Terri Schlichenmeyer: The Bookworm Sez 9-10-12 | TheFencePost.com

Terri Schlichenmeyer: The Bookworm Sez 9-10-12

People say you’re pet is lucky.

He’s got a bed in every room — including the one you share with him. She has treats whenever she wants, toys are spread everywhere, you’ve got collars in all colors, and you always remember to sign your pet’s name on every greeting card.

Yep, it’s Pet Heaven around your house but really … you know who’s got the bigger blessing. In the new book “The Gift of Pets” by Bruce R. Coston, D.V.M., you’ll read about people, pets and a vet you won’t soon forget.

Like many small-town Minnesota kids, Bruce Coston dreamed of someday becoming a veterinarian. He carried that dream, and a yearning to work with horses, through his high school years until, at age 17, he found a local vet with an extreme amount of patience who allowed Coston to job-shadow.

“The Gift of Pets: Stories Only a Vet Could Tell”
by Bruce R. Coston, D.V.M.
c. 2012, Thomas Dunne Books
302 pages

A couple of disastrous housecalls and a big misunderstanding later, Coston, who’d had no experience with cattle or horses, realized that working with large animals wasn’t for him. Dogs and cats, though? Purrfect.

Today, Coston owns a veterinary clinic in Virginia, where he cares for pets and the people who love them and where, from both ends of the leash, his clients teach him. He’s learned, for example, that children and pets go together but you can’t force a love of horseback riding.

From a certain Mr. Johnston, Coston discovered that even when a client becomes a pain in one’s posterior, it doesn’t diminish the love that client has for his dog. Nor does it lessen the pain when the dog dies.

Another client, Mrs. Laughlin, told Coston that “money is no object” when it came to her pet’s life. Pets are loved, he learned, but people don’t always fare as well: her spouse’s life-saving medicine stretched the budget “too tight …”

At Coston’s hospital, there are pets that arrive in terrible health and some that come for a happy visit. There are close calls and triumphant treatments. Walk in the door, and you’ll hear barking, greetings from the clinic cat, laughter, horseplay and practical jokes. And, like every other clinic that deals with birth, death and what’s in between, you’ll also find sadness and missing friends.

Cozy. That’s the best word I can think of to describe “The Gift of Pets.” You just get a cozy, blanket-and-hot-cocoa feeling when you read a book like this.

Author Bruce R. Coston will make you laugh, yes, but he’s likewise respectful. He tells stories of eccentric owners, unique pets and the relationships they have with one another, then he writes about humans who helped his career and critters that enhanced it. That makes this book a must-read if you’re a pet person, but understand that you’ll want a tissue handy while you’re reading it. If you don’t have a pet, you’ll want one of those by The End.

From its irresistible cover to the warm, wonderful story inside, this is a book to wrap yourself in. But beware: start “The Gift of Pets” and, well, good luck getting anything else done. ❖

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