Monday, March 30, 2015

Book Review: Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow (country vet, Michigan, TV series)

Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet*, by Dr. Jan Pol with David Fisher (Gotham/Penguin, 2014, 275 pages, $27)

“The Incredible Dr. Pol”

The photo of a distinguished looking crinkly-smiley older gentleman in navy blue short-sleeved coveralls wearing a stethoscope with one hand on the Black Angus on his side graces the front cover of Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow and, like a magnet along with the title, kept drawing me back to this book until I spent a day reading it. (Those of you who follow my nearly 300 mostly-dog-and-other-animal book reviews know that a 24-hour book equates to an excellent read.)

Delightful, Not Disappointing at all!

A fascinating man from Holland who was an exchange student in high school in central Michigan ends up marrying his ‘Michigan sister’ and moving back there to practice, probably because he likes winter (?) and cows, gives us an intriguing glimpse into the life of a traveling country vet (“On the Road Again, and Again, and Again”) where,  “the only way to stay on the road in a blizzard is to follow the telephone poles.” (page 153)

But, most of all, Pol is your average man in love with his work - it shows in his knowledge and care for his patients. Pol is a happy fellow but, most importantly, down to earth.

“Open Your Mouth and Say Moo”

“Deer are pests but the good news is that they are edible. There are just so many of them running onto the roads and getting hit that in our area they’re known as “Michigan mile-markers.”

Pol has the stories and David Fisher has the quality writing for a smooth humorous way to spend your day or evening which just may turn into an all-nighter because you can’t put it down.

Veterinarian memoirs can often become merely a litany of story after story but Fisher brings out the best stories Dr. Pol has to offer and organizes them so one leads into the other rather seamlessly in order to get a larger point across by illustrating it with several animal patients (or their people who are sometimes the story instead).

TV or Not TV?

Yukon Vet, Aloha Vet (a barefoot pilot), and The Incredible Dr. Pol. . . .

Son Charles goes into the entertainment business and decides that nothing could be more entertaining than a TV series about your father. Truly adorable, insightful, educational, thrilling at times, and realistic when it comes to farm animals and pet animals alike, the show is aptly called “The Incredible Dr. Pol.” I just happened upon by luck it last night after finishing the book and love his lilting accent.

Yes, Dr, Pol’s reality TV show is incredible, just like him and he is just the kind of experienced, caring vet you would trust your animals to. Check it out and then you will want to “read all about it,” too!

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