A moving memoir of a life spent in the company of animals—a veterinarian sheds light on the universal experiences of illness, healing, and how we care for loved ones.
Suzy Fincham-Gray had dreamed of becoming a vet since she was a young girl. In 2000 she graduated with honors from the Royal Veterinary College in London, and her journey in veterinary medicine has taken her from the English-Welsh border to an inner-city Philadelphia ER to the West Coast of America, with thousands of stories collected along the way. In this unforgettable literary debut, she writes about some of the most emotionally challenging and rewarding cases of her career—and in so doing explores the nature of our relationships with the animals in our lives.
Like many physicians, Fincham-Gray tends to see her patients at critical, often life-or-death moments. While dramatic, these stories expand into deeper explorations of our fascinating, complex interdependence with the animals we care for. She describes the satisfaction of diagnosing and treating difficult diseases, the universal experience of loving a pet, and—inevitably—raises questions of end-of-life care. We meet Grayling, an Irish Wolfhound in need of intensive treatment; we experience the joy of saving an animal from disease in the story of Ned, a rescue dog from Mexico; we learn about the unique demands and fulfillment of caring for a chronically ill pet from the saga of Zeke, a silver-brown tabby cat who loves to eat just a little too much; and we fall in love with Monty and Emma, Fincham-Gray’s own adopted cat and dog, who change her life profoundly and unexpectedly. Along the way, Fincham-Gray depicts the sleepless nights she spends waiting for her pager to call her to the clinic, the cutthroat competition among residents, and what it’s really like to work with patients who can’t advocate for themselves.
Warm and humourous, Suzy Fincham-Gray is a rare breed—a clinician with an intimate, elegant literary style. She affords a view few can obtain and writes with the same tenderness she brings to her patients, whose needs she must meet with her mind, her hands, and her heart.
“A fascinating, heartwarming read . . . Suzy Fincham-Gray writes beautifully and thoughtfully, giving readers rare insight into the making of a compassionate doctor. Her passion for both science and the animals she cares for, combined with her eloquence as a writer, made me want Suzy as both my dogs’ veterinarian and my own friend.”—Teresa J. Rhyne, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Dog Lived (and So Will I)