An Interview with Author Frania Shelley-Grielen by Greg (VOSTROMO)
Frania Shelley-Grielen is an expert on animal behavior, training and environments. She holds two Master’s degrees and has taught for the ASPCA, NYU’s Langone Medical Center, and vocational schools. Her company AnimalBehaviorist.us offers consulting services on many animal issues for both individuals and companies. Her new book Cats and Dogs: Living with and Looking at Companion Animals from Their Point of View has just been published and is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Frania has a ridiculously endless smile, a quick wit, and a dangerously high IQ, which is what makes her friendship with me so weird. She bears (see what I did there?) a strong physical resemblance to Bebe Neuwirth, except that Bebe’s Facebook page does not include a picture of her covered in brown bear saliva. That I know of. We used to pass notes back and forth in class. I probably still owe her money. Frania, not Bebe.
Q: We met years ago when we were young and cute. We’re both older now, but you’re still cute. What’s your secret?
A: Well if there’s any truth to that, it might be that I’m still drinking that New York City tap water!
Q: You have an MA in Urban Planning from New York University. Assuming you took this degree so you could plan a workable getaway from me, to a location I could not possibly find you, was it shocking to get my Friend Request on Facebook? Which do you regret more, joining Facebook or wasting all those years in college?
A: I did think that Planning degree had relocation potential with all those cities out there, and in addition to planning for human animals I kept wanting to know what the non-human animals – not you, Greg – in the city might have to say about things – so no choice there except for more university! And these days you get friend requests from every single person you went to high school with. And guys like you.
Q: You also have an MA in Animal Behavior and Conservation from Hunter College. It’s impressive to have TWO Master’s degrees, and it obviously means you worked extremely hard throughout your schooling. Since this likely limited your time for the more… social… aspects of college life, did you get my selfie? Sorry it’s a little blurry, the dog was licking my leg, he loves the taste of olive oil. So, um, what are you doing next Saturday (see Question 1)?
A: I was married in graduate school, so Spring Break was out of the question. I did work hard but being an animal behavior nerd I loved it, and my husband got to hear about animal behavior all the time, every day… *sigh* it’s the little things that make a marriage work. Also, if you think Fido loves olive oil, use the old actor’s get-the-dog-to-act-happy-to-see-you trick: bacon grease!
[Editor’s note: astute readers will note that Ms Shelley-Grielen has not actually answered either of Vostromo’s questions. Calls to the NYU Alumni Association and Bebe Neuwirth were not returned as of this writing; we do not believe “Hunter College” is a real place.]
Q: Your book Cats and Dogs does not mention me at all. Have you fired your editors? Will there be a Revised Edition with this material restored?
A: Now that you have brought that to my attention I will be looking into it.
[Editor’s note: Vostromo is in error. He is mentioned in all editions of Cats and Dogs, except the Revised Latvian verse translation, in Chapter 42: Why Pets Pee On Your Stuff.]
Q: You’ve worked on research projects on such fascinating topics as canine and equine domestication for the Museum of Natural History in New York. Are the bathrooms there as clean and pleasant as I’ve heard?
A: So the secret’s out! They are, all those great old porcelain fixtures and windows and such. And the exhibits are pretty cool too.
Q: If you were in a lifeboat and could save only your pets or me, would you promise to let my mom know I died a hero?
A: Of course. She will be very proud of you.
Q: I have developed significant lower-back problems from years of being emotionally unable to move the cat a few inches towards the edge of the bed. Does this make you respect me more, or less?
A: So much more! – for I not only share this affliction, I also suffer from an inability to move the dog from the couch.
Q: Finally, if you could live with only one animal for the rest of your life, would it be a cat, a dog, a horse, or Russell Crowe?
A: A trick question, because everyone knows that Noah gets to take two of every animal with him!
Q: So not me, then? Hello? … Hello? Frania?
Q: … Bebe? What are you doing here? What five dollars?!
While Greg gets that straightened out, we are very glad that Frania Shelley-Grielen has generously offered a copy of her book, Cats and Dogs: Living with and Looking at Companion Animals from their Point of View as a prize to a member of PaperBackSwap!
To enter to win, please leave a comment here on the Blog. You have until Friday, April 18, 2014 at 12 noon, EDT to enter. Winners will be announced on Saturday, April 19th.
Good luck to everyone!