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

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tales from a Dog Catcher Now Available on Sony eReader

Tales from a Dog Catcher is now available on the Sony eReader - I'm very excited! You can download it here, or you can go directly to the eReader site at ebookstore.sony.com to download other great books.

Tales from a Dog Catcher has been available on Amazon's Kindle since publication in April 2009, but today I found a new feature that allows you to download Kindle books onto your Blackberry. These are some exciting times for people who love to read.

On a shorter note - I'm about to get slapped by Mother Nature for my last blog rant on snow, or lack thereof. I've never heard of a snow storm referred to as a "Snow Hurricane", but I suppose those of us in the Hudson Valley will find out first hand on Thursday. I would just like to say ahead of time...I am absolved from all blame.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Slow News Day

This is photograph of the Blizzard of 1978. I remember this because school was closed all week long. People couldn't find their cars. It was way above your head... it was awesome!

This is news. THIS is snow. Lately in the New York City Area we have been getting snow. There have been countless hours dedicated to talking about it on the news, emergency reports interrupting scheduled programming, people running to pick up milk and bread before it hits. But you see, it's not SNOW. It's snow.

My cousin who currently lives in Calgary, where snow is no joke, a regular expected occurrence and probably not the main topic of every conversation, made a comment the other day about how the New York news spent multiple hours covering the snow event. Well, at first it was "The blizzard of the century", than later it became "The blizzard of the year" which was right before it was downgraded to "snow storm" and then even further to "snow event." Here is the news from this past week where New York City got 2 inches of snow, most of which turned to slush almost immediately.

Reporter: "Well, as you see here, I'm standing out in snow folks! See...look!"
(Camera pans to ground. Yes, there is some snow, like a a bit...maybe it just looks moist.)
Reporter: "Travel is hectic around her, people are being extra careful...wearing boots and hats!"
(They stop someone wearing BOTH a hat and boots and hold up the microphone to them.)
Reporter: "What do you think of this! SNOW!"
Person: "Yes. today I saw it was going to snow, so I wore boots. Oh, and my hat too."
Reporter: (laughs hard at obviously hysterical comment by person) "Oh, me too. A hat AND boots...ha,ha.ha.!"
Reporter: "Lets talk to some of the plow guys, they've been working all night...wait..what...sorry I'm getting information from the studio. What's that? Oh, an hour now. Okay." "So, what is your name sir?"
Plow Man: "Joe"
Reporter: "What do you think of all this weather Joe?!"
Joe: "Yup."
Reporter: "You heard that here first! It's snowing! Just look up at how it's coming down!"
(Camera pans up...light flakes flutter down, the stars are shining through the flakes)
Reporter: "Well, it was coming down before. I have this yardstick here to measure the snow."
(She sticks ruler into snow. It falls over due to there being nothing to really hold it up)
Reporter: "Well there you go guys. Winter weather in the Big Apple! Maybe there will be no school tomorrow, what do you think kids?"
Kids: (looking at reporter and saying "YAY!", then looking back at Mom who rolls her eyes and shakes her head no).


Reporter: "So, it looks like we've had some weather, with a chance of a bit more by the morning...what would that be, Rob back at the studio?"
Rob at the Studio: "Only 3 feet".
Reporter: "3 feet by tomorrow morning...not too bad since it's only on top of the last 4 feet from last night". So on to more timely news....there's a lost cat named Fluffy in the Easton Park Area. If you find her please call 1-800-555-1222. And now for the sports..."

Well, that's enough of my rambling about snow. I think I'll turn on the news to catch the 3 hour Tiger Woods Apology Special. I think it's being close captioned for the hearing impaired which is always good, but you can also follow it on Twitter.

I think there also may have been a domestic terrorism incident with a plane crashing into the IRS building in Texas, Alexander Haig died, An American won Male figure skating for the first time in decades and I think that Haiti may still be in some need of assistance...but I'm not sure. I think there's still a war in Iraq and Afghanistan too. I'll have to check and get back to you on it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine’s Knives

Flowers. Chocolates in heart shaped boxes laced in red ribbon. Delicately wrapped packages of expensive jewelry. We rush out to make sure we have something by the 14th of February to illustrate our undying devotion. After all, that guy in the jewelry commercial that’s been playing for a month now is giving his lady friend one of those sparkly heart necklaces that were designed by an actress known primarily for her role in Lifetime Channel movies.

Nothing says love like that.

I think there was a time when I bought into all of that…actually I know there where was a time. There is one memory I’m particularly ashamed of. It involved knives. To be more clear – Valentine’s Knives.

He was a great guy, a physicist to be exact. You can see already that it was doomed to fail since I’m a right brain dominant writer type and he was, well…a physicist. I wished on stars thinking that somehow they could give me the answers I needed. He told me I was wasting my time on balls of gas; mostly hydrogen and helium. I believe that animals have souls – he didn’t believe in souls, animal nor human. He once told me that I was the “Anti-Spock”. He was right of course, although I tend to think even now, that maybe it was exactly that quality that intrigued him to begin with.

For Valentine’s Day I had agonized over what to give him…my memory is dim but I think it had something to do with Stephen Hawking. When I opened his gift, I found that he had given me a set of kitchen knives. I wasn’t sure what to think? Was this some type of message? I did probably need some…but on Valentine’s Day? A current of estrogen fueled panic flooded my brain. That was when every woman at my job got involved:

“Knives for Valentine’s? That’s the kiss of death!”

“I wouldn’t deal with that, there’s plenty of fish in the sea….why not a nice bracelet?”

“He probably doesn’t know you well enough after all this time…that’s a bad sign.”

It was too much. I was impressionable at the time, being the youngest woman there. These ladies must know something that I didn’t. They said I wasn’t being objective.

For many reasons, that was the beginning of the end. It was probably inevitable and better for the both of us in the long run. Not long afterward, I met the man who would become my husband. He loves Valentine’s Day more than I do. He is too generous and has impeccable taste. Last year he asked me what I wanted for Valentine’s Day and when he wouldn’t accept my usual “I don’t need anything, don’t worry about it”, I finally told him what I wanted. Rubber car mats for my truck. He thought I was nuts, but he actually did it…along with flowers and a necklace. He witnessed the Valentine Knife debacle 18 years ago and I think he doesn’t trust me enough to believe that I’d be fine with a useful gift.

What I didn’t know then, was that those knives were Ever Sharp Henkel’s. They were chosen with a lot of care and probably too much expense. I’d been trying to learn to cook better, and they were a thoughtful gift that 18 years later, still sit in my kitchen drawer. I’ve learned a lot through the years, as I’m sure we all have. Things that seem so important at 25 are clearly unimportant at 45. A token of affection need not be some mass produced, overly advertised item that will be worn once a year. An object should never be something by which you measure your value or self worth.

I still use those knives. I’ve used them to chop onions, take the legs off a couch, plane a door, along with a thousand other uses through the years. Those knives taught me a lesson. They never needed sharpening.

I did.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Where is home?

Where the heart is? Any place where they have to take you when you go there? Be it ever so humble, there's no place like it?

On the range- where the deer and the antelope play?

Or, maybe it's true, like the phrase Thomas Wolfe made famous in his 1940 novel, that you can't go home again.

I've felt that way for a while now. I've even avoided going back because I'm so nostalgic by nature that it's practically painful. I resent the new businesses with their new names, the way they changed the exit ramp to the highway, how they finally rented the buildings near a field where I used to play. Even though it's an improvement, I have fond memories of when it was half completed because the builder went bankrupt, windows broken and empty, the field next to it was dirt, weeds, and litter - trash fluttering around in the breeze - we ran around and played among it.

An unlikely combination of decay and potential that I found oddly comforting.

Today I had to drive down, help some people that mean the world to me. Face the fact that nothing stays the same and watch someone I love struggle with a diagnosis that has already taken her away from me, and even worse; from her husband and daughter. I had no idea that the last time I talked to her, would be the last time she was in there. She looks at me now, and she's gone.

I arrived at the building. I pulled my car up to park next to the sidewalk and saw someone pull in front of me and start backing up to fit into his spot. I turned my car back on and slowly backed up a foot so he would have more room, but left enough space for the car behind me to get out. I was expecting the usual. A dirty look or a rude comment. I got out of the car and when I closed the door a man was standing in front of me. "Oh here we go." I thought.

"I want to thank you Miss. That was kind of you to back up for me." He smiled. It was a little disarming.

"You're welcome." I said. "I don't park in a city too often anymore. I'm a little out of practice." I opened my purse to fish out some quarters for the meter and I hear a voice behind me. It's a large man who looks a bit down on his luck. He smiles and I notice that his teeth are broken and missing, but for some reason I still like his smile. It's his eyes. He means it.

"No money in the meter today Ma'am. It's Sunday and it's free!" He gives me a salute and advises me to button up my jacket so I don't get a cold. Then he walks away quickly, whistling.

I start walking towards the building, buttoning up my jacket as I approach the door.

I've been home five minutes. And I know now, that no matter where I end up in this life and how much things change, the spirit of a place stays the same.

And I know Thomas Wolfe was wrong.

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