Sunday, April 12, 2015

National ACO Appreciation Week


The second full week of April has been declared National Animal Control Officer Week. According to the National Animal Care and Control Association:
This week of appreciation is designed to give recognition to the hard-working men and women of Animal Control who risk their lives and devote huge amounts of personal time and resources, while they serve the public like other public safety and law enforcement agencies empowered with the same duties.
It's sounds great, but . . . In my 10 years as an ACO I haven't gotten squat for Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week. The admin assistants get flowers on Administrative Professionals Day. The supervisors get a potluck breakfast on Boss's Day. And in my City residents brings cookies and treats to the police station on Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas every year -- but nobody ever remembers the animal control officers. Good thing we don't do this job for the accolades! Still, it would be nice to be noticed. If you want to do something for your local animal control officers here are five easy ways to share some love:
  • Say thank you. Seriously, we don't hear that word enough. I've heard "screw you" and "dog Nazi" and "stupid wannabe cop" more times than you would think. But I cherish every heartfelt "thank you." Sometimes they even make me cry.
  • Put it in writing. If an ACO has helped you in any way, tell someone. Write a letter to the editor or send an email to the Chief. Angry people have no problem expressing how they feel, but all too often happy people forget to share.
  • Share a happy story. Not everything we see is pleasant. Happy stories help mitigate the ugly stuff. If we've helped you find a happy ending, let us know! Did you adopt a dog from the shelter? Email us a picture!
  • Bring something to the shelter. Spring cleaning? We'll gladly take your used towels and blankets. Did you find a sale at Petsmart? We'd love it if you thought of us. There are some niceties that just aren't in our budget -- toys, pig ears, rawhide rolls, canned food, dog treats, catnip -- and we often buy them with our own money instead of going without.
  • Stop calling us names. The term "dogcatcher" is derogatory, right up there with "ambulance chaser" for lawyers and "pill pusher" for doctors. Not only is it offensive, it's just not true. We do so much more than catch stray dogs. We enforce laws and ordinances, investigate animal bites and cruelty complaints, fight animal abuse, testify in court, advise the police and local politicians, care for and return lost pets, rehome abandoned animals, educate the public and a whole host of other things. Go here for a list of my "other duties as required." You'll be surprised at some of the stuff I do.
Everybody likes to feel appreciated. And despite popular opinion, animal control officers are caring people and have feelings. (Yes, really!) I hope you take a second to say thank you to an ACO this week.

OK, I'll step off the soap box now and return to writing the A to Z of Dog Shows. Tomorrow I'm sharing some of the kooky things dog show people do that non dog show people might not understand. You'll be amused. And maybe a bit confused. Hope to see you there. -- K

This cracks me up every time I see it!