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Publisher's Summary

A moving memoir of a life spent in the company of animals - a veterinarian sheds light on the universal experience of loving, healing, and losing our beloved pets, and the many ways they change our lives.

The pursuit of a childhood dream has taken Suzy Fincham-Gray on a journey in veterinary medicine from pastoral farms on the English-Welsh border to emergency rooms in urban American animal hospitals, with thousands of stories collected along the way. In this unforgettable literary debut, she writes about some of the most emotionally challenging and rewarding cases of her career.

Like many physicians, Fincham-Gray tends to see her patients at often life-or-death moments. While dramatic, these stories expand into deeper explorations of our complex, profound relationships with the animals in our lives. She describes the satisfaction of diagnosing and treating difficult diseases and the universal experience of loving a pet, and - inevitably - raises questions about their end-of-life care. We meet Grayling, an Irish wolfhound in need of critical treatment; we learn about the fulfillment of caring for a chronically ill pet from the story of Zeke, a silver-brown tabby cat who likes to eat just a little too much; and we fall in love with Monty and Emma, Fincham-Gray’s own adopted cat and dog, who change her life in joyful and unexpected ways. Fincham-Gray depicts the sleepless nights she spends waiting for her pager to call her to the clinic, the cutthroat competition among residents, and what it’s really like to care for patients who can’t advocate for themselves.

Warm and humorous, Suzy Fincham-Gray is a rare breed - a clinician with an intimate, elegant literary style. She writes with the same tenderness she brings to her patients, whose needs she must meet with her mind, her hands, and her heart. 

“Suzy Fincham-Gray gives readers rare insight into the making of a compassionate doctor. Her passion for both science and the animals she cares for, combined with her eloquence as a writer, made me want Suzy as both my dogs’ veterinarian and my own friend.” (Teresa J. Rhyne, author of the number-one New York Times best seller The Dog Lived (and So Will I))

©2018 Suzy Fincham-Gray (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“A beautifully written look at modern veterinary medicine...Fincham-Gray, who also has an MFA in creative writing, has created a wonderfully introspective look at the role of the veterinarian.” (Booklist)

“Written with candor, humility, and humor, this memoir tells of the professional evolution of a veterinary medicine graduate to a more seasoned internal medicine practitioner. This compelling read is highly recommended for anyone interested in veterinary medicine or who has a love of animals.” (Library Journal)

“Affecting dispatches from the life of an animal doctor.... In this affably written amalgam of pedagogic and heartwarming material, the author chronicles her early years as a medical professional.... 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.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Fincham-Gray writes extremely well, and her enthusiasm shines through on every page. I enjoyed reading this book, and while doing so I was made aware of the author’s absolute dedication to her work. Like James Herriot, she portrays her profession in a very good light.” (Jim Wight, author of The Real James Herriot: A Memoir of My Father)

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Beautiful, compelling!

A wonderful glimpse into the emotional world of veterinary medicine. I highly recommend this compelling, beautifully told story.

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  • Patricia
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 05-05-18

Fascinating insight by a specialist vetinarian

This is a fascinating book - read by the author. It is different from most other writing by vets as the stories are not superficial but in some depth but still understandable for the layman. She is open and honest about her own doubts and difficulties. I have owned many dogs but I now see the veterinarian side quite differently. I was hooked and it was hard to interrupt when my dog walks were over.