It’s A Zoo Out There

Sometimes I like to have a good time, sometimes I get a little heavy. Today, I talk about both featuring a wide variety of artists across decades and genres all with one thing in common: They are singing about animals, literally or metaphorically. Dedicated to baby girl, Gypsy Pug, my husband’s service dog, who left us at the age of 16 on May 28th. #animals #musiceducation #fun #serviceanimals #servicedog #puglife #mentalhealth #disability

The Pack A.D. on the cover of We Kill Computers, 2010. (l-r) Becky Black and Maya Miller. Photo by Mark Maryanovich, courtesy of Mint Records.

For those who followed this program when I was broadcasting them from my website years ago, I would often take a subject and build a show around it. Yes, that’s pretty much every one, but occasionally I would get slightly silly with it; topics that were often less heavy than the politics of the day, such as summer, driving, etc.

Rufus Thomas performs live at Wattstax, 1972, from the film of the same name. Directed by Mel Stuart, courtesy of MGM.

On this program, I had previously teased I would be working on one with animals, which, by and large, is still a popular subject among musicians in every genre, as evidenced by the “Baby Shark” song and video from over a year and a half ago. It grants me a rare opportunity to showcase acts and tracks that I normally would not feature, giving me the chance to share some one-hit wonders, deep cuts, B-Sides and other musical ephemera one might not hear anywhere else.

The Everly Brothers, 1960. (l-r) Don and Phil. Photographer unknown, courtesy of Warner Brothers.

Sadly, in between my talking about it several weeks ago until now, Gypsy Pug, our 16 year old dog, has left this mortal coil. She was also a legal service dog, my husband Travis’ emotional support animal. To say we are devastated is the understatement of the year. You can actually hear her barking on many shows, in the background, wondering what the hell I was doing. Trust me, there are many days I wonder what the hell I am doing with these programs.

The Osmonds on the cover of The Crazy Horses LP, 1972. Courtesy of MGM/UMG.

And yes, I would talk about her regularly on the program, especially on #71, Sunshine Pop. It’s awful quiet at the apartment right now, and I keep looking for her when I get home from my night shift at the grocery store, where she would get up and wait for me to take her outside.

Dave Bartholomew in 1950. Photograph: Gilles Petard/Redferns.

I can say without a doubt that she was perfect for Travis, and he knew that the moment we adopted her when she was three, because no one wanted an “older” dog. She saw us through his whole long illnesses, surgeries and through his multiple disabilities. There are those who often discount the psychiatric benefits of service animals. I honestly don’t want to know these people. You have access to the internet, look it up. But I am not surprised, because, by and large, our society looks down at many alternative means of maintaining mental health and mental well-being.

David Bowie (l) and Carlos Alomar perform live in Sydney, Australia, 1987 in the concert film Glass Spider. Directed by David Mallet, courtesy of MPI Home Video.

And, as witnessed by what has gone on over the last year and half with COVID-19, there is anti-science everywhere, unless it suits the haters. If empirical evidence is a major part of scientific research, I know what I saw and what I experienced. Service animals of every stripe can be a critical part to one’s overall healthcare, and denying anyone that is simply ableist.

P.J. Harvey on the cover her Rid of Me LP, 1993. Photo by Maria Mochnacz, courtesy of Island/UMG.

There will never be another Gypsy girl, and as heartbroken as we all are here, we also are grateful to her very special gifts, gifts that every dog lover knows: You get exactly what you see in a canine, and with her, it was total and unconditional love. And then she would poop on the floor. And she was still perfect.

My husband travis with Gypsy pug, Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Photo by yours truly.

First Part

  • Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer, 1933, Bessie Smith, 78 RPM single A-side
  • Shark (In The Dark), 1976, Dwight Twilley Band, Sincerely
  • Bird Dog, 1958, The Everly Brothers, single A-side
  • Deer, 2010, The Pack A.D., We Kill Computers
  • The Preacher and The Bear, 1970, Rufus Thomas, single A-side
  • Red Rabbits, 2007, The Shins, Wincing The Night Away
  • Black Cat, 1989, Janet Jackson, Rhythm Nation 1814

Second Part

  • Gator On The Lawn, 1981, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, B-side to “A Woman In Love (It’s Not Me)”
  • Hunting For Tigers Out In Indiah, 1969, The Bonzo Do Dah Dog Band, Tadpoles
  • Ride a White Swan, 1970, T. Rex, single A-side
  • The Monkey, 1958, Dave Bartholomew, single A-side
  • Snake, 1993, PJ Harvey, Rid of Me
  • Crazy Horses, 1972, The Osmonds, Crazy Horses


  • The Gypsy Pug Song, 2021, Travis Crader
  • Glass Spider, 1987, David Bowie, Never Let Me Down

Love to you all.

Ben “Daddy Ben Bear” Brown Jr. 
Host, Show Producer, Webmaster, Audio Engineer, Researcher, Videographer and Writer

Instagram: brownjr.ben
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