Friday 6 September 2019

Book ~ "Ever By My Side: A Memoir in Eight [Acts] Pets" (2011) Nick Trout

From Goodreads ~ "In Ever By My Side", veterinarian Nick Trout turns the lens inward to offer a funny, moving, and intimate memoir about how the pets he has had throughout his life have shaped him into the son, husband, father, and doctor he is today. Using his relationships with those beloved animals to tell his life story, Nick shares the profound lessons he's learned about friendship, loyalty and resilience. The result is a moving story that speaks not just to animal lovers but to any reader who appreciates the bonds we have with our loved ones, be they animal or human, and the lengths to which we go to nurture those bonds.

Nick waxes nostalgic about his boyhood in a working-class British suburb, where a large German shepherd named Patch was the perfect companion to a scrawny, bookish boy in a neighborhood full of bullies. He writes about his relationship with his father, the man who nurtured Nick's dream of becoming a vet, even though he couldn't have imagined the career would lead his only son 3,000 miles away. He describes wooing his future wife and stepdaughter and (perhaps most difficult of all) their ornery cat. And he offers a poignant chronicle of his daughter's devastating diagnosis of cystic fibrosis and how a little yellow Labrador retriever played an important role in bringing joy to their family when they needed it most. Alongside Nick's warm reflections, the pets in these pages come alive as irresistible characters in their own right and showcase the power of animals to offer a lifetime of consolation, guidance, and abiding affection.

Nick Trout is a veterinarian who was born and raised in England but moved to the States after vet school graduation.  While Duncan, his father, was pleased and proud his son wanted to be a vet, Duncan had dreams of him living the country life of James Herriot.  Alas, this wasn't meant to be because Nick moved to the States, fell in love and got married and made a life there.

When Nick was young, Duncan loved dogs but his mother did not.  After a lot of convincing, the family finally got a German Shepherd named Patch.  Unfortunately Patch wasn't trained well and wasn't very social around people or other dogs.  But Duncan loved Patch and Patch was definitely Duncan's dog.  After Patch's passing, his family got two more dogs, Whiskey and Bess.  Whiskey and Bess loved Duncan and again they were definitely his dogs.

Nick moved to the States and met Kathy, who had a young daughter named Whitney and a cat named Reggie.  Nick was never a "cat person" and it took a long time for Reggie to warm up to Nick.  A small dog named Sophie came into the family and became Whitney's dog.  Their younger daughter, Emily, has cystic fibrosis and wanted a dog of her own so that's how Meg, a golden lab, came into their lives.

This book is about the pets Nick has had in his life, including his grandmothers' dogs (one dog was nice and the other was nasty) and the lessons he'd learned from them and the experiences he's had with them.  I like reading books about animals and have read a couple others by this author.  I liked the writing style ... it was funny at times.  I found his stories and experiences interesting.

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