Tales from the Tail End: Adventures of a Vet in Practice
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James Herriot meets Bridget Jones in this honest, no-holds-barred account of the ups and downs of a vet's life
Misty was ecstatic to see her owner but to the nurse's surprise her owner just stood there and said, "What have you done with my dog’s head?" "I’m sorry," replied the nurse, "what do you mean? She’s just been in for spaying." "That isn’t my dog’s head. The rest of it is my dog but you’ve put a different head on it."
On a crisp October morning in 1996, Emma Milne started her first job as a newly qualified vet, and now she tells the full story. We discover the numerous things that can get stuck in an animal's stomach, how to stop a cow exploding, and—the biggest truth of all—that animals are easy to deal with in comparison to their owners. They say that truth is stranger than fiction, and these tales turn out to be stranger—and funnier—than you could ever have imagined.
preceded by a very characteristic smell of rotting lambswool and one that I soon came to recognise instantly. One of these was a case of schistosomus reflexus. When the ewe in question came to me this time there was no mistaking the smell and I knew the job was going to be a grim one of salvaging the mother rather than a joyful presentation of a gorgeous lamb to the udder after all our efforts. As a great veterinary obstetrics teacher who taught a friend of mine in Edinburgh always says, the
back without him. I got to the house and opened the front door and we all trooped in. I quickly ushered the confused dogs back out of the front door, slammed it shut and legged it before Brian could get out the flap and round the house. It isn't really normal behaviour for a twenty-something to run like a headless chicken and the immediate effect was to make the dogs think this was a bloody brilliant game. They started leaping and barking and trying to nip me as I sprinted down the street. This
from sticks. Having given up trying to get her owners to oblige, she had decided to just play with a stick by herself. She'd spied a good-looking one in the distance and had torn off in hot pursuit and at full lurcher speed, which is pretty awesome to watch if ever you get the chance, and pretty scary if they do it straight towards you in the park! As she neared the holy grail of stickdom she slammed the brakes on and leapt on to it but in her haste she ended up standing on one end of it,
time, making it bleed. I'd hated doing the surgery on 'my baby' but it had healed beautifully and all that was left was a small and unique nick in his ear where the offending lump had once been. And now Joe had found another one. Unbeknown to me, the BBC had rigged the phone up his end to record him breaking the news to me. He told me he couldn't believe we hadn't seen it before because it was two or three times the size of the last one and was an angry red colour and really very obvious. I was
back end. I really didn't want to have to tell them that the time had come to say goodbye. When they arrived I called them straight through and Mr Beaumont was carrying Pip carefully in his arms, cradled protectively to his chest. I gave the couple a sad smile and asked them to tell me exactly what had happened. She'd been absolutely fine and was a very fit dog for her age, as I well knew, and that morning she'd been her normal self. They'd been out for a long walk and after a brief rest at home