Cats don’t have nine lives—even though cat lovers wish they did—and dogs are not color blind. Here are the top 10 myths about our pets…
Today we asked Ebyline Freelancer Michele C. Hollow to share her insights on caring for animals, and about her journalistic work teaching others through a variety of online publications:
Where does your knowledge of pets stem from? Is it primarily experience or study?
I have always been interested in cats, dogs, birds, wild animals, and even insects. I grew up in the Bronx, and was quite fortunate that I was able to take zoology classes at the Bronx Zoological Society. I spent many a Saturday at the zoo learning about animals.
I also spent my summers at the Central Park Zoo giving talks on a wide assortment of animals–from boa constrictors (which I got to handle) to hippopotamuses.
Being around animals made me want to learn more about them. I love that they are so different from us. I think that is where my curiosity began. I also watched shows on television and read about animals. So, it is both experience and study.
When I became a journalist, I covered many different topics. I always wanted to write about animals. About five years ago, I wrote a book for Adams Media called “The Everything Guide to Working with Animals.” After that, I started Pet News and Views, my blog, which focuses on animal advocacy.
Since that time, I’ve written several articles for DogTime.com, CatTime.com, Cat Fancy, and Family Circle. I started writing a pet column for Parade in June.
Many of these myths have important points about caring for pets built in. During the planning stages, did you start with the myths or the end result – tips for caring for pets? How did you go about combining these 2 elements?
I always try to include interesting facts about animals in my stories. One of the biggest myths about cats is that they always land on their feet. Or that if you leave a dog in a backyard alone that it will get exercise. Pet parents need to know how to properly care for their pets. That is why I want to be an advocate for pets, for all animals.
I’ve heard these myths so many times. So many people think that some of them are fact, which they are not. So, I put the two together.
This article has some great insights for pet owners. What advice would you give to people interested in adopting a pet?
I just wrote a post on this topic. I interviewed an expert at Best Friends Animal Society, one of my favorite nonprofits.
Two take-away points, briefly, are: bring the entire family–even a roommate. Everyone who lives in your home or apartment must be part of the adoption process to make sure everyone, that is the pet and the people–get along.
The second bit of advice is to do some homework before you arrive at the shelter. Check the shelter’s online website to learn about the many pets that are available for adoption. Lay down ground rules for everyone in the house about proper care. The article goes into more detail, and the advice from Best Friends is quite helpful.
How do you stay informed about what readers want/need to know about pets?
I read about pets, talk to veterinarians, animal behaviorists, and trainers about pets and wildlife. I also have a LinkedIn Group (Pet News and Views) and a blog (Pet News and Views) and often ask my group and readers what they are interested in reading. Plus, I occasionally give talks about animals, and talk to people about what types of articles they want to see posted.
And writing for Parade has opened several doors. I get invited to talks about pets and wildlife. One of the best parts about being a journalist, in any field, is the constant learning. It is quite exciting to me that there is always something new to learn. For me, writing about pets and wildlife is even more thrilling because learning about pets, wildlife, and the people who are working on their behalf is a passion of mine.
Michele C. Hollow specializes in pets, wildlife, interior design, gardening, remodeling, DIY, travel, and health stories. She is the pet columnist at parade.com and the author of “The Everything Guide to Working with Animals”.