Love Is The Best Medicine
by Dr. Nick Trout.
Have you heard of Dr. Nick Trout? Me either, but I look forward to reading more of his books. He has two others that I know of “Tell Me Where it Hurts” and “Ever By My Side.” A sucker for a good dog book I was roped in right away by this lively audiobook. The only thing I wasn’t prepared for was that the reader, Jonathan Cowley (while good) was very British, while all but one of the characters were American or Canadian. He didn’t attempt to do our accents but I couldn’t help but think that an American or someone who could fake an American accent would have helped me connect with the characters more. I just kept thinking I wanted to hear things pronounced and said a certain way. But overall he did a good job despite my distraction at his voice.
“There are many reasons why so many of us choose to share our lives with a pet–it’s the perfect antidote for loneliness, providing an endless supply of smiles and the certainty of unwavering companionship, and many of us have seen the way a pet can make a family feel whole.” Nick Trout
This book starts with all the right ingredients, love, laughter, some tears. You empathize with the two families and their two respective canines immediately. How could you not? Those of us with dogs could easily imagine their incredibly different but similar stories. We could imagine it easily happening to ourselves. One dog is found in a parking lot and if you haven’t sniffled a few times by the time they find this dog then you might be a cyborg. The other dog is a pure bred, connected to a woman who has all her life had only strays wander up and become family. This is a drastically different series of events for her. But both families love these dogs unconditionally and provide for them all they can.
Then things go wrong. Both dogs come into harm and end up in the same Angell Animal Medical Center under the care of Nick Trout. He is impacted hugely by the calm collected and wise Sandy, mother of Cleo the minpin. He makes a promise to her that impacts him, his practice, his thoughts, his dreams, his everything. As he tries his best to carry out his promise he weaves in and out of surgeries for a number of animals and for each he tries to fulfill his vague but important promise to Sandy.
“Perhaps the greatest gift an animal has to offer is a permanent reminder of who we really are.” Nick Trout
While I loved reading about the individual stories of so many wonderful pets and their quirky, loving owners, I did not like the surgeries. I was reduced to turning the cd off in the car sometimes every 30 seconds because the language, the images, the blood, the gore, the heart monitoring machines, the bone crunching reality of an O.R. was just too much for squeamish me. Some people love that sort of thing. Good for you! You’ll love this book. But what started off as a five star book, quickly went down to 4, then 3 as I found myself forcing myself to listen to the surgeries in little burst of time so that I could hurry up and finish the book. Perhaps if I had read the physical book instead of listening to an audiobook I could have skimmed over these things and they wouldn’t have been so firmly implanted in the minds eye, haunting me and reducing my enjoyment.
“Over the years I’ve come to appreciate how animals enter our lives prepared to teach and far from being burdened by an inability to speak they have many different ways to communicate. It is up to us to listen more than hear, to look into more than past.” Nick Trout
So I guess my final thoughts are this. If you aren’t bothered by a little cut and sew action in your books then you’ll love this. But if like me, you are a little faint at the talk of blood (especially aloud…from an audiobook) then you might try the print version first to see if you can stomach it.
Review: 3 slightly spooked tail wags due to graphic descriptions of animal surgeries (despite the adorable animal stories).