Calving Straps and Zombie Cats is the latest memoir of two young vets, Anthony Bennett and James Carroll whom we met in their first book Village Vets.
The original memoir traced the earlier years, the places and adventures that their profession took them. Anthony to Berry, New South Wales and James across the pond to England and Wales. Anthony and James met whilst in university and bonded over their mutual love of the student lifestyle thus becoming great mates.
After going their separate ways post graduate for a number of years they reunited once again when Anthony offered James an opportunity to become a partner in his practice on the retirement the two Geoff’s. As James said he and his wife Ronnie found it hard to come up with reasons why they shouldn’t move to one of the most idyllic bits of the world.
Not long after the forging of a professional partnership cyclone Rodney turned up. Rodney was starting up his own TV production company and was pretty excited about the idea of filming a pilot revolving around their veterinarian practice. This, of course, evolved into the television series “Village Vets”. This is however only a small part of the story.
Once again Anthony and James take turns in sharing their experiences as Vets in a busy mixed country practice. All I can say is that it helps to have very, very long arms…..but I digress. There are cats risen from the dead, epileptic dogs, clients with sock fetishes, snake bite victims, miracle calving’s and sheep suffering heat stroke. It is all here and once again relayed with caring, compassion and huge doses of humour. These boys have a great time doing what they do and it is evident in the down to earth larrikinism they impart into the pages.
There are cats risen from the dead, epileptic dogs, clients with sock fetishes, snake bite victims, miracle calving’s and sheep suffering heat stroke. It is all here and once again relayed with caring, compassion and huge doses of humour. These boys have a great time doing what they do and it is evident in the down to earth larrikinism they impart into the pages.
Filming a TV series while working in a very busy practice was not without its challenges but the local folk embraced the concept and were very obliging in sharing their Vets with the crew and filming demands. When it came to the first screening at the local pub, which Anthony and James organised in the town’s honour, everyone who was anyone was there. It was a real event; the excitement was contagious. Everyone felt pretty special.
That is what I liked most about this memoir, the warmth and genuine caring the boys have for the people with their extra-ordinary pets and livestock and the resilience and ingenuity in the extra-extra-ordinary situations they found themselves in. There is a real respect here and a great love for what they do. The days are long, they are out in all weathers, they are often covered in muck and filth and stench but the reward and sense of achievement they feel once the job is done is quite palpable.
This was a light and easy read, full of fun and humour. It also opened my eyes to life as a Vet and all their profession entails, thinking on their feet and improvising where necessary with equipment one would never believe unless reading all about it in black and white. Enjoy, I did.
Calving Straps and Zombie Cats, by Anthony Bennett and James Carroll, is available from Dymocks