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, 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.


  1. That was a great entry. I am so glad that I too have the opportunity to have such cell memories of that great "athlete" we have in our lives. I am so glad that you posted this, and did it sooo eloquently. You are an amazing writer!!!! Keep it coming

  2. Love you Peg - thanks for your kind words and I'm also so happy that we share our memories of our Daddy :)


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