The Gift of Pets
Stories Only a Vet Could Tell
By Bruce R. Coston
(Thomas Dunne Books, Hardcover, 9781250006660, 320pp.)
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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Bruce R. Coston’s first book, Ask the Animals, earned him high praise for being another James Herriot. Now, in his delightful second memoir, Coston shares more rich stories about his animal patients and the clients who make veterinary practice so fulfilling. In this humorous, poignant, and enthralling collection, Coston explores what it is about the interaction with our pets that provides such profound companionship, and how a love for animals helps us to be more fully human. This ability to enrich and fulfill us is the Gift of pets.
Coston's characters, both the people and the animals, will engage you from the first page. You’ll meet Mr. Johnston, the linguist, and his Mountain of Love; Rachel, the office prankster; Coston’s “girlfriend,” Megan; and Mischief, the only patient Coston has ever had that helped to pay for her own surgery. You’ll learn what a “sugar glider” is and how to give one mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. You’ll marvel at Lisa, Coston’s first veterinary technician, and the courage that the Gift of pets gave her to reinvent herself and rekindle the dreams she thought she had squandered.The Gift of Pets celebrates what it’s like to be truly blessed with a deep love and concern for the pets with which we surround ourselves. Coston invites all animal lovers to rejoice in that Gift with him in this inspiring book of true stories.
Bruce R. Coston, D.V.M., earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota. He currently resides in Virginia with his wife, their three cats (Webster, Phelps, and Kimi), and their dog (Starr). While not practicing in his hospital, he enjoys writing, golf, scuba diving, and any time spent on the lake.
"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."--Publishers Weekly "The Gift of Pets shines a bright light on Dr. Coston's love for animals and our profession. He's a terrific storyteller too. I'm a fan of books written by veterinarians, and this is one of the best--honest, accurate and thoroughly enjoyable."--Robert T. Sharp, D.V.M., author of No Dogs in Heaven? and contributing editor and monthly columnist for Country Living