Vicki Kilmer, Best Friends Animal Society


Vicki Kilmer—Director of Brand Management & Business Intelligence for Best Friends Animal Society, which operates the nation’s largest sanctuary for abused and abandoned animals—outlines a bit of Best Friends’ history and mission.Best-Friends-Animal-SocietyAs part of that summary, she touches on Best Friends taking in some of the Michael Vick dogs and the BestFriendsWelcome-sm“DogTown” TV series produced there for the National Geographic Channel. She explains various aspects of the forthcoming No More Homeless Pets Conference, the national symposium Best Friends has organized annually since 2001, but for the first time will be held in Jacksonville, FL Oct. 10-13. Discussing some of the workshops planned for the Conference and its overall objectives became a jumping off point for Kilmer addressing an array of topics, including how “no kill” can be a tricky and polarizing concept in certain communities (and within that, how to handle feral cats can prove particularly thorny), some of the philosophical and semantic obstacles involved—all while noting that Jacksonville, FL, where she lives, has achieved tremendous inroads in these realms in a relatively short time, establishing it as something of a national model. Some of this conversation dovetailed with acknowledging “Save Them All,” Best Friends’ recently launched initiative, which seeks through multiple measures to decrease the population in shelters, reduce the number of killings there, and raise awareness of both the plight and the initiative itself. (,,


ALSO: We spoke briefly with Mary LaHay, founder and president of Iowa Friends of Companion Animals, who in early October will be delivering a presentation entitled “Puppy Mills: From Iowa To Florida,” at three locations in the greater Tampa Bay area.  (

COMEDY CORNER: Jim Gaffigan’s “Whales (part one)”  (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Iron & Wine’s “Serpent Charmer,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  Steely Dan’s “Black Cow”


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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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