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

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.


  1. Knives? That was a nice gift. That needs to go in your next book.

  2. Gorgeous blog. I laughed out loud and finished smiling. Perfect for Valentine's Day!


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