The music + pups of Amy van Keeken

Featured on Episode 2
LISTEN HERE

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Amy van Keeken,

 

an accomplished

much-loved 

musician

She's based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where she welcomed Pet Sounds into her home on Episode 2. 

On the show, she talks about her music-making and how her doggos engage with it. They get lots of chances when her band comes over for practice and she teaches youth in private lessons out of her home studio. 

LISTEN TO HER MUSIC

> Her solo work

> Mysticeti

> The Awesomehots

> The Secretaries

MEET AMY'S PUPPERS

Amy and her partner Darren have two dogs. When we recorded our interview, it was Nabby and Daisy.

 Daisy, Amy, Nabby and Darren out on a walk

Daisy, Amy, Nabby and Darren out on a walk

Since then Nabby died. The sweet little black dog had a good long life and passed away at home. There will always be a Nabby-shaped hole in their hearts. 

 Bernie in all his glory!

Bernie in all his glory!

 

After many months of mourning the beloved pup, Amy, Darren and Daisy wanted to honour Nabby by rescuing another pup.

That's when they met a goofy guy named Bernie.

He loves his fur-sibling Daisy, maybe a little too much at times (Bernie can be an annoying little brother to Daisy) but as you can see, Daisy and Bernie have really bonded. 

Animal vs. human hearing

Featured on Episode 2
LISTEN HERE

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Human hearing isn't close to as good as many animals' auditory abilities.

Veterinarian Dr. Elaine Degrandpre explains what humans and our pets can hear.

"If you compare (animals) hearing to humans, it's very sensitive. Dogs and cats have a different range in frequency than humans," says Degrandpre, the Senior Medical Officer for Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)’s Animal Health Program

HOW IS HEARING MEASURED?

It's measured in Hertz.

Hertz are the unit of frequency - one cycle of sound wave per second. The hertz symbol is Hz.

Degrandpre outlines the range of frequencies heard by humans is 20 to 20,000 Hertz, while dogs hear from around 67 Hz to 45,000 Hz and cats can hear 55 Hz up to 79,000 Hz. 

Here's a breakdown of hearing abilities of animals:

 Source: http://bit.ly/hearing-frequencies

Source: http://bit.ly/hearing-frequencies

Not only that...

  © itsinfectious.co.uk/ears-in-cats.html

 © itsinfectious.co.uk/ears-in-cats.html

Cats have added hearing gear.

It's called the pinna.

It's the external ear which can be rotate up to 180 degrees. It's like having a satellite dish for ears.

It allows the felines to zero in on a tiny sound, undetectable by us humans. 

 

TEST YOUR HEARING NOW!

Play this video to find out what you can and can't hear.

 

 

 

The science of animal music preferences

Featured on Episode 2
LISTEN HERE

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Dr. Charles Snowdon's research started with monkey sounds.

It was back in 1969 when he began studying the squirrel-sized cotton-toptamarin monkey.

 A cotton-top tamarin © Wikimedia

A cotton-top tamarin
© Wikimedia

HOW HIS RESEARCH STARTED

Dr. Snowdon was researching at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, investigating the vocal and chemical communication signals as well as their social development and cognition of the cotton-top tamarin monkey. 

SHIFTING TO MUSIC MAKING

It happened in 2009 when he teamed up with a cellist from the National Symphony Orchestra, David Teie to craft music for the monkeys. The pair identified the vocalizations made by the mammals and composed music to mirror it.

The study showed that it's not just humans who engage with music. 

COMPOSING FOR CATS

From there, Snowdon and Teie started composing music for cats. They used the same technique as they did when developing the monkey music.

They began by identifying how felines communicate and what frequencies they are able to hear. 

The result is music for cats. 

You can buy or listen to the music over at Music for Cats

Old and new podcast look

Featured on Episode 1
LISTEN HERE

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I asked a graphic designer to help redesign Pet Sounds.

 

It wasn't just any designer.

It was the owner/human of the original avatar for the podcast, Jade

His name is Jonathan Wood or Jon. 

 

 

 

 

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We original connected over dog photos on Instagram and ended up following one another (for the dog pictures). 

When I started making zines about pets called YOUR PET ZINE...

I asked Jonathan if it'd be okay if I featured Jade. He agreed and provided the information about Jade. I sketched her.

Download the zine here

I think this was the precursor to the podcast - the step in the direction to embracing my love of animals and our connection to them. 

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When I decided to start the podcast...

I used the image of Jade as the avatar for it.

I put a headset on her (which in hindsight was a little too on-the-nose).

After producing it for awhile, I wanted to refresh things - so it made sense to ask Jonathan if he'd be game to design something. [SIDEBAR: He's super talented at design].

Again, he agreed.

As a part for he design process, we chatted on the phone a couple of times. 

Jonathan asked me if Pet Sounds was a character how would I describe it.

I said:

  • inquisitive
  • funny
  • informed
  • loves animals
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He took away my thoughts and came back with these ideas.

Zeroing in on the idea of the sounds that pets actually make.

We chatted again and firmed up a few concepts and he delivered a design that beautifully captures the podcast.

Here's the final product!

The Designs of Rescue Strong

Featured on Episode 1
LISTEN HERE

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Rescue Strong started because of a dog named Luna.

After adopting the pup from a Los Angeles rescue, CJ and his wife couldn't help but notice that Luna made their lives better. 
 

CJ decided he wanted to give back to the community who gave his family their beloved companion animal.

 CJ with his family

CJ with his family

But how?!

He decided to start designing swag for animal rescue organizations (on top of his day job) as Rescue Strong.

That's after he noticed that lots of what the organizations were using weren't as well-designed as they could be.

 

 

He started with the design... 

I WAS CHECKING YOUR DOG OUT.

It was a hit.

The proceeds went to the animal rescue.

CJ has been really clear about how he is raising funds for rescues.

He details it here!

 

 

 

Since then he's created:

Plus so many more designs!

CJ isn't stopping now. He continues to design and give back to the organizations that save animals like his beloved Luna.

He's actually taking on a new project, trying to link up other graphic designers to also create merchandise for the animal rescue cause - hoping to help as many pets and people as possible! 

Ditching the corporate world for pets

Featured on Episode 1
LISTEN NOW

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She left the corporate world to start a pet supply shop.

Naomi McFee opened Fox and Tux Pet Boutique in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada a couple of years ago.

She left her 12-year career in Human Resources to pursue her love for dog and cats as well as their nutrition and health. 

Naomi is committed to finding high-quality, safe and sustainable choices pet accessories, toy and food. 

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Since opening up the pet supply shop, Naomi has been curating the store, stocking all her favourite dog and cat products that she's tried and tested over many years of spoiling her pets.

Naomi also hosts animal adoption events, charity walks and pet photos with Santa.