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.

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. 


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Tainted Pet Treats

May 24, 2014
Gamma Man (Eli Christman) [Flickr]

About half of jerky pet treats in the US are imported from China.  New warnings indicate that such treats could pose serious and even deadly risks to your pet's health.


Tara the Hero Cat

May 17, 2014
"Tara Hero Cat - Official" Facebook page

Many of us refer to our pets as our best friends, but a 4-year-old boy can claim his cat is not only his best friend but his hero.  She proved that the human-animal bond is strong, and that cats can be just as loyal and protective as their canine counterparts!


Mother's Day

May 10, 2014
ifindkarma (Adam Rifkin) [Flickr]

In the pet world, Mother's Day has a very different connotation from that in the human experience.  Most pet mothers never get to see their babies grow up.  This Mother's Day, consider things from your pet's point of view.   Make plans to keep your pet from becoming a mother by having her spayed. 


penreyes [Flickr]

The puppies and kittens you see at your local animal shelter are the lucky ones, because they are up for adoption.  (The unlucky ones never made it that far.)  But even those who did make it to the adoption area still may not find homes.  That's the sad reality of pet overpopulation.