Why Do Pets Matter? Hosted by Debra Hamilton, Esq.
Dr. Stacee Santi - The CSI of Animals - on “Why Do Pets Matter? hosted by Debra Hamilton #162

Dr. Stacee Santi - The CSI of Animals - on “Why Do Pets Matter? hosted by Debra Hamilton #162

February 4, 2021

Is it possible for veterinarians and their clients to improve how they communicate to help the animals they love and care for live their best lives? 

This week's "Why Do Pets Matter?" special guest thinks so.

Dr. Stacee Santi is an extraordinary veterinarian who believes in honesty, integrity, and transparency. And, for her, it all starts with diligent communication between the veterinarian and pet owner. 

She is the creator of Vet2Pet, a client engagement platform, designed to help practices connect at a deeper level with clients, bonding them to the practice and helping veterinarians provide the most exceptional care to their patients.


You can learn more about Stacee and the Vet2Pet App on her website:


Or connect with her on:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/vet2petapps/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Vet2PetApps

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vet2petapps/

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/company/vet2pet

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG6slgeFG6fokHQhI7D6j6g

Mindy Dutka - Professional Dog Photographer - Every Dog Has A Tale To Tell on “Why Do Pets Matter? hosted by Debra Hamilton #161

Mindy Dutka - Professional Dog Photographer - Every Dog Has A Tale To Tell on “Why Do Pets Matter? hosted by Debra Hamilton #161

January 28, 2021

Today Mindy Dutka from Dogs I Meet is our special guest today! Mindy is a professional photographer based in Boston who helps people take pictures of their dogs for posterity. She also takes pictures of dogs at rescues and shelters so they are more adoptable.

Photography had always piqued her curiosity. The way a picture preserves memory and a single snapshot can tell a story. As a New Yorker, she'd become obsessed with Humans of New York, and had an idea that she could do something similar for dogs.

She decided to travel streets around the world with her camera. And, she made it her mission to capture dog tales, moment by moment, one photograph at a time.

Over the past couple of years, she's documented daily life inside animal shelters and clinics – from Boston to Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Mindy believes in giving back and spends time with rescue organizations all around the world photographing adoption and rescue shelters and veterinary clinics.

You can learn more about Mindy on her website:

Or connect with her on:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/dogsimeet

Instagram: https://instagram.com/dogsimeet

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/dogsimeet

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/mindy-dutka-316b09181/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyARV1QJ0JEI524fos0Mw1A/

Dr. Randall Lockwood, Ph.D. - Understanding The Benefits and Risks of Animals to Humans on “Why Do Pets Matter?” with Debra Hamilton #160

Dr. Randall Lockwood, Ph.D. - Understanding The Benefits and Risks of Animals to Humans on “Why Do Pets Matter?” with Debra Hamilton #160

January 21, 2021

Dr. Randall Lockwood is an internationally recognized expert on the connection between animal cruelty and human violence. 

He currently consults with the ASPCA about policy, response, and engagement regarding animal abuse since he retired from his position as Senior Vice-President with them. 

During this incredibly educational conversation, Randall and I talk about how pets benefit people, public health surrounding pets, and why people harm animals.

We all know that while the pandemic has created a huge spike in pet adoptions -- a very good thing for both the people and pets, it has also been hard on a lot of people, both in terms of their resources and their mental health.

When people are stressed or angry and they're always at home, that anger can be taken out on an animal, or a spouse, or even a child. Family pets are often ‘part of the domestic abuse cycle’ and there has been an increase in that since COVID hit the scene.

Randall has done a lot of work with police agencies on issues related to dog shootings.

Police departments throughout the country need to develop better training so officers can more accurately assess which dogs are life-threatening and dangerous and which are not.

Most officers just aren't adequately trained to quickly and correctly assess the risks a dog poses and determine how to best handle the situation.

Frequently, shooting a dog is a knee-jerk reaction by an officer not familiar with dogs. And, as police officers receive better training, the number of shootings is declining.


Vivian Leven: Understanding Relationships and Animal Behavior on “Why Do Pets Matter?” with Debra Hamilton #159

Vivian Leven: Understanding Relationships and Animal Behavior on “Why Do Pets Matter?” with Debra Hamilton #159

January 14, 2021

Vivian's passion in life is helping people make real, compassionate connections with the animals in their lives so that both of you are living your best life with one another.

Today she's sharing lots of great tips about living happily and positively with your animal(s) and how to better understand and develop the relationship you and your pet have through observing, decoding, and guiding their behavior and yours.

She has been a dog behavior consultant for 18 years. In 2003 she earned her master's degree in conflict resolution from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. 

Since then she has worked in the field of animal welfare policy and research at the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington, D.C. and she has also volunteered with the rehabilitation of dogs with problem behaviors in the canine rescue community.

In 2010 she took on a full-time position to develop and manage the training department at Fur-Get Me Not in Arlington, VA, creating all the behavior specialty classes, she held this position for 8 years.

In 2018 she co-founded "Positive Dog Solutions" -- a company created to help build strong and healthy relationships between people, their dogs, and the community in which they live, using scientifically proven, practical, and humane methods.  

Vivian also mediates custody cases at the Multi-Door dispute resolution division at DC Courts and is a volunteer mediator with Community Mediation DC.

You can learn more about the marvelous work Vivan does at:

And, you can connect with Vivian here:



Jeff Davis Founder of My Pet Credentials on “Why Do Pets Matter?” with Debra Hamilton #158

Jeff Davis Founder of My Pet Credentials on “Why Do Pets Matter?” with Debra Hamilton #158

October 29, 2020

Jeff Davis, owner of a successful pet services business in Houston, TX and founder of "My Pet Credentials" (MPC) is talking to us today about an online tool he created that will help you keep your pet's information up to date and accessible 24 hours a day  -- no matter where you are.

The MPC app allows you to create multiple pet profiles and you can add all of your veterinarian's information, vaccination and other records, your pet's health history, dietary requirements, medications, special needs, grooming preferences, emergency, and other contact numbers, as well as microchip and registration numbers.

It also helps you manage all of your pet's appointments and vaccination reminders. 

Pet Owners and pet professionals, including veterinarians, animal hospitals, shelters, pet salons, and trainers can upload and share pet records and vaccinations safely and securely.

You can learn more about this fantastic app at:


And you can connect with Jeff on Facebook at:


Sheila Goffe - Why Emotional Support, Therapy and Service Dogs Matter on “Why Do Pets Matter?” with Debra Hamilton #157

Sheila Goffe - Why Emotional Support, Therapy and Service Dogs Matter on “Why Do Pets Matter?” with Debra Hamilton #157

October 22, 2020

Sheila Goffe, VP of Government Relations of the American Kennel Club (AKC) joins us on "Why Do Pets Matter?" to discuss the importance, capabilities and credentialing of service animals.

Our dog breeds are a reflection of how humans have evolved. Dogs are very special because they are dogs -- many of them were originally purpose-bred to help their humans stay alive and thrive. They were helpers in so many ways -- they were and continue to be both a physical and emotional lifeline for their people.

This is especially true for us right now while we are in the middle of this COVID pandemic. Our dogs are always happy to see you, loving companions we come home to and they are here for us 24/7 while we are spending more time home now than ever before -- they are keeping us sane and grounded. They are truly functioning as emotional support animals.

The conversation about emotional support animals leads us to a bigger conversation about therapy and individually task trained service dogs. 

Currently, the AKC and government relations are focusing more on what is the correct and proper role of service animals and the damage that's being done to these amazing dogs because of fraudulent "emotional support" and "service dog" claims. 

They are doing some incredible work to ensure that all those who need to partner with a service dog are able to go out into the public confidently.

American Service Dog Access Coalition (ASDAC)

Fake and poorly trained Service Dogs are inundating airlines, restaurants, hotels and other access providers creating undue burdens for disabled individuals when they travel. In response, industry leaders have come together to form the American Service Dog Access Coalition(ASDAC).

ASDAC prioritizes collaboration with the goal of building the broadest possible coalition of Service/Guide Dog providers and access providers to end the use of fake and poorly trained “service dogs” while simultaneously raising Service Dog training standards through the creation of an opt-in credentialing system.

Unlike other attempts at Service Dog registries, the ASDAC is a stand-alone not-for-profit coalition established by industry leaders with expertise in a canine registry, technology, Service Dog training and advocacy.

The ASDAC recognizes the legitimacy of a variety of sources of Service Dogs but also the issues and confusion caused by a lack of unified behavioral standards for true Service Dogs as defined by federal law.

The ASDAC believes that this is an opportunity for our industry to collectively create a solution for our federal policymakers that will prevent additional policy-induced complications and ensure sustained success for service dog teams moving forward.

Learn more about ASDAC credentialing here: https://warriorsresearchinstitute.org/service-dog-pass-asdac

More About Sheila Goffe

Sheila leads the AKC’s efforts in working to protect the rights of all dog owners and promote responsible dog ownership. She oversees AKC legislative policy strategy and AKC outreach at the federal, state and local levels, works with legislators, legislative staff and regulators on key issues in canine policy, and supervises the AKC Government Relation team. She also serves as Secretary on the AKC PAC Board of Directors.

Sheila joined AKC’s publications department in 2006. In 2008, she returned to her previous career in public policy/government affairs as AKC’s Director of Government Relations. Prior to working for the American Kennel Club, she was a Senior Legislative Analyst/Editor and Deputy Director of Editorial Product Development for Congressional Quarterly in Washington, DC. 

Previous experience included federal legislative staffing and advocacy, work as an editor and analyst for The Economist Intelligence Unit, and serving as an adjunct in Political Science/Comparative Politics at the State University of New York/Stony Brook.

Sheila has completed Ph.D. coursework and research in American Politics/Public Policy, earned a Masters of Philosophy in American Politics and an MA in International Political Economy and Development at Fordham University, and is a former Fulbright Scholar, studying Political Economy and Development in Sri Lanka.

Sheila breeds and shows Siberian Huskies. She is a member of the Siberian Husky Club of America, and several other specialty and all-breed kennel clubs.


Caroline Griffin - Show Your Soft Side on Why Do Pets Matter with Debra Hamilton #156

Caroline Griffin - Show Your Soft Side on Why Do Pets Matter with Debra Hamilton #156

October 15, 2020

"Only A Punk Would Hurt A Cat Or A Dog." 

So honored to have Caroline Griffin on this episode of "Why Do Pets Matter?" with you!

Caroline was a practicing attorney for 20 years. For the past 10 years, she has been working in the animal protection arena supporting animal welfare and co-founding an anti-cruelty campaign that has become a movement - "Share Your Soft Side."

Show Your Soft Side is a public service campaign that was created to change the mindset of young people who all-too-often view the maiming and torturing of defenseless cats and dogs as a sign of “toughness” or “manhood.”

The campaign’s message that compassion towards animals is a sign of strength, not weakness, is one that, overnight, struck a nerve with old and young alike. Today, Show Your Soft Side, Inc. uses its reach and resources to build a better world for animals and, in doing so, build better adults. 


More About Caroline Griffin

Caroline Griffin graduated from Loyola University of Maryland in 1984 and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law in 1987.

Ms. Griffin practiced law for 20 years until she was appointed Chair of the Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Task Force in Baltimore, following the brutal burning death of a dog named Phoenix. For the past decade, she has devoted all her time to animal protection work.

She is a co-founder of the anti-cruelty campaign Show Your Soft Side, serves on the Board of Directors of the Animal Welfare Institute and Days End Farm Horse Rescue, and is the Chair of the Maryland Spay Neuter Advisory Board.

Connect With Caroline:

Website: ShowYourSoftSide.org

Facebook: ShowYourSoftSide
Twitter: SoftSide1
Instagram: @showyoursoftside

Rebound Dog Lollapalooza with Spencer Hodgetts, Christina Burki, Teresa Wagner and Caroline Griffin hosted by Debra Hamilton #155

Rebound Dog Lollapalooza with Spencer Hodgetts, Christina Burki, Teresa Wagner and Caroline Griffin hosted by Debra Hamilton #155

October 8, 2020

I can't wait for you to listen to this special "Lollapalooza" episode of "Why Do Pets Matter?" You'll get to meet and learn more about the incredible work of four very passionate animal and people lovers who are making an impact around the world.

Learn More About:

Spencer B. Hodgetts

Spencer helps Pet Advocacy & Therapy Professionals connect globally to create the social-impact they desire through his work and website ReboundDog.com



Christina Burki

Christina is a psychotherapist and animal communicator who believes that animals are a wonderful source of comfort to humans. Animals are highly sensitive and instinctively know when someone needs a cuddle, a nudge or a game of ‘fetch’ – they’re great stress relievers. She says that her 2 dogs and 2 cats, who often participate in counseling sessions, are her co-therapists.



Teresa Wagner

Teresa is the founder of The Animal Loss & Grief Support Institute. Her mission and life's work is to help us deepen our spiritual intimacy with animals, resolve problems with and honor animals, assuage the suffering of animals, heal from the pain of losing animal companions and from being witness to the suffering and loss of animals in the environment, and to celebrate with like-minded people the joy of our miraculous, spiritual connection with all animals.



Caroline Griffin

Caroline is an attorney working in the field of animal protection. She was appointed chair of the Baltimore Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission, after the burning death of a dog that made national news. She is the co-founder of Show Your Soft Side, an anti-cruelty campaign, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Animal Welfare Institute.

"Only A Punk Would Hurt A Cat Or Dog."


Deirdre Chiaramonte DVM - Science and Technology Meet A Deep Love For Animals on “Why Do Pets Matter?”  #154

Deirdre Chiaramonte DVM - Science and Technology Meet A Deep Love For Animals on “Why Do Pets Matter?” #154

October 1, 2020

Deirdre Chiaramonte, DVM - Science and Technology Meet A Deep Love For Animals

Deirdre Chiaramonte provides veterinary professionals and pet owners with solutions that improve the lives of their pets, their working animals, and their patients. 

She is the Director of Clinical Education at Assissi Animal Health. And is currently working with a rescue in the mid-Hudson Valley.

Assissi's products employ rigorously researched, targeted pulsed electromagnetic field (tPEMF) technology that reduces inflammation and is tuned specifically to either decrease pain and accelerate healing of soft tissue and bone or to reduce canine separation anxiety -- an exceptionally useful tool for a rescue dog that develops separation anxiety when their owner returns to work after COVID has passed.

These innovative, non-pharmaceutical devices, which are backed by peer-reviewed clinical research in veterinary medicine, have improved the lives of thousands of pets and their people.

More About Deirdre Chiaramonte, DVM

Deirdre Chiaramonte received her DVM from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, Massachusetts in 1997 and completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at The Animal Medical Center from 1997-1998. 

She became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 2004 after completing a small animal internal medicine residency at The Animal Medical Center. 

She was a staff Internist and the co-founder and Director of the Tina Santi Flaherty Rehabilitation and Fitness Unit for over 10 years.

You can learn more about the amazing technology Deirdre discussed during our conversation on her website:

And, you can learn more about the Hudson Valley Animal Rescue & Sanctuary on their website:

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:



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