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.

A Pet's Nose

Mar 8, 2014
jarapet [Flickr]

Large or small, round or pointed, long or short - a pet's nose is a finely tuned instrument that  the animal uses to gather a wealth of information about its surroundings.


DiamondBonz [Flickr]


Does your pet become anxious in response to loud noises (like thunderstorms)?  Most animal experts recommend not cuddling and hugging an anxious pet lest you reinforce the negative response.  So what's a caring pet owner supposed to do with a cowering, trembling furry friend who is obviously afraid of the noise?


World Spay Day

Feb 22, 2014

Spaying female pets and neutering male pets is the most reliable way to prevent the births of companion animals that continue to add the the problem of pet overpopulation.  World Spay Day reminds us that this is not a local problem but a global one.  And every pet owner can help to do something about it!


And the Winner Is...

Feb 15, 2014
saly9258 [Flickr]

It may be a Wire Fox Terrier that won the hearts of the judges at Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this week, but it's the Labrador Retriever that has won the hearts of people all across the country.


Mutts at Westminster?

Feb 8, 2014
Dave Hamster (David Merrett) [Flickr]

Westminster Kennel Club has a tradition that goes back more then 130 years, but in 2014 it's not the purebred dogs that are capturing news headlines but the mutts that are making a showing in the WKC's   first time ever agility competition.


marinetank0 (Tom Williams) [Flickr]

When we think of a smiling cat, we might think of the Cheshire Cat, whose beautiful smile was the only thing visible when he disappeared.  Sadly, for the majority of both cats and dogs kept as pets, their teeth are not so healthy.  It's up to you to make sure your pet's smile is bright and clean!


CelloPics [Flickr]

Smart idea, even for a cat, to have a shelter that is raised up off the ground.  The animal is protected from bitterly cold winds, too, in a well-build dog (or cat) house!


Pet-friendly Home

Jan 18, 2014
Jennie Faber (Flickr)

Having pets may mean you have to work a little harder to keep the house clean, but smart some choices will make things easier.  And less cleaning may mean more time with your furry friend!


Wendy Moody / smkybear [Flickr]

A cat's nature is to hunt, stalk, mark territory, but living indoors can limit its opportunities follow its instincts.  You can help your cat live a happier and healthier life if you find ways to make your home more "friendly" for your feline resident.


Mindy Norton

Fitness programs are better when you do it with a friend.  And what better friend that that furry one who would love to spend a little more quality time with you?


Sonia Su (Flickr)

Although Christmas might be over for this year, we can still keep that spirit of giving alive by making a contribution to one or more of our favorite charitable organizations.  And if we do it before the end of the year, we get to take a tax deduction when we file our tax returns in the next few months!


Sharing this holiday with all members of our family, including the four-footed ones, is not a new idea.  In fact, when we think back to how it all began it seems only natural that they should be a part of our Christmas celebration.


Giving a pet as a gift can be a wonderful idea, even better if you adopt it from a shelter.  But as a surprise for the recipient?  It just might backfire on you and on the poor animal, too.


Home for the Holidays

Dec 7, 2013
Ian M. Phillips

This Christmas, you can add some joy to your life by adopting a homeless pet from your local animal shelter.  You get the companionship only a pet can offer, and in return your pet will enjoy the comfort and security only a loving home can bring.



'Tis the season to deck the halls, but do it carefully - make sure your holiday decorations don't pose unnecessary risks for your furry friends!


theogeo (Lindsey Turner)

Including our pets in our holiday celebrations is something many of us like to do. Whether you're staying home or hitting the road, a little planning can help to make the holiday safe and happy for everyone!


Adopt a Senior Pet

Nov 16, 2013
Mindy Norton

Some folks may be hesitant to adopt an older pet, but the advantages usually outweigh the disadvantages.  Often the adoption fee is reduced for senior pets, making them a smart choice for adoption.  In return, the human gets a healthy, loving pet, a companion and a new best friend!


Dave Parker

Someone must have a special heart to work at an animal shelter.  The work is hard, sometimes heart-breaking, but adoptions and reunions make it all worthwhile.  So make some time to let a shelter worker know you appreciate all their efforts and their dedication for the pets and people of their community!



Nov 2, 2013
American Humane Association

Elle is the American Humane Association's 2013 Hero Dog of the year.  She is a Therapy Dog and has her AKC Canine Good Citizen certification.  She is also an American Bull Terrier, often called a Pit Bull.  Breeders say they are friendly, intelligent and make great family pets.  Unfortunately there are those who misuse members of the breed for dogfighting because of their muscular build and strength.


Halloween and Your Pet

Oct 26, 2013

Halloween can be a fun time for people and pets, as long as the humans make sure their furry buddies are comfortable and safe!


This is the week for Halloween, with all the costumes and decorations and yummy candy and other treats. Like so many other celebrations we enjoy, this one can pose some very real hazards for our pets.

Adopt-a-Dog Month

Oct 19, 2013

Probably one of the things that makes dogs so appealing to us humans is that they have a natural smile.  That and the fact that they make such great companions!


The month of October is Adopt-a-Dog Month. To help celebrate the occasion, let’s consider the American Humane Association’s list of the Top Ten Reasons To Adopt A Dog From Your local animal shelter or animal rescue group.

Number ten on the list - You’ll never have to sweep your kitchen floor again.

Kristine Paulus

The government shutdown affected even our four-footed friends, but don't let a funding crisis affect Alabama Public Radio - donate today!



St. Francis of Assisi was a thirteenth century friar who left a legacy of love and compassion for all living creatures.  Churches and schools are named for him and statues of him adorn public places and private gardens.  He would be pleased to know that eight centuries later he is the inspiration for the annual blessing of the animals.


World Rabies Day 2013

Sep 28, 2013
couscouschocolat [fllickr]

Rabies has almost been eliminated in the United States - almost, but not entirely.  Every year there are still one or two human deaths  from the disease, and several thousand cases of rabies in animals reported. 


Dog and Owner Reunion

Sep 21, 2013
Rob Kleine (flickr)

Golden Retrievers are popular dogs - friendly, intelligent, energetic, and very loyal to their humans.   When circumstances separated Mary Ellen Frazier from her dog, Bailey, it comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with this breed that both were anxious to find each other again.


Karin Dalziel

If you rescue an orphaned or injured wild animal in Alabama you could find yourself in a sticky situation, especially if it's one of the seven species that are no longer allowed to be cared for and rehabilitated under the new regulations.  


Guard Cat

Sep 7, 2013
Derek Bridges

Guard dog?  Not in this home - there's a guard cat on duty, defending her human and foiling a would-be burglar!


American Humane Association

The 2013 Hero Dog Awards seeks 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, Search and Rescue Dogs, Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs.

American Humane Association

The 2013 Hero Dog Awards seeks 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, Search and Rescue Dogs, Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Guide Dogs and Hearing Dogs.

American Humane Association

The 2013 Hero Dog Awards seeks 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, Search and Rescue Dogs, Law Enforcement/Arson Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Military Dogs, Guide Dogs and 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.