ACOs Looking for RPOs

In this blog, I want to “kill two birds with one stone;” although I, in no way, condone stoning as a legitimate means of euthanasia.  I want to discuss a program I had to reward responsible pet owners (RPOs) and to discuss societies abuse of acronyms.

A great number of years ago, I wanted to change up my patrols of picking up stray dogs by looking for responsible pet owners; people walking their pets responsibly.  I went out in search with a letter from the mayor and a bag of goodies.  I posted signs on my Animal Control vehicle: “ACO looking for RPO.”  Of course no one knew what that meant: Animal Control Officer looking for Responsible Pet Owners.

I would stop people out walking their dogs and looked for a leash, current license, carrying a bag to pick up poop, and evidence that the animal was spayed or neutered.  Shockingly, I actually found a few who qualified.  I quickly realized that the free bag of dog food might have been an excessive gift.

This effort reminded me of the excessive use of acronyms that we use in society, the worst part of reading an article is the fact that most authors actually believe that everyone will know what their acronym represents.  It is as if we have forgotten the rules of engaging readers.  So for everyone’s sake the rule is that if you are going to use an acronym, you FIRST write out the term and follow it with the acronym in parentheses like: “Government funded organization (GFO)”.

Every organization uses acronyms, but it is damn foolish to think that everyone knows what they mean.  We have become a society that tries to shorten our words into very brief communications, but we frequently commit a disservice to our readers.  Please use acronyms responsibly.