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, December 31, 2009

Comparisons to James Herriot: An Overwhelming Honor

Thank you "Sam" for this wonderful Amazon Review. This brought tears to my eyes. Of course, five star reviews have a way of doing that and I'm incredibly appreciative of all my reviewers - but this one really captured my heart.

5.0 out of 5 stars On par with James Herriot!, December 31, 2009
I am a big fan of James Herriot, so when I read the review that suggested her book was similar I thought I would give it a try. Yes, I would say that she is a modern day James
Herriot. Love this book! Excellent stories and writing style...hope to see more works from her soon! I am going to buy this book as gifts for friends.

What some of you may not know, is that James Herriot (his real name was James Alfred Wight), was someone who, while I was growing up, provided a safe shelter in a sometimes stormy life. I discovered these books when my Mother gave me her copy of All Creatures Great and Small in the early 70's. What we didn't realize at the time was that she would soon face an illness that would change all of our lives. While she was hospitalized during the many times in the years to follow, we would share all of James Herriot's books.

These books were based on the life of Alfred James Wight, a Vet who practiced in the town of
Thirsk, Yorkshire in Northern England. Although he wanted to write a book for many years, working long hours as a country veterinarian, fighting in World War II, and raising a family gave him little time to do it. He took the pen name of James Herriot and wrote If Only They Could Talk which was published in the U.K. in 1970. St. Martin's Press eventually published his first two books in one volume in the U.S. The result was All Creatures Great and Small. It was an overnight success. James Wight was 50 years old. More information on his books and life can be found on his official website. His Vet practice is now a museum. James Herriot died in 1995 at the age of 78. The photo of the book on this blog is what my copy looked like in the 1970's, although it's gone through several changes since then. His books were even made into a BBC TV series that was very popular for some time.

As an only child, my mother's death in 2003 was incredibly difficult for me. Not content with just the stories I had published in anthologies, she had been encouraging me to write my own book for years. Taking care of two young children, working full-time, commuting, completing my graduate degree and trying to care for her as she became increasingly incapacitated was an exhausting blur of activity - with little time to even think of writing.

After her funeral, when everyone had left to move on with their lives, I sat alone on the living room floor, writing the thank you cards for the flowers and donations to the National Kidney Foundation. The room had become increasingly dark as the sun set, but I hadn't even noticed. All of the cards were spread out on the floor and I was trying to collect them all to put stamps on them. Realizing that I might have lost some of the cards under
the couch, I lied down on the floor and reached under to try and fish out some of the lost cards when I felt something thicker...like a paperback book. I pulled it out and saw it was a dusty mass market paperback copy of James Herriot's last book Dog Stories. I'd never read it...and what's more...I didn't remember buying it. It was in poor condition. Maybe I'd picked it up at a tag sale? I hadn't had time to read for enjoyment for a few years - maybe I'd bought it and put it aside? I couldn't remember.

I pushed the thank you cards aside and turned the light on. I climbed up on the sofa and opened it - thinking I would look at it a bit and get back to the cards. I didn't. I read instead.

Where did the book come from? Why did I find it in that exact place, in that exact moment when I probably needed it the most? Once again, almost 30 years later, James Herriot gave me a place to go when everything around me seemed impossible to deal with. Perhaps more importantly, it
gave me an idea. Maybe even a message.

It was time to start collecting all of those stories I'd written through the years, some published, others not completely written, and put them together into a plan.

There are some similarities and differences- I also ended up working with animals and I enjoyed writing, although he had 56 years of experiences to write about, and I only had 4. He was born in Glasgow, where my Grandparents were born and much of my family still live. He started writing when he was 50. I was 44 when Lyons Press bought Tales from a Dog Catcher. He really enjoyed the people and and animals he worked with -as did I.

He wrote 14 books. I've written 1. After the next 15 or so stories I have to move on to either fiction or if I continue with narrative non-fiction; my experiences as a teacher. There are only so many true stories you can harvest from 4 years.
So, thank you Sam, for calling me a "modern day James Herriot". I'm so very glad that you enjoyed Tales from a Dog Catcher.
To be compared to someone who has meant so much to me, is an amazing honor. I am humbled by it.

photo courtesy of jamesherriot.org

Tonight - A Guest Blogger on Tales from a Dog Catcher Blogspot

Tonights guest blogger is Emma Korpics. It was difficult booking Emma since her agent had her doing an interview on Ellen and then flying back to New York for a spot on the Today Show.

Q. How are you doing tonight Emma?
I'm tired

Q. So, is there anything you would like to tell the book blogging community?
Please let me go to sleep.

Q. Have you read your Mom's book yet?
No. I'm waiting for the movie.

Q. So, since you have tons of free time not being spent reading your mother's book, what are your interests?
I like sleeping. I like TV. I like singing, and I like Pugs and hanging out with my friends. I love my family.

Q. What do you think you want to be when you grow up?
A well rounded human being, with a big house and a room for my Pug.

Q, What kind of career do you think you would like to pursue?
I am going to be one of those people who somehow find a way to make money by sitting on their butts all day.

Q. Sort of like writers?
No, not like that. I'll be a one hit wonder, retire and then watch tv with my Pug...next to the pool...with my 76 inch plasma screen tv....no, I'm kidding. I would like to be a singer or an actor or a movie director/producer.

Q. Are you going to move to California to do this?
Yes, but I'll start in New York just to make sure I can do it.

Q, Will you bring me with you?
Yes, and I'll buy a big house next to me so we can always be together.

Q. Will you read my book then?
No. I won't have the time because I'll be avoiding the paparazzi.

Q. Thanks for chatting with us tonight Emma. It's good to see how grounded you are with realistic goals.
That's how I roll....can I go to bed now?

Yes, goodnight and thanks again.

Well, that brings us to the end of our interview. I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Thoughts from Tales from a Dog Catcher: Best Wishes for a Happy New Year to All

I spent yesterday racing around trying to finish Christmas shopping. I waited for help at one store where an overworked and overwhelmed teenager seemed to be the only employee handling the fifty or so customers shouting questions at him. They were shopping for the holidays, but they seemed to forget that this poor young man was part of what we should all be trying to remember during this season - to be kinder to people.

I left.

Was I totally altruistic? No, probably not. I didn't want to wait either. It was worth it to go online and order it there and pick it up later today. - but perhaps I was partially altruistic because I didn't have the heart to ask him to help me when I noticed him leaning against a display case taking a moment's breather. I watched a very purposeful couple march over to him when they noticed he was alone, like they'd caught the big one. That's when I left. Got in my car and out of the parking lot, only getting beeped at twice. Picked up my kids and took them to Olive Garden for lunch, where after a while I remembered how children are like dogs.

One is a pet. Two are a pack.

I remembered Christmas's with my Mom, when we had nothing, yet she managed somehow to put presents under the tree. Waking up Christmas morning when I was 7 and lived in Arizona, to find my father had flown in from New York in the middle of the night to be there in the morning. Midnight Mass and holding candles in the darkness of the church. Holidays with so many of my favorite people, so many of them gone too soon. I thought about those holidays when I had no tree and no plans and worked through the night to allow others to spend the time with their family. I remember a Christmas Eve working a police dispatch desk on a midnight shift with my 11 month old son in a car seat next to my feet...a part-time job I took when I left teaching for a year to raise my son. Or, even better - the Christmas's when my children were new - when wrapping paper and boxes were more fun than anything inside of them. The years when my cousin and I would walk through the streets singing Christmas Carols - no malls, no crowds, no presents, no need.

I'm not saying I'm self actualized or anything...I can be just as materialistic as the next person. I once spent a holiday in so much self pity that I didn't want to even put up a tree or hang any lights. I didn't care. It was my good friend Michele who told me: "Go home, put up some damn lights and a tree. Get over yourself and remember that this is not about you." Smart advice from a smart woman.

Happy Holidays to everyone out there. Whether you celebrate Christmas, or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, or that made up Seinfeld holiday. Even if you don't celebrate anything at all - take a moment to appreciate all that you have. My friend Bud at work said it best. "No matter how bad you may feel, you're on this side of the dirt and breathing."

I have many wise friends!

I wish all of you the best. Thank you to all my readers for your support and friendship. Much happiness and good health for a wonderful New Year.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Adopt Two Purebred Beautiful Young Trained Siberian Huskies- Free to the Right Home!

Kodi and Mason are waiting for their new home- could it be yours?

Kodi and Mason are beautiful, smart, well trained and loving Siberian Huskies in need of a new home. Mason is a little over a year old and Kodi will be a year in January. Their owner took incredible care of them, but unfortunately due to an unexpected move and extended work hours, she is no longer able to provide them with the room and attention they are used to. Rather than taking the easier road of keeping them anyway and having them try to adapt to a more lonely and restricted lifestyle, this young woman has made the brave, unselfish decision to find them a home that will be the best for THEM - an incredibly difficult and heart breaking decision for her.

MASON: (Above) - Born June 6, 2008 Pure Bred Siberian Husky - ACA Registration Papers available - not
filed yet. House Broken and Crate Trained. Black and White with Blue Eyes. Approx 58 lbs.Up To Date Vaccinations. Neutered. Loves Everyone and Every Animal. Extremely Well Behaved. Ok on Leash but he is strong and also a husky so he knows how to pull

KODI: (Below on Right) - Born January 26, 2008
Pure Bred Siberian Husky - AKC Registered,
Black and White with Blue Eyes. Approx. 54 lbs. Up To Date Vaccinations. Home Again Micro Chip. Neutered. Does NOT do well with other dogs or small animals besides Mason. Very Gentle and Loving with all people. Ok on Leash but he is strong and also a husky so he knows how to pull. House Broken and Crate Trained
Kodi and Mason MUST be adopted together! *They are very dependant. They have only known having each other and will NOT do well on their own.*
Fenced in Yard or Pen necessary as they love to be outside and play.

If you have the room in your heart and in your home to adopt Kodi and Mason, please email me at lkorpics@gmail.com or add a comment on this site and I'll put you in contact with their owner. She wants only the best for these two exceptional dogs and I know there is a wonderful new home out there somewhere just waiting to add Kodi and Mason to their family!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Days

Proof that I was once able to parallel park.

It was the 80's - big hair, and apparently, big cars. Yes...this was it. The famous Animal Patrol Wagon. At one time it had been the best car in the department. When it was new - it was the Chief''s car - driven only by those who held the highest rank.
Then the years went by... Watergate, the end of the Vietnam War, The Oil Crisis, Pet Rocks...the advent of Hamburger Helper. Yes, those were good times.

However, since those events are from the early 70's or so and... as you may have noticed... I mentioned that this photo was from the 80's - by the time it had been demoted to Animal Control, this car had seen better days.

Better years.

It was a car from another era. I think it even took regular leaded gas. It must have. Some of you reading this may be thinking "Leaded gas?" "There's such a thing as leaded gas?" If you are one of those people, you should probably be in bed by now - young people need their sleep.

That thing could fly though - 8 cylinders and a powerful engine, even if it was a little bit on the older side. Looking at it now makes me a little sad, nostalgic. Today there was no school - a snow day. Instead of doing the mountains of work that sit in not just one, but two bookbags, I looked through photo albums. I scanned some photos from years gone by - to give as gifts to some of those people from years gone by. Perhaps the memories I give them will make them smile. I hope they do. Today was that kind of day.

It was a day to remember how it felt to drive that old car with the windows open, wind blowing, the highway in front of me - and no traffic as far as I could see.
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