’s Dog Stories Essay, Research Paper
This was a wonderful, passionate book about, well, James Herriot s favorite dog stories. They
were all true, some funny, some inspirational, and some sad. I have picked out some of my
personal favorites here.
One of my all-time favorites is Roy: From rags to riches. It s about a young, almost
full-grown golden retriever, badly neglected and almost dead that was found in an old shack. An
old gypsy woman who had just lost her terrier to a car accident claimed him when they were
about to put him to sleep. For a month they were not seen anywhere, until the day she brought
him outside. He was pure gold, healthy and loved. Although Dr. Herriot didn t do anything, it
was obvious why this made it into the collection.
Another great one was Jock: Top dog. Jock was a Border Collie living out on a farm. By
tradition, he would always chase people s cars down the long lane up to the farm. It was one of
his biggest joys in life. But the farmer bought one of the healthiest bitches in the area, and she
had puppies with Jock. With both of the parent s health and vigor, they began to outpace Jock,
even in his art of car chasing. But once they were sold and gone, Jock was still Top Dog.
A good story was Tricki Woo: A triumph of surgery. His name really says it all a
Pekingese, extremely fat and spoiled. Tricki’s weight problem was really getting out of hand, so
much that it was dangerous. But his owner, Mrs. Humphrey, couldn t stand to see him suffer,
so she even gave him chocolate and such (she was extremely rich). One day, Dr. Herriot decided
that it was so bad that he had to get Tricki out of Mrs. Pumphrey s reach. So he cared for Tricki
for a fortnight, giving him equal treatment as the other dogs. At the end, he emerged a happy,
radiant animal. It was obvious why James Herriot devoted three out of ten stories to Tricki.
The last, but one of the best stories was Brandy: The dustbin dog. This was about a big,
happy, friendly mutt who was always getting into mischief. He would rummage through trash
cans, get his owner s clothes muddy, and go swimming in subzero weather. It was the swimming
that made him sick. He got pneumonia, a disease usually fatal to dogs at the time. For awhile it
looked grim for Brandy, but then miraculously he gradually got better. But old Brandy was never
quiet the same afterwards. He didn t want to get up, be petted, go for a walk, anything, until one
day when he came bounding in with a food can stuck on his nose. Dr. Herriot simply called it
Vis medicatrix naturae, the healing power of nature, and that s just what it was.
This book was, I think, was great. It gave insights into the life of a veterinarian, a subject I
have always been interested in. It was interesting seeing how the animals Herriot spoke of
seemed more people-like, with their own characters and souls. This concept disagrees with the
idea of man s dominion over the earth, and manifest destiny and all of that. It makes you think
about the morality of animal testing, veal and feedlots, animal abusers, etc. Jane Goodall has
disproved the theory that separates us from other animals already, and in my opinion, all good
dog books should at least try. James Herriot s other titles explain this All Things Wise and
Wonderful, All Creatures Great and Small, etc., which he got from a hymn. There is even a
section in the book directly discussing this, where an old lady is about to die, and she has heard
that animals have no souls, so she s afraid that her pets won t go to heaven with her.
This book, however had some good and bad aspects to it (all writers are human). Two of
Tricki Woo s stories were meaningless they didn t include Tricki or his ailments at all. Nearly
all of the stories have nice, happy endings, which is not real for a vet. But that s okay since his
favorite ones aren t probably ones where people die. The introduction was good; it told about
himself, James Herriot, and therefore didn t have any restrictions like the ones about other
people did. From what I ve read it seems that people telling about their own real-life experiences
(like Mr. Herriot) tend to do better than those who make it up, or who are writing about someone
I would recommend this book to any dog or animal lover. It can really be for any age people,
although the vocabulary is a little British, but what do you expect. James Herriot is one of my
favorite authors, and I think other people would like his writing too. He was no philosopher; no
deep ideas in his writing, but it s still good. Herriot was one of those people that, even though he
was a very good writer, could have gotten famous just on plain diary entries. His life was
exciting enough, and so he didn t have to dramatize his life too much. There aren t really many
people who wouldn t enjoy this book.