Why Do Pets Matter? Hosted by Debra Hamilton, Esq.
Temple Grandin - World Renowned Advocate for Animals and People With Autism on “Why Do Pets Matter? with Debra Hamilton#153

Temple Grandin - World Renowned Advocate for Animals and People With Autism on “Why Do Pets Matter? with Debra Hamilton#153

September 24, 2020

I can't even begin to tell you how excited and honored I am to be sharing this next podcast interview with you.

My good friend, Dr. Temple Grandin is known worldwide for her trailblazing work as a spokesperson for people with autism and her lifelong work with animal behavior.

Temple is truly a living legend. She is a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and is considered one of the world’s renowned experts in two fields: animal welfare and autism. Few people ever achieve her level of expertise and fame in one area, much less two.

She also wrote the foreword to my best-selling book, "Nipped in the Bud, Not in the Butt: How to Use Mediation to Resolve Conflicts over Animals"

Today Temple is sharing some profound insight about what's going to happen to the dogs (and other pets) that were adopted during the COVID pandemic once that's over and we return to "life and business as usual". 

She also talks about how she has been able to continue teaching many of her classes online and what hasn't worked well with online education. She gives some really important tips that will help enhance any educational experience.

We also talk about how pets matter to people on the autism spectrum, issues when someone is flying with emotional support animals and service animals.


More About Temple Grandin

Dr. Grandin is a designer of livestock handling facilities and a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. Facilities she has designed are located in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. In North America, almost half of the cattle are handled in a center track restrainer system that she designed for meat plants. Curved chute and race systems she has designed for cattle are used worldwide and her writings on the flight zone and other principles of grazing animal behavior have helped many people to reduce stress on their animals during handling.

She has also developed an objective scoring system for assessing the handling of cattle and pigs at meat plants. This scoring system is being used by many large corporations to improve animal welfare. Other areas of research are: cattle temperament, environmental enrichment for pigs, reducing dark cutters and bruises, bull fertility, training procedures, and effective stunning methods for cattle and pigs at meat plants.

She obtained her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College and her M.S. in Animal Science at Arizona State University. Dr. Grandin received her Ph.D in Animal Science from the University of Illinois in 1989. 

Today she teaches courses on livestock behavior and facility design at Colorado State University and consults with the livestock industry on facility design, livestock handling, and animal welfare. 

She has appeared on television shows such as 20/20, 48 Hours, CNN Larry King Live, PrimeTime Live, 60 Minutes, the Today Show, and many shows in other countries. She has been featured in People Magazine, the New York Times, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Time Magazine, the New York Times book review, and Discover magazine. 

In 2010, Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people. Interviews with Dr. Grandin have been broadcast on National Public Radio and she has a 2010 TED Lecture titled "The World Needs ALL Kinds of Minds." She has also authored over 400 articles in both scientific journals and livestock periodicals on animal handling, welfare, and facility design.

She is the author of "Thinking in Pictures", "Livestock Handling and Transport," "Genetics and the Behavior of Domestic Animals," "Guide to Working with Farm Animals," and "Humane Livestock Handling."

Her books "Animals in Translation" and "Animals Make Us Human" were both on the New York Times bestseller list. "Animals Make Us Human" was also on the Canadian bestseller list. Her latest book, "Calling All Minds", was a New York Times bestseller for middle school students. 

Her life story has also been made into an HBO movie titled "Temple Grandin", starring Claire Danes," which won seven Emmy awards and a Golden Globe. The movie shows her life as a teenager and how she started her career. 

In 2017, she was inducted into The Women's Hall of Fame and in 2018 made a fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

You can learn more about Temple Grandin on her websites:


And, you can connect with her:



Thomas Nicholl Esq.  - “The Impact of COVID on Race Horses” on Why do Pets Matter? with Debra Hamilton #152

Thomas Nicholl Esq. - “The Impact of COVID on Race Horses” on Why do Pets Matter? with Debra Hamilton #152

September 17, 2020

Thomas Nicholl is both an attorney and a veterinarian.

As a former practicing veterinarian who is thoroughly familiar with all aspects of the horse industry -- racing, breeding, show, endurance, hunter-jumper, dressage, cutting, driving, pleasure horses and companion animals -- he has amazing insight into the huge impact COVID is having on the racing industry and the health and well-being of the horses themselves. And, that's what we're talking about during this episode of "Why Do Pets Matter?"

More About Thomas Nicholl, Esq.

The choice of an attorney is a very important one. As a lawyer who is also a veterinarian, Dr. Nicholl is especially qualified to help you with animal legal issues and medical law issues. 

He is a former State of Florida Prosecutor with extensive trial experience, and is licensed with the Florida Bar Association and also a Veterinarian in Florida as well as being a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association. 

Find out more here: https://thomasnicholllawfirm.com/


Barbara Gislason - Animal Law Pioneer and The Soul of Animals on “Why Do Pets Matter?” #151

Barbara Gislason - Animal Law Pioneer and The Soul of Animals on “Why Do Pets Matter?” #151

September 10, 2020

Barbara Gislason is a true pioneer in the area of pet law. She is the one who put it on the books as a practice area first in Minnesota and then has gone on to create international awareness and programs advocating for animals and their welfare.

During this episode of "why Do Pets Matter?" we talk about her life long passion and advocacy for animals, how a trip down the Yangtze River in China and "the silent spring" changed the direction her practice would take, and the resistance and challenges she encountered when first introducing animal law as a practice area in Minnesota. 

About Barbara Gislason 

Barbara J. Gislason is recognized nationwide and globally as an animal law pioneer and visionary. Her groundbreaking work has included the creation of animal law committees in both national and state lawyer bar associations, and the drafting and passing of laws, model laws, and guidelines pertaining to animals.

Following Hurricane Katrina, Barbara founded and led the American Bar Association (ABA) Animal Disaster Relief Network, which included participants from more than 70 nonprofits, law schools, and businesses. She wrote regularly published reports and created and convened the ABA-TIPS Select Legal Panel on Emergency Management Regarding Animals.

You can learn more about Barbara on her website:


You can get her ground-breaking book on Amazon, "Pet Law and Custody: Establishing a Worthy and Equitable Jurisprudence for the Evolving Family"


Dr. Nadine Hamilton - - Stress and Burnout As A Veterinarian During COVID on Why Do Pets Matter? #150

Dr. Nadine Hamilton - - Stress and Burnout As A Veterinarian During COVID on Why Do Pets Matter? #150

September 3, 2020

Dr. Nadine Hamilton from Australia returns to "Why Do Pets Matter?" this week. COVID has created tremendous stress and challenges for veterinarians world-wide. 

Nadine talks about how Australian veterinarians are coping with the pressure while providing excellent levels of care for their furry patients and their loving human owners.

Burnout, split shifts, super long hours, and less than ideal working conditions are some of the biggest factors affecting vets. However, it seems that some vets are actually enjoying the contact-less interactions because their exposure to highly charged emotional clients is limited. 

Vets are constantly faced with having difficult communications with clients, resulting in highly charged emotional (and legal) situations that many are simply not equipped to deal with.

One way veterinarians can help themselves to better cope with stress and depression is to seek help from mental health professionals outside of the veterinary world. 


More About Dr. Nadine Hamilton

Dr. Hamilton is the author of the popular book "Coping with Stress & Burnout as a Veterinarian." Animal lovers of all kinds will appreciate this insight into the heart of a veterinarian. It is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Coping-Stress-Burnout-Veterinarian-Evidence-Based/dp/1925644197/

Nadine is a veterinary-friendly psychologist and founder of the charity Love Your Pet Love Your Vet: https://www.loveyourpetloveyourvet.com.au/

She has spent over 15 years in her specialty psychology practice working with thousands of stressed vets as well as consulting to industry associations, practice managers, and owners to increase wellbeing, productivity, and retention in the workplace.

You can listen to Nadine's first podcast on "Why Do Pets Matter?" right here: https://whydopetsmatter.podbean.com/e/112-dr-nadine-hamilton/

Raj Reddy - - Exploring The Very Complex and Deep Emotional Lives of Animals on “Why Do Pets Matter?” hosted by Debra Hamilton  #149

Raj Reddy - - Exploring The Very Complex and Deep Emotional Lives of Animals on “Why Do Pets Matter?” hosted by Debra Hamilton #149

August 27, 2020

Animals have very complex and deep emotional lives that we humans are just beginning to understand.

Raj Reddy, director of the Animal Law LL.M. Program at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, OR shares some profound insights into what our animals are feeling now that we've actually been spending more time than ever with them at home during COVID. We touch on what we need to do to prepare them and ourselves for when things transition and we're not spending as much time at home as we are now. 

We also had the opportunity to have a fascinating conversation about the incredible work he is doing on a global level to help foster awareness, educate, and facilitate change for the protection of all animals.


About Raj Reddy

Dr. Rajesh K. Reddy directs the Animal Law LL.M. Program at the Center for Animal Law Studies at Lewis & Clark Law School, where he teaches Animal Law Fundamentals, Animal Legal Philosophy, Comparative International Animal Law, Introduction to Animal Legal Studies, and the program’s Animal Law LL.M. Seminars.

Raj also serves on Lewis & Clark’s tri-campus Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and as a campus Sexual Assault Resource Advocate. Outside of Lewis & Clark, he chairs the Animal Law Section of the Oregon State Bar and the International Issues Subcommittee of the Animal Law Committee of the American Bar Association. He currently sits on the boards of Minding Animals InternationalHumane Voters Oregon, and the diversity, equity, and inclusion nonprofit Encompass.

Prior to joining the Center for Animal Law Studies, Raj earned his J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School and his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, where his dissertation scrutinized the representation of human and nonhuman animals in postcolonial literature and discourse.

He has recently served as Co-Editor in Chief of the Animal Law Review and Co-Director of Lewis & Clark’s Animal Legal Defense Fund Student Chapter. He has advanced human and nonhuman animal legal efforts as part of his work for multiple nonprofits, including the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program and the Human Rights Law Network in New Delhi, India.

He is the author of the forthcoming casebook entitled International Animal Law and Policy: Cases and Materials.

Karis Nafte - The Pet Custody Consultant on”Why Do Pets Matter?” with Debra Hamilton Podcast #148

Karis Nafte - The Pet Custody Consultant on”Why Do Pets Matter?” with Debra Hamilton Podcast #148

August 20, 2020

Divorce is often confusing, frustrating, and acrimonious. It's hard to figure out how to move forward when you never planned for life without your spouse. Too often divorcing couples weaponize pet custody. Unfortunately, they don't realize that their pets don't hate their ex and forget to consider what kind of custody situation would be in the best interest of their animals.

Karis has masterfully combined her expertise with animal behavior and deep understanding of human behavior to help separating couples make good choices for themselves and their animals. 

About Karis Nafte:

Animals are not possessions, nor are they children. They fall into their own unique category that requires a delicate and considered approach when it comes to the issue of custody. For couples who are divorcing and have pets, Karis provides a specialized service offering expert guidance about custody decisions for their dogs, cats and other companion animals.

Karis brings twenty-five years of experience as a professional animal behaviorist,  she provides a neutral, supportive position between the separating couple while keeping the animal's perspective in the forefront. Even for couples who are working amicably through their divorce, the emotional component surrounding beloved pets can complicate what is an inevitably difficult time. 

To learn more about Karis and the work she does, please visit https://KarisNafte.com

You can also find her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karisnafte/

Diane Eigner “Cat Whispurrr” on Why Do Pets Matter? with Debra Hamilton Podcast #147

Diane Eigner “Cat Whispurrr” on Why Do Pets Matter? with Debra Hamilton Podcast #147

August 13, 2020

Diane Eigner talks openly about how "a piece of her heart belongs to each of the cats and dogs who've crossed her path". She provides compassionate hospice and end of life care to felines in Ocean County, NJ. Diane is deeply committed to helping cat owners be at peace with the decisions they need to make for their pet's transition when the time comes.

About Diane Eigner, DVM

In 2015 when Diane was getting ready to sell her urban feline practice after 33 years of feline practice ownership, her Velvet was diagnosed with chronic and relapsing pancreatitis and kidney failure. Diane provided Velvet with hospice care in her home and was able to keep Velvet comfortable for almost a year.

After Velvet's passing, Diane decided she needed to give the gift of hospice care and home euthanasia to other cat owners, so she decided to launch an end of life practice at the Jersey Shore just for cats who live in Ocean County.

For more info go to: http://thecatwhispurrr.com/

Jeremy Cohen, Esq. “Dedicated To Defending Companion Animals” on Why Do Pets Matter? with Debra Hamilton #146

Jeremy Cohen, Esq. “Dedicated To Defending Companion Animals” on Why Do Pets Matter? with Debra Hamilton #146

August 6, 2020

Jeremy Cohen, Esq. "Dedicated To Defending Companion Animals" on Why Do Pets Matter? with Debra Vey Voda-Hamilton, Esq.

During this candid conversation, Jeremy talks about how his legal work helps animals, their owners, and their veterinarians, feel valued and understood by talking to one another first -- often eliminating the need for litigation.

A lawyer for nearly 20 years, Jeremy Cohen has been handling cases for dog owners since 2008. By opening Boston Dog Lawyers in 2015 he is growing a law practice specializing in representing dog owners and pet owners.

Prior to working for animals, Attorney Cohen worked in the insurance industry. He rose from a claims adjuster to manager of global claims on behalf of The General Electric Company. He founded a general practice law firm in 2007 and sold it in 2014 so he could focus on defending companion animals.

While he still handles some civil litigation outside of pets, each day his practice becomes more and more about what he loves to do.

You can learn more at his website: https://www.bostondoglawyers.com/index.html

Melissa Supernor on Why Do Pets Matter? with Debra Hamilton Podcast #145

Melissa Supernor on Why Do Pets Matter? with Debra Hamilton Podcast #145

July 30, 2020

Do you love cats? Yes? You're in for a real treat!

During this episode of "Why Do Pets Matter?" Debra has a powerful conversation with Melissa Supernor about how her pets -- 4 calico cats -- are helping her staying sane during these challenging times. Melissa also shares some wonderful insights into the nature of calicos -- the "red-heads" of the feline world!


Plus Melissa talks about what makes a veterinary practice extraordinary and how much better everyone is served when veterinary teams are engaged with their clients -- and vice versa! 


More About Melissa Supernor


Melissa J. Supernor is founder and president of Educational Advocate for the Veterinary Team (EdAVT). You can learn more on her website: https://www.edavtheals.com/about

Ian Hale, PhD “Life with Cats and Autism” on Why Do Pets Matter? with Debra Hamilton #144

Ian Hale, PhD “Life with Cats and Autism” on Why Do Pets Matter? with Debra Hamilton #144

July 23, 2020

Dr. Ian Hale, an Author, Speaker, Poet, Consultant, Autism Advocate, and cat lover is from the historic City and County of Bristol, England.

During our conversation, Ian talks about life with his many cats -- he has four -- how the absolutely delight him and how they have taught him some of his greatest life lessons.


He is a member of British Mensa, the Accademia Costantiniana and a graduate of Portsmouth, Bristol, and Bath Spa Universities. His professional background is further and higher education, special education needs, organization and genetics.


Being from a family with a history of Autism meant it has always been a part of his “normal” life and brings a radical new voice to its understanding and implication while lending a uniquely powerful and sharply different perspective to assessing and providing a high quality of educational and life experience for affected people, whether children, adults in the workplace or seniors- each group has their own particular viewpoint and needs. Autism is for life-and is seldom understood that way by society.


A highly professional and experienced Teacher, Research Academic and Counsellor, with broad Learning Disability skills. Able to both design and administer a wide range of courses in an effective and flexible manner, while utilizing them in a learning environment.

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