On The Road with Mac and Molly - Pets & Animals on Pet Life Radio (PetLifeRadio.com)
Summary: Thirty years ago – in the second year of our marriage -- my husband Gene and I (with our toddler Brooke in tow) took – what turned out to be – a glorious two month motor trip across Canada and Alaska – starting in Quebec and winding up in British Columbia. I still smile as I think of Gene shaving in our motor home’s rear view mirror on a cool morning by a pristine lake in Yukon Territory. I still cherish the extraordinary kindness of a farmer in Saskatchewan who rescued us from a ditch when our vehicle slid down an embankment. I still fill up with awe as I recall the staggering beauty of the Canadian Rockies. I still feel the excitement of the chuck wagon races at the Calgary Stampede, still ooh at the kick of the kitsch in Dawson’s Creek, still savor the aroma of Montreal’s culinary delights, still cherish my familial connections to Nova Scotia, still marvel at the enduring culture and artistry of the Tlingit, still delight in the metropolitan flair of Ottawa, Canada’s capitol city. Two years prior to this journey, Gene and I made our way -- in a Chevy Blazer -- across the United States stopping to applaud the precise timing of Old Faithful at Yellowstone, to laugh at the delightful antics of the black-tailed prairie dogs near Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, to estimate the miles to the next grain silo on the Great Plains, to marvel at all the wares (a jackalope?) on offer at Wall Drug . . . another wonderful adventure! Now we’ve auctioned our home and most the contents and are making the final preparations to hit the road again but -- this time – in a truck with a 38-foot fifth wheel trailer and with Mac and Molly, our sibling pair of four-year-old Old English Sheepdogs, along for the ride. With no specific itinerary, we'll travel about the United States and Canada reporting from the well-traveled thoroughfares and lightly-traveled lanes on the joys and challenges of sharing the open road with two-hundred-plus-pounds of dog. We’ll give you a heads up on what's dog-friendly along the way and we'll seek out the usual and the unusual, the celebrated and the hidden. We’ll report on fascinating places and events, intriguing trends, creative artists, unusual hobbyists, hard workers, odd jobbers, cutting-edge technology and old-time pleasures. Listeners may expect the light-hearted and the serious, entertainment, information, insights, passion, a fresh eye . . . all depending on the subject matter for each particular show. So come along as we head off . . . On the Road with Mac and Molly!
Of the 56,000 animals that came into city shelters in Los Angeles last year, 17,000 were killed. A newly-formed coalition, led by the Best Friends Animal Society wants to reduce that number - within the next five years - to zero. In this episode, Donna chats with Francis Battista, one of the founders of the Best Friends Animal Society. This highly regarded animal welfare organization is known around the world for its no-kill programs and partnerships that all work toward the day when there will be "No More Homeless Pets"®. Best Friends was launched in the early 1980s with a sanctuary at Angel Canyon in Kanab, Utah. Today, that sanctuary encompasses 33,000 acres and, on any given day, some 1700 companion animals call the place home. The great majority of these will eventually be placed in forever homes.
In this episode Donna visits with Kitty Terry, Executive Director of the internationally-known, Birmingham, Alabama-based animal-assisted therapy organization, Hand in Paw. HIP, founded in 1996, provides professionally trained animal-assisted therapy teams to help people heal physically and emotionally. These 120+ teams (which are made up entirely of volunteers) address abuse, disabilities, illiteracy, and chronic and terminal illness, through more than 50,000 visits a year in more than 50 facilities in the state of Alabama.
In the second episode of a multi-part series on animals and art-making, Donna visits with Tifane Grayce, author of Fur in My Paint. Pictured and profiled in this full-color, hardcover, high-gloss coffee table book is the work of art-making creatures from scorpions to beaded lizards, from macaws to elephants, from rhinos to gorillas, from sea lions to white tigers. Donna explores with Tifane how the Fur in My Paint project came to fruition. The two also explore questions related to animal creativity and aesthetic sensibilities. From Tifane, we learn about some of the animal parks and conservation centers across the country that are offering art in the "curricula” for their charges. We hear how animals are trained in art and how human/animal relationships have been enhanced or changed through these interactions.
In this episode, Donna launches into a new series on animals and art-making. Her first chat is with Ken Lytwyn, Curator of Marine Mammals at the Oregon Coast Aquarium Their focus: Lea, Max and Quill, the facility’s resident sea lion artists that paint on canvases using their flippers and mouth-held brushes. Ken describes each one's temperaments and talents and details what made these sea lions good candidates for art-making. We hear how they were trained and how they are rewarded for their efforts and we consider what we can know or, perhaps at best, surmise about sea lions from their art-making. Ken also addresses these questions: Do sea lions attach any meaning to their artwork? Do they appreciate beauty? Do they have fun when they engage in these activities? How do sea lions learn and can we relate their learning processes to the ways in which human beings learn? Could a sea lion teach another sea lion to paint? Max and Lea are featured in the full-color book, Fur in My Paint that shows wild animals - from scorpions to beaded lizards, macaws to elephants, and white tigers to gorillas - all creating art. Next up in this series is Donna’s conversation with the book's author, Tifane Grayce, who shares ideas on teaching our pets to paint.
In this episode Donna visits with Nevada Barr, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Anna Pigeon mystery series. The Rope, Nevada's 17th book featuring the crime-solving park ranger, Anna, has just been released. The New York Times has called the Pigeon series, "Thrilling!" USA Today has deemed Nevada's books, "Extraordinary!" And the Boston Globe raves: 'Nevada Barr is one of the best!' Each book in the series is set in one of the National Parks. The first of the 17, The Track of the Cat, was released in 1993 and was honored with both the Agatha and Anthony awards for best first mystery. Nevada's latest is a prequel set in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area that surrounds Lake Powell and lower Cataract Canyon in Utah and Arizona. In this book, we’re provided with the previously untold story of Anna’s first foray into the wild and the case that helped shape her into the ranger she became.
In this episode, Donna visits with Catherine Powers, Animal Control Officer for Curry County on the southern coast of Oregon. From a heart filled with passion and compassion, Catherine tells us how she was drawn into this work. We hear about the wide range of responsibilities that rest on the shoulders of animal control officers. Catherine’s duties include responding to emergency calls; rescuing the endangered; attending to dog licensing; providing health-building food, clean shelter and loving care for abandoned animals; seeking safe and permanent homes for the same; overseeing volunteers and much more. Each day brings its own special challenges. Catherine shares some of the heartbreaks and triumphs that come with the territory and she shares her vision for the ideal animal shelter. The show concludes with a discussion about the unique way Catherine has found to help fund her animal rescue efforts: providing daycare and overnight boarding for dogs who already have pet parents.
In this episode, Donna visits Gold Beach, Oregon to take a 104-mile jet boat trip on the rugged Rogue River. She learns that the company serving up the adventure -- Jerry’s Rogue Jets -- now Oregon’s only mail boat outfit, has come a long way since the days of pike poles and sails. Jerry’s shallow-draft, jet-propelled vessels can carry 38 to 65 passengers and are able to navigate in depths of as little as eight inches of water. From Nic McNair, who owns the company with his brother Scott, mother Cherie, and father Bill, we learn how jet boats operate over the recreational, scenic and wilderness sections of the Rogue. We hear about some of the boatmen who have grown up alongside these waters and we marvel at the wildlife (from black bears to bald eagles to playful otters) that can be seen along the banks and in the river. Donna shares from her own experience of the "Wilderness Whitewater Adventure" that takes folks up to Blossom Bar Rapid, which is as far as is navigable by jet boat. The show ends with a note about Jerry’s mascot -- the border collie Rogue and other "river dogs."
The North American Gray Wolf has been protected by the Endangered Species Act since shortly after the law was passed in 1973. But now, in an unprecedented move, Congress has delisted the Gray Wolf in Idaho, Montana and parts of three other states. The action is being challenged in court by environmental groups but, at this moment, wolf hunting seasons have been authorized for the fall and the plan is to reduce the population -- currently estimated at 1,700 -- to 150. In this episode of ON THE ROAD WITH MAC AND MOLLY, Donna speaks with Joni Soffron who, with her husband Paul, founded the North American Wolf Foundation and Wolf Hollow with the mission of preserving the wolf in the wild through education and exposure. We’ll hear from Joni about life at Wolf Hollow where visitors can meet the resident wolves -- at close hand -- and observe how a wolf pack functions. Wolves are social creatures and their pack dynamics are fascinating, in many ways paralleling that of a human family. Wolves are devoted to their young and five new puppies have recently been added to the Wolf Hollow mix. We’ll hear how the pups are settling in, how wolves are faring in the wild, and how we can help support these magnificent creatures.
In this episode of On the Road with Mac and Molly, Donna chats with artist and full-time RVer Debra Goode. The two discuss what it’s like spending all your days on the road, what inspires the artwork, and what makes a good subject for an artistic rendering. Debbie explains why her focus is on pets and wildlife and details how she sees and how she conveys what she sees to her canvases. All that and more on the next On the Road with Mac and Molly.
Donna visits with San Antonio, Texas Veterinarian Rae Dishinger, of the Alamo Dog and Cat Hospital, who shares some of the "Threats to Pets" specific to the American Southwest. As Donna and her husband Gene have been moving about the country with Mac and Molly, they have had to be on guard against potential perils all along the way. In the West, they’ve been on the look out for rattlers and copperheads, coyotes and bobcats, feral hogs and even birds of prey. On occasion, they’ve been too late to keep Mac from rolling in burro poop and to keep Molly from eating cow pies. Donna chats with Rae about these concerns and asks what toxic plants may be encountered in the Southwest. Rae also offers advice on dealing with climatic changes when traveling with pets and shares the story of how her own beloved dog succumbed to the bite of a rattler.
Donna launches into a multi-part series entitled, "Threats to Pets." As she and her husband have been traveling about the country with their two Old English Sheepdogs Mac and Molly, they have encountered potential perils all along the way. Speaking just of wildlife: in Louisiana, they were warned to take care walking near a lake because the denizens therein " the alligators " had developed a special appreciation for "dog." In Colorado, the concerns were over bears and mountain lions. In South Dakota: prairie dogs carrying the bubonic plague. In Texas: rattlesnakes. Featured in the opening episode will be veterinary toxicology consultant Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, former Vice President of the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center who will identify some of the toxins and poisons commonly found in and around our homes and at stops on the road. She’ll offer suggestions on what to pack for our pets when we take them traveling with us and what we ought to be certain to keep away from our pets (in the way of medicines and more).
In this episode, Donna chats with John Erickson, author of the Hank the Cowdog series of humorous mystery books for children. More than 7.5 million copies of Erickson’s books have been sold since 1983. His 57th volume -- The Disappearance of Drover -- was just released as was the audio version of the book. (Hank holds the title for the "Longest-Running Children's Audiobook Series".) John speaks to us from his home in Perryton, Texas where, at the time of the interview, he was teaching a class on writing to a group of homeschooled junior high and high school students who’d been raised on Hank the Cowdog stories. Also on the show will be Phil and Amy Kruse, owners of the Circle View Ranch in Interior, South Dakota who share how they were inspired by John’s books to name their own border collie Hank the Cowdog."
In this episode we'll be visiting Orlando, Florida and searching out some of what's on offer for pet accommodations. With the exception of service dogs, pets are not permitted in the area’s major theme parks so, if you're planning to bring your dog, cat, or pocket pet on vacation with you, they'll need a place to romp, revel and rest while you're doing the same at one of the area’s people-pleasing playgrounds. Best Friends Pet Care opened a facility recently at Walt Disney World and the center's managers Jennifer Kratzer and Amanda Burris will tell us about the amenities of and activities at this Disney-themed pet palace. In this episode, I'll also fill you in on some options for pet care at or near SeaWorld and Universal Studios. And I'll tell you what hotel has a VIP (Very Important Pets) program of pampering that includes toys and treats and special room service selections. We’ll wrap it all up with info on our favorite off-leash dog parks and another on-leash -- but still delightful park - that pets and their pet parents might enjoy while visiting Orlando.
This year marks the 60th birthday of Sparky the Fire Dog, the cartoon Dalmatian mascot of the National Fire Protection Association. Celebrations have been and will be held this year at sites all around the country. In the first half of our program, we’ll hear about some of these events and we’ll learn more about Sparky. Like many of the advertising icons that were introduced in the 1950s (from Tony the Tiger to Speedy Alka Seltzer) Sparky’s looks have changed considerably over the years. In recent days, he’s bulked up a bit and he’s become much more colorful. Today, he hosts his own website, has a Facebook page, and makes personal appearances all over the country. His likeness is seen in Sparky costumes, Sparky Valentines Day cards, Sparky birthday kits and Sparky robots. Sparky’s also finding himself the recipient of some pretty remarkable honors. One great example: a few months back -- on Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, Japan, Sparky was named a non-commissioned officer, a staff sergeant. This recognition was given to celebrate Sparky’s 23 years of service to the air base. Filling us in on Sparky’s life and the work of the organization he represents will be Massachusetts-based Lorraine Carli, Vice President of Communications for the NFPA. In the second half of the program, we’ll visit the city of Beaumont, site of the Fire Museum of Texas. In the plaza adjacent to the museum sits the largest working fire hydrant in the country (and perhaps in the world). From Carol Gary, the museum’s Executive Director, we’ll hear how that multi-story fire hydrant came to sit where it does. A hint: Disney, Dalmations and Cruella da Ville had something to do with it. From Carol we’ll also hear about what’s on offer especially for children at the museum and we’ll learn how dogs have worked side by side with firefighters pretty much since fire companies were formed.
In this episode, we’ll visit St. Cloud’s 4,700-acre eco-ranch and wildlife conservation area Forever Florida, home of Florida EcoSafaris, where -- in two and half hours and via seven ziplines and nine towers -- we’ll be ziplining and sky-bridging over Pine Flatwoods and forested wetlands. This site boasts nine distinct Florida eco-systems and is home to alligators, black bears, nearly two hundred species of birds, and the endangered Florida panther. Joining us in this episode will be Florida EcoSafari’s Matt Duda, whose background in marketing, tourism, ecotourism, and conservation makes him just the right person to introduce us to the history of the property, the flora and fauna one finds here, and the adventures (along with ziplining, horseback, safaris and rawhide round-ups) in which one can engage here. From him, we’ll also learn about the efforts being made to preserve the natural beauty and natural ecological balance at Forever Florida.