As an English vet's wife, Mary Bowring learned quickly that The Animals Come First, and her sunny recall of canceled dinners and holiday plans gone awry is another contender for the Herriot sweepstakes. As husband Maurice tends wobbly foals, milk-fevered cows, and a memorable hermaphrodite goat named Evelyn, Mary diverts the indulgent pet-owners who congregate in the office and see no connection between dog Pierre's digestive problems and a diet of meat, cake, and chocolate. Maurice gently confronts an ostrich with eyelid tumors but slams the door on the emergency request for examination of a possibly pregnant goldfish. And he regrets the myopic owners who laugh at their dog's swallowing habit, even as a stomach operation yields more than 30 household objects. In the background, a local pig farmer's search for a sympathetic wife has a marvelously improbable outcome, and Maurice even closes up Saturday surgery so his family can attend the ceremony. A frisky, anecdotal distraction.