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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Call the Vet by Anna Birch

Call the Vet: Farmers, Dramas and Disasters - My First Year as a Country Vet

When fresh-faced, newly qualified vet Anna arrives in the seemingly sleepy Dorset village of Ebbourne, little does she know that this tiny rural community is about to change her life. Straight in at the deep end, Anna faces two tricky calvings, an emergency call-out to a frightened mare, lots of mad cats (and mad cat women) and one enormous dog with an injured leg and a threatening bark. Spirited and determined, Anna quickly finds her feet and falls in love with rural life, including Ebbourne's eccentric characters and their animals. Disasters, dramas, farmers and friendship - and not to mention a whirlwind romance with a local Wildlife Trust worker - this warm and witty memoir offers a window into what working with animals and country life is really all about.

I seem to be going through a phase of reading books/memoirs written by professionals about their career's; midwives; nurses and now vets! Anna Birch fits into this category, a vet and farmer's wife, who has written a book about her first year as a qualified vet, moving to a new area and hitting the ground running working in a busy vet's surgery where clients are both domestic and farm animals. It is based in Dorset, a picturesque location full of animals whose exploits are included within this book.

Although the book is a memoir of her first year as a qualified vet it reads as a novel - although written in the first person. I really like this style of writing. The book is a great read and includes lots of veterinary work, but this does not over power the book as it is well balanced with day to day life and Anna's struggle to be accepted by the farmers as a female vet as capable as the old hands she is working alongside. There were times of sadness throughout the book but this was well balanced with humour and joy of daily life.

I am hoping that this is the first book in a new series of books as I want to read more about Anna's life. I am sure that comparisons will be made to James Herriott's veterinary memoirs but this one more than stands strong against it.

Thank you to the publishers, Virgin Books (Ebury Publishing), for sending me the book to review.

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