All My Patients have Tales: Favorite Stories from a Vet’s Practice*, by Jeff Wells, DVM (St. Martin’s Press, 2009, 240 pages)
Hooked on This Book
I’m dog-centric: I usually want to skip over all the non-dog stories in veterinarian memoirs but Jeff Wells has me hooked on his book! I loved the non-dog chapters just as much as the dog chapters!
Too Entertaining to Put Down
Thirty-six stories about animals and their newly minted vet (who is only human) tell us more about the vet than the animals: each story begins with a couple of paragraphs about a fact of veterinary medicine or the practice thereof, jumps into a well-drawn event/incident/story in which our vet triumphs on the outside while questioning himself on the inside, and leaves us with a thought-provoking yet humorous few closing lines. The new vet’s life is a trying life, trying to put on a knowing face and trying to convince the clients of the 75- year-old vet that you really are a vet, even if you look like you are in junior high school.
As my readers might recall, I love a book with short chapters than can be read in any order. Tales almost fits the bill with short stories of varying length and only a few of which should be read in order (but not necessarily).
Ah, that is a hard question. Looking over the table of contents to decide which stories I would read again first (I would read all of them again eventually), these jumped out at me (but it was a hard choice): The one about the Yak attack and the one about the biker chihuahua, and also the ones about hogs and cows and horses and dogs – oh my! And a few lovely charcoal drawings that just hit the spot.
Why a Vet?
From growing up and going to school in Iowa to a first practice in southeastern South Dakota to an equine practice in Colorado, Tales has it all – suspense, hilarity, and sensitivity. One book I am glad to have read. This is a book that is not just about funny patients and funnier vets but also about being a vet and feeling fortunate to be outdoors at sunset. This is a book that not only tells you what it is like to be a mixed animal vet but shows you what it is like. If you don’t want to be a vet after reading Tales, I’ll eat my hat!