Face Time: Marc Morrone

January 6, 2012

Martha Stewart’s go-to animal guru, pet-store owner Marc Morrone, knows the truth about cats and dogs. His Hallmark Channel show “Petkeeping With Marc Morrone” (weekdays at noon) returned for its second season this week. On it, the dorky-cool dude details topics such as what to feed your guinea pig and how to keep Japanese fighting fish from attacking their own reflections.

People call you a pet expert. How’d you earn that title?
I’m a pet keeper. Over time, I’ve accumulated a lot of experience, whether that experience is right or wrong.

What can we expect from the new season?
People are going to see me as a spokesperson for ethical treatment of animals. We’ve never talked about the inequality in people’s emotions and ideology towards different animals; for example, how we will raise a dog yet eat a pig. It goes further even, for example, to vegans who will not eat animals yet have cats as pets.

Any tips for someone who just got a new dog or cat as a holiday present?
Well, you really shouldn’t just give a pet for the holidays — you need to make sure someone wants a pet or that it will fit into their lifestyle. It is important to ensure that the animal will complement, not complicate, your life. If you don’t have time to walk it, get a small dog that can use pads in the house. If you want to save time from grooming, find a short-haired dog that doesn’t need to be combed.

You’ve spent time in Washington, D.C. Any favorite things to do here?
Definitely the Smithsonian Institution. And, of course, I love spending time at the National Zoological Park.

Is there a perfect pet for city people?
Well, there’s no right or wrong answer — I’ve seen Great Danes that have been happy living in the city. There’s many factors, however: your landlord, what you can afford and the amount of free time you have to care for your pet. For example, if you want a bird in a small city apartment, you need one that doesn’t make a lot of noise to not disturb your neighbors.

Why do you think humans like to keep pets? Do they change how we see the world?
Essentially, we’ve always shared our lives with animals, since the early days when everyone lived on farms. For the last 50 years or so, we’ve shut ourselves away from the natural world. We need to have something alive always around us. Children are so into the virtual world today that they forget what the natural world is about — getting them a pet, even something as small as a hamster, is very important to humans. Animals gave us the free time to understand the world we live in.

By Express contributor Erin Cunningham

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