The Curious Listener: Dog Days Of Radio

Jul 10, 2013

Whether dog, cat, iguana or ant farm, our pets frequently become a de facto member of the family. At NPR, we've come to realize that our listeners not only include the actual humans that tune in, but the animals they adore as well.

As it happens, we learned from one Curious Listener recently that pets have their own show preferences too, which aren't always in step with their owners'.

"So, I've contacted you previously about this problem and have yet to receive an answer. My dog is completely TERRIFIED of your radio show. Not other shows. Just yours. I enjoy Wait Wait... [Don't Tell Me!], and like to listen to it on my computer at home. However, my dog begins shaking violently, whining and clawing at me to climb into my lap whenever I turn it on (he weighs almost 30 pounds, so the lap sitting isn't an easy feat). Perhaps this is an old Pavlovian response, but whenever Carl [Kasell] dings the bell indicating a correct answer, poor Henry (the dog) freaks out completely and tries to hide his head in my shirt or claw his way over my shoulder. For some reason, he refuses to leave the room in order to escape the terrifying sound of your show, so I'm left with the difficult decision of scaring my dog by listening to your show, or skipping your show so the dog can stay calm. Why are you doing this to him? Would you consider changing the sound of the bell to the sound of mewing cats, or something else less terrifying to dogs? Do you offer NPR doggy ear plugs that might block out the sound of your show? Thanks for any suggestions.

Oak View, CA

Dear Sheryl,

Thank you for contacting NPR.

We appreciate you sharing your concerns with us. We strive to offer the highest quality of news and information available. Listener feedback helps us to accomplish this goal.

Although it is not our intention to pester animals, the way you mitigate the issue is completely up to you. You may want to listen to the show using headphones or put your dog in a different room when you listen.

Thank you for listening, and for your continued support of public broadcasting. For the latest news and information, visit


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