Veterinarian surgeon Trout (Love Is the Best Medicine, 2009, etc.) writes about his father and the pets they shared in this loving, humorous memoir.
Growing up in a working-class British suburb, the author longed for a dog of his own. With encouragement from his frequently unemployed father, he lobbied his mother, who at first adamantly opposed adding another mouth to the family. Success came after a wave of neighborhood break-ins demonstrated the advantages of a having a watch dog at home. So Patch, a part–German shepherd puppy, joined the family. Despite Trout’s love for Patch, the dog primarily bonded with his father. The author describes his initial jealousy: “I was the friend who got him the introduction and now I was the one getting dumped.” Patch proved to be rambunctious and difficult to control but much beloved. Trips to the vet were especially difficult, even though the doctor took Patch’s excitability in stride. Trout’s father settled into a career as an electrician, but he always desired a country life. The author discovered that along with his love of animals, he had a predilection for science. When he expressed an interest in possibly becoming a veterinarian, his father was so enthusiastic that he began flooding the house with books by James Herriot and TV episodes of All Creatures Great and Small. Stranger still, his father began adopting the fictional Herriot’s mannerisms, dress and Yorkshire way of speech. A succession of family pets followed Patch, and Trout embarked on the challenging path of becoming a veterinary surgeon, eventually relocating to the United States, where he married and started his own family. Sadly, he began to realize that although he always had his father's unconditional support, he was disappointed that his son did not follow in the footsteps of Herriot and become a country veterinarian.
A tender tribute to the author’s father, sure to please fans of Trout’s previous two pet-focused books.