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Pets Inspire a Publishing Labor of Love

ErinMarie McKinney
Dispatch Staff Reporter

Newspaper publisher Julie Rieser is making a name for herself with on-the-Spot reporting and Fluffy features.

Rieser, 42, began publishing The Animal Source, dedicated to animal issues, three years ago.

"There wasn't anything out there locally that offered good and timely information about animals and their health,'' the Columbus woman said.

"I am passionate, actually nuts, about animals, and I thought there was a need for a place where people could interact with other pet owners.''

Rieser's friends and her husband, Dale, encouraged her to start the publication. "I thought they were kidding,'' she said. "I didn't have a background in this.''

She bought a computer program for newspaper design, and her sister-in-law Susan Rieser, who has a background in graphic design, helped her put together the first few issues.

Julie Rieser puts the bimonthly publication together at her South Side farmhouse where she lives with her husband, three dogs, two potbellied pigs and a guinea pig.

Her husband is production editor. A good friend, Brenda Hunt, edits copy; the paper is printed by The Athens Messenger in southern Ohio.

Today, 10,000 copies of The Animal Source are distributed throughout central Ohio. The newspaper, which is free, can be found in medical, veterinary and dental offices; pet stores; libraries; bookstores; coffee shops and beauty shops. "I have them anywhere there is a captive audience,'' Mrs. Rieser said with a laugh.

She credits Randy Schoedinger, vice president of Schoedinger Funeral Service, with helping her get started. Schoedinger, who also runs Schoedinger Pet Crematory, gave her a check for a year's worth of advertising, which enabled her to put out the first issue.

"She gives a forum for people to feel like they are being normal,'' Schoedinger said. "It lets them know that other people love their pets as much as they do and they are not the only ones worried about training, grooming, medical care and the proper diet.''

Schoedinger Pet Crematory also sponsors an In Memoriam page in each issue. At no charge, people can publish loving thoughts about their deceased pet as well as the pet's photograph.

"It's the most difficult part of the paper for me to put together. They're really sad,'' Mrs. Rieser said of the memorials. "I take one day and spend eight or nine hours working on it to get it over with.''

She usually doesn't write for the paper. She peruses newspapers, magazines and the Internet looking for stories pertaining to animals and seeks permission to reprint them.

The Columbus Academy of Veterinary Medicine is a regular contributor to the newspaper.

She also seeks out contributors on such topics as canine parvovirus, an often-fatal viral disease; puppy mills; dog boarding; and helping pets with heart disease.

Mrs. Rieser also works with local animal shelters and rescue organizations by profiling animals that are available for adoption.

The newspaper helped German Shepherd Rescue of Central Ohio find homes for two German shepherds this year, said Paula Johnson, coordinator of the group. "She's a great friend of homeless animals.''

Mrs. Rieser said the newspaper is a labor of love, not a moneymaker.

After printing costs of about $1,000, $45-$55 for gasoline for deliveries and another $70 to send copies to the newspaper's subscribers, very little is left, but advertising at least covers her expenses.

"It's worth it to me,'' she said. "I want to educate and entertain people and raise public awareness about animal issues.''

Saturday, July 29, 2000

"A Home for Frankie"
ErinMarie McKinney's article published in The Animal Source