Dr. Peter Rork, co-founder of Dog Is My CoPilot

Dr. Peter Rork—a retired orthopedic surgeon and pilot who co-founded Dog Is My CoPilot, an organization that flys shelter animals to different parts of the country, boosting their prospects of being adopted—recalls his lifelong love of flying, taking his first lessons at age 12. Read more…

Dr. Ann Weaver, animal behaviorist and dolphin researcher

Dr. Ann Weaver—an animal behaviorist conducting a long-term study of bottlenose dolphins off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida—talks about the enormous array of species she has worked with directly or studied before landing on the dolphin study in 2005, driven by a lifelong passion to work with any animal she could. Read more…

Christophe Cox, co-founder and CEO of APOPO

Christophe Cox—co-founder and CEO of APOPO, a Tanzania-based nonprofit organization that trains African giant pouched rats to detect landmines and to detect tuberculosis—recounts the genesis of the organization, when co-founder Bart Weetjens began contemplating whether the rodents he kept as pets could be taught to find landmines, and drafted his friend, Cox, to help explore and realize this vision. Read more…

Annual Christmas Animal Song Special

This morning, I once again tabled the usual “Talking Animals” format to present my Annual Christmas Animal Song special—that is, a show entirely devoted to Holiday-oriented animal tunes. Once again, as we make no bones about in the opening of the program, to effectively pull off this conceit, I’m required to fashion the program with a liberal sprinkling of “Rudolph”-related songs, from Butch Walker’s somewhat boozy new take, from his recently-released (and aptly titled) collection, “Over The Holidays And Under The Influence” to Keith Richards’ classic fiery rendition, a must-include track. I also played some far less obvious nuggets and possible future classics, including Sia’s “Puppies Are Forever,” probably the best new Christmas song (especially in the “Talking Animals” realm) on probably this season’s best new Christmas album, the quirky, if wordy “Dominick, The Italian Christmas Donkey” by the also-wordy Vinnie Bonofici And His Italian American Band, Kacey Musgraves’ rendition of “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas,” EELS’ propulsive fave, “Christmas Is Going To The Dogs,” and a slice of Dirk Keysser’s novelty reading of “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” (it sounds like a brood of chickens singing). I took a brief break from playing cool yule songs to read what I call the Dorothy Strauss Christmas message, as I do every year. That message, whose author has always been unknown to me and my family—growing up, my Mom hung a poster of it each Christmas season—may have been written by Howard W. Hunter, according to a Google search conducted by an enterprising “Talking Animals” listener.

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Scott Hardy, co-founder of Hardy Hayes Refuge

Scott Hardy—co-founder of Hardy Hayes Refuge, a mom-and-pop rescue-rehab operation with sizable ambitions, and accomplishments to match—outlines his lifelong love of animals, describing a childhood where the insights gleaned from trying to treat a locust as a pet helped shape his sensibilities more than the family’s beloved beagle. Read more…