Cover Image:  Drinking from the Trough

 Drinking from the Trough

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Member Reviews

I was a little disappointed in this book as from the jacket description and book title I expected more vet/animal anecdotes from her vet practice.  I’m still looking for the next James Herriot I think. Still, it was entertaining as more of a personal memoir. I guess I would have liked more of an emphasis on animals.
My thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an arc in exchange for my honest review.
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This is a story of a woman’s journey to becoming a veterinarian. The journey wasn’t a straight road as she was a teacher before deciding to become a vet. It details her schooling and marriage and I was just slightly disappointed that there weren’t more stories about interaction with animals although she did write about her own dogs and horses. I received a copy of this arc in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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A fun story of the authors life before and after as she decides to become a veterinarian.
This story is full of funny, endearing and sometimes hard to read parts of her life and those of her animals. She and her husband loved huskies and had a couple of them over their lifetime together, it was interesting to get a good view of what these dogs are like, and how they do really need an owner that understands their tactics.
Horse and cat owners as well, they had quite a full house at times.
From being a teacher, to owning her own feline specific vet clinic, it was so interesting to see what it took to get into Veterinarian school and the amount of work it took to stay in the field.
Suffering injuries and loss, the author strength to keep going and learning is amazing.
A story, we can all relate to in some ways. Well worth reading.
I would like to thank NetGalley and She Writes Press for the ARC of this book.
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I love reading about the adventures and everyday tales vets go on. It was a career I considered for a long time (I whelped my own litters from the time I was 8yrs old), and I still am very involved with animals every day, and sometimes I wish I had been able to get into the field as a career, but reading books like these allow me to do so vicariously while being entertained at the same time. Win win.
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As a former vet tech I was thrilled to receive this book for review. Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley for the opportunity. My opinion is my own. 
Mary E. Carlson D. V. M writes of her long journey to becoming a veterinarian.  
She first was a teacher then went to vet school and then law school. Anyone that can traverse that level of education and careers is to be admired. 
I was expecting more animal related stories but this is a nice archive of her journey to being a vet. Its a interesting and realistic view of what it takes to become a vet. We all know vet school is brutal but I had no idea what was all involved until reading her account. So very interesting reading !  Many of the animals she encountered along her way are featured here. I love that she was a feline focused vet . Those are rare and we need more cat vets in this world.  Very well done account of her career journey.  She is someone to be admired for her profession.  My hope is she gives up law and works as a feline vet as that is her area of interest and the law seems to dry for someone that enjoys a challenge !
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Drinking from the Trough reflects Mary Carson's deep love for critters of all kinds. She loves and cares for them all - from her own dogs, horses, and cats to the patients at her feline exclusive veterinary practice. This memoir shows an in-depth look at the life of a veterinarian, including triumphs and tragedies. 

I would highly recommend this title for individual readers, as well as for any animal lover.

In the interest of full disclosure,  I received a free digital copy of this title to review from Net Galley. 

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Mary Carlson's memoir from life as a vet was entertaining and interesting enough, with stories about her horses, dogs and cats who were all part of her family.

However, there was a little something missing from this book for me. It might have been the back and forth time-line, which made it feel somewhat disjointed. Early on we learn of her husbands death and the story of how her dog Keli died, but then the book back tracks to stories when they are alive. This isn't necessarily bad, but isn't a particular style of storytelling that I liked.

The book is also billed as a vet's memoir, which, while there are plenty of animal stories that are a great read, there is also a lot about her personal life and family. Since these personal stories are included, I feel like a little more detail may have helped the reader engage more. Some insights felt untold, and I wanted more of the picture explained to me.

Overall a nice read and one I'm sure animal lovers will enjoy.
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This was an ok read but not what was advertised. This woman is a teacher who happened to take veterinary training, and the story of her life. It was advertised as stories of a woman veterinarian. 
Also, she needs a better editor, there's three stories that she retold twice or more. 
IMHO she should stick to her blog.
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I picked up this book because from the title and the cover I expected a more lighthearted, funny memoir with lots of animal shenanigans. It was very far from what I expected. While there were definitely some heartwarming parts or useful facts (like the warning that cats like to sleep on cat tires), most of it was just... about mundane parts of the author's life I had no interest in. I understand the point of a biography is to tell a person's life, but in my opinion, you need some reason to care about this person's life (because you already know them, because the style is funny, etc.) and I just didn't. That, and there were so many animals dying or being euthanised in this book, and I know that's part of the profession, but it just made me sad.

tldr; This isn't a bad book, but it's not the lighthearted funny read I expected, and I lost interest.
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Being a pet lover I enjoyed the book, and the author's stories about her pets, pets in her practice and her life as both a veterinarian and a school teacher. Portions of the book will bring a tear to your eye as the author brings you in to her world and you become invested in her pets' lives. The timeline in the book jumps around from chapter to chapter so that can be a bit confusing at times. 

I received an Advanced Readers Copy of the book from the publisher; however, this did not impact my review.
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This was a good read, but I think the title is very misleading.  The author wrote about herself and how she taught at a middle school before becoming a veterinarian, and now she is going to law school.  Her story is inspirational and shows that it is never too late to change careers or go back to school, but I thought this would have a lot of animal stories in it.  It was still a good read, but I was a little disappointed because the cover had animals and the title implies there are going to be stories from her veterinary practice.
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There’s a lot I wasn’t really expecting though referring to my opening paragraph, I shouldn’t have been. Her own medical challenges and trying family relationships abound. I learned a little about CSU’s vet school and am in awe of anyone who can make it through. Carlson also managed to fit other work into her busy schedule maintaining her passion of educating (human) students in local schools. I do wish that there had been more about her daily vet experiences. My favorite chapter? The one from the POV of Best Cat – because I ♥ the kittehs. B-
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When I picked this up, I really anticipated a whole-length story about how the author became a vet following the beginning of a teaching career and the animals that impacted her life.  What I really got was a collection of short stories from the author but that was fine, because the jest was still the same.  The book compiles some 20+ stories which focus on Mary, her husband, her family, her teaching job, her vet school experience and some of the animals she lived with and treated.  As expected, some stories stood out more than others.  One of my faves was the one told from "The Good Cat's" POV which was done really well.  Also, the author and her husband had several "crazy" husky pups during their lives which were also fun to read about.  

I need to add that this book is heavily horse-centric.  Any horse lover should definitely consider picking it up because Mary clearly has a close attachment with them and its evident how important they are to her.  That being said, there is one part about the book that bothered me.  I understand the author is a vet and to be honest, it's a job I couldn't do.  I think a good vet much have a great love of animals and a lot of compassion, but must also be able to distance themselves some because otherwise, how could they do what they sometimes have to do.  That being said, I have a hard time reconciling how Mary and her husband lost a dear horse they owned over 20 years yet while grieving, woke up the next day and basically said "Hey, let's go watch the Colorado vet school cut up and autopsy" said animal.  I'll be honest, I sort of skimmed those parts.

I did enjoy some of the tales in "Drinking from the Trough" and it was an easy to pick up and put down.  If you like non-fiction short story collections and animals, you might want to at least check out parts of this book.
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Thank you to NetGalley and She Writes Press for providing an advanced digital copy of Drinking from the Trough, A Veterinarian’s Memoir by Mary E. Carlson, DVM in exchange for an honest review. The book, a compilation of vignettes, encompasses her experiences first as a physical education teacher in middle school through her study and work as a veterinarian. It closes as she prepares to embark on the next chapter of her life, preparing to attend law school in Texas.

	Each chapter is a brief glimpse into some particular experience Dr. Carlson has throughout a 30 plus year period. Many of the chapters deal with particular animals she has had beginning with her first cat she got from her younger sister and include several dogs and horses who were part of her family along the way. While they are all experiences of Dr. Carlson’s, they are only loosely connected and, as such, it is an easy book to pick up, read a chapter, put down and then pick up some time later without losing any continuity.

	Some of the chapters deal with particular animal illnesses and experiences she has had and, as such, provide cursory insight into the challenges and experiences that make up a career as a veterinarian. Others deal more with her love for several animals of her own and how their existence impacted her life and family. Throughout the book her love of animals and her recognition of their importance in her life is a constant theme.

	In addition, some of Dr. Carlson’s struggles in terms of family, both with her own and with her inlaws make up several of the chapters. These bits of information make it more than just a book that would appeal to people, particularly young people, who might be curious about the responsibilities and experiences of being a veterinarian.

	I would give this book three and a half stars if that were possible, so I am rounding it up to four. It has some value for young people who may be looking for introductory information regarding being a veterinarian. The chapters dealing with family prevent it from being strictly an exploration of a career path and make it difficult to determine the target audience for whom this book would have the most appeal.
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I love reading books about animals (and have read many) so that's why this one caught my eye.  Plus how could I resist the animals looking down at me?!

Mary is a school teacher who decided to go back to school to become a vet (her husband, Earl, was also a vet), with a focus on providing services for cats.  Then she decided she missed being a teacher so went back to teaching school (one school in the morning and a different one in the afternoon) while still providing vet services for cats.  In retirement, it sounds like she is going to law school.  On top of that, she and Earl had a small farm where they kept a couple horses along with pet dogs and cats.

When I started reading the book, which is billed as a "vet's memoir", I was expecting it to be full of animal stories ... her pets and her patients.  There were stories about animals (her dogs, cats and horses) which I liked.  But it was more heavy with stories from her personal life ... her father-in-law's death, her husband's death, recovering after falling off a horse, going back to school and more.  So to me, it missed the mark, especially considering the pictures on the cover (I don't remember there being any guinea pig stories).

The stories were scattered as they weren't in chronological order ... she bounced all over the place, back and forth.  And I found there was a lot of repetition ... she tells us a couple times how she got her $100 horse but it was like she was telling us for the first time every time which I found odd.  When I checked her website, I saw she has a blog so I'm wondering if this book is a compilation of some of her old blog posts?

I really wanted to like this book but for the most part, I didn't.
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As a child, I read and re-read James Herriot’s books. They were the perfect combination of humor and storytelling, plus the descriptions of tending to the health of a variety of animals appealed to this young girl who hoped to become a veterinarian one day.  As an adult (and decidedly not a veterinarian), I still find myself drawn to books written by medical professionals who share stories about their lives and their patients. 

Although enjoyable, I am not sure that this book quite fit within that genre. This book was really more about Carlson’s life, and some of the people and animals she has loved throughout that life, but when I finished, I felt more as if I had been to a party where there was a single entertaining person telling stories about funny things that had happened to them. While that kind of experience can result in a pleasant evening, I wanted more from reading an entire book. I wish she had provided more insight into her relationship with her husband...did she meet him because she wanted to be a veterinarian, or did she want to be a vet because she met him. She periodically mentions situations in her life, like the fact that the principal at her school didn’t like her, and the way her in laws treated her after her husband’s death, but these things are treated almost as throwaways, and the reader is left wondering what hasn’t been said. 

I also found the chronology of the book uncomfortable. She would talk about her husband being dead at an early point in the book, making me think he had died when he was quite young, only to find out that they had been married for many years when he actually died. She also mentions what must have been major events in her life, like moving away from her home and husband for a year to live in Virginia, opening and closing her own veterinary clinic, going from being a tenured teacher to a veterinary student, and then applying to and being accepted into law school in Texas, right about the time that her husband was diagnosed with, and succumbed to cancer. There is so much content hinted at here, and then simply ignored, and I found myself frequently wondering what truths I was missing. 

I really did want to like this book, and I truly enjoyed the stories about her life and all of her animals.  But, by the end of the book, I felt more frustrated by what I didn’t read, than I enjoyed what I had read. .
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She Writes Press is hitting it out of the park with amazing memoirs by women, and “Drinking from the Trough: A Veterinarian's Memoir” is a wonderful example. Author Mary E. Carlson, DVM, is a person I’d love to know and a vet I’d love to provide care for my beloved kitty Gracie — and I absolutely adore her new memoir!

Mary didn’t dream, like so many, of becoming a vet from a young age, let alone the human companion in Colorado of so many kitties, two huskies, and horses (some well-mannered, some not so much.) For she hails from the Windy City, where the West is considered a Gauche Cousin. It was her uncle in northern Colorado, with his tales of God’s Country, who convinced her to move to the Centennial State for college. 

There, she fell in love with a man who was in vet school. Watching his work convinced her to follow suit, so she left a tenured teaching position and became a vet herself, opening her own cat clinic. But the path to today has not been easy — following grueling years of school, a broken hip, enduring love, illness, and death. Finally she finds that life, especially one full of lovable animals, is truly worth living. Highly highly recommended for Mary’s delightful storytelling and life-affirming journey. 5/5

Pub Date 28 Aug 2018

Thanks to She Writes Press and NetGalley for review copy. Opinions are fully mine. 

#DrinkingFromTheTrough #NetGalley
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I love this author/ veterinarian/ woman. I wish she practiced somewhere near me. I am an animal lover and rescuer and have rescued Lots of fur babies and found them wonderful forever homes. It is a very hard thing to do because you so easily fall in love with them. Their quirks and attitudes are all so different from one another. Just as this author is. Her story telling packs a punch and you hit every emotion possible while reading her book. While I dislike death, it is part of life and we must endure. She shows how to find comfort and humor in a lot of different situations. If you are an animal lover, you NEED to read this book. You will see that life becomes hard for her and she finds strength to endure. She is someone we should all aspire to be.

5 out of 5 on this one!
Thank you to netgalley for allowing me to read this book for an honest review.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the chance to read this book!

I did enjoy reading Mary's life story, and the impact her animals had upon her, her career and her husband. We get hints early on that this isn't a happy story per se, and that loss and grief will feature prominently. The loss of a beloved pet is inevitable, but I still felt each with a terrible shock, so well was the lives of these animals described. Mary has had a sad life, and her strength shows.

This book was a brilliant example of animal memoir (one of my favorite genres!) and a must for all animal lovers. Four stars.
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