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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How Do I Love Thee? Let me Not Count the Ways

Americans overuse the word love. I know this to be true since I heard it on TV last night; on a high profile network no less. So of course, it must be true.

I don’t think Americans, or anyone for that matter, overuse the word love. Maybe I don’t think it’s used enough? What's more, who decided that it’s overused? Who decided the scale we should measure love by? Perhaps there should be an organization designed to determine the amount of love one should feel in different situations. Perhaps something like “The Ministry of Love”. No, that sounds too provincial or like an album cover... in America it would probably be called “The Department of Love”, much like the D.M.V. but less confusing and with shorter lines.

Who’s to say that the woman making dinner for her five young children after working an 8 hour day doesn’t love her microwave? Why can’t we love our favorite movie, or a color, or certain type of Pinot Grigio?

“Here my darling, I’ve been saving this wine for a special occasion. I really intensely like it and I’m sure you will be exceptionally fond of it too.”

“Oh, yes” She takes a sip. “I absolutely find it way beyond adequate!”

The thing about love is that it truly is indefinable. It means something different to whoever is feeling it. Feelings are intangible things by nature, so therein lies my problem with people telling us that we should have a limit on it.

Maybe the word should be reserved for the absolute peak of experiences, the most reverent moments, the most important rites of passage. Maybe it should be reserved for permanence, a word not to be taken a chance on something potentially temporary? Does love fade away? Yes, sometimes it does. Is love sometimes taken away? Does it cause us to run towards things, or sometimes to run away from them as well? Yes, I suppose that’s true. But isn't the chance worth it?

Does love change? Absolutely it does…the love a child feels toward their parents is a complicated and cyclical thing – beginning with intense need, moving along to admiration, than to disappointment that no one is perfect, and with any luck moves back to admiration and respect once again. Love affairs begin with chemistry and excitement, the physicality, the peaks and valleys are volatile, exciting and addicting. When they level off into maturity, some may think that they’ve fallen out of love but if they’re lucky, it’s turned into something deeper and solid. Can those we love die….our brains know the logic to this, but our love doesn’t.

So how can the word love be overused? It can appear, disappear, change, be given or taken away, it can be brief; it can be inconsistent, misunderstood, simple, complex, fleeting or forever. What it can’t be is defined. I watch my children sleeping and I remember them as babies and I know I will always see them that way as they grow taller than me . I loved them then and now, sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it’s painful, but it’s still love. My mother told me that love was an action, not a word. I think she knew that I'd need to remember that when she was no longer here to guide me when I became a parent myself. She gave me a memory of selfless love.

On the first warm day of spring when I sit outside on my deck, with my dog on my lap, among the trees and quiet in the sunshine…I feel it. What do I love? Trees? Sunshine? Peace? My dog? My deck? It doesn’t matter. I can’t define it and I don’t want to…I just love it. I don’t want to rate or measure or count the amount of times anyone should say it. It’s not my job, and it’s not the job of the news to tell us this either.

It comes, it goes, it’s difficult, it flows, it’s hard to find and it’s right behind you at the same time waiting for you to find it back. Don’t define it. Don’t analyze it. Just turn off the news…and be grateful for it.


  1. Well I love you. You are my family, which is perhaps another thing that doesn't fit definition. :)


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