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, August 26, 2010

Infinite Summer

Summer's coming to a close - I know this now, but for weeks I've been in denial.

I ignore the "Back to School" commercials because they start about 3 days after the school year ends anyway. They're selling Halloween decorations at the local grocery store. I almost created a scene after I walked by a display and commented on how ridiculous it was. My comment may have contained some expletives - but you'd have to prove that first.

After taking a walk through my neighborhood, I chose to overlook the disappearance of the purple and pink petunias; replaced by orange and red chrysanthemums. I pretended I couldn't hear the nightly concert given by the cicadas in my yard and convinced myself that the days weren't getting shorter. I had my first "teacher dream". Those of you who are not in that field could probably relate if I told you that it's similar to those dreams you would get as a child on Sunday nights before school would start, or the "I have a presentation to make for work tomorrow" dreams. For those of you who are teachers, or ever have been...you know what I mean.

So I decided that I would create an infinite summer in my mind. I know that sounds all new-agey and trippy - but bear with me. I have the gulf coast on the screen saver of my phone - and that's where it will stay. I can look at it every time I answer it, even when it's snowing - it'll be there. I made a promise to myself to leave my job at my job when I come home this year. As much as I will hold the summer in my heart, I am going to make a concerted effort to be exactly where I am at every moment of my life - not worrying about meetings or mandates or anything else the moment I leave my job for the day. The kids in my class - that's a different story - I have a place for them inside my heart all of the time - but the other stuff...I'm letting it go.

I learned a lot this summer....about who I am, who I used to be and how to blend the two to create the person I want to be now. I made a great deal of progress on my book. I began to take better care of my health - realizing that it's an investment I deserve. I realized that my older child is beginning the move away from childhood towards young adulthood - and instead of being sad about it, I'm in awe of how much I admire the person he's becoming. My youngest will need more of me now that she's begun the early tumultuous years of adolescence. I'm going to be there to make it as easy as possible - not sitting behind my desk.

Most people make New Year's resolutions - but teachers make school year resolutions. Mine is to live in the moment but be reflective in all that I do. Take it slow even while others race by doing, accumulating, and competing. Seek balance in all the roles I play, but define myself by the ones that matter most. And keep a promise to myself to never lose the slow, peaceful and warm infinite summer in my mind.

Photo courtesy of socksoff.co.uk

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cell Memory and a Gift from my Father

Some people live through their physicality - they're in tune with their bodies, can push them to their limits, enjoy the confidence that comes in doing without thought - trusting themselves to let go of the body-mind connection. There's a freedom in that, perhaps it's almost something mystical. I see it in dancers, in athletes,in gymnasts, even in children at play.

I used to dive. I still remember what it feels like to vault yourself off a board, fly into the air, bend from the waist, touch your toes and straighten out just in time to slice into the water without as much as a splash. I remember the feeling of spinning through the air - forwards, backwards...never doubting that I'd land it. A confidence quite unnatural for me.It was the only athletic thing I ever liked, and the only one I was ever good at before the spine surgery.

It made me better...it saved my life. I was 15. I was very lucky. I'm still grateful for it today. I'm very capable and through the years nobody except those closest to me would notice how I compensate. As I became older I forged my way developing types of skills that were cerebral, emotional, or analytical...not physical.

It's only that a few days ago, for a brief moment, I remembered. I had access to an empty pool and was doing laps, trying to remember all the types of strokes my father, the former lifeguard at Jones Beach in Long Island, had taught me as a child. He could've been an Olympic swimmer, but he had responsibilities and those dreams weren't designed for blue collar Bronx immigrant families. He'd taught me to swim, to dive, to respect the water. He was an expert scuba diver as well. He'd tried to join the Navy when he was younger, but they turned him down for a heart condition. All he ever wanted was the water.

I remember watching him at our community pool. He'd wait on line at the diving board and than effortlessly perform acrobatics that would stun everyone watching. Then he'd go back to his chair and his book like nothing had happened. He could go years between doing things like that. Maybe that's what cell memory is. He'll be 70 years old tomorrow and even after a quadruple bypass and a replaced aortic valve - I wouldn't be surprised if he could still get up there and do it.

For a moment last week, I remembered. The freedom, the rush, the absence of thought - just action. It's in my cell memory, but for me that's where it will have to stay. It was a gift from my Dad that maybe I can't use anymore, but it's in there. Just as much as my love and appreciation for a humble gifted athlete who turns 70 tomorrow.

A man who gave up the ocean to support a family and raise a little girl.
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