Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Book Review: Tennessee Tails (veterinarian, dog, cat)

Tennessee Tails: Pets and Their People, by Kathryn Primm, DVM (Amazon Digital, 2014, $8.99, 131 pages)

Deceptively Delightful!

“Oh, no!” I thought when Tennessee Tails arrived in the mail, “Not another ‘self-published’ collection of animal tales by a veterinarian turned amateur-author!” I had read so many of these recently that I wished I hadn’t.

But I was pleasantly surprised. More than pleasantly. Kathryn Primm is a writer as well as a veterinarian. And a darn good one, at that (both writer and veterinarian).

Of course, being a dog book reviewer, I had to count the number of tails (tales) about dogs versus the cat ones, and, fortunately, the dogs won again! (by a hair)

Caring and Competent

Primm truly is in love with her patients and their people, and that love and respect shines through her stories: that, along with her wisdom and knowledge, helps heal her patients and their people more than words can convey. I wish there were more Dr. Primms in this world. . . . or at least one more - in Maryland, near me!

Though the book starts with horses and ends with horses, it is interspersed with ‘creative non-fiction’ stories of dogs and cats, the crux of Primm’s practice.

‘Chuckle and Choke Up’

Yes, tears did come to my eyes upon reading several of these pet tales, even some of the cat ones. And, no, I simply can’t name my favorite one or two of these 14 stories. (It might be a cat tale, after all.)

Perhaps it is the one about the cat who saw Primm through veterinary school and managed to exhibit each condition as Primm was studying that system – from dermatology to cardiology - and all the rest.

Perhaps it was Jake the dog who lived an amazing five years after mast cell cancer – because he was so beloved.

Perhaps it was the tale about the time Dr. Primm was trying to inject an animal but mistakenly injected herself! I’m sure she is not the only veterinarian to have done this, but perhaps the only one to reveal it.

 ‘Goose Bumps and Warm Fuzzies’

From TicTac, the right (not left) shoulder dog, to the Parvo siblings, vaccinated by their breeder rather than a veterinarian, which turned into a real heartbreaker of a tale.

From a snakebit hero of a puppy to the ‘couple’ (actually, neighbors) who managed to ‘meet’ at the clinic twice a week for ‘sick’ cat appointments until the man’s wife brought their dog in, at the same time: need I mention that the clinic never saw either member of the ‘couple’ again?

What Didn’t I Like?

Being a reward-based dog trainer, I didn’t especially relish the word, housebreaking, on page 60, rather than the more gentle, dog-friendly term, housetraining.

And the length – too short! More, please, Doctor!

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