Dr. Vint Virga, veterinarian and animal behaviorist

Dr. Vint Virga—veterinarian, animal behaviorist and author of “The Soul of All Living Creatures: What Animals Can Teach Us About Being Human”—explains how the anti-zoo view he held earlier in his career evolved into seeing zoos in a more positive light. Vent-VirgaHe also assesses whether there’s been a parallel shift in the public perception of zoos, believing that it’s become a polarizing topic, with people either hating or loving them, and no one really holding a middle ground position. Virga discusses his consulting work at zoos helping animals overcome behavioral problems, feeling that all51Tx-aRdIAL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ animals—regardless of the caliber of the facility or exhibit—deserve whatever help he can offer, in something of a veterinary equivalent to the Hippocratic oath. Harking back to his days when he was a veterinarian at an emergency clinic, he recounts the story of treating Pongo, a flat-coated retriever hit by a truck and seemingly unlikely to survive, but through Virga’s touch and companionship, the dog rallied. This was a revelatory moment in Virga’s career path, spinning him toward transforming into an animal behaviorist. On a not unrelated note, he acknowledges that he’s a seeker, and that he has been since childhood. (www.vintvirga.com)

ALSO: We had a brief conversation with Marilyn Weaver, executive director of The League of Humane Voters, Florida chapter (LOHV-FL), with an eye toward Florida’s then-pending primary election day, Aug. 26. We discussed the mission of the LOHV-FL, the importance of voting for animal-friendly legislators in any election and at the at least equal importance of doing so in primaries, and examine the animal welfare voting records of a few politicians, including those endorsed—and not endorsed—by the LOHV-FL. (http://lohv-fl.org)

COMEDY CORNER: Ron White’s “Killer Whale”   (http://tatersalad.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Lake Street Dive’s “Rabid Animal,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Genesis’ “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway”

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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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