Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Ugly

Animal Control Officer is weird job. People ask me questions all the time. Some are annoying -- usually complaints disguised as questions, as in "If you had a neighbor who . . ." Some questions are funny; my favorite: "How do I get the raccoons to stop eating the food I put outside for my cats?" (BTW, the answer -- stop feeding your cats outside -- is always followed by a whiny justification.) Most are genuine requests for information, and I (usually) enjoy the opportunity to help. The question that bothers me most is "What's the worst thing you've seen?" Why would someone ask this?! Are they sickos looking for ideas? I usually say "embedded collars" though what I want to say is "[censored horrible thing done to an innocent animal] for pure entertainment. Now you can have nightmares about it too."

I've shared a lot about my job. I've shared funny stories in posts like It's True! and Freaks on the Beach. I've shared frustrations like I Am Not The Dreaded Dog Catcher and Wanna Be An ACO?

But truth be told, I don't want to share the ugly parts. If I say them out loud they become more real. I have a small group of ACO friends who I vent to when needed. My husband gets a condensed, cleaned up version -- if anything at all. I compartmentalize the horror; I lock the sorrow away where it can't hurt me. (My therapist calls this a "coping mechanism.") Most of the time that works. When it doesn't, I try to fill my mind with funny cat videos like this one:

Have I seen horrible things? Yes. Neglect. Abuse. Embedded collars. Hoarding. Puppy mill busts. It takes it's toll on the soul. Just last week I had a day long seminar on animal abuse and dog fighting investigations. There were videos. They were awful. Trust me. But don't ask for details. Instead, let's watch another kitten video:

Seriously, this works. And unlike wine and brownies, I can do this on duty and without worrying about my uniform getting too tight.

It's Thoughtless Thursday! Hop around and see what other mindless stuff you can fill your head with. I will. -- K

P.S. Got any cute videos you'd like to share?

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