Two Dogs, Two Owners and One Veterinarian = One Very Readable Book

Highly recommended for dog owners


Pros: Insight, Helen,  Cleo, Engaging style of writing, Chocolate Labrador

Cons: Wish all Veterinarians were like Trout

Unlike in , Dr. Nick Trout doesn’t share recollections of thousands of animals in Love is the Best Medicine. Instead he peppers it with a few minor stories but frames them with two heart-warming experiences – the ones that provide life-changing moments. The best moments in our lives come without warning, without preparation, and without regrets.  It is for this reason that I have another book from this veterinarian/author on request.

My current veterinarian has a soft spot for Labrador retrievers. Patti-looking-goodSomewhere around my current yellow Labrador’s six-month visit she announced that our dog was special. Each time we return she asks very specific questions about her allowing our girl to snuggle with her and entertain her. She always schedules extra time for us. I appreciate her attention to a dog we consider very special (no bias here) but have often wondered if she was like this with all well-behaved Labradors.  After reading Trout’s Love is the Best Medicine I’ve considered reconsidering that skepticism.

What passes for understanding requires commitment, patience, and granted, an occasional leap of faith, but every so often the cynic can decipher our pets’ messages and appreciate a simple yet indelible message. For me these particular cases spoke loud and clear, giving me an unforgettable lesson in hope, generosity, and the incredible capacity for humans and animals to open their hearts to each other.”

As the reader quickly realizes, the stories take place over a period of time and provide Trout with a soul-searching journey and occasional self-doubt brought about by both two specific dogs and their humans. The pet owners share some valuable insight into their dogs, insight into courage and compassion that serves as a reminder that the pet and human become a package. Consider them bonded in a unique way when they allow their hearts to open and be receptive to the personalities of each other.

The two dogs that taught

While a few other dogs fill in the gaps, the stories that keep readers flipping pages are Helen, a neglected older cocker spaniel, and Cleo, a miniature pinscher. Helen had been abandoned and selected to adopt Ben and Eileen one wintry evening outside a restaurant. Helen came with some serious health issues that limit her life expectancy. She returns every ounce of love that her humans provide and they look for a miracle.

Cleo doesn’t match the stereotype of the breed. She’s compassionate, seems to have a sixth sense as to the needs of other dogs and humans and how to satisfy them, and she has an owner who has a strong belief in hope, humility, and grace as well as in the special quality of her dog. We meet Cleo because she keeps having problems with broken bones and they’re looking for an underlying cause but it becomes intriguingly more complex – and emotional.

Both sets of humans become linked through the dogs and both the dogs and humans teach Dr. Trout lessons that remain with him today. As I reflect upon my current veterinarian and some special ones from the past years I can’t help but consider the lessons taught Nick Trout and wonder if mine have ever affected their doctor in a similar way. Our previous yellow lab endured cancer that when initially diagnosed we were told that even after surgery she had maybe six months left. She lived several years more and demonstrated remarkable resiliency and spirit. Her oncologist emailed me several times over the following years just to touch base. An earlier oncologist emailed me over the years just to follow her progress. She was the dog who broke out of the hospital’s kennel just hours after surgery. They called to say she apparently wanted to come home – they couldn’t keep her in the kennel.

Final Thoughts

I can’t answer my own questions about the influence of our dogs on kopi like tobytheir vets, but I can attest to the influence of Love is the Best Medicine on my heart. There are special pet/human relationships and there is a veterinarian/author who has left an indelible mark on my soul. (His comments about chocolate Labradors, while not part of the primary story, had me in stitches while remembering the antics of my wonderful chocolate lab who passed several years ago—they were so right-on.) While many of his patients consider him a highly qualified vet surgeon, his readers will tell him it would be OK to quit his day job IF his patients would allow.

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