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News: Shirley Zindler
The Joy of Fostering
She was another one of the many neglected strays I pick up on my job as an animal control officer but I was shocked by how emaciated she was. Her spine and hips stood out in stark relief, especially over her rump where much of her hair was missing. Her belly was hugely swollen and closer inspection showed that she was ready to deliver. She was incredibly sweet and looked like a Border Collie/Lab...
News: Shirley Zindler
Finding a stolen dog
Emmy comes home!
The frantic voice on phone belonged to my dear friend Carrie. “Emmy’s gone and we can’t find her anywhere!” Oh no! Emmy was a tiny, beautiful and beloved Shih-Tzu. She had just participated in Carrie’s wedding the day before, walking down the aisle with the flower girls. (Emmy was not going on the honeymoon but was going to be looked after by her brother  who lives with Carrie.) “What happened...
News: Shirley Zindler
Dogs In Hot Cars: Caution
Bark readers are by their very nature, responsible dog owners. We treat our dogs as family and many of us love to take them with us whenever possible. The fact that we include them in every aspect of our lives is an example of our commitment to them. We would never knowingly do anything to put our beloved friends in danger and yet leaving them in our cars, even just for a few minutes, can be...
News: 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...
News: 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...
News: 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...
News: 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....
News: 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...
News: 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...
News: 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....

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