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.

Rochelle, just rochelle (Rochelle Hartman) [Flickr]

September is Pet Health Insurance Month, a great time to consider whether insurance is a good option to help keep your pet healthy and happy.

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Public Radio Mutt

Sep 17, 2016
Skip Baumhower

For Ivy, genetic diversity made her a wonderful pet and furry friend.  For Alabama Public Radio, programming variety gives you a great menu of listening choices, and makes for a wonderful radio companion at home, in your car, on your computer or phone - wherever you happen to be!

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Tick Season

Sep 10, 2016
localpups [Flickr]

Ticks cannot fly; they climb tall grasses and weeds, then climb aboard your dog or cat as it passes by.  Keeping the vegetation (including bushes) trimmed around your house and in your yard will limit the tick population and give ticks less opportunity to climb up and hitch a ride on your furry buddy.

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Labor Day Pet Safety

Sep 3, 2016
Mark F Levisay [Flickr]

Although Labor Day is often seen as the kickoff to Autumn, it's still very warm and humid across most of the country.  If your pet is part of your outdoor gathering, watch to make sure it has a shady spot to rest so it doesn't become overheated.

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aekpani [Flickr]

Keeping your pet safe in a disaster situation may depend on a little advance planning - just in case something should happen.  Whether your best friend has fur, or feathers, or scales, it depends on you to keep it safe and get it out of harm's way in time.

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American Humane Association

The 2015 Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways. Dogs are nominated in one of eight 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  Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways. Dogs are nominated in one of eight 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, such as horses and cats 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.

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American Humane Association

 The 2016 Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways.  Dogs are nominated in one of eight categories:  Service Dogs, Emerging Hero Dogs, Law Enforcement Dogs, Arson Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Search and Rescue Dogs, Guide/Hearing Dogs. 

The Law Enforcement Dog category includes 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. 

The Arson Dog category includes 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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    The 2016 Hero Dog Awards seek to find and recognize dogs who help people in many important ways. Dogs are nominated in one of eight categories: Service Dog, Emerging Hero Dog, Law Enforcement Dog, Arson Dog, Therapy Dog, Military Dog, Search and Rescue Dog, and Guide/Hearing Dog.

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

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.

 

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Tail of a Cat

Jul 23, 2016
Mark Watmough [Flickr]

It has been suggested that the cat uses its tail for balance, and that may be partly true.  However, cats born without tails (like the Manx breed) and cats who lose their tails due to injury, still seem to maintain a good sense of balance.

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Muncie Animal Shelter [Facebook]

If you live in or near Muncie, Indiana, visit the animal shelter and ask for a Pokémon dog - but you might have to wait your turn.  

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Superman [Flickr]

Keeping your pet safe in the summer heat means plenty of shade, a full water bowl, walking your pet with care, and never, never leaving it in a closed car, even for a few minutes!

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A Cat's Age

Jun 25, 2016
Helena Jacoba [Flickr]

Unlike dogs that tend to turn gray around the face as they age, a cat's appearance may not change so much.  What you may notice is less muscle tone, drier skin and coat, maybe a little arthritis.   But even elderly cats still enjoy some play time and attention.


LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs [Facebook]
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs [Facebook]

Tim Hetzner, president of K-9 Comfort Dogs, says dogs are great counselors, because they are good listeners, they keep it confidential, and they offer affection to everyone unconditionally.   

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Cat Adventure Day

Jun 11, 2016
carolyn.will (Carolyn Williams) [Flickr]

If your cat is unaccustomed to walking on a leash, start by letting it explore in a limited area while you are holding the other end of the leash to keep it from scampering under the brush or up a tree.  As it becomes comfortable with the situation, you can broaden your range.

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Lessons from My Cats

Jun 4, 2016
Mindy Norton

Whether you're a dog person or a cat person, the truth is that cats now outnumber dogs as house pets in the US.   Part of the reason may be the valuable lessons you can learn from your feline friend!

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Ted Kerwin [Flickr]

Every year the American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards includes a category for Military Dogs.  They truly are heroes.  Log on to the Hero Dog Awards website to read about this year's finalists and cast your vote for the one you think should be Military Hero Dog of the year.

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ASPCA

When  Henry Bergh founded the ASPCA on April 10, 1866, I wonder if he ever could have envisioned the effective force it has become for animal welfare not just in its home base of New York City but all across the country!

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Pet Transformation

May 14, 2016
eileen (outlier) [Flickr]

Great pets aren't so much born as they are made.  They become great pets because they have owners who love them, take care of them and spend time with them.  Almost any dog or cat can be a great pet, given the chance.

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Druid City Iron Dog

May 7, 2016
DruidCityIronDog.com

Next Saturday morning, May 14, 2016, make your way to Lake Lurleen State Park for the most unique dog competition in the area!

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Community Cats

Apr 30, 2016
On All Fours [Facebook]

By capturing stunning images of some of Tuscaloosa's most elusive residents - feral cats - students managed to put faces to many of them, highlighting both the scope of the problem and efforts to stem their population growth through TNR.

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The Dog's Nose Knows

Apr 23, 2016
Alberto .... [Flickr]

If dogs have a superpower, it's their nose.  Things that have no odor to us will have a unique scent your dog can detect.  Plus, the pattern on a dog's nose is as unique as a human's fingerprint and can be used for identification!

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doug_wertman [Flickr]

While you cannot claim your pet as a dependent on your income tax return, there are some legal pet-related deductions you can take - if you do it right and keep good records!

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Bark In The Park III

Apr 9, 2016
Tuscaloosa Association of Realtors

A dog park is a great place to enjoy spending time with your best friend!  At the Will May Dog Park in Tuscaloosa, there is a fenced area for small dogs and another for large dogs, where they can run and exercise and play in a safe, contained area leash-free.  

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Pet Health Insurance

Apr 2, 2016
IndysMom [Flickr]

A broken foot may seem like a small injury, but with x-rays, anesthesia (so the pet will be still for x-rays and treatment), medications and veterinary fees, it can be an expensive event for a pet owner.  When the unexpected happens, pet health insurance can make it possible to give your furry friend the care it needs.

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Alisha V (Alisha Vargas) [Flickr]

We like to share our holiday celebrations with our furry family members, but like so many other occasions this one poses serious risks for our pets.

  

Pollen Allergy in Pets

Mar 19, 2016
Tobias Klüpfel [Flickr]

When your pet scratches you might think it's just a flea.  But if you see a lot of scratching, or chewing the paws, check the skin for redness and inflammation.  Your furry friend just might be allergic to something!

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elsie esq. (Les Chatfield) / [Flickr]

Rain doesn't seem like a serious threat to your pet's safety, unless it is torrential or continues for days.  As drainage systems overload and the water backs up flooding can occur, putting you and your best friend at risk.  

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Service Dog Etiquette

Mar 5, 2016
American Humane Association

Jingles (part Lab, part Golden Retriever) is a Guide Dog that was a finalist in Service Dog category for the 2013 American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards.  Her little friend, Maizie, is a diabetic alert dog.  Together they help their human deal with multiple disabilities.  What a great team!

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American Humane Association - Facebook

As the American Humane Association says, "Move over Oscars - it's time for the Pawscars!"  Since animal actors and performers are not eligible to receive Oscars, the "Pawscars" were created to recognize excellence in these talented animals who help to make movies so special!

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