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.

Preparing for Disaster

Sep 23, 2017
Wolfrage [Flickr]

One lesson learned  in Hurricane Katrina is that failure to include pets in a disaster plan endangers not only the pets, but also the pet owners, and even first responders who try to rescue them .  Be a  responsible pet owner and plan to keep both you and your best friend safe, no matter what blows your way.

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Atlanta Humane Society [Facebook]

Homeless pets evacuated ahead of Hurricane Irma will be up for adoption at a special event this weekend at the Atlanta Humane Society's emergency shelter on Market Blvd in Roswell.  Atlanta Humane Society is partnering with Lifeline Animal Project to find new homes for these furry refugees.

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Trusted Companions

Sep 9, 2017
jeici1 [Flickr]

Even at times when you don't have access to TV, you can always listen to Alabama Public Radio.  On the road, running errands, to and from work, even during a storm when the power is out, you can stay connected to what's interesting, what's important, what you need to know.

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Hurricane Harvey

Sep 2, 2017
The National Guard

Texas National Guard members worked alongside other responders to rescue local citizens in flooded areas.  Soldiers, firefighters, paramedics and neighbors ensured several thousand people and hundreds of dogs and cats were evacuated to safety.

American Humane Association

 

The 2017 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.

  

  

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American Humane Association

The 2017 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.

American Humane Association

The 2017 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. 

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American Humane Association

The 2017 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.

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

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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.  Every year hundreds of lives (and billions of dollars in property) are lost as a result of fires that were set intentionally.  The dog works with a handler who is a law enforcement officer trained to investigate fire scenes.

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Mayor Brynneth Pawltro

Jul 29, 2017
Facebook

The old saying, "dogs drool, cats rule" may be catchy but don't tell that to the mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky.  She is the fourth in a line of mayoral canines to hold the office.  For the residents of this small community, dogs definitely rule!

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nick@ [Flickr]

If your pet becomes overheated, you can put it in a tub of cool water; or use a garden hose or a small wading pool.  And take your furry buddy to the veterinarian to determine if there has been any damage to internal organs!  Heat stroke can cause brain swelling or kidney failure, even after you get your pet cooled down.  

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bettyx1138 [Flickr]

Allowing a pet to jump up on countertops is not a good idea for several reasons, but one of the most dangerous is allowing them access to  a gas cooktop.  One misstep could bump a knob that turns on the cooking flame, which has the possibility of starting a fire with no human present to correct the situation.  Covering or removing the knobs when pets are home alone can help to prevent a disaster.

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Green Garden Girl [Flickr]

The dog house pictured here is a nice one - roomy, elevated a couple of inches off the ground, with shingles that keep things dry inside.  The only improvement would be a little shade in the hot summer sun!

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Natalie Maynor [Flickr]

We humans enjoy sharing things with our pets, but some things that are part of our celebrations can actually harm our furry friends.  Making an emergency trip to the veterinarian's office is no way to celebrate Independence Day! 

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Cat History

Jun 24, 2017
Andrew (polandeze) [Flickr]

The Abyssinian Cat is one of the oldest breeds of domestic cats in the world.  Its history dates back to the time of ancient Egypt.  With its ticked coat and body shape it has the appearance of an African wild cat.  However, like many of its feline cousins, it is intelligent, active and playful and makes a great pet.  When you adopt a cat, you are sharing your home with living history!

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Buzbeto [Flickr]

There are a few tips if you want to take your dog to work.  First make sure that it's okay with your boss, and that none of your coworkers have pet allergies.  Your pet should be healthy and up to date on all its shots, and well behaved.  And puppy-proof your work area so your furry buddy doesn't have access to  electrical cords or poisonous substances (like plants).    

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Pet Appreciation Week

Jun 10, 2017
Mindy Norton

We found our little dog, Ivy, sitting in a bed of ivy beside our house when she was a year old - she lived to be about 20.  When she was a teenager we would take her to the beach.  She loved the warm sand which was easy on her arthritis.  She has been gone for a while now, but her picture brings back such good memories!

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Kathy Bieniek - Saving Sage Animal Rescue

Losing a pet you love is traumatic enough, but it's particularly difficult when your pet is 20 years old and handicapped.  Of course, the lost pet also may endure hardship - in Lily's case, outside in rain and heat, unable to see or hear.  This is one reunion that definitely goes in the miracle column!

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Pet-in-Hot-Car Bill

May 27, 2017
RedRover,org

Twenty-four states have laws regarding animals left unattended in hot cars, including two southern states (Tennessee and Florida).  That leaves eight states in the south and southeast without legal protection for pets trapped in hot cars, including Alabama.

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matt searles [Flickr]

The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that handling unwanted pet animals costs as much as $1 billion annually in the U.S.  But the greatest cost is loss of life.  Statistics show that only three of the seven cute puppies in this picture would make it out of an animal shelter alive.  Spaying and Neutering would prevent this tragedy.

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donjd2 (Don DeBold) [Flickr]

The great things about a dog park are the fenced areas where you can play off-leash with your pet.  Be a responsible owner by making sure your dog is up-to-date on all shots, and clean up after your pet.  Another responsible thing for every owner to do is to be prepared for unexpected emergencies!

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Rainer Stropek [Flickr]

Pets love to play among the tall grasses, but grass and weed pollen can provoke an adverse reaction in some pets.  Paying attention to where your pet has been spending its time will be helpful if you need to figure out the cause of an allergic reaction.

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Lost Pet Bird

Apr 29, 2017
keepingmealive (Noshin R) [Flickr]

Losing any pet can be a difficult experience, but unlike a furry four-footed friend who may be wearing a collar and tag, your feathered pet is not confined to the ground.  It can hide high in a tree, and may be frightened in unfamiliar surroundings.    

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kisluvkis [Flickr]

Cats that have been neutered or spayed as part of a TNR program will have one ear "tipped".  The veterinarian will trim the tip of an ear so that if the cat is picked up in the future it can easily be identified as a one that has already had the surgery.

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Easter Pets

Apr 15, 2017
Trish Hamme [Flickr]

Like most holidays, Easter is filled with risks to our pets.  The chocolate and the artificially sweetened treats containing Xylitol are pet hazards lurking in the Easter basket. along with the colorful plastic grass that can cause major intestinal problems if your pet eats it.  The Easter Lily is especially toxic to cats.  But Easter pets like bunnies, chicks and ducklings have no place in the Easter basket - unless you intend to raise rabbits, chickens and ducks.

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Dog Bites

Apr 8, 2017
40Brown (Laurie Moy) [Flickr]

Dog Bite Prevention Week is April 9-15, 2017. Remember that any dog can bite if it is frightened or provoked enough.  Consider ways that you can keep your pet safe from any situation which could harm it or threaten it.  That's the best way to prevent dog bites!

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Hero Dogs and APR

Apr 1, 2017
American Humane Association

Roselle, a guide dog, led her blind owner down almost 1,500 steps to escape Tower One of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  The fact that they both managed to make it out safely was a testament to her intelligence and ability  and to her owner's trust.  For her bravery, Roselle became the first Hero Dog of the Year for 2011, and set a great example for all the Hero Dogs to follow.

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Poison Prevention Week

Mar 25, 2017
rarvesen (Ralph Arvesen) [Flickr]

A pet investigates its world by smelling and tasting and picking things up with its mouth.  Safely storing foods and household items that could pose a danger, or putting plants out of reach, helps to make for a healthy pet (and a happy owner)!

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Routines

Mar 18, 2017
Army Medicine [Flickr]

Pets (and many people) are happier when they have a regular routine.  Sometimes, though, things happen that disrupt or adjust our routines, and it may take a little time to adapt to the change.

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Dave Hogg [Flickr]

Keeping your pets happy and maybe even entertained while you're away is something a pet sitter may  be able to do, with or without a bird video!

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If Pets Had Thumbs

Mar 4, 2017
Mindy Norton

There are holidays for a lot of important occasions, but there are a few light-hearted days on the calendar, as well.  At the beginning of every March, we can celebrate our imagination with "If Pets Had Thumbs" Day!

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