The best veterinarian books

4 authors have picked their favorite books about veterinarians and why they recommend each book.

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All Creatures Great and Small

By James Herriot,

Book cover of All Creatures Great and Small: The Warm and Joyful Memoirs of the World's Most Beloved Animal Doctor

All Creatures Great and Small is a sweet book that at the same time can make you laugh out loud. His prose is understated and he’s able to make fun of himself. Herriot’s encounters with all sorts of animals are unique and heartwarming, and that spreads to include his dealings with humans as well.

I’ve always loved animals and, clearly, James Herriot does too. And I’ve always loved things British, and this book is so very so.


Who am I?

Although I grew up in the heart of a big city (Pittsburgh, PA), I have always loved animals. I had dogs, I had cats, I had turtles. There was a horse that pulled a wagon through our streets and he always stopped so I could feed him sugar. I still remember the way his breath felt on the palm of my hand. My parents would drive me to a park where I could rent a horse and ride. I’m old now and I’d have to be lowered onto a horse by a crane, but sometimes I think it would be great if that were to happen.


I wrote...

A Horse To Die For

By Carolyn Banks,

Book cover of A Horse To Die For

What is my book about?

A Horse to Die For is part of the Robin Vaughan Equestrian Series. Like the other books in the series, It’s a comic novel as well as a mystery. It takes place around Christmas and starts when Robin’s best friend, Lola, gets a horse for Christmas. He’s a rehab, Lola tells her, because he charges when he’s out in the pasture. Lola doesn’t mention that one of the people the horse charged was killed. Robin thinks the horse is familiar. Furthermore, he reminds Robin of a horse that is dead. Worse, the horse died while Robin was horse-sitting. This calls Robin to track the evil-doers down.

All Things Bright and Beautiful

By James Herriot,

Book cover of All Things Bright and Beautiful: The Warm and Joyful Memoirs of the World's Most Beloved Animal Doctor

To little grade school me this book was high fantasy. A healer with amazing powers walking through another world. A vet doing his rounds in Pre-WWI Yorkshire. I laughed at every absurdity. The poodle that believed she was pregnant. The boxer that wouldn’t stop farting in his high-class lady’s house. Everything made me laugh while transporting me to a world where old men drink pints in pubs while their “wee bron doggie” sits under their stools.


Who am I?

Humans are absurd. We are. Short stories that present this in a true and honest fashion, without being cruel or vulgar are a rare and delicious gem. In all of these books there is not a single ounce of malice or bitterness. Humans are born, we live, we suffer, and then we die. These books don’t deny this, or ignore it, instead they choose to focus on the funny, the fun, the absurd lives that we live. 


I wrote...

Humans Are Weird: I Have the Data

By Betty Adams, Adelia Gibadullina (illustrator),

Book cover of Humans Are Weird: I Have the Data

What is my book about?

What will our little green friends think of us? Humans are weird, and after the shock of first contact is over the aliens will have to deal with us in all of our absurdity. Star Trek meets Monty Python in this book that explores the strangeness of human nature through the “eyes” of our alien friends. 

This human insists that this broom, identical down to the molecule to every other broom in the base, is the “wrong” broom. That human is getting far too close to the lava for no apparent reason. The other human is humming and literally climbing the walls? Why? Discover the answers along with our confused little friends.

Disgrace

By J.M. Coetzee,

Book cover of Disgrace

Written by a White South African after the end of apartheid in 1990, this novel is both troubling and moving. You won’t forget it anytime soon. It differs from the above novels in that it offers a disabled character, Pollux, who is more aggressive and takes part in a horrifying gang rape. Earlier in the novel, the White protagonist, David, rapes one of his college students, making him and Pollux somewhat parallel figures. Metaphorically, Pollux could be said to represent the injustices of apartheid. David contends with not just personal violence, but also reckonings of the history of Black oppression in South Africa. A disabled figure raises ethical questions about human rights in this novel, which paved the way for Coetzee to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003.   


Who am I?

I teach and write about literature and disability at the University of Virginia. I’m also late deafened and have worked in the field of disability studies for over twenty years. In 2002, a scholar pointed out that literature from the former British colonies includes a lot of disabled characters. In 2006, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I began to wonder if the two are related. In Elusive Kinship, I wound up arguing that they are. Not much work has been done on this. I tried to emphasize that I’m just advancing a critical conversation, not giving the final word at all.


I wrote...

Elusive Kinship: Disability and Human Rights in Postcolonial Literature

By Christopher Krentz,

Book cover of Elusive Kinship: Disability and Human Rights in Postcolonial Literature

What is my book about?

An academic literary study, Elusive Kinship shows how disabled characters are integral to literature in English from the Global South. These are great stories, and part of their excellence is how authors like Achebe, Rushdie, Coetzee, Desai, and others deploy disability in creative ways. Through figures of disability, they make pressing topics more vivid, including such issues as the effects of colonialism and apartheid, global capitalism, racism and sexism, war, and environmental disaster. Such representations also relate to the millions of disabled people who live in the Global South, often in precarious circumstances. Elusive Kinship argues that the representation of disabled people in this literature both directed and reflected the rise of global disability human rights over the last half-century. 

James Herriot's Dog Stories

By James Herriot,

Book cover of James Herriot's Dog Stories: Warm and Wonderful Stories about the Animals Herriot Loves Best

When I was young, James Herriot’s hilarious, insightful, and touching memoirs about his experiences as a vet in rural 1930s and 1940s Yorkshire made me both a reader and a writer. Happily, he adapted some of his dog stories for children, gathered here in an appealing illustrated anthology. I’ve read them all to my own kids, many times. I love that they’re long enough to allow kids to settle in and focus (short and snappy picture books have their place. So do long and dense ones!). The writing is eloquent and entertaining, and the stories are absorbing. Good luck not tearing up at several of these—when you’re not laughing or wishing that you, too, lived in the scenic English countryside!


Who am I?

I am a librarian and author living in San Francisco. Like many children, I grew up on dog books. I read and re-read Lassie Come Home and The Incredible Journey. James Herriot’s memoirs—many of which feature dogs—were my bedtime stories. Today, I often write about animals as a way to build empathy in child readers and teach the values of loyalty, kindness, and friendship. (My picture books include stories about dogs, alligators, wolves, and ducks!) Although I love a good cry over a book, I have chosen mostly happy books for this list of picture and middle-grade books about dogs. I hope the animal-loving child readers in your life enjoy them!


I wrote...

Odin, Dog Hero of the Fires

By Emma Bland Smith, Carrie Salazar (illustrator),

Book cover of Odin, Dog Hero of the Fires

What is my book about?

One October night in 2017, when wildfire raged in Sonoma and Napa counties, the Hendel family was suddenly evacuated from their farm and forced to leave behind their Great Pyrenees dog, Odin. Odin refused to leave his post of guarding the family’s goats, despite the family’s desperate attempts to lead him away. Brokenhearted, the Hendels were sure they would never see their dog again.

But when the family returned home, to their shock they found Odin singed yet safe, along with all the goats and several orphaned deer the dog had protected as well. Odin, Dog Hero of the Fires is a touching and inspirational true tale that honors the bravery and strength of Odin and commemorates the stories of those affected by the Tubbs Fire.

For the Love of Cats

By Carol Griglione, Mick McAulife, Tom Colvin

Book cover of For the Love of Cats: The Complete Guide to Selecting, Training, and Caring for Your Rescue Cat

With millions of cats around the world living on the streets or ending up being euthanized in pounds and shelters, simply because they are unwanted, the plight of the rescue cat has come to public attention. Many more people are choosing to ‘Adopt not shop’ and save lives in the process. This is a wonderful book for anyone starting out on the cat adoption journey. It covers everything you need to know about bringing a cat companion into your home and taking responsible care of it. It also includes lots of lovely rescue cat stories. I would give this as a gift to anyone considering adopting a cat and it would also make a great coffee table book for vet surgery waiting areas.


Who am I?

Belinda Alexandra is the author of nine bestselling novels and a non-fiction book on the relationship between women and cats, The Divine Feline: A chic cat lady’s guide to woman’s best friend. An ardent cat-lover and rescuer, she is a patron of the World League for the Protection of Animals in Australia and lives in Sydney with her three black cats – Valentino, Versace, and Gucci.


I wrote...

The Divine Feline: A Chic Cat Lady's Guide to Woman's Best Friend

By Belinda Alexandra,

Book cover of The Divine Feline: A Chic Cat Lady's Guide to Woman's Best Friend

What is my book about?

Cats and women share many traits: beauty, elegance, sensitivity, affectionate natures, a knack for nurturing, and a love of the luxurious. Cats also embody the feminine dark side, with a tendency towards neurosis and fear of change. Then there are the qualities that a cat possesses which women long to emulate: fighting fiercely to protect herself, never saying yes when she means no, and being unafraid to claim the best seat in the house for herself.

Cats are loyal to those who love them but couldn't give a toss about what others think. They don't suffer self-esteem issues or worry if they're overweight. And then, there is that enviable air of mystery, that slinky walk... oh to be a cat They're the ultimate totem of female strength.

Belinda Alexandra, writer and ardent cat lover, makes no apology for celebrating the special bond between women and their cats. In The Divine Feline, she details her own experiences with cats, describing the relationship between women and cats throughout history and solving some behavioural and philosophical issues in a whimsical and practical way. Viva la cat lady!

The Chicken Chick's Guide to Backyard Chickens

By Kathy Shae Mormino,

Book cover of The Chicken Chick's Guide to Backyard Chickens: Simple Steps for Healthy, Happy Hens

I love reading books by authors whose passion for a topic bleeds into their writing. You can tell when you read this book that Mormino loves her chickens and has spent a lot of time working with and thinking about how to best raise them. There are many books out there about raising chickens, but for me, Mormino’s book was just the right length and detail and covered all of the topics you would need to bring some feathered friends into your life.


Who am I?

For me, backyard composting is more than just a way to lessen how much waste I send to the landfill. When you compost you transform items that many people consider garbage into a valuable soil amendment for your garden. You are creating something with real value that can help plants thrive and act as a carbon sink to help reduce negative impacts of climate change. Composting is so easy and rewarding that I really want to see everyone give it a try.


I wrote...

No-Waste Composting: Small-Space Waste Recycling, Indoors and Out. Plus, 10 Projects to Repurpose Household Items Into Compost-Making Machines

By Michelle Balz,

Book cover of No-Waste Composting: Small-Space Waste Recycling, Indoors and Out. Plus, 10 Projects to Repurpose Household Items Into Compost-Making Machines

What is my book about?

In No-Waste Composting, you’ll discover the hows and whys of composting and find over a dozen practical step-by-step plans for building both indoor and outdoor composting systems that require a minimal amount of space. Build a DIY worm-composting system for a cupboard or garage. Craft a layered, composting system from terra cotta pots.  Construct a simple outdoor compost bin from repurposed wooden pallets. Use upcycled wire fencing to build a mobile composting system on the driveway.

Whether you’re just starting your no-waste journey or you’re a seasoned recycling and repurposing pro, No-Waste Composting is an invaluable tool to have at your side. This book is part of the Cool Springs Press No-Waste Gardening series, which also includes No-Waste Kitchen Gardening and No-Waste Organic Gardening.

Kindred Spirits

By Allen M. Schoen,

Book cover of Kindred Spirits: How the Remarkable Bond Between Humans and Animals Can Change the Way We Live

This book had a huge impact on my life into exploring so many different healing modalities filled with love and compassion for animals we share our lives with. He eloquently explores the healing power of the human-animal bond with deeply personal stories. He changed my life and will impact your connection to the animals that you share your days with. 


Who am I?

It all began at a very young age when I aspired to be Jane Goodall and save the lives of animals. Since then, her wisdom, courage, and activism have guided me throughout my life. Through my childhood, I nursed fledglings with eyedroppers, adopted turtles left on the curbside, and became an advocate for “Save our Seals”. In college, I immersed myself in the study of animal behavior. I explored the behavior of Red Kangaroos, "Megalia Rufas" in captivity, exploring ways in which zoos could improve their facilities to respect the needs of the animals. These experiences set the landscape for my work as a holistic psychotherapist with the healing power of dogs.


I wrote...

Healing Companions: Ordinary Dogs and Their Extraordinary Power to Transform Lives

By Jane Miller,

Book cover of Healing Companions: Ordinary Dogs and Their Extraordinary Power to Transform Lives

What is my book about?

The role that service dogs can play in the lives of people with invisible disabilities has started to receive national media attention in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and on Oprah. Service dogs have been assisting the blind, the hearing impaired, those in wheelchairs, and with other disabilities for decades. More recently, they’ve helped many veterans returning from combat to overcome the effects of PTSD and return to more fulfilling lives.

We are proud to say that Healing Companions: Ordinary Dogs and Their Extraordinary Power to Transform Lives is the first book to profile the power that these extraordinary dogs have to transform lives. This groundbreaking book provides a window into the new world of Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSDs), and how they can offer a second chance at life to some of society’s most vulnerable people.

A Boy Called Bat

By Elana K. Arnold, Charles Santoso (illustrator),

Book cover of A Boy Called Bat

This tenderhearted book is narrated by Bixby Alexander Tam (Bat), a boy who falls in love with the orphaned baby skunk his mom brings home. I love that Bat’s autism has a role in the story—his challenges understanding other people cause friction and school and with his sister—but it isn’t the only focus of the book. Bat’s big problem is convincing his mom to let him keep the skunk kit. Readers are drawn into his unique worldview as he experiences friendship, family, and skunk-parenting.


Who am I?

I’ve been an elementary school classroom teacher and teacher-librarian for over 25 years and I’ve had the privilege of teaching many amazing students with neurodiversity. I was inspired to write the Slug Days book when I was teaching a student with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I wrote the book to imagine what life might be like for that student so I could be a better teacher. I believe a school library should represent all our students and I’m always on the lookout for excellent books that feature neurodiverse characters.


I wrote...

Slug Days

By Sara Leach, Rebecca Bender (illustrator),

Book cover of Slug Days

What is my book about?

A charismatic illustrated novel about the ups and downs of school and home life for one little girl with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

On slug days Lauren feels slow and slimy. She feels like everyone yells at her, and she has no friends. On butterfly days Lauren makes her classmates laugh, goes to get ice cream, or works on a special project with Mom. With support and stubbornness and a flair that’s all her own, Lauren masters tricks to stay calm, understand others’ feelings, and let her personality shine.

Shewolf

By Teresa D'Amario,

Book cover of Shewolf

I have a soft spot for books about communities of supernaturals that live among mortals and this is another book that hit the spot. I read it years multiple times and it’s one of the books I think of when I need a paranormal romance fix. The hero is swoon-worthy, the heroine is engaging and the worldbuilding is inviting. There’s drama, romance, a bit of mystery and danger, and none of the story is sacrificed for the story which I’m always happy to read. I love the slow burn of the romance between the hero and heroine that allows you to see the attraction grow as the story advances. One of my faves!


Who am I?

I’ve been a huge fan of vampires, werewolves, elves, fairies, and all sorts of supernatural-themed creatures since I can remember. In addition, I grew up on sci-fi and fantasy movies and novels, which inspired me to pen my first short story at ten years old and send it in for publication. Since then, I’ve enjoyed creating art and writing stories that feature fantastical characters and creatures in extraordinary worlds having adventures. Though I have had two book series and numerous short stories published, I have many more stories and novels in the vault that I can’t wait to share with my readers.


I wrote...

A Kiss of Ashen Twilight

By Rae Lori,

Book cover of A Kiss of Ashen Twilight

What is my book about?

Enter a world where Nightwalkers, Lycans, and Shifter Elves roam in the shadows of the mortal realm. An age-old rivalry unmasks a new enemy, and the key to the survival of all life lies with an Aziza faerie set to become queen. 

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