From Our Soundbooth | October 03, 2017

Our 2017 Miller Audio Contest Runner-Up in Prose went to Jill Morstad for her piece, “Does a Semiotic Dog Bite?” We’re so happy to be able to share Jill’s audio project with you, below.

Here is what Jill had to say about her work: “I am a teacher of writing and a trainer of dogs, and a teacher of dog trainers. Consequently, I am preoccupied with language and correspondences, with what words can do and with what they cannot do. I am not especially concerned with bridging disparate cultures of schooling, but I do reflect often on how much dog training is like teaching college writing. In one environment, we consider strategies for using language to influence and be influenced; in the other, it is silence that means, and matters, more. As host of a dog-specific public affairs program on community radio, I consider how dogs create and reflect our values and ideals, and our conceptions of the good life and the good state for dogs and people.”

Jill Morstad has been training dogs and teaching people to train their dogs since 1985, offering classes in a variety of community settings; she also trains and competes with her own dogs at the most advanced levels of obedience, and does tracking and protection sports as well. At roughly the same time [as she began her work with dog training], she started teaching writing and communications at the university-level; her published work has appeared in the Great Plains Quarterly, the Virginia Woolf Studies Annual, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and many industry and trade publications associated with canine behavior and training. For ten years she has hosted “Canine 360°,” a public affairs program on her local community radio station.

Listen to Jill Morstad’s “Does a Semiotic Dog Bite?”: