Sunday, April 10, 2016

National ACO Appreciation Week

As regular readers know, when I'm not dogging or blogging, I'm running around as an animal control officer. It's an interesting job and it pays the bills (barely). If you want to know more about what I do, click on Animal Control under "Stuff I Think About" to the right. I share the good, the bad and the you-can't-be-serious! (HINT: My job is not what you see on Animal Planet.)

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.
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 those words 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 Mayor. Angry people have no problem expressing how they feel, but all too often happy people forget to share.
  • Tell us 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 having the animals go without.
Stop calling us names. The term "dogcatcher" is derogatory. It's 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. (Can you say Faux Ho? Yep, I've done that!)
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. -- K

P.S. The collage below cracks me up. It's funny because it's true.

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