75 episodes

Hosted by Duncan Strauss, Talking Animals is a weekly radio show about animals and animal issues. It currently airs Wednesdays, from 10-11am ET, on WMNF (88.5 FM), a 70,000-watt NPR affiliate in Tampa.

The core of Talking Animals is a long-form interview with prominent figures in the animal world or notable folks in other fields who have ties to animal welfare.

Past guests include Jane Goodall, Alec Baldwin, Temple Grandin, Dr. Neal Barnard, Lily Tomlin, Bob Barker, Neko Case, Nathan Runkle, Dr. Lori Marino, Jackson Galaxy, Paula Poundstone, Brian May, and Sy Montgomery.

Alongside the interview, Talking Animals is rounded out by animal news and announcements, animal songs, animal comedy, and a quick quiz feature, Name That Animal Tune. https://talkinganimals.net

Talking Animals Duncan Strauss

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.1 • 22 Ratings

Hosted by Duncan Strauss, Talking Animals is a weekly radio show about animals and animal issues. It currently airs Wednesdays, from 10-11am ET, on WMNF (88.5 FM), a 70,000-watt NPR affiliate in Tampa.

The core of Talking Animals is a long-form interview with prominent figures in the animal world or notable folks in other fields who have ties to animal welfare.

Past guests include Jane Goodall, Alec Baldwin, Temple Grandin, Dr. Neal Barnard, Lily Tomlin, Bob Barker, Neko Case, Nathan Runkle, Dr. Lori Marino, Jackson Galaxy, Paula Poundstone, Brian May, and Sy Montgomery.

Alongside the interview, Talking Animals is rounded out by animal news and announcements, animal songs, animal comedy, and a quick quiz feature, Name That Animal Tune. https://talkinganimals.net

    Kate Benjamin, Top Cat at Hauspanther

    Kate Benjamin, Top Cat at Hauspanther

    Kate Benjamin–whom I suggested you could call a cat lady while noting, in this case, the term would be strictly intended as a compliment, given the scope of her expertise and the two feline-oriented bestselling books she’s co-written, as well as the 13 cats she lives with—returns to “Talking Animals.” Benjamin acknowledges that she responds case-by-case when deciding to reveal to new people she meets the number of cats occupying her two-bedroom condo (along with her husband).  She charts how her cat population grew to this number, explaining that she’s very involved with rescues and shelters in the Phoenix area, so kitties have landed there from TNR efforts and fostering—and many of those cats are too aggressive, or have other behavioral issues, to allow adoption placement. So those stayed with Benjamin. (Five of the 13 cats are jet black, typically the last to be adopted at shelters and rescues, if adopted at all.) Benjamin presides over Hauspanther.com–a sprawling website showcasing an array of feline-oriented designs, accessories, other products, information, and other resources–Benjamin recounts how her passion for design merged with her passion for cats. Her ensuing blog led to, among other things, “My Cat From Hell” host Jackson Galaxy contacting Benjamin with an invitation to collaborate; they co-wrote two bestselling books, “Catification” and “Catify to Satisfy.” Benjamin explains what it means to “catify” a living space, emphasizing the design elements involved, and the environment for feline dwellers it tends to cultivate. She points out that there is scientific literature and other forms of research that document the virtues of catifying various areas where cats reside. She shares her litterbox strategies and techniques, favorite litters, boxes and other products—expertise and experience developed over many, many years of living with many, many cats—echoing a November profile of Benjamin published by The Washington Post. She concludes the conversation with a rather poetic answer to my inquiry about the best thing about sharing her home with 13 cats.(https://www.hauspanther.com/, https://www.facebook.com/Hauspanther, https://www.instagram.com/hauspanther/)
    ALSO: I spoke briefly with Jeanette Edwards, founder of Friends of the Pelicans, who filled me in on a decision by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The FWC has recognized that the extensive fishing on the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, in St. Petersburg, places pelicans in jeopardy—chiefly because the fishing hooks cause the pelicans serious injury, or death. So, the FWC has proposed a ban on two types of fishing hooks—but, just a ban for three months. The Friends of the Pelicans’ position is that this ban is ineffective, too brief, impractical to enforce, and is lobbying for a year-long ban. The FWC is slated to meet on this matter in mid-February, so there’s time for concerned citizens to weigh in and help protect the pelicans: Visit MyFWC.com/saltwatercomments where you can scroll to the bottom and leave a comment. (https://www.facebook.com/friendsofthepelicans)
    COMEDY CORNER: Paula Poundstone’s “Cats Puff Up” (https://paulapoundstone.com/)
    MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals
    NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  We didn’t play Name That Animal Tune today.
    AUDIO ARCHIVE:
    Listen Online Now: https://talkinganimals.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/TAJan25Final.mp3 | Open Player in New Window

    April Goodwin, attorney & founder of The Goodwin Firm

    April Goodwin, attorney & founder of The Goodwin Firm

    April Goodwin—an attorney and founder of Largo-based The Goodwin Firm, a law firm specializing in pet law services—recalls what animals meant to her growing up in a small town in Western Ohio. Goodwin remembers feeling protective of animals back then, which may have telegraphed the work she’d go on to do as a lawyer many years later. She explains that she’s been a lawyer for 22 years, working as a prosecutor, and in various other capacities: employment and business law, etc. But in 2015, feeling she wanted to strike out on her own—and be her own boss—she launched The Goodwin Firm. Having read an article some years prior noting that pet law services were recession-proof, she opened her firm offering those service along with employment law representation. By 2018, Goodwin says, the pet law side of the business was really starting to take off, a trend that’s not only continued in the ensuing years, but gained momentum. She addresses the firm’s most common type of pet law case (pet custody), and one of the firm’s most unusual cases, involving ducks in an apartment building pond, and the grim fate of one resident’s pet duck. We discuss the fundamental importance underlying so many pet law matters that, legally, animals are considered property. Goodwin also responds to my inquiry about the prospects of challenging Breed Specific Legislation or policies.
    COMEDY CORNER: Sebastian Maniscalco’s “Possum Problem” (https://www.sebastianlive.com/)
    MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Nellie McKay’s “The Dog Song,” instrumentals
    NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  George Harrison’s “Dark Horse”
    AUDIO ARCHIVE:
    Listen Online Now: https://talkinganimals.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/TAJan18Final.mp3 | Open Player in New Window

    Kathleen Edwards: In-Studio at WMNF For Performance and Conversation

    Kathleen Edwards: In-Studio at WMNF For Performance and Conversation

    Today’s show involved reconfiguring the usual “Talking Animals” format: We still delivered a long-form interview—in this case, with singer-songwriter-animal champion Kathleen Edwards. But we broke that conversation into episodic hunks, presented around four songs Edwards performed in-studio over the course of the hour. (We jettisoned other regular elements: the comedy piece, Name That Animal Tune, etc.) All four of the tunes she played were from her last full-length album, “Total Freedom,” and in the spirit of “Talking Animals,” two were animal songs. We began the conversation addressing–if not breaking–the news that Edwards has become a part-time St. Petersburg resident. Edwards enthusiastically details what prompted her and her husband to buy a place there, what attributes of St. Pete most appealed to them, and so on. This leads to highlighting her first St. Pete show since her residency status shifted: a forthcoming concert at the Floridian Social, set for Feb. 19, a performance on which she’ll be backed by a full band. She discusses her participation in the recent major tour of “The Last Waltz,” member of the line-up that included Warren Haynes, Don Was, and Anders Osborn, underscoring how much she enjoyed the experience. In answer to my question, she told me her favorite moment nightly amidst an evening of many was Warren Haynes singing “Caravan,” pointing out Haynes remarkable vocal resemblance to Van Morrison. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqNggt5kam8) Given that this was “Talking Animals,” albeit an unusual edition, we did indeed talk animals including the current canine members of her family, recounting the relationship she forged with an Ontario-based golden retriever rescue, Golden Rescue, leading to fostering her beloved Redd, a foster fail—and the focus of “Who Rescued Who,” a moving elegy for Redd that she performed during this show. She also describes what’s behind her passion for Siamese cats, and her growing sense of wonder over casual birdwatching, very much including the various feathered friends she sees in and around her St. Pete home. Edwards touches on other shows and special performances on the horizon, including a handful of concerts sharing the bill with Jason Isbell. [Photo of Kathleen with guitar by Sean Kinane; at microphone by Duncan Strauss] (https://kathleenedwards.com/, https://www.instagram.com/kittythefool/, https://www.facebook.com/kathleenedwardsmusic)
    This show streamed on Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?ref=watch_permalink&v=856506245574408
    COMEDY CORNER: There was no Comedy Corner today.
    MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals;  KATHLEEN EDWARDS LIVE: “Glenfern,” “Options Open,” “Who Rescued Who,” “Birds On A Feeder”
    NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.
    AUDIO ARCHIVE:
    Listen Online Now: https://talkinganimals.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/TAJan11KEfinal.mp3 | Open Player in New Window

    The Talking Animals Annual Holiday Animal Song Special

    The Talking Animals Annual Holiday Animal Song Special

    This morning, I once again set aside the customary “Talking Animals” format to deliver the Talking Animals Annual Holiday Animal Song special—that is, a show entirely devoted to Holiday-oriented animal tunes. As has been required in the previous years of this special, and as I acknowledge while over-explaining this program’s premise (over-explaining the premise has become its own tradition—one of many in this show), the only way to pull off this conceit is to assemble the special with a liberal sprinkling of “Rudolph”-related songs. But, as I note, over the years, I’ve become less reliant on such tunes, thanks to locating more varied new non-Rudolph animal tunes, like Chris Isaak’s  “Dogs Love Christmas Too” (from his just-released album, “Everybody Knows It’s Christmas”) which kicked off this morning’s show. In fact, the core of one of today’s sets involved songs addressing Rudolph in unflattering ways, and/or touting other, lower-profile reindeer: Marion & Martin’s “Listen I’m Blitzen,” Otis Gibbs’ “Lloyd The Reindeer” and Joe Diffie’s “Leroy The Redneck Reindeer.” Still, it’s essential to include at least one version of “Run Rudolph Run,” so we played the signature barn-burner by Keith Richards, after earlier spinning the decidedly different rendition of that Chuck Berry classic by Norah Jones. One of our brand-new entries was the jaunty, if lyrically unsettling contribution from Wild Earp, “The Krampus Song.” These numbers took their place alongside a longtime staple on this show, the quirky catchy “Dominick, The Italian Christmas Donkey” by Vinnie Bonofici And His Italian American Band—in recent years, this song has been requested, just as we’re playing it, or about to. To round out our playlist, a program of this nature is practically constitutionally obligated to offer “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”—in this case, the more recent version by Kacey Musgraves. We also worked in something by my beloved EELS, the propulsive fave, “Christmas Is Going To The Dogs.”  I took a brief break from playing cool yule songs for the traditional reading of what I call the Dorothy Strauss Christmas message, as dictated by tradition, or at least the tradition of the Talking Animals Annual Holiday Animal Song special. That message, whose author had always been unknown to me and my family while I was growing up–my Mom hung a poster of it each Christmas season, as part of our home’s holiday decorations–-was written by Howard W. Hunter, whom we credit multiple times in this show for fashioning those poignant, powerful words.
    AUDIO ARCHIVE:
    Listen Online Now: https://talkinganimals.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/TADec21Final.mp3 | Open Player in New Window
     

    Glen Hatchell: dog trainer, behaviorist–“Ask The Trainer” 6th Edition

    Glen Hatchell: dog trainer, behaviorist–“Ask The Trainer” 6th Edition

    As we’ve done five times prior, today’s show involved setting aside the usual “Talking Animals” format in order to present the extended feature, “Ask The Trainer,” in which listeners are invited to call or email questions about their dogs or cats, particularly involving behavioral issues or training concerns.The Trainer these listeners have an opportunity to consult is Glen Hatchell, the Behavior and Enrichment Manager at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, who’s also an accomplished dog trainer and behavior expert, having held the Certified Professional Dog Trainer certification for many years. Glen is also a former WMNF programmer. In today’s edition, before taking a listener question, Glen addresses the concerning number of stray dogs wandering free, not only that turn up at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, but generally. He stressed the importance of microchipping your pets, noting this is a central way to determine if a “stray” actually has a home and an owner—and can quickly be returned to both. In a scenario where an animal has no chip, things are far more complicated, occasionally including the awful outcome where a chip-less animal, who does have a home, gets adopted out to a new home. Among the listener questions Glen fielded in this edition were ones from a dog sitter with a canine client who refuses to go upstairs, even though that’s where the sitter’s office and bedroom are located. In addition to Glen’s response, two listeners offered input on this situation…Another listener inquired about his 16-year-old Jack Russell’s “horrible breath,” noting his concern about having his senior dog undergo anesthesia for a teeth cleaning…in a case that might be labeled “The Cockapoo Family,” a woman called in, explaining she had been given a cockapoo by her daughter, who herself already had a cockapoo. However, when these two cockapoos got together, the younger/newer one clearly adores the older, original—but this manifested in grabbing and barking and so on (including reacting to a squirrel outside). How to mitigate this?…A guy called in about his five-year-old, so-called “scaredy dog”—not so much seeking assistance to make the pooch less frightened, but to help make the people less problematic in encountering this anxious animal…among others. (https://humanesocietytampa.org/, https://humanesocietytampa.org/adopt/training-resources/, https://www.instagram.com/humanesocietytampa/, https://www.facebook.com/humanesocietytampa/?fref=ts)
    COMEDY CORNER: There was no Comedy Corner today.
    MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals
    NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.
    AUDIO ARCHIVE:
    Listen Online Now: https://talkinganimals.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/TADec14Final.mp3 | Open Player in New Window

    Tom Mustill, author of “How To Speak Whale: A Voyage into the Future of Animal Communication”

    Tom Mustill, author of “How To Speak Whale: A Voyage into the Future of Animal Communication”

    Tom Mustill—biologist, filmmaker, and author, but forever primarily identified by a 2015 incident: while kayaking with a friend, when a humpback whale breached, landing on the pair—describes the ways this incident has affected him personally and professionally. It’s certainly has altered and consumed his thinking, spurring him to make a documentary a few years ago, “The Whale Detective,” investigating several facets of encounter–Mustill and I discussed that film in a Jan. 2020 “Talking Animals” interview. This clearly transformative experience additionally inspired him to write the recently-published book exploring the history and newest developments in whale science and animal communication, “How To Speak Whale: A Voyage into the Future of Animal Communication.” One bridge between the two projects, Mustill notes, is Artificial Intelligence (AI), which was utilized deep in the latter stages of working on the film (so it wasn’t depicted onscreen), and occupies an important part of the book, notably in the work of Aza Raskin and Britt Selvetelle, which he addressed in this conversation, highlighting their significant inroads in the field of animal communication. We wander onto the topic of anthropomorphism, the subject of considerable debate over the years on this show, and many other arenas, with a palpable shift amidst many scientists away from the dismissive stance. Mustill shares his own hypothesis on this topic, which seems very reasonable; we agree that a simple step toward resolution might be changing the term itself. He fields questions from callers and emailers, and concludes by answering my final query in a conversation about whales and animal communication: If you could talk to “your” whale, what would you ask? His response is eloquent and poetic. (https://www.tommustill.com/, https://www.instagram.com/tommustill/) [Photo: Sam Mansfield]

    ALSO: I spoke briefly with Doug Keeling, who was recently named the 2023 Pet Sitter of The Year by Pet Sitters International (PSI), considered the world’s largest educational association for professional pet-sitting and dog-walking business owners. Keeling discusses how he got into pet sitting (and dog walking, launching his company, Bad to the Bone Pet Care, based in Jacksonville, Florida, but with its service area extending into Eastern Tampa. He describes some of the services Bad to the Bone offers, and what he requires of his employees: multiple interviews, background check, extensive training, etc. Keeling also enthuses about his Pet Sitter of the Year award, how much the honor means, given the worldwide recognition, his longstanding PSI membership, and more.  https://badtothebonepetcare.com/,
    https://www.facebook.com/BadtotheBonePetCare/, https://www.instagram.com/badtothebonepetcare/
    COMEDY CORNER: Jim Gaffigan’s “Whales” (DS edit) (https://jimgaffigan.com/)
    MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals
    NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.
    AUDIO ARCHIVE:
    Listen Online Now: https://talkinganimals.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/TADec7Final.mp3 | Open Player in New Window

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5
22 Ratings

22 Ratings

FlamingAsh ,

Calling all Animal Luvers!

This podcast is for any and every animal lover out there!

Nuurdheere ,

Mr

Good app. It's nice

snipeyhead ,

Upbeat and informative

What I love about this podcast is the broad range of all-star guests and topics discussed. I'm no vegan or animal rights activist - just an animal lover and pet parent who likes to stay informed on current topics - but I always learn something when I listen to this show. And no matter how serious the topic might be, Duncan keeps it upbeat with music and comedy sketches that always bring me back to my younger days when things were more simple. Duncan's passion for animals and for reaching out to people really comes through in every episode. I'm so glad I found this one!

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