Home
Browsing articles in Shirley Zindler
Blog: Shirley Zindler
Avoiding Dog Bites
The Still & Silent Way Works Best
Two minor punctures were just visible above the old man’s ankle. He held his slacks up from his skinny leg as he told me how the dog had rushed off its property and bitten him as he walked by. As I took the report he told me about many other dog bites he had received.      The man was a quiet, soft-spoken widower who spent every morning walking around his suburban neighborhood. He lived in a...
Blog: Shirley Zindler
The View from Behind the Chain Link
Helping out in the shelter
There are more than 100 dogs at our county shelter. They are there for a variety of reasons. Lost, unwanted, their owners lost their home, had a baby, moved or don’t have time to care for them anymore. Some are bite-quarantine or court cases. They represent a tremendous variety of breeds, sizes, ages and temperaments. Some are beautiful and healthy with wagging tails and happy faces. Others are...
Blog: Shirley Zindler
A Walk on the Wild Side
Discovering the mysteries of nature with dogs
With a busy and stressful job as an animal control officer, it’s critical to find ways to relax on my days off. Walking my own dogs is a great way to work off the stress and tension of my week. One of my favorite places is a local beach where dogs are allowed off leash. I usually go with friends and we bring a variety of dogs, large and small, our own and sometimes a foster or two. The dogs take...
Blog: Shirley Zindler
A Sacred Trust
Animal control officers are often among the first on the scene when a death at home leaves a pet behind
The old man’s eyes were closed, his head rested on a pillow and covers were tucked up to his chest. Even the wispy white hair on his head looked unruffled. His arms were wrapped around his little blond Chihuahua, who gazed at me quietly. For a Chihuahua to fail to bark when a stranger enters the room is a miracle in itself. It couldn’t have been a more peaceful scene although the man was dead....
Blog: Shirley Zindler
Barking Up the Wrong Tree
Mistaken identity, surprising requests and strange dilemmas
Animal control officers see a lot of difficult, upsetting things. Thankfully, there are the strange requests, amusing calls and fun rescues to balance the heavy stuff. People are often confused about what we do. I can’t make your roommate clean his cat litter box more often and I can’t force your cousin to put a coat on his Golden Retriever when they walk in the rain. I can’t make your husband...
Blog: Shirley Zindler
Discovering the Great in a Forlorn Dane
Meet Tyra, rescued dog turned rescuer
On what would be a fateful afternoon more than a year ago, a fellow animal control officer received a call for a stray dog in traffic. When he arrived, he found a scrawny, half-grown Great Dane puppy running in terror from everyone who approached. When he finally cornered her, she fought wildly and tried to bite but he was able to get her into his truck. At the shelter, the dog shrank in fear...
Blog: Shirley Zindler
A Close Call
Rescuing a dog caught in the crossfire
The cheerful beat of my cell phone yanks me out of a sound sleep. I glance groggily at the clock: 12:32 a.m. I’m on call for animal control emergencies. The sheriff’s dispatcher advises me that deputies are requesting my presence at a rural address. I dress in a hurry, yank my hair into a ponytail and drive through the dark to the scene. The road is blocked by deputies but they wave me through....
Blog: Shirley Zindler
Finding a Purpose for a Pup
Turning a bad situation into something positive
An early morning call came in from a passerby who reported seeing a dog attacking sheep near a quiet country road. It was a gorgeous day, and I enjoyed the drive in spite of my anxiety to get there as soon as possible. I pulled up in front of a neat little white farmhouse surrounded by green fields. It was quiet; no one seemed to be home. The sound of a dog barking and the frantic bleating of...
Blog: Shirley Zindler
Hoarding
You never get used to a hoarder’s house
The stench of garbage, urine and feces hit me as I entered the home. Sunlight slanted through a broken window and illuminated the clutter and sparkles of dust in the air. Cats and small dogs bolted in every direction, frantic to hide from the stranger in their midst. The place was littered with empty pet food cans, old magazines, clothes, dishes and boxes. Ammonia stung my eyes and throat as I...
Blog: Shirley Zindler
A Day in the Life of an Animal Control Officer
I wake early to care for my latest litter of 6-week-old foster pups. I almost always have fosters at home: Moms with pups, orphaned or sick dogs, or dogs needing training or socializing. These are adorable scruffy Terrier mixes and they scramble over me in delight as I hurry to feed and clean up after them. Each one also gets picked up for a cuddle before I head out the door. I arrive at the...

Pages