Bronwen Dickey, author of “Pit Bull: The Battle Over An American Icon”

Bronwen Dickey—author of “Pit Bull: The Battle Over An American Icon”— shares, in response to my observation about the already-lauded breadth and depth of the book (which had only come out the day before), how discoveries of notable information she made during the research phase spurred an unexpected, dramatic widening of her fact-finding process.41sUKYE3jIL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_ She also recounts that, as a journalist, she had become interested in exploring the realm of the pit bull—including how the dogs became so demonized—before spending time with Nola, the pit she and her husband adopted, but living with and observing Nola galvanized her fascination. Emblematic of some of the very issues that make identifying pit bull dogs murky and difficult, Dickey recalls that she had Nola DNA tested and the results suggested the dog was not quite the pit she seemed, including being one quarter Australian Shepherd. Dickey addresses some of the significant revelations in “Pit Bull,” among them, the more profound role that race has played in the story of the pit bull, especially placed within a 4b6a8867historical framework. Reacting to my comments that we learn from the book that the history of the pit bull reflects a number of cycles, wherein pit bulls are embraced and loved, then villianized, then viewed quite warmly, then demonized again, Dickey notes that she was surprised by this, and believes we’re on the cusp of another pro-pit bull phase. She also responds to portions of the stream of anti-pit bull email comments and questions that poured into the studio. Dickey discusses the influence her father, James Dickey—the late poet and novelist, perhaps best known for writing “Deliverance”—had on her work ethic and approach to writing, while pointing out she initially figured she would not become a writer, given the large shadow cast by her dad’s literary stature. If I may, I’d like to suggest Dad would be proud: “Pit Bull” is a towering journalistic achievement of shoe-leather reporting, dogged (sorry) research and eloquent writing. (,

logo-2ALSO: I was scheduled to speak briefly with Linda Hamilton, Executive Director of Animal Coalition of Tampa (ACT), in advance of ACT’s 9th Annual Spay-ghetti Dinner & Anniversary Fundraiser, slated for May 14—she was unavailable for the interview, but I was able to announce the news that the event’s emcee would be WMNF’s fabulous Flee (Lee Courtney)  (

COMEDY CORNER: Bill Burr’s “Pit Bull” (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

 NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves In London”


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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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