Donna Cheek

Co-host of Issues and Ideas

Donna Cheek hosts a monthly segment about animals on Issues and Ideas.  Donna has long been an animal trainer and activist.  She is an award-winning equestrian who made history when she became the first black rider to ever represent the United States in international competition.  Her accomplishments led to an induction into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, and as a teen she starred in an NBC made-for-television movie about her life. Donna was born in Philadelphia and raised on the Central Coast, where she began her lifelong career riding horses and competing with Hunter/Jumpers and received a degree in journalism from Cal Poly.

New Life K9s

Feb 26, 2015

Donna Cheek talks with a local veteran about how his dog has profoundly changed his life. And Training Director Nicole Hern explains New Life K9s, a new program in San Luis Obispo that provides free service dogs to veterans in need.

Allowing bears to eat from your garbage cans, fruit trees or camp site is not a good idea, because bears become dependent and keep coming back. Wildlife Biologist, Rocky Thompson shares with Donna Cheek the importance of eliminating attractants, how to hike safely, and other ways we can all become more “bear aware”.

Flickr member andertho


California Sea Otters are among the threatened species fighting for their right to live. Their most staunch ally is the 'Friends of the Sea Otter' organization. Donna Cheek speaks with Advocacy Program Director, Jim Curland about the issues that jeopardize sea otters on the Central Coast of California.

The plight of many senior dogs in California is growing old and having decisions about life expectancy determined by someone else. Central Coast animal lover, Charlotte Meade, is doing something about it. Donna Cheek has a lively discussion with Charlotte Meade, founder of Meade Canine Rescue Foundation about her passion to save senior and special needs dogs.

Broadcast date: 8/27/14

Veterans can get help from an unlikely source by spending time with horses.  Donna Cheek learns about the process from equine assisted psychotherapist Patrice Wichmann and a veteran who shares a heartfelt experience with this form of therapy that changed her life forever.

Mission Animal Hospital

Jul 28, 2014

Broadcast date: 7/30/2014

There’s a local veterinary hospital that offers a new community outreach program for the pets of housebound seniors and people in eldercare, including free house calls and services.  Donna Cheek learns about the program and the cutting edge holistic approach Mission Animal Hospital takes to animal wellness.

Losing Beloved Pets

Jun 27, 2014

It's traumatic to lose a beloved pet, but planning ahead can help ease the pain during that difficult time.  Donna Cheek learns how during her conversation with Christine Johnson, co-owner of Eden Memorial Pet Care in Paso Robles.

Donna Cheek and her guest Susan Schwartz, founder and president of Heaven Can Wait Equine Sanctuary, tackle the often controversial subject of horse slaughter in the United States, and how new laws affect nonprofits that are committed to saving the lives of these abandoned horses.

Therapy Dogs

Apr 25, 2014

Who is "Reno" and what makes his brand of love so special to patients at a local hospital?  Donna Cheek will find out when she talks to therapy dog owner Cheryl Rempe and Nurse Lorene Campbell of Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.

Pacific Wildlife Care

Mar 25, 2014

Spring is here, and with it come new babies born in the wild.  Donna Cheek gathers tips from Melinda Alvarado and Claudia Duckworth, of Pacific Wildlife Care, about what you should do if you encounter one of these babies.  Also, we will learn all the ways that Pacific Wildlife Care serves the community in preserving the local wildlife that we all enjoy.

Swimming with Canines

Feb 21, 2014

Swimming is as helpful in many ways for dogs as it is for humans.  Canine swim coach Chris Barrett shares with Donna Cheek her passion for helping dogs gain confidence, recover from injury and just plain have a fun splashing good time.

Donna Cheek has an informative conversation with Dr. Timothy Bell about his love for animals, pet dental hygiene, and Bell's specific efforts to win the war on pet overpopulation.

Marisa Waddell
  • Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with the owners of Olea Farm in Templeton, to learn about California's distinctive olive oils.  We'll learn what the term "extra-virgin, first press" really means, and what some of the differences are between European and California olive oils.
  • Also, it is estimated that 10 to 40 million parrots live in the United States as pets.

Issues & Ideas: air date 10-30-2013

Oct 30, 2013
  • Donna Cheek talks with the program coordinator of Partners in Equestrian therapy -- a unique riding program located in San Luis Obispo, for children and adults with special needs.

Issues & Ideas: air date 09-25-2013

Sep 25, 2013
  • Many people who are terminally ill have pets. But what happens to those pets when a patient enters hospice care?