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.

Gifts for Pet People

Dec 3, 2016
cogdogblog (Alan Levine) [Flickr]

Gifts for pet people are easy to find, and they don't have to be expensive.  One year my sister-in-law cross-stitched a cat picture on a pillow; I still use the pillow and enjoy it all year long!

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Here Comes Christmas!

Nov 26, 2016
bigpresh (David Precious) [Flickr]

That cute little face peeking out between the limbs of the Christmas tree is trouble in the making.  Taking care to keep your pets safe around the holiday trimmings will help to make all the seasons of the year happy ones.

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Alaina Buzas [Flickr]

Sharing Thanksgiving foods with your best friend (or friends) is fine, as long as you make sure it's safe for them.  Just give them small amounts, and they will enjoy the treat!  

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bfishadow [Flickr]

The reason this little cat (along with its fellow shelter residents) has a chance for a new forever home and a loving owner is because the shelter workers are there to feed her and take care of her until her new owner finds her.  That's something to appreciate! 

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Adopt a Senior Pet

Nov 5, 2016
Nick29m [Flickr]

Senior pets in animal shelters have a tough time finding homes.  Just being in a shelter may be traumatic if they are accustomed to a home and a caring owner.  Consider sharing your home with one of these "experienced" pets!

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American Humane Association

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.  "Overcomer" - that's Hooch!

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Perfect Dog Owner

Oct 22, 2016
Scott Feldstein [Flickr]

When we adopt a dog we think we're doing it a favor, giving it a home.  What do they give us in return?  It has been proven that pets can make us happier and healthier people.  They give us companionship and loyalty and acceptance.  What a bargain!

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Pets in the Storm

Oct 15, 2016
American Humane Association [Facebook]

If you wonder how you can help the pets in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, the answer is to make a donation to one of the many organizations that are working in the storm area.    And consider adopting a pet.  Every animal that is adopted from a shelter or rescue group makes room and gives another animal a chance to be adopted!

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Ragsby's Story

Oct 8, 2016
Eric Walker

October is Adopt-a-Dog Month, and Ragsby's story is a perfect illustration of the great dogs who just need the opportunity to show somebody what great pets and companions they can become, if only they are given the chance.  

If you're looking for a canine companion, visit your local shelter or rescue group.  You won't change the world by adopting a pet but you will change the world for your new furry friend - and you just might find your world is better, too.

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Brian Hillegas [Flickr]

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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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