Alison Naomi Holt“If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.” —Peter Handke
Let me introduce myself…
Passion is a funny thing. I inherited my greatest passion, the love of animals, from my grandmother, Naomi Holt. She was an incredibly strong woman who was the first female in her county to actually wear… heaven forbid…pants in public! She also understood animals better than anyone I’ve ever met, and she passed that love and devotion on to me. Like her, there has never been a time in my life where I didn’t have some type of pet close by.
For me, growing up on a working cattle ranch in Arizona was nothing short of incredible. I learned to ride almost before I could walk. I loved racing after a stampeding herd of cattle over the desert floor on Smokey Jove, my coal black quarter horse. I hunted with raptors and played tackle football in the cow pens with the hired hands. My father taught me to shoot when I was six and I trained my first dog, well,when the dog was still bigger than me!
Joining the Tucson Police Department seemed like a natural transition after such a rough and tumble childhood. I had earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in writing at the University of Arizona and was looking for a career that could satisfy my other great passion in life – the need to know what “it” is like. What is just around the corner that I can’t see? What haven’t I done that I’d love to do? A police officer is always waiting to see what will happen next. And the exciting part is, you have to meet the challenge head on. There is no choice. I absolutely loved that aspect of police work.
While I was a cop, I worked every possible job I could, changing assignments every few years just because I could. I loved working as a patrol officer on the city’s south side, but the idea of becoming a detective fascinated me. When I was a detective, I wanted to be a sergeant, and when a sergeant, I spent hundreds of hours studying to be a Lieutenant. I was a hostage negotiator, I commanded Undercover Units and Riot Control Squads, just because I could. Just because I wanted to know what “it” was like.
Then something strange happened. Again, passion is a funny thing. Someone asked me if I would have any regrets when I retired. I thought, “What have I missed?” The answer was easy. Shortly thereafter, the K9 sergeant position opened, and against the advice of all my fellow commanders – except one wonderful Deputy Chief of Police – I took a voluntary demotion from the rank of Lieutenant and became the Sergeant/Supervisor for the 11 man K9 squad. That assignment was a rocky ride, but well worth it because now, I’ll always know “What it’s like”.
When I retired after twenty exciting, extraordinary years on the police department, I went back to working with Raptors at a unique program at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum. I also learned to renovate houses,tile roofs and set tile, but more importantly, I began to write. I love to write just as I loved to train animals and just as I loved being a cop. I hope that through my writing, you can share a little of my passions and my experiences and know what it’s like to wonder what “it” is really like.