This Goodnewsforpets interview features Arden Moore, Pet Health and Safety Coach. Arden has over 25 years experience in the pet world, she hosts her own award winning radio show called “Oh Behave!” on Pet Life Radio and iHeartRadio. She is a master certified instructor in pet first aid, CPR and safety, authoring over 26 pet books. This year Arden served as The Cat Writers’ Association’s Communication Contest Chair, we caught up with her after the 2016 Cat Writers’ Association’s Banquet.
How did you first get involved with working with pets?
It started in my childhood. I grew up in a small town in Indiana called Crown Point. We had a lake in our backyard and we grew up with dogs, cats and even a duck that would come visit us seasonally. I’ve been fortunate enough to come from a family of animal lovers.
Career wise, I’m a journalist. I worked as a newspaper reporter for many years and officially put my paw in the pet waters as a pet journalist back in 1999. As a senior writer at Rodale Press, I helped launched Pets: Part of the Family Magazine, and here we are twenty-six pet books later.
You enjoy both cats and dogs and have a fur family of your own, can you explain?
I can’t say I like one more than the other. I’d say I’m more of a pet hybrid. I see the good in all animals and believe each can enhance lives in their own unique ways. Both cats and dogs have certainly bettered my life. I’ve been blessed my whole life to have at least one cat and one dog my life.
My sister and I combined our ‘fur families’: we have six dogs and one cat between us. We’re the 2016 version of the Brady Bunch. My two senior dogs, Chipper and Cleo, are retired SoCal surf dogs. Chipper still helps me teach some pet behavior and pet safety classes. Our newest family member Kona was adopted from a shelter nine weeks ago, and she’s gearing up to take her K9 Good Citizen test. Kona loves all cats, all dogs, and all people. She is just a natural at helping me get out the message at my classes. She’s makes a great addition to our fur family.
What is it about writing about pets that appealed to you the most?
I think I’ve gone beyond just writing for pets. I travel all over the country and conduct pet behavior and pet first aid classes. I feel blessed that I have three pets: Casey, Chipper, and Kona who I can take anywhere that help me get the message on how to bring out the best in pets and their people across. We travel and we recently trained K9 police officers in a customized pet first aid class. Every week, we teach a class at the SPCA of Texas and conduct a fun game show I created called ‘Canine, Feline, Fact or Fiction’. We teach it to the kids at the SPCA of Texas as a fun way to understand why cats and dogs do the things they do. We also teach a little bit about their physiology, how to keep cats and dogs safe. We’re helping educate the next generation of pet advocates and that’s one of our missions.
You chaired the 2015 CWA contest this year. What was the biggest trend you saw this year as chair?
This year, I saw much more blog and online article entries and far fewer newspaper articles. Back in 1999, my first year with Cat Writers’ Association, one of the most competitive fields was the newspaper field. I think this year is a true testament to the evolution of social media. People are now getting more of their information from online sources and new generations of pet writers are emerging from these online platforms.
Were there any particular types of entries that appealed the most to the judges?
I think the entries that actually included real life examples or stories and came from the heart tended to win. For example, they didn’t simply list a disease and few ways to solve it. There were a lot of cutting edge stories that shared ways to care for your pet, shared new trends and technological advances all important to enhancing the life of cats. I’d say it is good to be a cat in 2016!
You are going to chair the contest next year again. Do you now have some tips for people entering next year?
Yes, it’s big collar to put around your neck but it’s an important one. I learned a lot this year and I feel we will be even better next year. I do believe you should chair for at least two years and when I do step down I will be happy to assist the next person to put the collar on. It takes a lot of time and commitment, but it was my way of giving back and helping our members. I won a lot of Muse Medallions and special awards in the past; I’m not as motivated in that pursuit anymore. I much rather highlight the new generation of cat writers to win these honors.
Some tips for entering are to follow the rules laid out on how to submit entries. Send your best work! Don’t just flood us with a bunch of work, make sure if you submit print copies it is legible and if it’s digital that all links work. Please volunteer, you’re not only helping judge and doing your part as a CWA member but you get to see what the competition is writing about. We all learn from each other. We’re hoping to break a record in 2017 for most entries, and I think we can do it!
You are involved in more than writing about pets, you have a radio show. What is your funniest radio segment?
Each week, I host the radio show called Oh Behave! on Pet Life Radio, a podcast that also airs on iHeartRadio. I’m nearing my 300th episode and my producer says we are close to having 600,000 followers worldwide. We’re fortunate enough to get the A-list Hollywood celebrities as well as the who’s who in the pet industry as guests. My two funniest segments had to be with Betty White and Steven Weber. Betty White was naturally herself. I introduced her as six-time Emmy award winner and she breaks right into and says, “Oh no dear, I’ve won seven.” We had a very playful and snarky segment. She even sent me her most recent book afterwards and autographed it to my pets at the time, “To Chipper, Cleo, Zeki, Murphy… oh and you too, Arden.” When it comes to helping the animals, wildlife, you name it, she’s the real deal.
We had just finished a show on a swanky Beverly Hills Hilton red carpet when we interviewed Steven Weber. I asked him where he was and he said he was sitting in his car in a CVS parking lot. So here we have this great actor calling in live from a CVS parking lot in L.A. He said after the show he needed to pick up some things for his wife so you never know what you’ll get out of our guests.
You also teach about pet first-aid. Tell us what you do.
I am a master certified instructor in pet first aid, CPR and safety. I’m known as The Pet Health and Safety Coach . I now have my own first aid program called Pets First Aid 4U, and we do customized veterinarian-approved, hands-on programs all over the country. We’ve gone to Mississippi to train K9 Officers where they even made Chipper an honorary K9 officer. She got to ride in the police car and received a badge. too. We even do a class for self-proclaimed crazy cat ladies with Casey, my orange tabby. Casey is the only cat in the country teaching pet first aid. My classes feature real pets and that’s how you learn best. I’m blessed to have a great advisory board made up of veterinarians with great credentials who approve the curriculum. We want to prepare people with what to do and more importantly what not to do in a pet emergency when every minute counts. The whole purpose is not to make a person a veterinarian, but give them the skill set to stabilize and immobilize their pet en route to a veterinary clinic.
Is there a favorite tip you have for our community?
Take a class – it doesn’t have to be my class. The most important thing is to know what is normal in your dog or cat. In our classes, we teach people how to become ‘pet detectives’ and how to look for those early clues that there’s something off with your pet. The tip is if you can be a pet detective for your pet, you’ll be able to spot things earlier. You might be able to save money on your vet bill but most importantly you may be able to extend the quality of life in your pet.
Anything else you would like to add?
I feel unleashed, pardon the pun. In these last few years, I feel like I’m really being able to do what I am most passionate about, and that’s helping people and their pets. I’m crazy busy, but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and I am blessed everyday to have the great pets I have in my life. All my pets are all shelter rescues. For me, when I get a dog or cat from the shelter I don’t call them shelter rescues. I call them shelter alums. Let’s honor these shelters that care for them until the time comes for you and that dog or cat to be a perfect match.
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