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.

Missing Rufus

Aug 3, 2013
Mindy Norton

When a family member dies, people grieve, even when that family member is a pet.  But humans are not the only ones in the family who grieve the loss.



Jul 27, 2013
Don DeBold (donjd2 - Flickr)

Usually the spay-neuter message is aimed at people who need to have their pets surgically altered.  But often the cats that we see clearly do not have owners.  Volunteers and organizations are using an approach that solves several issues at the same time.



Even as hot as it is now in the summertime, your pet still wants to play!  Be careful, because your furry friend may become overheated - and that could lead to tragic consequences.


Summertime heat can pose a serious health risk for our pets. It’s usually a combination of the temperature and the humidity in the air that creates the danger, because of the way a pet’s body rids itself of excess heat.

The Dog House

Jul 13, 2013
Tejas Prints (Cassandra Gallegos-Moore)

Summer is a good time to take a close look at your outdoor pet's dog house, to see if it is really an adequate shelter for your pet to get some relief from the elements.


Freedom for Pets

Jul 6, 2013
Randy Son of Robert (Randy Robertson)

What does freedom mean for our pets?  Even for humans, freedom does not mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want.  For the animals that share our lives, we can give them freedom to enjoy their lives in safety and comfort, as our best friends and loyal companions.  And that's something worth celebrating!


Mindy Norton

Heartworms can be life-threatening for pets.  Most pet owners know they can give their dogs a preventative periodically to protect them from heartworms.  But cats are also at risk and need to be protected, as well.


Heartworms? In cats?? Most people think heartworms are a dog problem, not a cat problem. Unfortunately, that’s just not so. Cats can get heartworms; and as with dogs, it can be fatal to our feline friends as well.

Summer's Heating Up!

Jun 22, 2013
Gareth Williams

A little planning and a little common sense - that's all it takes to keep your pet safe and healthy during the hot summertime!


Adopt-a-Cat Checklist

Jun 15, 2013
Gail Frederick (gailf548 - flikr)

More cats and kittens are surrendered to animal shelters during June than during any other month of the year.  Whether you want a kitten or an older cat, you'll find lots to choose from right now at your local animal shelter. 


Storm Planning

Jun 8, 2013
julesagogo (flickr)

By the time the storm rolls in, you might start scrambling to locate everything you need for you and your pet.  Having a plan that includes supplies already set aside can help you not only weather the storm successfully but do it together.


waterboard (flickr)

The wind in your face, your ears blowing back, all those smells coming at once - riding in a car with its head out the window is so much fun for your dog, but such a BAD idea! 


Tornado Aftermath

May 25, 2013
Moore Oklahoma Tornado Lost and Found Animals Facebook page

Stories of loss and sadness and devastation mix with stories of happiness and relief as loved ones are reunited in the aftermath of the tornado.  That includes reunions between humans and their animal companions, many thanks to online postings by organizations and individuals helping to make happy endings possible.


Susan Snowden

May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month, a time for  pet owners to be aware of the threat of cancer in their furry friends and ways they can minimize the risk.


Happy (?) Mother's Day

May 11, 2013
tikicat90 (Rachel Larson)

Being kind to animals is more than just an idea.  It's a way of treating them with respect and encouraging others to do the same.  That would include making sure that our own pets are spayed or neutered to help prevent the problem of pet overpopulation.


K-9 Comfort Dogs

May 4, 2013
Lutheran Church Charities

Have you ever hugged your pet, buried your face in its fur, and found comfort and acceptance there?  If so, then you can appreciate the mission of these special dogs - trained to be hugged and petted, to comfort and console humans who are struggling to cope with their emotional reactions in the aftermath of a disaster.


The Bay Area's News Station

In many disasters, there are both human and animal victims.  After the fertilizer plant exploded in the town of West, Texas, people and organizations came from near and far to help those who were affected, whether they walked on two legs or four.


Faithful Companions

Apr 20, 2013
Jason Norris

Who wouldn't like a faithful companion who will be attentive and loyal and follow you anywhere?   All you have to do it tune in!



Most folks know that expenses related to the care and well-being of a pet are not deductible on an individual's income tax return.  Or are they? 


With the deadline coming up for filing personal income tax returns, a lot of us are looking for deductions wherever we can find them.

More than one pet owner has thought about deducting a few extra medical expenses for those veterinary bills last year. After all, the vet is a “doctor” and your pet is a member of the family – a dependent, really, in the truest sense of the word.

Elsie esq. (Les Chatfield)

If your pet is biting at its feet or fur, or scratching its ears, this time of year the problem may be a seasonal allergy.


Danger in a Basket

Mar 30, 2013
AlishaV (Alisha Vargas)

Easter baskets make us smile, with all the pretty colors and yummy goodies and treats.  The sweet-smelling candies and chocolate are tantalizing to a pet's sensitive nose and that Easter grass wiggling in the breeze entices a curious pet.  Plan now to keep your four-footed friend safe from the dangers that lurk inside (and outside) that basket this Easter.


Erkka P (Erkka Piirainen)

Seasonal pets are rarely a good idea for either the humans or the animals.  That includes the baby chicks and bunnies that are so popular at Easter.   They may be cute and fuzzy but they come with certain requirements for basic care, and a commitment for years, not just days or weeks!


Pets Can Be Irish, Too

Mar 16, 2013

DNA tests are now available to find out what your pet's breed heritage really is, but on St. Patrick's Day that doesn't really matter.  What's important is that you are Irish in spirit!


Pit Bull Hero

Mar 9, 2013
Steph Skardal

The Pit Bull is really not a separate breed but one of several, or even a combination of two or more.  Because they have been used and abused as fighting animals, some communities have banned them.  But people who really know these dogs will tell you what wonderful pets they can be. 


Safe At Home

Mar 2, 2013

Keeping an animal as a pet brings with it certain responsibilities.  One of those is to make sure your furry family member is safe and protected.


Pet Arithmetic

Feb 23, 2013
Humane Society of the United States

Early in life we learn  to count and to do simple arithmetic, but there's nothing simple about counting the animals - dogs, cats, and even rabbits - who are victims of the pet overpopulation problem.



Kjunstorm / Lori Branham

New York City is going to the dogs this coming week, as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show takes center stage!



Pets, especially dogs, have a natural smile - but it looks even better when they can show off their pearly whites!


Cat Show

Jan 26, 2013
Krzysiu Jarzyna

Thinking about getting a cat as a pet?  You need to stop by the cat show, where you can see beautiful representatives of many different breeds and talk to their owners to find out which one would be best for you!

Dog Flu

Jan 19, 2013
Laertes/John Hurd

If you have had the flu, you know how bad you feel.  You also know it can easily turn into something more serious (such as pneumonia) if you don't take care of yourself.  Canine influenza can be just as dangerous for your dog - maybe even more so because your pet probably has no natural immunity to it!


Weight Loss Program

Jan 12, 2013
M. Norton

Being overweight is just as bad for your pet as it is for you, and for all the same reasons - it puts a strain on an animal's joints, heart and liver; it increases the risk of diabetes and other diseases; and it shortens an animal's life.  A chubby pet may be more cuddly, but a trim pet will probably be healthier and live longer.