May 11, 2015

Ask the Animals

Bruce R. Coston

A vet looks back on his early training and development of his own practice, relating stories of animals that are brought in to see him, their ailments and cures, plus things that revolve around the pet owners involved and his own family. In a friendly fashion, it's a comprehensive look of what a vet's life is like, I think- from descriptions of studies in veterinary college, early work in other practices and establishing his own office to tales of repeat clients, following the animals through their lives. It was kind of nice to see some animals and their owners make repeat appearances- I don't usually find that in vet books, which are often a collection of separate clinical stories (not as dry as that sounds). This one has a lot more about people- in particular, there's one whole chapter about the author's graduation day, another about how he meets, woos and finally proposes to his wife, another about an embarrassing night trying to eat out with his parents and new wife after they've moved to a new town... they're nice stories, but didn't quite fit in with what I wanted to read about! Which was the animals, mostly. Some of the stories are quite touching, like the ones about malnourished abandoned kittens that are brought back to health to become mascots at the vet's office, or the one about how the vet lost his own cat from his own clinic (while away on vacation) and finally tracked it down, to a tearful reunion. Most of the stories are what you'd usually find- about various injuries and illnesses, surprising cases, difficult ones, a few amusing. About the difficulties people have with affording care, tough decisions when nothing can be done or it isn't affordable, and how a wealthy friend of his set up a foundation to assist other pet owners in need. That was nice. Oh, and there's one chapter about a crazy-late-hour phone call the author received from a woman concerned that the egg she'd started boiling had a live chick inside (due to a squeaking sound). Rational explanations did not work- he was talking in circles with her- it was hilarious.

This book doesn't really deserve the 2 I gave it, it's just my personal response. By the last few chapters I was quickly loosing focus and just skimming stuff. It's fairly repetitive of so many other vet books I've read, and the writing style wasn't quite funny or engaging enough to keep me interested regardless.

Rating: 2/5      274 pages, 2009


Jenny @ Reading the End said...

James Herriot spoiled me for all other vet books. I have tried a few--including this one, several years ago!--and as a rule, I just end up thinking, "Hey, I should read some James Herriot."

Jeane said...

Exactly! nobody ever lives up to the comparison