What to Read If You Like James Herriot

It's all fun and games until someone ends up in a cone.
Source: hermitsmoores, Flickr.

James Herriot published his first stories based on his experiences as a veterinarian in rural Yorkshire 45 years ago in All Creatures Great and Small. This was turned into a long-running series by the BBC. Both the book and the television series are much beloved, so here are a few titles that can give you your fix, albeit more recently.

Tell Me Where It Hurts by Nick Trout tells of the life of a veterinary surgeon in Boston, compressed into one day. Trout deals not only with the afflictions of his furry patients, but the foibles of their owners. Whether it's a cancerous, almost-brother to three boys, a seriously man-hating Chihuahua, or a dearly loved German Shepherd with bloat (a serious condition in dogs), Trout approaches them all with an open heart and mind. Incisive, hilarious, and heartwarming, this is the most feel-good book I've read in over a year.

Those who watch the National Geographic Wild channel may be familiar with the name Jan Pol, but he's also written a book: Never Turn your Back on An Angus Cow. This chronicles his years of working as a vet in rural Michigan. While perhaps not for the faint of heart (the bovine reproductive system features heavily), like Herriot's work, this is a cheery book about the vicissitudes of farm life.

Getting towards the more exotic end of the scale, Lucy H. Spelman's The Rhino With Glue-on Shoes chronicles highlights of the careers of zoo veterinarians. How do you administer anesthesia to a poison dart frog? Persuade a herd of buffalo back into its pen (in Paris, no less)? Design leg braces for giraffes? All this, plus compassion, steady hands, and the healthiest knees on the planet make up this book of essays.

From the beginning, Roy Aronson is very up front about who he is and what he does in Tales of An African Vet. Trained as a small-animal doctor, Aronson sees his share of ailing dogs and cats, but also puff adders, rhinos, and elephants. If you're up for a little armchair adventure next to your fuzzy friend, this very well could be the book for you.

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