Category Archives: Getting to Know You

Officer Frank Locke, “Critter Getter” and One Heckuva Guy

Last night, local Sunnyvale Animal Control Officer Frank Locke posted a video of his version of Junior Brown’s “Highway Patrol” that I can’t stop watching. And now his super Texan, down-home song championing responsible pet ownership is completely stuck in my brain. It should be in your brains, too, folks — with great reason.

Officer Locke began his thirty-year-long career in animal control in Lewisville, TX. Since then, he’s witnessed a lot of change and progress, much of that certainly due to the continuous efforts of shelter workers and employees just like him. Of course, there’s only one Frank Locke; he’s a bit of a cowboy and a complete character.

Taking the time to perform duties as a pastor during the years of 2002 – 2012, Locke’s journey also led him to compassionately serving the needs of animals and their people within many Texan communities as well as in Warren County, TN. Before social media and wide usage of the internet, Frank determined educational outreach was vital in preaching his message, so he started reading books like Hank the Cow Dog to kids at the Krum Public Library.

Locke with Sugar

“I would put a red bandana on my Border Collie Sugar, and we’d go read to the children at the library. That was years ago, but some of those kids still write me today, and I gotta tell you: It just feels great.”

In Sunnyvale, TX, where Locke currently is a “one man operation” at the Sunnyvale Animal Shelter, he’s got nine kennels. That might not sound like a lot, but when those spots are full, Locke has to get creative in order to draw attention to the low-traffic, little facility that is easily missed nestled behind another government building. “When I get an animal in, that animal immediately goes right up on Facebook. We’ve had a lot of success with social media, but we still have to think of ways to bring people into the shelter.” Sunnyvale donors pulled together, and Locke started taking dogs to special events, networked with other shelters, and implemented a volunteer program he credits to the voice of one young lady who was determined to help. “It’s important to listen to the people within the community, and she worked very hard to make that happen.”

Locke NP Sugar

He says he was attracted to Sunnyvale because the town expressed the desire to be progressive in its approach to adoptions and exposure. Although he says the people of Sunnyvale are a generous group and kind in their support, Locke looks for ways to do things that are above and beyond what is simply required. Noting the differences between each animal’s needs, he has gone as far as to work with a volunteer trainer to increase adoptability of one dog named Lucy — a dog close to his heart who’s been at Sunnyvale since last October. “She was mostly feral when I got her, but the trainer has shown me how to get Lucy to respond. She just needs someone who will be willing to give her five minutes to get to know people first before judging who she really is. That’s all.”

Compassion fatigue — something that deeply concerns Officer Locke — is another area in which he’s worked to assist other ACOs. “It’s a tough job. We don’t go to work and say, ‘Which animal am I going to put a needle in today?’ That’s just not who we are. We want to see these animals all have happy endings. There can be such hopelessness amongst animal control officers who are overwhelmed by the day-to-day sadness, and so I created a network for us that is positive and helpful. My hope is to connect all metro area ACOs with a place to interact and share ideas.” He began the Dallas Area Animal Control Officers Network as a resource for that need.

Locke Guitar

What an inspirational character Frank is for animals, volunteers, and shelter workers everywhere. Man, we are fortunate to have him here in DFW playing his gee-tar and singing his animal welfare Americana around these parts!

Thanks, Officer Locke. You matter. Greatly.

If you’d like to adopt Lucy or any of the other animals Frank would love to introduce you to, visit him here: Sunnyvale Animal Shelter. If you’re an ACO or shelter worker looking for ideas and support, visit here: Dallas Area AC Officers Network. And if you’d like to make a donation to improve Locke’s efforts in Sunnyvale, please contact: SunnyvaleACO@townofSunnyvale.org for more info.

Author’s note, and I hope Locke doesn’t wring my neck: If you’re an audio engineer who would like to donate time to record Frank’s life-saving music, he could really use a hand (he’s kinda busy working at the shelter and doesn’t have time to lay out all the tracks he’s recorded using his own set-up). Let’s help this officer out, village.

Take a walk through some of Locke’s history as an ACO below.

Locke Seizure

Locke Fawn

Locke Todd

Locke Terrell

Locke Horse 2

Hi, I am Bryan. Forget the Hot Air Balloon

This is Bryan’s last post from our house. He’s going home with his real mom tomorrow, but guess what? She said I can be Bryan and Minnie’s Fairy Dog Mother. Read as: Bryan gets to wear more fancy hats and pout on my sofa again. So stoked. 

Dear Diary,

I haven’t written in a few days. As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve abandoned my plan for a hot air balloon escape. This place isn’t so bad, and I’ve actually had an alright adventure with Sumo Cats and Sweetie and Dog With Six Names aka Pants.

The other day, Mom Person turned on the radio, and I was able to hear Journey. It was definitely a nice reprieve from Sweetie’s metal mania. Bob, the only other dude animal in this house, sauntered into the kitchen during the second chorus of “Separate Ways.”

“So you like Journey, Bryan?” Bob reclined in disgraceful collapse on the floor, his Sumo folds melting into the linoleum as he relaxed.

“Yeah, I’ll take them over watching Sweetie play air guitar to Slayer for sure.”

“Totally. So,” Bob asked, “would you categorize yourself as a Steve Perry guy, or are you more of an Arnel Pineda fan?”

Snap. Bob *gets* me. I told him, “I think Arnel sounds a lot like Steve Perry, really.”

“Right, I completely agree, like a better version of Steve Perry.” His tail was all BAM, BAM, BAM on the floor. We were making a connection here.

After my magical Journey moment with Bob, I realized Minnie was right all along about this being a fun vacation resort. I was just being stubborn. House Dad confirmed my realization, too, as I got ultra delicious egg mash for lunch. Again. On a freaking Batman plate. I LOVE Batman. How did he know? I took a photo for my Instagram. (You’re supposed to post everything you eat, right?)

He speaks my language.
He speaks my language.

Minnie and I dined in our private room, and then we left to hang out with Sweetie on the bed. I was feeling kinda spunky. Maybe it was the eggs. Maybe it was the Beastie Boys.

In the video, notice how Sweetie was real active, like an elephant seal, while Minnie and I hurdled ourselves across that puffy broad’s torso. She’s a good sport. I’m downloading that song when I get home, so I can play it over and over and over and over and over and over again for my mom. Infinity times.

I guess this all goes to show that sometimes when you’re down in the dumps, it’s easy to miss the light shining around you. I missed my mom, but deep down inside I’ve gotta be honest: I enjoyed bizarro world.

Also, I decided I needed a cat of my own. I hope my mom doesn’t mind that I’m bringing a couple home in my overnight bag.

Hi, I am Bryan. Thank you and goodnight.

It’s been such a fun week hanging out with Bryan and Minnie. If you’d like to follow Minnie on her Facebook, DO IT! And Sweetie is here

Hi, I’m Bryan. I couldn’t find a hot air balloon.

For my readers who missed Bryan’s previous post, you can catch up here. He’s taken over my blog this week on his vacation at our house. He’s, erm, thrilled.

Dear Diary,

The time continues to move slowly here in bizarro world. I tried to download Steve Miller Band last night in an effort to have something to listen to around here aside from gangsta rap and metal, but the mom person has made it impossible for me to break into her iTunes account. Earlier today, I watched Sweetie play air guitar to Slayer’s “South of Heaven” in its entirety; I cannot un-see this. I am forever tortured within a new, dark corner of my mind.

Originally, the day was off to a pleasant start. Mom Person prepared a grand breakfast: omelets with premium kibbles folded gently within, a nutritious and yet tasty treat with a peanut butter smear, and chilled water to cleanse the palate. Quickly thereafter, everything went to hell.

We had a glamor shoot for the Golden Globes.

Seriously.

Mom person said, “Oh, Bryan. Trust me. Your mom will love this.”

image-4

For all that is holy, this woman dressed me up like My Little Pony. And then . . .

image-3

. . . she added a freaking hat. A fascinator at that. While all of this was happening, the Sumo Cats snickered on the coffee table. Minnie insisted, “Bryan, you look so fancy! Most dogs would be happy to look as swank in a hat. It’s a gift — wearing something like that so well. Can I get just one shot with you? Just . . . one?”

I agreed. But not with the hat.

image-5

 

But I didn’t say I’d smile.

Tomorrow, I am definitely locating that hot air balloon because today can’t happen again.

Until then,

Bryan, still in Hell

Be sure to follow Bryan’s funny little sister Minnie and her antics on her Facebook page. And, if you’d like to witness more air guitar from Sweetie, like her here