Working with animals taught me…

Milo may be pooping...

Milo may be pooping…

If you work in any profession long enough you will learn trade secrets. Over the years I picked up a host of these gems including: why reporters should always carry a pencil (ink clots in cold weather), when to question your publisher (always) and his wife (never), how to proofread for spelling errors (backwards works great), and how to write on deadline (you just do it).

Some of the best lessons I ever learned came from my time working with animals at the Massachusetts SPCA. So if you’ve ever wondered how to take a perfect profile shot of your dog, here is your answer and several more lessons learned the hard way:

“Portraits take time…and bowels.”
An untrained dog’s best profile photograph is taken when he is relieving himself…he is both happy and immovable.

“Quiet lasts until it is needed.”
If you go live with CNN in ten seconds the cat in your lap will become completely erratic in five seconds.

“Being shy never got anyone on TV.”
Humping a leg on live television is the best way to show viewers that you still got it.

“Secrets never stay secret.” or “Everything comes out in the end.”
A surgeon once pulled a pair of ladies underwear from a dog only to have the owner’s wife say they weren’t hers.

“Never use your hands when you can get a net.”
Catching feral cats is like snatching popcorn from the air with chopsticks.

“Cute only goes so far.”
The smallest bodies may produce the softest purrs or house those irresistible puppy dog eyes but they also produce the most noxious gases, shed the oddest colored excretions, and generally gnaw on your hands with the sharpest teeth.

“Inedible means that something shouldn’t be eaten, not that it can’t.”
Dogs will swallow anything from gravel by the pound to entire rubber ducks (2). I have the X-rays to prove it.

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