Dedicated followers of this blog will be aware that Mrs Blog combines the roles of dance opponent (occasional), being Scottish (permanent) and vet. In Mrs Blog’s younger days she worked for a year as a veterinary assistant in my big brother John’s practice in Northumberland. Which means that I have spent the equivalent of two lifetimes in close proximity to vets and proto vets. Even my nephew is a partner in the same practice as his dad.
I grew up with the James Herriot books and their TV adaptations. To me they weren’t a fictional escape, they were a documentary account of my brother’s life as a vet in rural Northumberland. On the telly you could revel in the mud and laugh in the face of the infectious diseases, but in true life those things were just, well, mud and diseases. And, while John was clearly in his element – and being paid – I was normal. Normalish.
I met and married (in that order) Mrs Blog, though that wasn’t her real name back then, and a life of night time emergency call outs and missed social events inevitably followed, along with toe curling conversation at friends’ dinner tables, unidentifiable stains on our clothes, and abandoned creatures sharing our home. What’s not to like?
“You could write a book about it” they said. “Get it off your chest. Show them what you’ve had to put up with.”
So I have. It should be coming out sometime in the next few months and I think you should buy it. Titled “It’s a Dog’s Life for the Other Half”, it’s got lots of amusing, heart warming, harrowing and occasionally disgusting encounters with pets – and owners — of all varieties, shapes and sizes. And there’s camels, vultures, wallabies and escaped alligators; dodgy greyhound trainers, macho abattoir workers, a Cliff Richard cassette tape extracted from an extraordinary place, and the cat that ate a Chihuahua. And it’s all true.
I spent last weekend in Northumberland at big bruv’s. I don’t think he dances (when sober, anyway) but, as well as being a vet, he also farms rare breeds and some that are, to say the least, highly unusual. Here are a few photos from my visit a few days ago, which don’t really need captions. But, yes, that really is a baby albino wallaby feeding itself from a bottle in the farm kitchen.
Mrs Blog and I are off on holiday from next week so I don’t know when I’ll be blogging next, but not long, I’m sure. Wish us luck for our ballroom debut!