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Sat, April 20

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PRESCOTT ­ The ostrich appears to be the one creature in the animal kingdom that Dorisa Green isn't very fond of.

A close encounter she had with this flightless bird years ago created a lifetime dislike.

"They are mean and I got bit by one of them when I was a little girl," said Green, as her 2-year-old Queensland heeler kept bringing a tennis ball she was throwing for him to catch.

Green's obvious love for the dog ­ whom she named Red, after adopting him a few months ago from Prescott Animal Control, where she works ­ seems to contradict defies somewhat her previous statement about the African bird.

The way she interacts with the animals and talks about them, it seems impossible for her to dislike any of them.

In her eyes, she said, "Animals have always been up there or above humans."

Green said she cannot find a better way of spending 40 hours a week than dealing with animals through her employment with Prescott Animal Control.

It is not surprising that her peers selected her for the Civilian Employee of the Year Award after she had been with the Prescott Police Department for nearly two years.

In nominating her for the award, her peers wrote that Green has kindness and compassion for the animals and she is able to calm the most upset citizen with respect and understanding while finding workable solutions to the problem.

She will go out of her way to care for and place wildlife that Prescott Animal Control doesn't normally handle. Her contacts with Game and Fish, the local vets and citizen groups help find homes and care for all animals.

Green said the award surprised her.

"I just want to thank everybody," she said. "(The police department) is just a great company to work for. It is like one big family."

Green said she spends most of her time in the field dealing with barking dogs, picking up strays or "rescuing people" from unwanted creatures in their homes or yards.

At the end of the shift, she replaces her work duties with those of being a mom, wife and a caretaker of a small zoo she created at her Chino Valley home that sits on two acres of land.

Besides three dogs and two cats, she owns two albino corn snakes, a parrot, three hamsters, two rats and a lizard.

"They are caged in their own room," she said of her pets. "When you see something cute, you can't pass it up."

Green said her two sons, Justin, 10, and Lane, 6, have inherited some of her passion for animals.

"My kids love animals," she said and sometimes she hesitates to bring them to the shelter because they would want to take more dogs home.

Although it is hard to see some dogs euthanized, Green said, it is a part of the job.

"You have to do it," she said. "There are always going to be stray animals. Some of them are mean. Some of them are old and sick."

However, if people are more responsible, less stray animals would be roaming around the communities, she said.

Green, loves her job and doesn't plan to retire for 20 or more years. She wouldn't quit it even if she won a $1 million prize, she said.

"I have a great job," she said. "This a great group of people to work with."

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