- Observant readers of this blog may have noticed a pattern: Once a week I write a post that refers to a podcast that appears on another site called Animal Cafe. Really observant readers — okay, if I’m lucky, members of my family — may have noticed that once a month I’m the one doing the podcast and that it always involves pet travel.
What is Animal Cafe?
Animal Cafe is a gathering place for pet lovers founded by Mary Haight of Dancing Dog Bog. Mary invited Dr. Lorie Huston of Pet Health Care Gazette, Eric Goebelbecker of Dog Spelled Forward and me to join her. All of us write blogs and thought it would be fun to branch out into conversations with others in our areas of interest to share with the larger animal community. Mary has been involved in rescue for many years, Lorie is a vet, Eric is a dog trainer and I…well, I’m a dog newbie/ generalist with a background in travel writing.
We usually focus on dogs and cats but sometimes get a little larger and wilder in our species discussions. In fact, that branching out is going to be one of our…
First — a personnel shift. Eric Goebelbecker, who conducted several interviews with members of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants for Animal Cafe, took a full-time job with the organization (well, in addition to his other full time job). Our newest team member, who will also be focusing on training issues, is Kelly Gorman Dunbar, co-founder and Executive Editor of DogStarDaily.com — among other accomplishments. I interviewed her and blogged about another of her roles, certified K9 nosework trainer, here.
Pretty impressive, if I say so myself. And talk about grrrl power!
Personal Growth and Education
I thought it would be fun to be involved in a group project. It turned out, I also expanded my skill set and knowledge base. This included:
- Learning how to conduct an interview. You don’t want to sound stiff and unnatural — the idea is to have a genuine conversation. But a New Yorker’s idea of genuine conversation involves constant interruptions. It’s not rudeness (or so we believe), just excitement and a sense of immediacy. But no one can understand two people talking at the same time. So I’ve been learning to listen and wait to follow up.
- Learning how to convert and edit audio files. This was even more challenging for me, involving programs with testosteronish names like Audacity and the Levelator. I’m here to say if I could figure it out — eventually — any technoramous can.
- Continuing education about pet-related matters. It’s very easy for me to stay in my comfort zone, to read and blog about a limited number of topics that haphazardly catch my attention. So being responsible, as part of our communal site’s effort, for spreading information on a variety of issues has been terrific.
This week, for example, Dr. Lorie Huston interviewed Jill Moss, the founder of the Bella Moss Foundation, devoted to educating both caretakers and veterinarians about avoiding MRSA — methicillin-resistant Staph aureus — infections in dogs and cats. Jill’s Bella was the first dog ever diagnosed with this bacterial infection, which proved fatal to her. Jill wanted to prevent others from experiencing a similar — and preventable — loss. Like most people, I had no idea that pets could get MRSA or that, if they got it, it was treatable through early diagnosis and the correct antibiotics.
So… if you haven’t already made it a habit to frequent Animal Cafe, start with this interview. It’s very informative — and it could save your pet’s life.