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.

Waiting for the Word [Flickr]

Including our furry friends in our Christmas celebrations is not so far-fetched when you consider that almost every nativity scene you see today includes animals.  After all, Baby Jesus was born in their house, a stable.  So, Merry Christmas to all the members of your household!

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kvanhorn (Kyle Van Horn) [Flickr]

A pet can be one of the best gifts, but it should never be a surprise.  In fact, it's a good idea to have the whole family involved in deciding to adopt a new best friend, and then in choosing the pet.  Visit your local shelter or rescue group today - you might make this Christmas bright for one lucky animal!

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Oleg [Flickr]

If you can't take your pet along on your holiday vacation, consider either boarding it or finding a pet sitter.  Choose carefully, because you want your best friend to be safe and happy while you are away.

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JOE-3PO (Joseph Vasquez) [Flickr] / Joseph Vasquez Photography

Christmas decorations really add to the festive celebration of the season, but they can become hazards to the well-being of our animal companions.  So go ahead and deck the halls, but keep your pet's safety in mind.

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Eric T. Morris [Flickr]

It might be tempting to include your best friend when you sit down to the table this Thanksgiving, but some things on your plate could harm your furry buddy.  Be careful and choose treats that are pet-friendly and will make you both thankful for tasty morsels and great companionship!

Audio Pending...

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Kristin (Kerotab) [Flickr}

When the humidity level in your home drops to 30% or lower, static electricity can make you and your furry friend uncomfortable.  In fact, just stroking your pet's fur could result in a little shock for both of you.  Bathing your pet with moisturizing shampoo (one approved for use on pets) and increasing the moisture in the air can help remedy the problem.

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Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter [FaceBook]

Animal shelter workers and rescue volunteers are the unsung heroes of the pet world, because without them many animals would never have the chance to find a new home.  This week is National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week, but thankfully these dedicated folks are helping our four-footed friends all year long!

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American Humane Association [Facebook]

Everybody loves a Cinderella story, and that's exactly what this is - a puppy so badly beaten that she should not be alive, who grew up to become a friendly loving therapy dog bringing hope and inspiration to all she meets!

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istolethetv [Flickr]

What is it about Halloween that makes us want to dress ourselves and our four-footed companions in costumes?   Some pets love it, some don't mind too much and others can be totally stressed by Halloween.  It's up to you to make sure your best friend is safe and comfortable, whatever the holiday.

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Katie@! (Katie Brady) [Flickr]

There are lots of good reasons for adopting a dog, especially during October, which is Adopt-a-Dog Month.  There are also lots of good reasons for supporting Alabama Public Radio - and surprisingly the reasons are very similar.  Either way you get a faithful friend!

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(Too) Playful Dog

Oct 11, 2014
Greg Westfall [Flickr]

One of the most common reasons given for surrendering a dog to an animal shelter is behavior problems.  Training a pet can make it a better companion and give it the best chance for a happy life in a forever home.

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When a Pet Owner Dies

Oct 4, 2014
NatalieMaynor [Flickr]

As responsible pet owners, we try to take good care of our pets, but if you're not there anymore who will look after your best friend?

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Targeted T-N-R Works!

Sep 27, 2014
Nakae [Flickr]

Targeted Trap-Neuter-Return helps reduce and stabilize the feral cat population.

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Dog Splash 2014

Sep 26, 2014
University Recreation, University of Alabama

Dog Splash or Pooch Pool Party - whatever you call it, people and pets alike can have lots of fun.  Bring a toy, bring a life vest for your dog if needed, and have a great time with your best friend!

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What's in a Name?

Sep 13, 2014
Mindy Norton

We named our big red tabby "Rufus" because that means "red".  Plus, it sounded like a substantial name for what was definitely a substantial cat!

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wheany (Jan-Erik Finnberg) [Flickr]

Where would you choose to live with your pet - small town or big city?  Wherever you go, you want your pet to be as happy there as you are!

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Pets on Campus

Aug 30, 2014
K-Lovera (Kristine Dhillon) [Flickr]

Many schools, like the University of Alabama, have a pet policy that allows only fish in campus housing.  Others, like Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, have more liberal pets-in-residence programs that permit small dogs, cats rabbits, ferrets, even ducks.  For some students, the option to take their best friend with them to school can influence their decision about where they decide to study.

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American Humane Association

The 2014 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.

In the world of Search and Rescue operations, dogs have a very special place. their keen sense of smell, excellent night vision, extremely sensitive hearing and endurance have made them crucial in efforts to locate people who are missing or trapped.

American Humane Association

The 2014 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.

American Humane Association

The 2014 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. 

American Humane Association

The 2014 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, and Guide/Hearing Dogs.

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

American Humane Association [Facebook]

When American service men and women finish their tours of duty overseas they return home, often to a hero's welcome.  For their canine comrades on the front lines, it's a different story. 

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Pet Resorts

Jul 19, 2014
buchsammy (Ralf Bitzer) [Flickr]

Gone are the days when your pet had to spend its "vacation" in a cramped cage.  Pet resorts have become very popular - with both owners and their furry friends!

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Paymentmax [Flickr]

Generally, the DEA does not approve of storing or transporting controlled substances in vehicles, but for those in the veterinary profession that can be a necessity if they are going to effectively treat their animal patients.

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Hot Spots

Jul 5, 2014
ransomtech [Flickr]

Hot spots are more than just a nuisance; they can cause your dog some real discomfort.  Some owners of long-haired dogs get their pets clipped for the summer just to make sure the dog's heavy coat can't trap and hold moisture in the hot weather.

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Reasons to Adopt a Cat

Jun 28, 2014
Kevin Dooley [Flickr]

Some folks consider cats to be aloof and one-dimensional, but those of us who have feline family members know they are funny, affectionate, playful and, yes, independent.  But that very spirit that makes them independent also helps to make them lower maintenance pets when compared to, say, dogs.

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Just chaos (Jean) [Flickr]

The most common cause of heat stroke in a pet is leaving it in a parked car on a warm (not necessarily hot) day.  If it's too hot for you to sit in a closed car (or one with the windows slightly cracked), it's too hot for your furry friend.

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Cat Life Expectancy

Jun 14, 2014
accidentalcitygirl [Flickr]

As cats age, their coat may lose some of its luster but their color often remains much as it was in their younger days. It can be deceptive to judge a cat's age by its color.

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Feral Cats and TNR

Jun 7, 2014
kisluvkis (Julie German) [Flickr]

Feral cats that have been neutered or spayed also have their left ear "tipped" surgically to indicate the cat is part of a colony and has already been trapped and altered.

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DrivingTheNortheast [Flickr]

Having supplies packed and ready to go in case of an emergency can make necessary evacuations easier on everyone.  It also helps to practice so you and your pet both know what to expect if and when the real emergency occurs.

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