Tails of a Lady Dog Catcher
by Nancy Lebaron-Kiley
Fulton Books

"On the first week as the Assistant Dog Catcher I rounded up 37 dogs and collected $93 in fines, something the City Treasurer had never seen beforeā€¦"

In the early 1970s, the author, although young, shows herself to be good with animals. She can do what the city dog officers cannot. However, because she is a female, the city isn't ready to hire her on full-time. As her first year as an assistant wears on, the community goes through several male dog catchers. Eventually, they conclude that the author is the best person for the job. She becomes the first female dog officer in the country. Fearless and mischievous, she does outstanding work with a variety of animals and makes a name for herself. She also becomes known around the precinct as a practical joker and has all the other officers on their toes. Not only does she deal with a number of dog cases, but she also handles snakes, skunks, large cats, and an exotic monkey. The hardest cases involve those where animals are mistreated. The author learns a lot from a judge and makes sure to pursue those who commit animal cruelty until they are caught and convicted.

This short memoir covering the author's time as a dog catcher is a great look into her personality and into the struggles that women who are pioneers in their fields have to face. Her grit and character come through full-bodied through each story she shares and can serve as inspiration to young women who are pursuing work in male-dominated fields. Although more light-hearted and with topics less life-threatening than books such as I Am Malala or Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, Lebaron-Kiley's book could sit on a similar shelf in a high school library. It is aligned even closer with a book such as The Book of Awesome Women, which celebrates women breaking boundaries and making a place for themselves. This seems to be the main driving force behind the book besides sharing entertaining stories. Lebaron-Kiley was the best person for the job in a male-dominated field, and it is obvious that she wants to inspire other young women to be the best at whatever job they aspire to hold.

Except for a couple of minor grammatical errors, the book is well-written and easy to read. The pace is quick, and the stories flow rapidly from one to another without too much digression. Due to this and the work's brevity, it is likely best suited for middle and high school readers, although adults will still find plenty to enjoy through an afternoon read of this title. Educators should be aware that there are a few minor swear words in the work, though their occurrence is rare. The overall effectiveness of the narrative might have been enhanced with a slower pace occasionally and more time to elaborate on the challenges the author faced and her personal feelings through these experiences. However, many will find the stories' brevity and the author's playful, practical jokes a perfect fit. Younger readers especially will enjoy the adventures shared throughout the story and the author's personality, which comes shining through the account. It would not be surprising to find this a popular pick among students needing to do a book review over someone who inspires them.

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