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.

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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Spay Day 2017

Feb 25, 2017
hmr86 (HM Razi) [Flickr]

This momma cat's litter may seem small, but it's the start of something that could become overwhelming when you start counting possible future litters.  Spaying the Momma Cat will go a long way toward helping to stem the tide of pet overpopulation.


Show Dogs [Facebook]

Rumor is only the second German Shepherd to win Best in Show at Westminster.  The last time her breed took top prize was thirty years ago in 1987.  In fact, the two German Shepherds are the only winners ever from the Herding Group.  

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AftonRose [Flickr]

Dogs - especially certain breeds - have a natural smile, but all pets can benefit from having healthy teeth and gums.  It not only makes them look better, they feel better, too.  And that makes everybody smile!

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Super Bowl Pets

Feb 4, 2017
Petful.com [Flickr]

Most pet owners know not to let their furry friends have chocolate, grapes, raisins, anything with onion or garlic, and anything that contains the artificial sweetner Xylitol.  But some of our favorite game day snacks can harm our pets in unexpected ways.  Keeping our four-footed family members safe will make for a better day for everyone!

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Cat Show

Jan 28, 2017
Trish Hamme [Flickr]

If you think all cats are alike, one visit to a cat show will suprise you.  These feline friends come in many different colors, shapes, sizes and personalities, but each one has the potential to be a great pet if it just has the chance.

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Train Your Dog Month

Jan 21, 2017
andreaarden (Andrea Arden) [Flickr]

Training a dog is all about communication between you and your furry friend.  It gives your pet an understanding about what you expect.  Because a dog has a desire to please its pack leader (you), knowing the rules and boundaries makes for a happy dog and a happy owner!

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Dog Flu

Jan 14, 2017
kynbit (Kiyonobu Ito) [Flickr]

Canine influenza - or dog flu - is a highly contagious virus transmitted to a healthy dog from an infected animal that is coughing or sneezing, or by contact with contaminated bowls, leashes, bedding, even toys used by an infected pet.  

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Oakley Originals [Flickr]

Some pets can handle wintry conditions better than others, but even pets that stay outdoors most of the time need shelter, a place where they can curl up and be protected from low temperatures, wind, and rain, snow and sleet.

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Happy New Year's Eve

Dec 31, 2016
Chrismatos [Flickr]

As you enter the New Year, remember who or what helped make the old year special.  Your furry companion is there to share the good times - and even the times that are not so good.  So if you make resolutions, make some that will benefit both of you and help to make the new year truly happy!

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frankieleon [Flickr]

Christmas is a time for caring and sharing - especially with our family and friends.  And it all began over two thousand years ago!

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Steve Jurvetson [Flickr]

A few weeks after Christmas every year, pets who were surprise gifts end up in animal shelters, already in need of another new home.  It's traumatic enough for an animal to be in a shelter the first time, but doubly so to end up there again so soon.  If you want a new pet, make a commitment to take home a pet you love, and to love (for its lifetime) the pet you take home.

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Pet Holiday Travel

Dec 10, 2016
LifeSupercharger (John Liu) [Flickr]

For their safety as well as your own, pets should not be allowed to roam freely in a moving vehicle.  One option is a restraint that connects to a seat belt and attaches to the pet's harness.  Your furry friend can stand or lie down, but will not distract the driver.  It will also be safer in the event of a collision.

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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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