New Rhode Island PBS Online Series Puts Animals in the Spotlight

Host Karen Kalunian highlights the work of rescue leagues and more


Every month animal advocate Karen Kalunian lovingly highlights an adoptable Rhody Pet of the Month on these very pages. Every week, pet lovers can also tune in to her Rhode Island PBS digital series, Animal Talk.

The idea for the 26 bite-sized episodes first came over a year ago when show producer Scott Saracen took his family to the East Greenwich Animal Protection League Heart of RI shelter hoping to find a puppy pal for their dog Ryder. Kalunian introduced them to “little princess” Bella, and during the meet and greet, they got chatting about all things animal welfare. Saracen’s wife Maria (also a producer at Rhode Island PBS) grew up on a game reserve in South Africa surrounded by domestic and wild animals, so there was much to discuss. Soon the plan for a show evolved, designed to educate, entertain, and inspire.

“I’m always looking for new ways to promote adoptable animals, and the wonderful people who care for them, and with digital streaming, we are able to bring them all directly into your home,” Kalunian enthuses. 

Each episode is just three to four minutes long but can pack quite a punch – take sweet Sesame from Handsome Dan’s Rescue, a local shelter for pit bulls. “His transition from a pit bull dog fighting ring to a warm, safe home is a moving and powerful story,” Saracen notes. Kalunian concurs, “He really is the epitome of strength, resilience, and the will to love again.” 

Saracen also speaks about the lasting impression made by a 42-year-old blind hyacinth macaw named Count, featured on an episode educating about bird health at Warwick’s Rhode Island Parrot Rescue. Another installment dives into the effectiveness of the trap neuter release cat program run by PawsWatch.

“The animal experts offer so much insight, as well as helpful tips,” Kalunian observes. “For example, if we find injured wildlife, our first inclination may be to offer food or water, but it is best to immediately contact a trained wildlife rehabilitator, like Sweet Binks Rescue.”

“Animal Talk is a great way to learn about the Rhode Island organizations that are doing so much good in the community,” says Saracen. “You may even feel motivated to join the volunteers doing this important, fulfilling work. I have to say when it comes to animals, we are a small state with a big heart!”

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