Animal Radio® Show #427 February 9, 2008


Fred Willard, Back To You
Fred Willard is an actor, comedian, writer and animal lover. He recently hosted the Canine Film Festival in San Francisco with Jane Lynch, to present the film "Best in Show, " where his improvisational performance as dog show commentator Buck Laughlin earned him the adulation of critics and an American Comedy Award for funniest performance by a supporting actor in a feature film.

Born and raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Willard got his start performing in a comedy duo and spent a year at Chicago's famed Second City. He was a founding member of the improvisational comedy group Ace Trucking Company, with whom he appeared on "The Tonight Show" more than 40 times. Fred enjoys working with Jay Leno and states that what you see is what you get, a blue-collar no-nonsense guy. He says that Leno usually holds back when someone else is saying something funny, but there is no way you are going to have the last joke with him!

Fred and his wife live in Los Angeles where they run a weekly sketch comedy workshop. While Fred currently does not have any pets, he has been feeding homeless cats for the last 8 years, even though he is allergic to them.

Look for Fred as Marsh McGinley in the new television comedy Back to You also starring Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) and Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond).

Wendie Malick, Just Shoot Me
Emmy-nominated actress Wendie Malick has starred in such television hits as "Just Shoot Me" and "Jake in Progress," but her most important role is as a devoted animal advocate in real life.

A vegetarian and self-described animal lover, Wendie has spoken out against the use of chimpanzees in Hollywood, written legislators to ban canned hunting, and appeared in anti-fur television commercials telling consumers that compassion is the new fashion.

She also served as a presenter at IDA's 2nd Annual Guardian Awards, as well as a presenter at the 21st Genesis Awards, which is an annual event to honor outstanding individuals in the major media for raising awareness of animal issues presented by The Humane Society of the United States.

Listen in as Wendie talks about growing up with dogs, and in fact, states her older sister was a collie!


NEWS: Pet Census ­ Cats Outnumber Dogs
You know the saying "Dogs are man's best friend?" Not true! According to a recently released pet census from the American Veterinary Medical Association, cats still greatly outnumber dogs as pets, with 82 million felines, up from 71 million in 2001. How many dogs in the United States? 72 million. Our total pet population has reached a record high of just over 282 million pets. Nearly 60% of all home have one pet with 21% having five or more.

Maine has the highest percentage of homes in which people are sharing their lives with cats. What state has the highest percentage of dog owners? That would be Wyoming.

Birds are the third most popular pet, and although the number of bird owning homes has declined, the actual number of pet birds has increased from 10 million in 2001 to 11 million. Coming in after our feathered friends, there are 6 million pet rabbits, 2 million pet turtles, and 1 million pet hamsters.

It's obvious - we love our animals!

NEWS UPDATE Brought To You By Simple Solution Natural Line Of Products


Mandatory Spay-Neuter
Dr. Debbie White, Lone Mountain Animal Hospital
A recent law has been passed requiring all dogs and cats residing in North Las Vegas to be sterilized before they reach the age of four months. Exceptions will be allowed for people who have breeding permits and for animals deemed unable to be sterilized due to health reasons. Violating this ordinance could result in a fine of up to $1000 and up to six months in jail.

Dr. White believes that incentives to spay/neuter should be combined with mandatory spay/neuter laws so that we do not rely solely on the threat of fines. Some of these incentives include: free or low cost spay/neutering, sterilization before adoptions, behavior counseling to help prevent pet relinquishment and public education on the medical/behavioral benefits of spay/neuter.

Early spay/neuter can help offset the single greatest killer of dogs and cats euthanasia of unwanted homeless pets.

Monkeys Are As Smart As College Students
Britt Savage
It's pretty common knowledge that some college students have more than studying on their minds. But even with all of that monkeying around, you'd think that students at Duke University would be smarter than a monkey.

A recent study at Duke pitted two female monkeys against fourteen college students. Both were asked to solve math problems. They were shown two sets of dots on flashcards, which they had to mentally add. The humans were not allowed to count or verbalize as they worked. Surprisingly, the monkeys did about as well as the college students.

The research pointed to the importance of language in helping humans solve more advanced calculations. Both teams were paid for the efforts. The college students received $10, and the monkeys, they got their favorite drink ­ Kool-Aid.


Genius Dog
Carol Young
When Carol Young adopted Donnie, a 4-year old Doberman Pinscher, 4 years ago, little did she know he was a genius!

Since then, Carol has noticed that when Donnie goes into the backyard, he arranges his many plush toys into geometric shapes of circles, parallel lines and triangles. And that's not all; he sometimes arranges them by type of animal (for instance - using all stuffed frogs). He will also place them all facing up or touching hands.

Carol told all of her friends about Donnie, but was reluctant to contact any experts. But eventually, she got in touch with Barbara Smuts, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan who studies canine social behavior, who thought either she was helping him or perhaps someone was playing a trick on her.

Professor Smuts eventually believed Carol and made Donnie was at first reluctant to perform for Smuts, probably because he was more excited about having a new person in the house. Later, a few security cameras were installed, which recorded Donnie in the act, moving his more than 80 plush toys into geometric shapes and creating social vignettes with them.

"Donnie can't be the only dog in the world who does this,'' Smuts said. "I'm hoping that people will hear this and say, 'Hey, that's like my dog, or I know a dog that does that,' and e-mail me. We need a larger sample to find out what's going on.'' Visit Smuts' website or e-mail her at

So the next time you think your dog might be doing something dumb, or silly - just remember he may be a genius!

Canine Aggression
Karen Delise, The Pit Bull Placebo
First it was the Bloodhound, sensationalized in the dramatizations of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Then it was the Doberman Pinscher, symbol of the Nazi menace for a nation at war. Today, it is the Pit bull that is vilified for the depravity of his master.

Today, police chase down fleeing Pit bulls in the street, firing dozens of wild shots in response to media-fed rumors of supernatural Pit bull abilities. Politicians coach and nurture this fear with their own brand of rhetoric used to assist in the passing of quick and ineffective legislation created to pacify communities ignorant of the real cause for dog attacks. Hundreds of animal shelters throughout the country kill all unclaimed Pit bull-looking dogs, as they are deemed "unadoptable" solely on their physical appearance.

Karen reveals how our views and beliefs about canine aggression have changed over the last 150 years and how our perceptions about the nature and behavior of dogs has been influenced and shaped by persons and organizations who often times disseminate information about dog attacks. By examining actual cases of severe dog attacks during the last 150 years-the circumstances, the individual dogs involved, the victims, and our interpretations of these events-Karen attempts to offer a reasoned and balanced perspective on the behavior of dogs and the critical role humans play in the management and treatment of our canine companions.

Karen Delise is the founder of the National Canine Research Council, comprised of canine experts created to present accurate statistics and to provide detailed information on the human and canine behaviors which have contributed to cases of severe and fatal dog attacks.

What Do You Do With Your Pet's Hair?
Victoria Pettigrew, VIP Fibers
Well, if you are like Victoria Pettigrew, you can't bear to throw away your pet's hair. But, what can you do with it?

After receiving Boo Boo Bear, a Chow Chow from her husband as a wedding gift, Victoria decided to do something creative with her fur that was removed during brushing. Even though she had never spun yarn before, she gave it a try. After just 30 minutes behind the wheel, Victoria was hooked on spinning, and VIP Fibers was born.

At VIP Fibers, you can have your pet's hair spun into yarn and returned to you, or Victoria will knit a special keepsake from your pet's yarn. Victoria has received fur from a variety of animals, the most unusual being a Bengal Tiger.

There are so many businesses in the animal industry from clothing to pet sitting. But, have you ever thought about being a fiber primer? No experience necessary and VIP Fibers will train you! People with pet allergies should not apply.


Playing Puppies
Britt Savage
Recently, a husband and wife were wrestling with a problem and decided to watch a few minutes of television to take a break from the situation and hopefully gain some new insight. During the program, a commercial came on that featured 30 seconds of puppies running around and playing, and the couple had their spirits lifted when they needed it most. One of them remarked to the other that there should be a website with videos of puppies playing so they could always laugh like they just had, and the other responded, "Why don't we do it?" was born.

The purpose of is to bring a little joy into everyone's day. Sometimes it seems the world is filled with fear, negativity, violence, and despair, and their hope is that the simple joy of puppies playing will bring a smile to the faces of all the people that visit. If by watching their videos, one person each day laughs out loud when they need it the most, then has served it's purpose.


NEWS UPDATE: Is There Dog Fighting in Your Neighborhood?
Last week's indictment of NFL quarterback Michael Vick on charges related to dog fighting has brought national attention to the extreme cruelty of this criminal industry.
The Humane Society of the United States, which has campaigned against dog fighting for decades, has found it thriving in both urban and rural areas, and believes that it is on the rise.

Concerned citizens in every community can take steps to identify and report the presence of dog fighting in their communities. Lawmakers have recently passed HSUS-backed legislation to strengthen animal fighting laws in many jurisdictions, and individuals involved in dog fighting face serious penalties if they are prosecuted. Telltale signs include:

Pit bulls can be wonderful family pets, but when they're mistreated by irresponsible owners they can become so damaged that they are dangerous. For more information, visit

NEWS UPDATE Brought To You By Simple Solution Natural Line Of Products


Ladybug ­ Fashionista of the Insect World
Rae Ann Kumelos, Voice of the Animal
From the gardener's best friend to the official insect for five states, Ladybug brings cheer, good luck, and extra dollars to all who take the time to appreciate her presence.


Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#427).

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