James Herriot

’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

’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.