Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mango Momma Book Review

Am just finishing up my third read of the book "If Wishes Were Horses" by Loretta Gage.

When this book first came out I still entertained romantic notions that I, too, could be a vet. Not so after reading this. The book provides an unflinching glimpse into the grueling training that veterinarians undergo.

This is not an easy read. The prose is fine, but I find the content requires me to pause and ponder and sometimes leaves me feeling seriously conflicted about the profession and questioning what I am willing to have other animals endure so that I might enjoy the ministrations of a capable vet.

Dr. Gage brings us through the unimaginable body of knowledge that goes into training. If nothing else, you will certainly come to appreciate the data bank of diagnosis that your vet must go through every time you present with even the simplest of symptoms such as diarrhea. Dr. Gage predicts specialization in veterinary medicine and she was right. It is more and more common to be referred to a veterinary specialist; dermatology, urology, neurology, etc.

Ever wonder how vets learn to preform routine procedures such as spay and neuter? By practicing on orphan dogs. For the first year of surgical training, these are dogs who will be euthanized after the procedure as the untrained surgeon takes far too long and is too clumsy to guarantee a positive outcome. That's not easy to read. Dr. Gage is honest about her conflicting emotions on the topic. Selfishly, I want the vets to do that. I want them to practice over and over before my beloved pet goes under their knife. I don't have a better alternative. But it certainly makes me think about and thank all those dogs who gave their lives so that mine might enjoy a better quality of life.

There are heartbreaking stories of catastrophically ill animals who come to the teaching hospital and the decisions that have to be made. There are animals who live at the teaching hospital for the sole purpose of blood donation or, in the case of cattle, examination after examination by baby vets with clumsy techniques.

Having read this, I do try to be patient whenever I bring one of my dogs to the Tufts Emergency Room. I know that he will be subjected to several examinations and interviews by fourth or fifth year students as well as conversation with the resident on duty. But it is difficult not to be gruff with the baby vets.

Finally, I know that after my first reading of this I became a better owner when it was time to communicate with my vet. I learned how to describe and differentiate symptoms. I learned a little bit about how everything is important to discuss with your vet. To leave no stone unturned. I also learned that vets are not infallible. Especially new vets who have not yet learned to question and listen.

As a final note, just want to let my readers know that I love my new job, but it is demanding and overwhelming and has been consuming more of my time and mental energy than I am accustomed to. That's OK. It is great to be learning new things and be part of a team of people who are all focused on working together to do the right thing. But it does leave me with little time or energy for blogging, and, most vexing, less time to enter contests and do photoshop adventures.

Both dogs are doing well. They did have a jail break the other day. Mango actually ran about a quarter of a mile before dropping from exhaustion and being rescued by the Master. Dexter took off into the woods and returned an hour later, soaking wet and full of himself. Mango has been seizure free since May 4th. Thank goodness.

We dropped the price on the project house, but still no bites. Figures our little cottage would be for sale right when the economy goes mental fits, but hopefully somebody will show up with a big bag of cash soon.

Mango Momma


SissySees said...

Yay for no seizures and safe returns after the breakout.

I can't read books like that... :(

Mimi and CC Cabana said...

That book sounds heartbreaking. I suppose it all makes sense, that some animals have to be "guinea pigs", but it doesn't make it easier. Your review did give me more compassion and understanding of vets--we're not just paying for the care our animals are given for the 10 minutes the vet is in the room. We're paying for everything that that person went through to get to that point.

Love the photo of Dexter and Mango in mimic mode! It's so uncanny how dogs do that with each other!

Peppy Sheppys said...


We were most alarmed to learn that your momma appears to have big and thoughtful brains. How is this so when she also likes labradorks and forgets to blogerate and feed you tasty noms all the time? Our ape thinks she wants to read this book. It is good to think about these things even if it is hard.

We had heard news of your daring jail break and are relieved that you made it back safely without hurting yourselves or causing anyone to have a coronary. And we are most grateful that that stinking seizure monster has stayed away. We would love it if we NEVER heard from that jerk again with you or any of our friends.

Sheps w/Pep, Otis & Ed.

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Thanks for the book review - not sure Mom could take it very well, but she does understand the need for how things are done.

Jail break????? What were you two thinking??? No way will you ever find anything better "out there" than life on your wonderful Estate!!! Now cut that out and stay put.

Thanks for the life update. Having a job you are enjoying is good, having a job is good too:) We have been enjoying the memory posts and we do understand about the time element. the Momster doesnt' evenhave a real job and we struggle to find time for blogging too.

Enjoy the weekend.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

Jen said...

Thanks for the book review- I MIGHT read that book, but I am not sure I really want to know the truth behind the world of vet. medicine. I am selfish too and want only the best care for my gaffers, and sometimes ignorance is bliss, right?

Thanks for the life update! New jobs are great, even if they do cut into time for life. I went through that a bit last year- and the stress got the better of me, hence my sick leave. So, make sure in the midst of all the hard work you take care of yourself and your boys!!

Also, crossing paws and fingers here for your little house to sell!! Hang in there, there has to be an offer soon! We are also crossing fingers and paws here that the financial state calms down soon too as I am in the hunt for a house and whatever happens in the States reflects in Canada too!

Have an awesome weekend!! Hugs to Mango and the Labradork!

Jen and the Black Dog Crew

rottrover said...

Excellent book review. Thank you. And thanks, too for the update on the boys, the new job and the foster house. While we miss your frequent adventures, we are very pleased that Mango Momma is having her mentals stimulated!

We, too have been enjoying the visit to the archives!

Sue said...

I'll probably read it. Since I started out to be a vet, I'm only too aware of what goes on in training. The very best thing about my vet - he listens. I've met too many who don't.

Congrats on keeping the seizures away, keep it up.

Dory and the Mama said...

Jailbreaks guys...really??? Talk about using too much energy!!

Thanks for the book review Mango Mama!!

Dory, Jacob & Bilbo

Bouncing Bertie said...

Hi MangoMomma

Thanks for the book review. The world of vets was new to me when I acquired my first dog, Hamish. Having been accustomed to our free National Health Service, I found myself often wondering if treatments for Hamish were being recommended because they were the best for him or the most profitable for the vet. And then agonising later about whether more could have been done for Hamish at the end. All that aside from the ethics of how vets come to perfect their operating techniques.

So pleased to hear that Mango has been seizure free for a few months now, AND managed to run a quarter of a mile!

Glad too that the new job's going well - hopefully when the 'bedding in' period is over you will have more energy left over for other stuff.



I really enjoyed your review...

Yes, these things are hard to comprehend and to swallow. Can you imagine what it's like LIVING with a Vet-in-training?

Unfortunately, in that profession they require a steel resolve, tempered with enormous compassion and an ability to empathise with owners. Yes, unfortunately it's not always a bed of roses.

Thanks for the review...I enjoyed reading your views.

BTW, When MAXDOG comes out at the end of the year, please consider a review for us?

Sending lotsaluv to you all

Marjie said...

Hey, Mango Momma! Listen, 1/4 mile to a mastiff is like 2 miles to you! So I am impressed by Mango's stamina. I followed my boys outside this afternoon, then snoozed while they played ball. It's all good.

And congrats on being seizuer free, Mango!


CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

I can tell, this book is too much for my tender heart. I entertained being a vet until I realized I might have to put a dog to sleep... No way!

The jail break must have been scary for you and the master. Thank goodness the Mango gets tired!!!

Benny and Lily said...

Ot sure about this one but I do like safe returns
Benny & Lily

Benny and Lily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tessa the Maltese said...

Yea!!!!! The seizure monster is staying away!!!! Wooo Hoooo.

Thanks for the book review. Sounds very interesting Mom says but your review was so good that Mom disided that she does not need to read it. BOL Actually she said it would be too sad for her, she is a light weight.

As for a Jail break! What were you two guys thinkin???? Were you plotting a take over? I sure am happy that you are home safe though.

As for the house, it well sell, really. Have faith.

woos, Tessa

Sugar the Golden Retriever said...

Woof! Woof! Golden Hello! Passing by to say Lots of Golden Thanks for your Barkday Wishes. I had a PAWSOME 10th Barkday! Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

My peeps plan to ours in the market but thinking about the $... too bad on what's happening. Sending you guys Golden Vibes. BTW: LOVE your blog header. Golden Woofs

Amber DaWeenie said...

That was an excellent book review but just knowing the truth behind it makes me want to avoid reading it. It's funny how we all know the things these "vets-to-be" have to endure but we want to stay as far away from it as possible and just not think about it. Human nature and love for all animals, I guess.

On a more positive note, hope you're having a great weekend and glad to hear the escapees were caught again. Now....stop and take a deep breath...tomorrow is another day! :o)

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

AND time to read?

Which night of the week don't you sleep?

Khyra's DOH

houndstooth said...

I don't have the stomach for books like that, for several reasons. I stick to fiction!

I'm waiting for a big bag of cash to drop here, too! I'll keep my fingers crossed for good luck for both of us!

STELLA from Down Under said...

Hi Momma, our Son's girlfriend is in her second year of a Vet course and has also told us some pretty horrible stories. I suppose we do want them to learn as much as possible but don't like to think of what that entails.

Mango and Dexter on the run? What did they do? Rob the pantry? Bet they had a blast. Wonder if Mango saw anyone. I'm surprised no-one brought him home hehehe. As for Dexter, well he could go anywhere and be invisible. Who looks twice at a lab, except another lab owner of course.

Take care. That lovely house will be someones home soon, i'm sure. No worries, and love, Carol and Stella

ocmist said...

That sounds like a really interesting book, though it also sounds sad. I read and enjoyed the James Harriot books about him learning to be a vet, but he didn't get into the parts you mentioned as being so distasteful.

So glad you caught up with Mango during his "break" because it would be REALLY hard to get him back if he'd gone to far. I'm glad that you got a job that you like, too, and I am so Thankful that Mango is doing so well and that the S. monster hasn't been anywhere near for so long! Grammy from Country Corgis