Speaking of Pets (Opinion)

Saturdays at 8:59 a.m.

Speaking of Pets with host Mindy Norton is a commentary (opinion piece) for people who care about pets and humane treatment for animals in general, and who want to celebrate that special relationship between us and our animal companions.

Jo Naylor [Flickr]

Almost every veterinary technician or veterinary nurse will tell you they do what they do because they love animals.  What they do every day can help animals live longer and stay healthier, which means they also help pet owners, making sure they understand what to do for their furry friends.  When a vet tech does their job well, everybody wins!


Pets and Vaccinations

Jul 17, 2021
wuestenigel (Marco Verch Professional Photographer [Flickr]

Vaccines can help prevent illnesses and avoid costly treatments for preventable diseases - or stop diseases from being passed between animals.  That is especially important if your pet comes in contact with wildlife or unvaccinated domestic dogs.  


Summertime Treat

Jul 10, 2021
bazzadarambler [Flickr]

Most of us eat some things that we know are not good for us, especially around holidays or family get-togethers and celebrations.  The problem with letting your furry friend indulge is that some things are not just "not good" for them but instead may be harmful.  It is up to us to make sure our pets stay healthy so we can all be happy!


HummingZone1 [Facebook]

Some dogs work as human remains or cadaver dogs; they search for bodies.  Search and Rescue dog Oreo is a Pomsky - part Pomeranian and part Siberian Husky, specially trained to find living victims in disasters.  


metaphoricalplatypus [Flickr]

Most folks like kittens - after all, kittens have built-in cuteness!  But - they don't stay kitten-like for long.  Eventually they become cats.  So if you adopt a kitten (with all its cuteness), before you know it you have a CAT!  And if you really didn't want a cat as a pet, then adopting a cute little bundle of feline fur and whiskers and big eyes is probably not the right thing for you.  However, if you are willing to lose your heart to a feline friend, even an adult one, and you have room in your life for a new furry friend, consider adopting one now, especially during Adopt a Cat Month!


Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show [Facebook]

The name Pekingese gives you a clue to the origins of this breed.  At one time, these small dogs (usually 7-14 pounds) could be owned only by the royal family of China, where they lived in the palace and even had their own servants.  In the late 1800's, they were brought to Britain, and later to America.  In 1906, the American Kennel Club registered its first Pekingese.  This is a breed that bonds with its owner, but can still have an independent (some might say "royal") personality!


Myths About Cats

Jun 12, 2021
Kevin Dooley [Flickr]

Let's bust some myths that have plagued our feline friends for too long!  All cats are not alike - they can be as different from each other as humans are.  You may wonder what your cat is thinking or feeling, but understanding your furry buddy begins with knowing some facts about cats.  


The Color of a Cat

Jun 5, 2021
Mindy Norton

Our very first cat, Heidi, was a tortoiseshell kitten.  We thought she was beautiful, and so unique!  The first time we saw another tortoiseshell cat in someone's yard, we were surprised to see a feline that looked just like our pet!  The tortoiseshell coloring is so named because their coat resembles, well,  the shell of a tortoise.  Keep in mind that tortoiseshells can be found in a variety of cat breeds, so their size and personality can vary greatly.  Our current pet, pictured here, is a tortoiseshell named Gypsy.  She is a sweetheart!


Grant Menzies [Facebook]

A hearty little dog, Rags won the hearts of soldiers with whom he served, many times helping to save their lives.  In October, 1918, he and his rescuer, Private Donavan, were both wounded in battle and evacuated to a military hospital in Illinois.  Donovan died in 1919 from his wounds but Rags, who had lost his right eye in the attack, recovered.  In 1920 a military family at Fort Sheridan adopted him, and took them with him wherever they were stationed.


Three Rivers Police Department [Facebook]

Every year hundreds of pets die because they were left unattended in a parked car.  In just minutes an animal can suffer heatstroke, irreparable organ and brain damage and death.  Even if you live in a state where the laws do not allow you to rescue the pet, you can still search nearby establishments to see if you can locate the driver.


Brief Gasp (Anninna Rutanen) - [Flickr]

When  grooming your pet, brush or comb in the direction of hair growth. Use short firm strokes with a brush or comb and be careful to stop if you encounter a mat in the fur.  Gently work the tangled hair loose before continuing.  Make it a pleasant time for your pet - and for you!


Dog Mom Day

May 8, 2021
sidewalk flying (Seth Sawyers) - [Flickr]

Pet moms know that having a four-legged companion brings with it a number of benefits for the human.  A pet can help a person feel less isolated (a real benefit many new owners discovered during the pandemic).  Pets reduce our stress and help us relax.  They can lower our blood pressure, reduce anxiety and depression, even help to ease chronic pain.   And if you adopt a pet from your local animal shelter or rescue group, it makes room for another animal to have a chance at a new forever home!


Plan for Disaster

May 1, 2021
The National Guard [Flickr]

This dog is one of the lucky ones - he survived the tornado, and is rescued!  If his owner had a disaster plan, he might not have needed to endure this.  Make a list of items your pet will need to get by for several days, and make your own "bug-out" bag!  The best advice is to not wait until the last minute to evacuate.  The American Red Cross website has some great information to get you started.  


National Pet ID Week

Apr 24, 2021
AdamB1995 (Adam Buzzo) [Flickr]

Losing a pet can be traumatic for both owner and animal, but if your furry friend has some reliable ID it greatly increases the possibility your four-legged companion will make its way back home to you.  Check with your veterinarian or local pet store about options for having your pet microchipped.


Feral Cats

Apr 17, 2021
DF (Denise) Church [Flickr]

When feral cats are spayed or neutered and released, it is possible they may be trapped again.  It is easy to tell if a male has been neutered, but not a female.  To prevent unnecessary surgery, one ear of a spayed feral cat is "tipped" (the tip surgically removed) so that it is obvious the cat has already been spayed!


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!


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!


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.


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!



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.  


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.  


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!


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.  


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.


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.  


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.


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.


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!


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!


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!