Almost a Real Doctor: One Veterinarian's Struggle to Survive in a Dog-Eat-Dog World (Paperback)
As a child of the sixties, growing up in the New Jersey suburbs, he delivered kittens, rehabilitated wildlife, and inherited his mother's love for animals; there he found the spark to pursue a career as a veterinarian. However, first, he had to overcome an unsupportive father, a belittling academic advisor, three colleges, and financial hardship. In vet school, he struggled as a mediocre student, aggravated the assistant dean, challenged a combatant intern, punched out a fellow student, while avoiding the wrath of the chief of surgery. Then the na ve Jersey boy worked his first year as a farm animal vet wrestling a pregnant sow, dodging a one-ton Brahma bull, splitting open a rotting cow on a sunbaked Missouri field, and bluffing his way from one farm call to the next. A year later he returned to New Jersey where life really got tough.Here are real stories of a career veterinarian. Hilarious tales, like the house call to the home of a cantankerous old preacher and a box spring full of feral cats. Heart-wrenching scenes, like the euthanasia of a puppy cradled in the arms of a chronically ill boy. The bizarre story of the old women who believed her black Labrador contained the reincarnated soul of her dead mother and was convinced Molly, a.k.a. Mom was pregnant. Thought-provoking drama, like the senior citizen who ended his dog's suffering with a plastic bag attached to the exhaust pipe of his old pick-up truck. Stories of success; the last chance, surgery which saved a dog's life, and stories of failure; a surgical mishap which leads to the death of a German Shepherd Dog.What is it like to be a veterinarian? It's not just about loving animals. It is having sympathy for the animal while having empathy for the owner. It's convincing a pet owner their dog's surgery is more valuable than their next vacation. It's telling a stranger it is time to euthanize the family pet. It's putting your own dog to sleep in front of your children. It's performing a difficult surgery-alone. It's explaining to a distraught client why their pet died during a routine surgical procedure. It's negotiating the cost of a life-saving treatment while struggling to support a family. It's the revelation that veterinary medicine has become a discretionary afterthought for disposable pets. It's the realization that the small-town practice is selling out to greedy corporate America.In three decades of practice, ungrateful clients, angry pet owners, and viscous patients tested his faith. In his own hospital, insubordinate employees, deranged associates, frivolous lawsuits, hurricane Sandy, a nationwide recession, merciless bankers, and a rapidly changing profession, threatened his dream. Of course, he enjoyed every minute of it, or did he?This book will appeal to readers of James Herriot and Dr. Robert Miller, and these colorful stories will attract viewers of current veterinary and pet care reality shows. It will appeal to veterinarians, veterinary para-professionals, vet students, and millions of pet owners who wonder what it is like to be a vet. This book is Marley and Me, meets Patch Adams.This uniquely candid retrospective reveals the truth behind a largely misunderstood profession defined by fluffy reality shows and fanciful stories. Most books ask, "Who wants to be a veterinarian"? ALMOST A REAL DOCTOR asks, "Are you sure you want to be a veterinarian?