoy their later years! 

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nataliaking [Flickr]

If you are not sure you're really ready to adopt a pet, consider fostering one for your local shelter.  It helps the pet you foster, it helps the shelter, and it may help you decide if having a pet on a long-term basis is right for you!

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Halloween

Oct 31, 2020
marioanima [Flickr]

Before putting your pet in a Halloween costume, is your buddy okay with the ideas?  Make sure it does not interfere with your pet's ability to breathe or see or move, with no small parts, like buttons, that are easily swallowed.  Never leave it alone while in costume, and if your pet shows signs of stress, be kind and remove the costume.  

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American Humane Association

Mackenzie had a rough start in life, but she also had lots of tender loving care.  Even though she may not be able to bark, her actions speak volumes as she helps to care for other animals with disabilities that are in desperate need of a hero - like Mackenzie!

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Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue [Flickr]

A Veterinary Technician, or "Vet Tech" can make the Veterinarian more effective by running diagnostic tests, administering anesthesia, even cleaning cages if needed.  That allows more time for the veterinarian to focus on diagnosis, determine treatment and talk to the owner.  

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Diane Stunguris [Facebook]

The quote of the day at the Toronto Pearson Airport: "Boy, could she run!"  It wasn't easy to catch Crystal the Spanish Podenco, a breed known for its speed and stamina.  She looked like a white blur running down the taxiway.  It took hours, but finally the frightened animal ran out of steam and was rescued.

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Adopt A Dog Month

Oct 3, 2020
vwcampin (Shelby L. Bell) [Flickr]

When you bring home a new pet, plan for a time of adjustment as you and your furry buddy get to know each other.  You may be comfortable because, after all, it's your home - but it will be foreign and unfamiliar to your newly adopted dog.  Patience and lots of love will help to make the transiton easier for your new best friend.

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Dog Joy-riding

Sep 26, 2020
waferboard [Flickr]

Most dogs love the wind in their face, but they don't realize the danger.  After all, you wouldn't let your child ride like this.  Allowing your best friend to ride in a vehicle with its head out the window exposes it to serious injury.

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frankieleon [Flickr]

Storms continue to form in the Atlantic region, so pet owners should be prepared to keep themselves and their best friends safe.  If that means evacuating to a safer area, it helps to have a plan so you and your furry buddy will have what you need to weather the storm together.

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WoodleyWonderworks [Flickr]

A newly released British study of cat owners focused on the relationship between cats, people and wildlife.  While some view a cat as a malicious hunter of defenseless creatures, others note the cat's contribution to pest control.  And some just enjoy their feline friend's company.

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Humane Society of North Texas [Facebook]

Transports like Wings of Rescue  are a vital link in rescuing pets from the path of an oncoming hurricane.  But most of their efforts are aimed at relocating endangered pets from high intake shelters to areas where pet overpopulation is not so much of a problem.  One of their mottos is "flying at-risk pets to safety".  Pipsqueak, for one, is grateful for their efforts!!

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