Tales from a Dog Catcher

Tales from a Dog Catcher

"In the tradition of James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small and John Grogan's Marley & Me, Tales from a Dog Catcher is a humorous and heartwarming collection about love, laughter, loss, acceptance, and fate, in the world of an animal control officer."
- Publishers Marketplace"

...Writing in a style reminiscent of James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small, she recalls her experiences in 22 vignettes that dispel and replace stereotypes with an image of a compassionate individual concerned with animals and people alike. Like Herriot, she is a gifted storyteller and an astute observer.... At times amusing and heart-wrenching, this memorable book deserves wide readership. Highly recommended for public libraries. "
- Library Journal (starred review)

... In Tales from a Dog Catcher, she brings together these experiences in a magical book that is funny, touching, and heartrending by turns." - Amazon.com

"This is a wonderful book. I had a hard time putting it down. I was laughing and tearing up, sometimes at the same time! I didn't want it to end..."-Nina Killham, Bestselling Author of Believe Me, How to Cook a Tart, and Mounting Desire

"Having good writing skills isn't a prerequisite for getting a job as a dog catcher, but the two certainly make a good combination for the author of Tales from a Dog Catcher...Some stories are funny - some may move you to tears. I may be barking up the wrong tree, but I think they will appeal to animal lover's and even those who don't care for pets will enjoy reading about the eccentric people involved in these tales from a dog catcher." ...Phyliss Davidson - INFO Metropolitan Library System Magazine. Oklahoma

"Summer reading! Enjoy tales about hero hounds, crazy cats. Great dog books just made for Summer Reading! ... Here's a list of some of our favorite books ... Tales from a Dog Catcher by Lisa Duffy-Korpics is a collection of real stories about people and the animals they encounter...this book is in the tradition of "All Creatures Great and Small" by James Herriot. The stories are funny, sad, uplifting and even silly." ...Laurie Denger - Dayton Daily News. Ohio

"...In Tales from a Dog Catcher," author Lisa Duffy-Korpics recounts her years as an animal control officer in a series of fascinating and engaging stories...the stories can be funny and heartbreaking, often simultaneously...However, there is no shortage of entertaining encounters. Animal lovers will appreciate the candid tales, and enjoy a new perspective on an often unexamined profession."...Dog Channel.com

"Lisa's numerous on-the-job adventures are compiled in this collection of sad, charming, delightful and humorous short stories. ...Animal lovers of all ages will appreciate Lisa’s recollections of her memorable encounters with domestic animals and injured wildlife in the beautiful Hudson Valley." ...Rachelle Nones - Tri County WOMAN magazine. New York

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Summer Reading Themes - Try Something Less Human

photo courtesy of climigration.org
I'm a real sucker for those "Best Summer Reads" ads you see proliferating everywhere - on Amazon, Facebook Ads - magazine articles. Of course what represents a desirable Summer Read is entirely subjective.

For those going on vacation - easy, simple romance. "I hate him - he is awful but has an incredible looking (fill in the blank)." Followed by the well meaning friends who see what the character cannot see even though it's obvious because she/he - okay- just she. I'm sticking to she because it's always she no matter how politically correct you're attempting to be. It's just a thing. I think perhaps a "he" would notice those " heated glances", "random meetings","nuanced phrases with subtle innuendo","goosebump resulting accidental physical contact" while passing through the doorway on the way to the kitchen to get the home-made lemonade everyone seems to have on hand for these situations.  

This is followed by the inevitable miscommunication - followed by some conflict which elongates the realization that they are in love (after the requisite 3 days.)  It's a proven recipe as evidenced by all the romance movies set in Southern beach towns my daughter made me binge-watch last week when she was home visiting.

For others it's time to settle down with a good mystery. For a few years Psychological Thriller was my Summer Read. Nothing says  summer read like psychopaths with razors but who still have an "incredible looking (fill in the blank)". For a few years I realized that I needed some help after I gave all my post-vacation paperbacks to my friend at work after the summer and she said "Can you stop this Grief/Death Genre thing - it's starting to get to me." It had been a good thing for a while otherwise I wouldn't have gravitated to it - but her comments really woke me up. It was time for a change.

So if you happen upon this blog - which I hope you do - why not try an uplifting, heartwarming, heart-wrenching, thought provoking yet still at the same time hysterical Summer Read. Instead of physical exercise  - you can raise your heart rate running the emotional gamut while still lounging by the pool. Then you can go  and spoil and appreciate your pet - or perhaps even rescue one when you're back home. In this particular book, (maybe the sequel will improve upon this missing part - let me know what you suggest -really - I'd like to hear what you think), there are really no "incredible looking (fill in the blanks) like in the above examples of Best Summer Reads; unless you're admiring a shiny coat of fur, perky ears, spunky personality, bright eyes, healthy teeth or lovely new collar.

I promise though - all the emotions expressed in Tales from a Dog Catcher which is a narrative non-fiction book -  based on my real-life experiences as a young female Animal Control Officer for a Police Department in the Hudson Valley in New York State in the mid 1980's - are real.

And you won't need a well meaning friend who always has home-made lemonade on hand to help you notice them.

Although that never hurts.

As always - I wish you all the best. Have a great summer anywhere and anyway possible. -LDK

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Finding a Home for You and Your Four-Legged Buddy

By Cindy Aldridge

Photo by Pixabay
Sometimes life throws us curveballs, and we have to move — whether it’s to be closer to family or for a new job in a new city - when it comes to buying a house, you need to find the best fit for you and also your pooch. If you add just a little bit of extra thought and planning, you’ll soon find yourself enjoying your new home with your four-legged friend.

Selling Your Home

First, you have to sell your house. Find a trusted real estate agent and communicate your needs with him or her. An important step in selling your house is to stage your home. Clean up clutter, brighten up dark corners, get rid of personal decor, and hide all signs that your pet lives there (as much as you can, anyway). Staging your home makes it easier for buyers to envision themselves there, and it could help the home sell faster and for more money.

Keep Your Dog in Mind When Finding a New Home

While shopping for a home, keep your dog in mind. Look for a fenced yard, or if there isn’t one, find out if you can add one. Just keep the cost of adding one in mind when putting together your household budget. For example, the average price of a wood fence installation in Bowie, MD, is between $1,850 and $3,766.

A nice, big backyard is preferable, but it isn’t necessary. It all depends on you and your four-legged friend. Check out the flooring, too. Some flooring is better when it comes to pets. Carpet might seem ideal, but if you’ve ever house-trained a puppy or cleaned up after an elderly dog, you know that carpets can add complications — and hold on to smells. It’s better to look for hard floors such as hardwood, tile, or concrete. If you have an elderly dog, pay attention to the stairs. Sometimes it’s difficult for older dogs to climb them, so if there are steps, consider whether you can add ramps for your aging, arthritic pup. For example, you can pick up a portable ramp from Amazon for around $90.

Pay Attention to the Neighborhood

Keep an eye on the neighborhood, too. A dog-friendly neighborhood will have lots of people out enjoying time with their animals. You’ll see sidewalks, parks, pet supply stores, vets, and dog parks. If you can, ask the neighbors about dogs in the area. You also want to consider how far your home will be from work. If you can’t get home during the day, you may have to hire a dog walker to give your pup a potty break (a half-hour walk usually costs $18 - $22).

Moving with Your Dog

If your move is local, take your dog to the new house along with some of his favorite toys and treats. This way, he can sniff around and get familiar with the home, and the treats and play will help him associate the house with good times. If your move is long distance and an early visit isn’t possible, take your dog for a brisk walk before you take him inside. Then take him in on his leash and show him around the home. He’ll want to sniff everywhere, and that’s OK. He’s learning his surroundings.

When moving day arrives, you should consider sending your pup to a dog sitter to get him out of the way. This is also good for your dog because seeing all his beloved belongings and furniture taken away can be stressful. Having people coming and going from your home can result in open doors and other dangerous situations for your pup. And if your moving date is flexible, consider scheduling your move on a slow weekday. By doing so, you will be less stressed, and so will your pet.

Pack his things last and unpack them first. The sooner he is in his new spot the better, so he can be near the things that are familiar to him and start to adjust. Don’t wash his toys, beds, or blankets. The familiar scents will calm him. Don’t forget to take breaks from unpacking to play with your dog. He’s under a lot of stress, so reassurance that he isn’t losing his loving family is key. Plus, spending time with him helps him get the idea that this is his new home.

Start his regular walking routine as soon as possible. While walking, allow him some extra time to sniff around so he can get the lay of the land. He’ll be experiencing all-new smells in his new home, so it’s both exciting and scary for him.

Once you’re settled, your pooch will curl up next to you and be just as happy as he was before the move. After all, he’s still got you, and that’s what matters most.

About the Author: 
Cindy Aldridge is a freelance writer and dog loverShe started Ourdogfriends.org as a fun side project for herself and to educate pet owners and potential pet owners about how dogs can enrich our livesShe enjoys writing about dogs and pet ownership.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Cat Who Came to Thanksgiving in 2015

I have a story - it's happy and then tragic -then it was okay for a while - but because of some amazing people at the Woman's job - it's now a great story. My name is T-Kitty (that name was chosen by the Man here - I didn't choose it nor did the Woman but it does sound sort of like a cool rap name so I'll keep it).

I have my own Facebook Page and 54 friends - some of whom live in other countries because I'm that intriguing. I also have human friends in my neighborhood who don't even know the names of the  Woman and Man who own this house. They should get out more.  I have very particular opinions about most everything and I love everyone. Really.

I was a much loved kitten. I had a Mom - she was an older  human but she was great and we were happy. Then one day a white truck with flashing lights came to take her away and she never came back. So I waited. And waited. Then the house became cold- there was nobody to let me in so I moved into the basement since there was a hole in the foundation and I could come and go as needed. The neighborhood humans fed me a lot but they all had dogs who didn't like me so I just stayed in my home waiting for my Mom to come home. I waited for 4 years.  One day this other woman comes by in a big car and calls over to me in a snowstorm. I came running over because she looked like she might have snacks and she scooped me up and took me away to another home, but this one was warm and the lights were on and there were a lot of people there who were petting me and feeding me some great food and I fell asleep on some fuzzy blankets. The next morning I had my own bowls filled to the brim and I thought - maybe my Mom wasn't coming home but she somehow sent these people to take care of me. I waited for my Mom for years living in a condemned house in the cold. Now I've lived here in this warm house for 4 years and I have a wonderful new family.

I will always love her - but because she loved me so much I am very affectionate and happy and adaptable. I sometimes give the Man and Woman here a hard time because they need the exercise, but to be honest - I think of them as my new Mom and Dad and Sister and Brother and even a tiny human who is my best friend.

It's great to meet you. I have to go have a snack and take a nap. I may go out a bit and run around in my yard for a while since the sun is shining, but I'll be back to chat now and again.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Support legislation to keep dialysis patients insured. Tell Congress to pass H. R. 3976

This is not a dog story.

Kathleen with about 15% kidney function 1960's
This is not witty or heartwarming - but it has a happy ending. A happy ending the President of the United States Richard Nixon gave to our family in the form of signing H.R.1 in 1973.

He gave me my mother back. And right now there is a risk that Medicare covering people with End Stage Renal Failure could be impacted by our existing administration. So what can I do, a simple writer and teacher. Here is what I can do. I have a platform. A small platform, but nonetheless a platform. And just like celebrities who use theirs for political causes on award shows I'm using mine for the millions of people who are only alive because they have access to dialysis.

My Mother told me hours before she died "Make sure they know Lisa - you write it and make sure everyone knows." and I never really knew what she meant by that. What she would want "them" to know? There is so much. And maybe someday I will understand and do what she asked  - and in a way maybe this is it? However right now I'm going to use this platform to tell you about my Mother. The short version is posted on facebook to generate support for passing H.R. 3976. The longer version - the story of my Mom and our family and how we almost lost her is here. I will send this link to the House in hopes that a story of pain and death and loss was changed for a story of life by another H.R. Bill in 1973. That they can act with compassion as well and the best parts of their humanity may be affected somehow by my story. A story they can also be the heroes of that voted for my Mom's life 45 years ago.

In 1972 my Mom's kidneys finally began to fail. She was 28 years old. The doctor sent her home to prepare to die, but she'd known they were failing since she was a young teenager and was able to adjust her diet and liquid intake and live on 10% less kidney function for years. She'd make it last again. In the following months it became clear that she was running out of options.  In 1973 at the age of 29 she ran out of time.

They prepared my Dad for her death, how he would know it was imminent, what he could do, how it would look, how long it would take, how he should keep me away from her in the last stages because it would frighten me,  (she would seize, it could be months or days, she'd hallucinate, she'd swell from uremia, she'd no longer recognize me, she'd gasp for breath, she could become combative - death from kidney failure is not a peaceful death unless you're medicated into unconsciousness which didn't seem like an option in the 1970s).

Let me reinforce one thing here. She was a  29 year old beautiful talented young woman, wife and mother, healthy in all other ways. Dialysis existed. It would save her. It was too expensive.

She starting furtively writing me urgent notes with handwriting that looked like scribble, hiding them for fun and telling me I could read them later "like a scavenger hunt in the future" she said.  She finished sewing costumes for my school play because my teacher said "She doesn't look sick and you promised". They did not want my teacher to know the entire story since she could speak out-loud about it in front of me and I'd hear things they didn't want me to know -  and they didn't trust her. There is a special place in hell for that teacher. 

My Mom taught me all about things that Moms usually wait to talk to their daughter's about when they're young teens.

She left tiny notes in my dollhouse for me to discover over time, supposedly written by the characters from "The Borrowers", my favorite book at the time, that would explain that they were going to be there to watch over me for my Mom as long as I needed them. She made my Dad stock up on books - all the James Herriot's - made him promise to get the Stephen King's when they came out. They'd read them together on Friday nights at our house. I had joined in moving up from children's to adult books. It was sometimes silent in my apartment on Friday nights - all of us quietly reading. Those are my favorite memories.

They tried to help prepare my Dad to discuss it with me but he couldn't. He thought he'd be able to fix this somehow. Our extended family tried to help but they both pushed them away. This was something they both agreed on - that this experience was going to be private, that everything be as normal as it could be until it no longer was. I'm sure they were frustrated because everyone knew something was wrong and wanted to help - I know they were but it was intentional on their part. I  only learned that a few years ago as an adult when my father told me this. They deliberately isolated us from friends and family as best they could. They didn't want me to hear anyone who might accidentally speak about it. They were going to hang onto normal as long as possible. One night it no longer was normal. An ambulance came. A day later my father brought my mother home and she went into her bedroom and didn't come out anymore. My father paced back and forth and kept calling people. I begged him to let me go in the bedroom and I'd hear her shout no from down the hall. 
I heard moaning and crying and talking that made no sense. My Dad told me she was having a nightmare and sent me outside to play. I sat in the hallway in the building and listened. I listened to him trying to comfort her and and her screaming out and then crying. I listened to my father cry.


I found out later they'd sent her home to die. My father was panicking and called my grandfather's doctor who had started to regularly call him after a visit with my Grandfather and had been very insistent on knowing more about my mother. He knew that we needed help now that the reality of it was upon him. He called, relatives came for me. That doctor came right away to our house in the middle of the night and called several people at Westchester Medical Center. (formerly known as Grasslands in Valhalla, NY), The ambulance was taking too long, He picked her up and drove her in his own car to Westchester County Medical Center.

H.R.1 had just passed and it was 1973. A miracle had happened. The President had signed into law that kidney failure at any age requiring dialysis be covered under Medicare. It was almost too late for her, but she was a survivor. It should've been too late at that point in uremic poisoning. She was in systemic organ failure by the time she was in the ICU. There was more than one miracle in those chaotic weeks. 

Kathleen with me before my 8th Grade Concert
For this to be turned back at this day and age - or limited in some way so that the government can save money on dialysis patients is beyond reprehensible to me. 

You may ask if we had insurance? Yes, we did. Good insurance from my Dad's job at a bank but my mother had a "pre-existing condition". They wouldn't pay. It covered him and it covered me. It would not cover her in anyway. So we never bought a house or went on a vacation or did many things families did because my parents chose life. And life is expensive for a person with kidney failure. So they knew that this was a waiting game, to live in the moment and hope for a miracle. Life is hard for many people - living under a toxic cloud of fear impacted them both irreparably - all of us I believe.  As much as I was deliberately kept from the information as much as possible,  I was a smart child. I knew something was wrong and I pretended for them that I didn't. I overheard things I never shared with them. They needed that.
Kathleen at 40 Getting ready to go to dialysis

Dialysis costs are more than the treatment. There are the medications, the tests, the equipment, the transportation. Life changes - and all of it costs. If you are fortunate enough to get a transplant the drugs are not always covered under Medicare. If you actually own a home or have any assets then be prepared to liquidate. Things may have changed in years since under Obama's no longer allowing pre-existing conditions clauses in insurance.  I do not believe that is something we can rely on anymore. Things you expect to keep you safe, alive - are being attacked daily. And we all sit here and wait thinking "Well they can't do that". I'm sure in Germany in 1935 many people sat in their homes feeling safe thinking "Well surely they can't do that."

This is long. You may not share my politics. That doesn't matter. What matters here is that these are our families through no fault of their own relying on dialysis to continue living, being parents, children, employees, spouses, friends. I apologize for the length of this but felt compelled to share this. This is my small platform - and I'm using it. I do this for anyone and everyone who has been down the road my family has - some of us know each other in real life and on FB. 

I share this in support of my Mother. Kathleen Rita Finnell Duffy 1941-2003. 

Those numbers cause me a great deal of pain -  but it's the dash between them that makes the difference. The dash that included wonderful memories, elementary school graduation, middle school dances and concerts, much needed motherly advice, having my friends know and confide in her, my cousins hanging out with their Aunt Kathy - the cool Aunt who tried to keep them out of trouble, (and sometimes got them in trouble),  high school and college graduations, holidays and laughter, tears and long discussions,  advice on raising her two grandchildren and never to wear lilac and moisturize more , the opportunity for my children to have a memory of their grandmother...and I had a Mom. Too much to write here Because We. Had. More. Time.
Kathleen with her first grandchild 1994. Her second would arrive
in 1996. They got to know each other.

But without H.R.1 the numbers would've said 

Kathleen Rita Finnell Duffy 1941-1974. 

The dash made all the difference.

In support of everyone living with ESRD and in memory of all who lived courageously for as long as they could with it. In Memory of my Mother Kathleen - the longest surviving continuous dialysis patient in New York State.
The Lyon Press, Guilford,Connecticut
The Lyons Press is an imprint of The Globe Pequot Press
Cover design by Georgiana Goodwin
Cover photographs © Shutterstock

Printed in the United States of America
US $16.95 / CAN $19.95
Tales from a Dog CatcherDuffy-Korpics © 2009
Dewey: 636.7
Dogs — New York (State) — New York — Anecdotes. Dog rescue — New York (State) — New York — Anecdotes. Duffy-Korpics, Lisa