About the author: Susi Szeremy has been a Puli fancier since 1978. She established Westminster KC social media presence in 2009, and is the founder of National Purebred Dog Day. She has written for the AKC, the AKC National Championship, multiple dog publications, under her blog, DogKnobIt, and writes daily for National Purebred Dog Day.
Podcast is the Talk of the Dog Fancy
Each week, thousands of people eagerly anticipate a now familiar series of words, but the process of getting to those words first begins with insuring complete silence.
The resident Chihuahua, notorious for floor-licking at the most inopportune moments, is put inside a crate. Seven German Wirehaired Pointers, equally notorious for, well, being German Wirehaired Pointers, are assigned safe spots well away from where their antics can be heard - a ten by ten foot space in which a towel-covered grooming table serves as a desk, a tweed “rally blue” colored chair with metal armrests set before it. A microphone hooked up to a laptop is tested to confirm that the computer recognizes its presence, and after ascertaining that things are working precisely as they should, a phone number is dialed using the audio option of Skype. After a few minutes of private warm-up conversation, the recorded interview commences with words welcomed by devoted fans: “Welcome to Pure Dog Talk. I’m your host, Laura Reeves.”
Fourteen months and 143 podcasts after its inaugural episode on November 21, 2016, Pure Dog Talk has taken the dog world by storm by filling a niche in a format never successfully done before using a convenient and appealing approach: Enable listeners to eavesdrop on a conversation between two serious dog people via downloadable digital audio files that can be listened to at one’s convenience.
Podcast guests have ranged from heritage breeders, groomers, professional handlers, and trainers, to judges, veterinarians, AKC officials, and every manner of dog expert in between. Each interview shares unique information on an assortment of topics of particular interest to people who live, work, and play with purebred dogs.
Common to all the podcasts is host, Laura Reeves, herself a second-generation German Wirehaired Pointer breeder, AKC Breeder of Merit, and member of the Professional Handlers Association. Part of Reeves’ interviewing success is rooted in solid research, as well as a lifetime of personal experience in the dog fancy: With her mother, Reeves has bred over 50 titled and health tested dogs in conformation, agility, field trails, and more. She also handled the first Best in Show winning dual champion German Wirehaired Pointer that happened to be bred by her mother. Artfully navigating a conversation, however, comes to Reeves from having been a journalist, communications expert, and public relations/marketing consultant. Unscripted dialogue that moves with a natural flow infuses Pure Dog Talk with a, “You Are There” appeal. It’s the conversation that all “students of purebred dogs” want to overhear.
The “quieter” driving force behind Pure Dog Talk’s meteoric success is producer, Mary Albee, a Norwegian Elkhound breeder, and a key participant in having helped establish a rescue and rehoming response network for her breed. Albee is a passionate advocate of raising breed numbers and saving the gene pool not only of her breed, but especially of endangered breeds. While Albee celebrates a long television and film career as a Stunt Coordinator and DGA Director, she brings a creative force and technical talent to Pure Dog Talk. Together, Reeves and Albee are a perfect blend of spontaneity and deliberation.
It seems fitting that Reeves and Albee first met each other at a dog show where they were set up next to each other in a grooming area. As if serendipity was at play, they found themselves next to each other once again at a dog show the following weekend. Casual conversation lead to deeper discussion about the state of the dog fancy, endangered breeds, mentors, breeders’ rights, and education. A meeting of minds was discovered when each expressed a desire to give back to the sport, to encourage fellow fanciers to “recalibrate” from a focus on winning, ribbons, and rankings, and to more fully understand the nature of purebred dogs and the meaning they bring to so many lives. The idea of reaching fellow dog enthusiasts through downloadable podcasts evolved from those early conversations, and today, Pure Dog Talk is a continuing series of podcasts heard on “Mentor Monday” and Thursdays by a growing legion of fans who use all podcast delivering systems, including iTunes, Android, RSS feed, and directly from PureDogTalk.com’s website. Although the topics are as varied as the guests, a common thread is often about the challenges facing purebred dog owners and breeders in the 21st century.
Through conversations with “masters and legends” in the sport, newcomers to Pure Dog Talk get an overview of their passion for purebred dogs (and learn that they are not alone). Veterans get a sense of direction for where the sport goes now, and how. At least as important as the interviews, however, is that they are archived. To that end, Reeves and Albee serve as preservationists of the sport, “audio historians,” if you will, of the spoken word as expressed by experts in various disciplines. In Pure Dog Talk speak, “We talk to the legends of the sports and give you tips and tools to create an awesome life with your purebred dog. From dog shows to preservation breeding, from competitive obedience to field work, from agility to therapy dogs and all the fun in between.”
These words make a recent announcement all the more exciting to anyone concerned about the future of purebred dogs: Pure Dog Talk has joined forces with A.J.Arapovic and the Aramedia Group, publishers of ShowSight magazine, Top Notch Toys (TNT), The Doberman Digest, The Orient Express and Sight & Scent. With nearly 150,000 Show Sight readers of its own, the new alliance will expand Pure Dog Talk’s reach, and educate more listeners about purebred dogs, and this can only be a positive direction for those of us who care about the preservation of our respective breeds. As breeders face the wrath of anti-breeder and adopt-don’t-shop zealots, and dog owners are under assault by “humane’ groups intent first on the disappearance of purebred dogs, and then the obliteration of dogs as household pets, we need all hands on deck to push back and restore balance to the national conversation about dog ownership. As Pure Dog Talk expands into live-streaming, video, education programs, and its new “Breeders’ Voice” section dives deep into breeding programs and kennel lines, an alliance with Aramedia gives muscle to outreach. The new pairing should make all dog owners like their chances