THE GIFT OF PETS by Bruce R. Coston


Stories Only a Vet Could Tell
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Tender tales of animal care from a veteran veterinarian.

There is a special bond between a pet and its owners, which Coston (Ask the Animals: A Vet's Eye View of Pets and the People They Love, 2009) gracefully brings to light in his second memoir about his Virginia practice. "The core of a veterinary hospital," he writes, is the "emotional and compassionate intertwining of hearts and hands, of science and souls, of lighthearted laughter and wrenching sadness." The author's concern toward the sick animals under his care and his empathy for the owners merge with humor as he recalls his daily routines. Independent, eccentric, fun-loving, serious—all words that aptly describe owners and animals alike as Coston diagnoses and treats a myriad of maladies in the dogs, cats and birds that come to him for help. Vivid descriptions place readers in the operating room as Coston treats cancerous tumors, removes partly digested tennis balls, coins and rocks from intestinal tracts, or puts a seriously ill animal to sleep. Woven throughout these stories of animal care are the author's reflections on his relationships with his staff. There's Rachel, "an unassuming, quiet woman…one of those people you think you know well but whose waters run deep and unseen, with surprising twists and eddies,” and Lisa, a young woman who, through diligence and hard work, moved from kennel assistant to veterinarian technician, only to have her personal story end in tragedy.

Benevolent, instructive stories of the bonds between animals and humans.

Pub Date: Aug. 7th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-250-00666-0
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2012


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