The Gift of Pets: Stories Only a Vet Could Tell

Bruce R. Coston. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $25.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-00666-0
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Coston follows up 2009’s Ask the Animals with an engaging second memoir of his Virginia veterinary practice aimed directly at the hearts and minds of pet owners and animal lovers. Unlike the first volume, the book only occasionally touches on Coston’s home life, instead concentrating on portraits of his various clients and their pets, alternating between detailed accounts of the medical issues involved and reflections on the emotional bond between people and animals. To balance the poignancy of owners confronting their pets’ serious, sometimes untreatable illnesses and injuries, Coston humorously depicts unusual pets, like the dog that, according to his owner, prefers eating rocks to gnawing toys out of machismo, and eccentric owners, such as the bullmastiff owner who invents his own language and medical terminology. He also describes the awkward start of his medical career and introduces us to clinic staff members like his practical joke–prone receptionist, Rachel, and veterinary technician, Lisa. Lisa’s sad but inspirational story provides the otherwise episodic book with its strongest throughline. Coston’s musings on “the Gift” of the title—his sense of connection to animals—takes the book into somewhat windy, eye roll–inducing territory, but not enough to dent its charm. Agent: Jacques de Spoelberch, Jacques de Spoelberch Associates. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 04/23/2012
Release date: 08/07/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-250-01498-6
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