13 episodes

In today’s society, animals are so much more than simply “pets”. Many consider their animal to be their very best friend, their constant companion, helping them navigate the world when life gets tough. Animals are now members of the family, who have birthday parties, argyle sweaters, and a stocking with their name embroidered, which is hung by the fireplace during the holidays. In some cases, animals may even be considered soulmates. And while the deep connection between people and animals is undeniable, the immense grief associated with losing a furry best friend, a feathered family member, or an animal soulmate is rarely discussed. 

Dr. Abbie Viscardi, an animal welfare scientist, had an animal soulmate. She came in the form of a black lab named Amira. When Dr. Abbie lost her beloved dog after 13.5 years together, she was broken, and found minimal institutional and social support for pet parents suffering such a profound loss. Why is losing an animal soulmate viewed so differently from losing a human soulmate? Why are people not able to grieve the loss of a pet the way they are able to grieve the loss of a family member? How do other pet parents feel about their animals and can these stories bring awareness to the impact animals have on people, in life and in death? 

In this podcast, Dr. Abbie chats with scientists, veterinarians, and fellow pet parents, to honour the stories of their animal soulmates and to uncover the true power of the human-animal bond!

Animal Soulmates Abbie Viscardi

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 5 Ratings

In today’s society, animals are so much more than simply “pets”. Many consider their animal to be their very best friend, their constant companion, helping them navigate the world when life gets tough. Animals are now members of the family, who have birthday parties, argyle sweaters, and a stocking with their name embroidered, which is hung by the fireplace during the holidays. In some cases, animals may even be considered soulmates. And while the deep connection between people and animals is undeniable, the immense grief associated with losing a furry best friend, a feathered family member, or an animal soulmate is rarely discussed. 

Dr. Abbie Viscardi, an animal welfare scientist, had an animal soulmate. She came in the form of a black lab named Amira. When Dr. Abbie lost her beloved dog after 13.5 years together, she was broken, and found minimal institutional and social support for pet parents suffering such a profound loss. Why is losing an animal soulmate viewed so differently from losing a human soulmate? Why are people not able to grieve the loss of a pet the way they are able to grieve the loss of a family member? How do other pet parents feel about their animals and can these stories bring awareness to the impact animals have on people, in life and in death? 

In this podcast, Dr. Abbie chats with scientists, veterinarians, and fellow pet parents, to honour the stories of their animal soulmates and to uncover the true power of the human-animal bond!

    A Police K9 named Radar

    A Police K9 named Radar

    In this episode, I chat with Eamon O’Reilly, a Sergeant at the Washington County Oregon Sheriff’s Office, about his K9 partner Radar. Radar, a very handsome 9-year old malinois, has been working with Sgt O’Reilly in patrol and specializes in suspect tracking and apprehension, as well as building clearance. We chat about how Sgt O’Reilly started with the K9 unit, what is involved with training a police dog, and what it’s been like having Radar as a partner during his career. We explore the difference in bond with a working dog vs. a companion dog and discuss how dogs purpose-bred for police work may not be well-suited to life as a family pet. Of course, we also chat about Radar’s Instagram fame and his cast-iron stomach! 


    Links:
    Follow @deputy_dog_radar on Instagram!


    Contact us
    Podcast Instagram and TikTok: @animalsoulmatespod 
    Podcast email: animalsoulmatespod@outlook.com 


    Credits
    Host & Executive Producer: Dr. Abbie Viscardi
    Production Team: Citizens of Sound, https://www.citizensofsound.com/ 

    • 1 hr 14 min
    A Lab mix named Freya

    A Lab mix named Freya

    In this episode, I chat with Krystal Hise about the love of her life, Freya. Freya is a beautiful, water-obsessed lab mix, who loves a good sniff-walk. Recently, she went through a cancer diagnosis, which required major surgery and six rounds of chemo to treat. We hear about how Krystal and her husband, Trevor, handled this news and how they’ve intentionally kept Freya front and center in every decision they’ve had to make along the way. Outside of being a devoted dog mom, Krystal is a pet portrait artist who also runs a blog, featuring entries that chronicle Freya’s cancer journey and describe what it means to have a Heart Dog. We chat about how Krystal honours this beautiful bond with her Heart Dog, and how Freya continues to inspire every part of Krystal’s life.


    Links:
    ASPCA National Pet Loss Hotline (24 hour support): 1-877-474-3310 
    Shelter Dog Breed Identification paper
    Gunter LM, Barber RT, and Wynne CDL. 2018. A canine identity crisis: Genetic breed heritage testing of shelter dogs. PLoS ONE 13(8): e0202633. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0202633.

    Link to purchase Krystal’s book on Amazon: Heart Dog Guided Journal
    These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)
    Michael Bublé: Apple Music & YouTubeSeth MacFarlane: Apple Music & YouTube

    Guest Info:
    Instagram: @krystalhiseportraits
    Website: https://krystalhise.com/ 


    Contact us:
    Podcast Instagram and TikTok: @animalsoulmatespod 
    Podcast email: animalsoulmatespod@outlook.com 


    Credits:
    Host & Executive Producer: Dr. Abbie Viscardi
    Production Team: Citizens of Sound, https://www.citizensofsound.com/ 

    • 1 hr 22 min
    A Husky mix named Rana

    A Husky mix named Rana

    In this episode, I chat with Dr. Karen Fine, a holistic veterinarian and author of The Other Family Doctor: A Veterinarian Explores What Animals Can Teach Us About Love, Life, And Mortality. We hear the story of Rana (pronounced “Ron-a”), a stray puppy who was brought to Dr. Fine’s clinic in need of medical care. When Dr. Fine met Rana, she knew with absolute certainty that this sweet girl was meant to be in her life. Over the next few years, Rana proved to be a free-spirit who lived her life to the fullest, spending her days swimming and chasing her tail. Even when faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis at 4 years old, Rana remained care-free and joyous. She changed the way Dr. Fine practices veterinary medicine and demonstrates the deep, unconditional love of the human-animal bond.


    Links: Content warning: this episode deals with pet loss, which may be difficult for some listeners. 


    ASPCA National Pet Loss Hotline (24 hour support): 1-877-474-3310 


    Homemade meal recipes for dogs and cats: https://balance.it/. Always consult with a veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet. 


    Link to purchase Dr. Karen Fine’s book on Amazon: The Other Family Doctor


    Guest Info
    Instagram: @karenfinedvm 
    Website: https://karenfinedvm.com/  


    Contact us
    Podcast Instagram and TikTok: @animalsoulmatespod 
    Podcast email: animalsoulmatespod@outlook.com 


    Credits
    Host & Executive Producer: Dr. Abbie Viscardi
    Production Team: Citizens of Sound, https://www.citizensofsound.com/ 

    • 1 hr 20 min
    A Pig Rescuer in Kansas City, Part 2

    A Pig Rescuer in Kansas City, Part 2

    In this episode, I continue my chat with Kayli Houk, the current President and co-founder of the Kansas City Pig Rescue Network. We hear about some of the challenges associated with pig rescue and how this work has impacted Kayli’s view of humanity. Kayli also shares what you can do if you would like to help rescue pigs. And of course, we continue to gush about how incredible pigs are! I promise I’m only a little obsessed and definitely don’t own a “Future Pig Mom” shirt.


    Links: 


    ASPCA National Pet Loss Hotline (24 hour support): 1-877-474-3310 


    Protect. Advocate. Educate.
    Donate to the KC Pig Rescue Network: https://www.kcpigrescuenetwork.org/ 
    Follow the KC Pig Rescue Network on Instagram and TikTok: @KCpigrescuenetwork


    Contact us
    Podcast Instagram and TikTok: @animalsoulmatespod 
    Podcast email: animalsoulmatespod@outlook.com 


    Credits
    Host & Executive Producer: Dr. Abbie Viscardi
    Production Team: Citizens of Sound, https://www.citizensofsound.com/ 

    • 52 min
    A Pig Rescuer in Kansas City, Part 1

    A Pig Rescuer in Kansas City, Part 1

    In this episode, I chat with the current President and co-founder of the Kansas City Pig Rescue Network (KCPRN): Kayli Houk. Through the KCPRN, Kayli and her team have rescued and rehabilitated more than 500 pigs since 2017, many of which have since found loving homes. We chat about the resiliency and emotional capacity of these amazing animals and how deeply bonded pigs can become with their people. Kayli’s dedication to protecting and advocating for a species that is so often forgotten is truly inspiring. I hope this episode provides a unique opportunity for you to see a different side of pigs and gain a greater appreciation for my favourite sassy animals!


    Links: 
    ASPCA National Pet Loss Hotline (24 hour support): 1-877-474-3310 
    Thinking Pigs: Cognition, Emotion, and Personality
    Protect. Advocate. Educate.
    Donate to the KC Pig Rescue Network: https://www.kcpigrescuenetwork.org/ 
    Follow the KC Pig Rescue Network on Instagram and TikTok: @KCpigrescuenetwork


    Contact us
    Podcast Instagram and TikTok: @animalsoulmatespod 
    Podcast email: animalsoulmatespod@outlook.com 


    Credits
    Host & Executive Producer: Dr. Abbie Viscardi
    Production Team: Citizens of Sound, https://www.citizensofsound.com/ 

    • 1 hr 13 min
    An Author of a Book on Loving and Losing Pets with E.B. Bartels

    An Author of a Book on Loving and Losing Pets with E.B. Bartels

    In this episode, I chat with E.B. Bartels, a nonfiction writer and author of Good Grief: On Loving Pets Here and Hereafter. Growing up, E.B. had animals of all shapes and sizes, from fish to birds to two Cairn terriers. In her book, she candidly speaks about the life and loss of each one and the lessons they taught her. We chat about different types of grief, including that associated with ambiguous loss, and mourning “the time we were supposed to have together”. We also hear about what it’s like visiting a pet cemetery in Japan and our modern day connection with pets on social media.


    Links: Content warning: this episode deals with pet loss, which may be difficult for some listeners. 


    ASPCA National Pet Loss Hotline (24 hour support): 1-877-474-3310 
    Tufts Pet Loss Support Hotline (Monday through Thursday: 6:00-9:00pm EST; 24-hour voicemail): (508) 839-7966


    Link to purchase E.B. Bartels’s book on Amazon: Good Grief: On Loving Pets Here and Hereafter 


    Guest info:
    Instagram: @goodgriefpetsbook
    Website: https://www.ebbartels.com/ 

    Contact us:
    Podcast Instagram and TikTok: @animalsoulmatespod 
    Podcast email: animalsoulmatespod@outlook.com 


    Credits:
    Host & Executive Producer: Dr. Abbie Viscardi
    Production Team: Citizens of Sound, https://www.citizensofsound.com/ 

    • 1 hr 11 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

Fallen Angels: A Story of California Corruption
iHeartPodcasts
This American Life
This American Life
Stuff You Should Know
iHeartPodcasts
The Viall Files
Nick Viall
Shawn Ryan Show
Shawn Ryan | Cumulus Podcast Network
The Ezra Klein Show
New York Times Opinion

You Might Also Like