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PET TRACKER: by Kat Albrecht
Chapter 1, Pt 4: When You HATE the Job That Feels Like a TRAIN WRECK!
You are reading / listening to (and enjoying, I hope) the memoir Pet Tracker by Kat Albrecht. It was originally published and in bookstores in 2004 under the title The Lost Pet Chronicles (Kat’s co-author was Jana Murphy). It went out of print in 2015 and has as since been updated with new stories and renamed Pet Tracker: The Amazing Story of Rachel The K-9 Pet Detective. It is posted here as a free gift to all of Kat’s subscribers. Here are reviews of the original manuscript (from 2004):
In this thoroughly engaging book, Albrecht narrates, with deadpan humor and Grisham-like suspense, the story of how she came to create an entirely new career: lost pet search and rescue. As a police dispatcher and later a police officer in California, Albrecht was duty bound to give human emergencies priority over animal crises, but it wasn't until her Eeyore-like bloodhound, A.J., went missing that Albrecht saw the need for sophisticated detective and scent trail work to find pets. With humor and fascinating insight into search-and-rescue work, Albrecht continues to find innovative ways to help animals and the humans who love them, and inspires readers with her dramatic career changes. This is a must-read for animal lovers and sleuths alike. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
The book, which recounts several of her cases, is downright engrossing. David Pitt, © American Library Association. All rights reserved.
The first job I had taken in law enforcement, before I was even twenty, was as a 911 dispatcher. I thought it would fulfill my need to be exposed to law enforcement. I was wrong. After five years on the job fielding calls from the desperate, the belligerent, and everyone in between, it was work that I despised. Some callers were frightened, panicked, worried—almost always highly emotional. Many were short-tempered, aggravated, condescending, drunk, or all of the above. There were nonstop calls of car accidents, triggered burglar alarms, injured people, shots fired, fights, fires, drunk drivers, stolen vehicles, dog bites—constant, urgent problems.
One day, toward the end of my shift, there was a fire at a local hospital and I was assigned to not only answer emergency 911 calls but also to make phone calls that the radio dispatcher was too busy to make. Most of these required calling to confirm arrest warrants, tow trucks, and the like, and with the 911 lines ringing off the hook due to the fire, I briefly stopped bringing up the dispatcher requests on my computer screen to catch up on the flood of 911 calls.
A few minutes later, when I was able to get back to the list of dispatcher requests, my heart almost stopped. There was an eight-minute-old message instructing me to immediately call the Southern Pacific Railroad and notify them that an automobile was stuck on the railroad tracks. I snatched up a line to make the call, and at that moment the radio dispatcher stood up and shouted across the room at me, “DISREGARD CALLING SOUTHERN PACIFIC. A TRAIN JUST HIT THE CAR!”
Thankfully, the drunk driver had already been removed from the vehicle and no one was hurt. But the idea of making a life-or-death mistake, that my actions or even my lack of action could cause such damage, hung over me, just like how the worries of all the hundreds of callers I spoke with nagged at me day after day. If I was helping, it certainly didn’t feel like it. At its best, this job allowed me to relay a critical message to an officer or an ambulance—and then remain in my chair, at my desk, shackled to my phone, never to even hear whether my intervention had made a difference. Dispatching was nothing like the adrenaline-fueled experience of police work on the streets. Through my Explorer ride-along experiences, I had grown to crave the unpredictable nature of driving around in sheer boredom only to transition into the fast, pulse-pounding excitement of a code three (emergency lights and siren) run on a robbery in progress call.
After reading the Dog World article about cadaver dogs, I felt the familiar determination, born of months—and years—of dragging myself to a job I could not stand. At this point, I just wanted out of law enforcement. My love for even police work on the streets had run cold. I had to make a change. There was no way I was destined to do this for the rest of my life.
In my heart, I knew I still loved police work, but my dispatching job just made me feel helpless and frustrated. I remembered the shark man’s story of how he was in bliss because he was “paid for his passion.” I began to believe, deep in my heart, that there just had to be a way I could be paid to work with dogs. I realized it was time to start moving in a new direction. I knew I could do better for myself.
What about YOU? Have you ever worked at a job that was a “train wreck” in your life? Or perhaps are you currently in a job that you know is not your passion and that sucks the marrow from your soul? Please share your story in the comments section below.
How to Read to PET TRACKER from the Start of the Book
To read previous PET TRACKER chapter / episodes or to start reading this book from the very beginning, go to my Substack homepage at armedrobbers2airedales.substack.com, click on the PET TRACKER by Kat Albrecht tab on top, scroll down to the very bottom and start reading my very first post titled Dedication & Introduction Pt 1.
TIP: Since you can’t put a “book mark” in my Substack, I suggest that you keep a record (i.e. journal, spreadsheet, whatever) of the chapter and part numbers that you’ve already read so far. This will help you easily pick up reading where you last left off.
How to Listen to Recordings of me Reading PET TRACKER
To LISTEN to me reading these chapter sections, simply scroll to the top of each post page, look for the gray box that says ARTICLE VOICE OVER, and click on the blue-sideways-triangle-thingy and WAH LAH, its ME reading PET TRACKER so that you can listen as you drive, do the dishes, whatever. BTW, with the audio version I sometimes add tiny details that expand on the text version.
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