An Animal's Best Friend

Joan Embery talks cats and reminisces about Johnny Carson.

By Steve Dale

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Joan Embery is best known as the goodwill ambassador of the Zoological Society of San Diego, which includes the San Diego Zoo and the Wild Animal Park, and for her regular appearances in the 1970s and '80s on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson. She also played a role in championing "The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health: Home Edition."

Veterinary students have called "The Merck Veterinary Manual" their "bible" for generations, using the comprehensive guide as a reference in schools, and later when they graduate and work in their own practices. "I've always said they should come out with a home edition for ordinary pet owners," Embery says. She told this to Gary Zelko, director and publisher of the Merck Publishing Group with Merck & Co., Inc., while she helped promote the 9th Edition of the Merck Veterinary Manual in 2006.

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