Pets in a Pickle – Book Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Pets in a Pickle
Hilarious stories of a real life vet
By Malcolm Welshman
With a foreword by son of James Herriot, Jim Wight
Published in May 2011 by John Blake Publishing Ltd
Paperback 288 pages
ISBN: 978-1843583615
Price: £7.99

pets_in_a_pickle This book should come with a public health warning as reading it may cause you to die laughing.

Join new vet Paul Mitchell on his rounds through the Sussex countryside, experiencing his hilarious first six months as a vet. From being bitten by a hamster on his first day in practice, to battling with bald cockatoos, stalking feral cats and chasing a lame camel, it’s all in a day’s work. Drawing on his own real life experiences as a vet, Malcolm Welshman brings together a marvellous cast of animals (and humans) and shows that a career curing animals can be full of unexpected twists and turns.

Featuring truly eccentric characters including Mildred Millichip with her out-of-date remedies, the actress, Francesca Cavendish, famous for her cat adverts; and not forgetting Madge and Rose Stockwell, two sisters who live a slow-paced life on a Downsland farm with no time for a 'vet in a hurry'.

The action in “Pets in a Pickle” takes place at Prospect House, where the hawk-eyed, elderly receptionist rules the roost, and a swearing Mynah bird and an Anaconda in the fridge are not out of place.

When Paul Mitchell arrives for his first day's work at Prospect House Veterinary Hospital, he never expects this...Oh his very first day, he is bitten by a feisty hamster...but this is a mere prelude to a cavalcade of hilarious - and often painful - encounters with fish, flesh and fowl. From stalking a feral cat to rescuing a cow stuck in a gravel pit, life is never short of animal adventures for the newly qualified vet. On top of treating all manner of creatures at the practice, Paul and his girlfriend Lucy, also nurse a host of waifs and strays back to health at their home. Besides six budgerigars, two love birds, a hoard of guinea pigs and three tabby cats, their menagerie includes Gertie the Goose, whose talent for house security saves her from the Christmas Day table, and Nelson, their lovable - and stone deaf - Jack Russell.

Through Paul's zany encounters with clients and their pets, we experience with him the highs and lows of a life revolving around animals.

This is, probably, not the usual kind of book that you may expect me to review on the GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW but as it deals with all kinds of animals, people and a vet or two I, nevertheless, thought it appropriate. The reader beware though: this book is “laugh a minute” material. It is hilarious and funny in the extreme that I also suggest no eating while reading this book. I do not want to be held responsible for choking incidents.

I have to say that the claim of this book containing hilarious stories is a great understatement. I have not laughed so much reading a book for a very long time and I guess the previous one was a Garfields' cartoon book.

Malcolm Welshman has a great sense of humor and wit and uses it to its full extent in the pages of the book making each page an adventure in humor and I, certainly, have enjoyed every minute and every page of it.

Malcolm Welshman is a retired vet who has worked at London Zoo, in a small animal hospital and as a consultant dealing in exotics. He has written for national magazines including The Lady, She, Yours, Cat World and Parrot Magazine and was the My Weekly vet for fifteen years. He is a BBC Radio panellist and a guest speaker worldwide on cruise ships.

“Pets in a Pickle” is based on Malcolm Welshman's own experiences as a young veterinary surgeon and I have enjoyed every single minute of this book. And, did I say that it is funny in the extreme. Well, it is.

© 2011