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Ask the Animals: A Vet's-Eye View of Pets and the People They Love    by Bruce R. Coston order for
Ask the Animals
by Bruce R. Coston
Order:  USA  Can
Griffin, 2010 (2009)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Bruce R. Coston, author of Ask the Animals: A Vet's-Eye View of Pets and the People They Love, is a veterinarian practicing in Virginia. His book, a compendium of columns written for a local newspaper, is as much the story of a veterinarian's life as it is about pet owners and the creatures they live with and love.

I love the quote (by Irving Townsend) with which Dr. Coston opens his book: 'We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached.' He speaks of his clients (human and animal) with empathy and compassion, and shares his own experiences as a pet owner - with PC the wandering dog, Ralston the budgie wrestler, feline Daphne who was really an Ollie, and Rush the head trauma kitten - as well as his work as a healer.

We read about a dog (shot accidentally) that coughed up a BB pellet, and about helping give a little girl with a Gift for animals a kitten for Christmas. Other inspiring, and at times amusing, tales include those of a dog's resurrection; an elderly Samaritan with angel's wings; and the establishment of a foundation to assist owners who can't afford necessary treatments for their pets.

Bruce Coston ends with his answer to the old refrain, 'How much is that doggie in the window?' 'Not very much, really, for all that pets give in return ... Whatever the sum, it's certainly a small price to pay for years of undeserved allegiance and utter devotion from a confidant who understands every nuance of emotion and is always there with uncompromising loyalty and encouragement.' Hear, hear.

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