Affecting dispatches from the life of an animal doctor.
Fincham-Gray, who has had a successful career in both Europe and the United States, recalls growing up just walking distance from an animal clinic on the Welsh border where she volunteered and groomed her career aspirations. Despite a childhood spent without a family pet, her love of animals flourished thanks in part to her father, a veterinary lab microbiologist who generously shared an appreciation for science with her. Overcoming an allergy to horses, insecurities at university, and demanding anatomy classes, she excelled at veterinary school and realized her dream. In this affably written amalgam of pedagogic and heartwarming material, the author chronicles her early years as a medical professional, particularly the culture shock of learning American vet medicine throughout her internship and the unique animals she encountered along the way. Readers meet emergency room patients like Missy, the tortoiseshell cat who was impaled by an arrow, and Tiger, who was saddled with a severe bladder blockage but managed to recover and thrive. Fincham-Gray also writes about how she endured the crushing heartbreak of euthanizing a dog with terminal pancreatitis and bidding farewell to her own aging cat. Once separated from the “protective custody of academia,” the author worked in private practices on both the East and West coasts. She discusses how she cured a septic Irish wolfhound named Grayling, a Mexican-born canine who’d contracted “the oldest continuously surviving cancer in nature,” and Sweetie, a young pit bull terrier whose diagnosis and patient care are the most complicated in the book, medically, financially, and emotionally. Fincham-Gray also imparts cautionary information on the medical consequences of obese pets. Pet fanatics and animal lovers in general will savor these bittersweet stories exploring the enduring human-animal bond.
A fervent, anecdotal memoir infused with heart, compassion, and a natural love for animals on every page.