• 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.

We’re also adding a monthly product review segment that Mary is conducting with Carol Bryant, Social Media and PR Director of Fido Friendly, also an Animal Cafe interviewee.

And we’ll be hosting guest interviewers —  including Kim Clune of This One Wild Life and Hilary Lane of Fang Shui Canines – – who will be ranging farther afield (and a-sea) in their topics.

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.


14 thoughts on “Animal Cafe: Have You Hung Out There Yet?”

    1. You mean enjoying something is not its own reward? Just kidding… we’re far from opposed to monetary benefit; we’re just not there yet. But from your mouth to Dog’s ears… 😉

  1. I loved how you wrote about this, and how you learned more about podcasting. I’m scared of that aspect, too–and have taken your tips to heart. I have learned valuable information from your podcasts! I’m thrilled Kelly Dunbar is joining your show, and am glad to hear that Kim Clune will also be a contributor! I’ll miss Eric, for sure, though. I have enjoyed all the topics thus far, and hope I don’t go too far a-sea with mine!

  2. You had me at “ch-ch-ch changes” and I was ROFL by the time I hit “technoramus” bwahahaha! What a great post=) But of course – you *are* the go-to blog for fun, wit, and wisdom!

    1. Why thank you, Mary. I’m not sure if I can claim consistent wisdom — or even fun and wit — but I appreciate the compliment. I’ll aspire to live up to it, just as I aspire to be the goddess Frankie thinks I am.

  3. I do enjoy “Animal Cafe.” I linked Kelly’s interview to my blog as I have hounds and Nosework is right up their alley. In fact, I have one in training (a Puppies on Parole prison program) who can air scent 76′. I don’t know how functional this is but the program volunteer trainer and her handlers were all a-gaga. And yes, you are full of wit, fun and information. I don’t travel much with dogs; however, when I do, with or without, I make sure my overnight accommodations know I only stay in pet friendly motels and B&Bs. They always seem most pleased.

    1. That’s great to hear about your talented hound! It looks like I might have found a nosework group for Frankie, and I’m very excited.

      And good for you for telling motels and B & Bs why you’re staying with them; that kind of feedback can only help others become more pet friendly.

      And thank you for the compliment.

  4. The thing I love best about taking up new adventures is the new skills I gain. For example, with Up For Pups, I had to learn how to organize the rescuers working on the best practices manual we just published. It was a fun project. I decided to use Google docs and my blog to distribute tasks and disseminate information for all the rescuers to then comment on. It worked out really well. I’m glad you are having a fun experience with Animal Cafe. I mean, if you’re not learning, what are you really doing, right?

    1. Absolutely, Kyla — and congratulations on your new book. That’s quite an accomplishment — especially in addition to everything else you do, including the show, which you didn’t even mention!

  5. I like what’s been happening at Animal Cafe so far. Your nosework interview with Kelly Dunbar was terrific. You listened so well I couldn’t even tell you were a New Yorker. 🙂

    The only downside is finding quiet moments to listen. Now if only I ironed or did other housework, I could play them in the background and get caught up. But, alas, a clean house is not in the cards.

    1. I hear you, Pamela! If I had to depend on housework to provide me with listening time I would never keep up with any CD “reading.” I listen while driving, while at the gym, before I go to sleep…

      I’m glad you found time to listen to and enjoy the non-New Yorkerish nosework interview.

  6. I have been looking for a good pet podcast since my favorite, The Petcast went off the air, so I will definitely check it out. One question: the line-up seems pretty dog-centric. Animal Cafe will include other species on a regular basis,yes?

    1. That’s great! And, yes, we promise lots of different species! And if you look at our past podcasts, you’ll see that a lot of them discuss cats as well as dogs, including the one on Pet Airways, common household items that can be poisonous… Our resident vet, Dr. Lorie Huston, has six cats, so you can bet we’re not going to neglect our feline friends.

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