…except, of course, James Herriot himself, who passed away in 1995. If you're looking for more good animal stories, there are some recent ones out there that you may enjoy reading.
Nick Trout’s Tell Me Where it Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in my Life as an Animal Surgeon will leave you alternately laughing and crying until you begin to wonder if you have lost your mind. (For more on this title see our previous review.)
In a similar vein, you may want to try All My Patients Have Tales: Favorite Stories from a Vet’s Practice, by Jeff Wells. Fresh out of veterinary school, Wells settled in South Dakota where he treated a variety of problems. Several animals were not as cautious as they should have been around porcupines. The quills became embedded in their flesh and were difficult for Wells to remove, causing a great deal of anxiety for both him and his patients. Then he had a male cat with the classic symptoms of pregnancy! If that didn’t make him question his career choice, the pet owners were always advising him on their animals' treatment. They always thought they knew better.
If you like cats, try Dewey: The Small-town Library Cat who Touched the World, by Vicki Myron. It was 1988 and the coldest night of the year in Spencer, Iowa. Dewey was dropped into the book drop of the Spencer Public Library by some unknown miscreant. Iowa has cruel winters and Dewey developed frostbite while trapped in the book drop. He was only four weeks old and his eyes hadn’t opened yet.
Luckily, the next morning he was found by the author who was also the director of the library. Dewey recovered from his ordeal and charmed the patrons and staff of Spencer Public Library. He seemed to sense when one of the patrons needed special attention and went directly to that person to offer comfort. Not surprisingly, Dewey soon became the official mascot of the library.
If you have a soft spot for animals rescued from rather sad conditions, you may want to read Chosen by a Horse: A Memoir, by Susan Richards. Richards went to adopt a horse rescued from an owner who took very poor care of him. When she opened the door of her horse trailer at the adoption center, she was quite surprised to see one of the horses stride into the trailer before she had even had time to blink. That horse was the one who went home with her. Their relationship flourished and became mutually beneficial and nurturing.
Whether you like owls or not, you may enjoy Stacey O’Brien’s Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and his Girl. O’Brien was a student researcher at Caltech when an injured baby owl was brought in. The owl could not be rehabilitated and sent back into the wild again so O’Brien decided to adopt him.
She provides insight into the human-animal bond and many interesting facts about owls. However, if you think the book sounds dry, you may be pleasantly surprised to find yourself wanting to laugh out loud. As Wesley reached sexual maturity he was like a young human teenager who did not know how to handle the changes in his body. Stacey became the object of his affection in a new and different way.
No one writes quite like James Herriot, but perhaps you'll find some good reading here.