I am an unabashed animal lover. I have been reading (and crying over) stories of animals for as long as I can remember. I don't know how this series and author escaped my attention for so long, but it's a shame really. I would have just eaten this stuff up with a fork and spoon my adolescent/teen years. Better late than never, but still I have grown a bit squeamish in my adult years about reading (or watching) sad animal stories. Let's not even speak of the day I made the tragic mistake of watching Blackfish.
Seriously ruined my day.
So, I approached this with a bit of caution. I shouldn't have worried. Sure there is some sadness, but the main source of interest and conflict of these stories come primarily from the vet's interactions with humans. The animals are predictably unpredictable, ornery, adorable, and wonderful. If I've learned anything at all from this book it's that the hardest thing a vet has to do all day is deal with humans - and this is a job where you can expect to be covered in feces at least once each day. I have always liked our family vet, but now I have a much deeper respect and appreciation for what he does. Of course, Herriot's stories mostly deal with farmers and working animals, but I think the same general principles still apply.