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

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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