All Creatures Great and Small

by James Herriot

From as early as I can remember, the stories of James Herriot have been a part of my life. I’m not sure if my interest in veterinary medicine drove my love of these stories or if it was the other way around. To get to experience the trials and joys of a Real Vet drew me to each and every tale like a moth to a flame. As we move through this pandemic and the stress associated with it, I found I had trouble focusing on new books, new stories. My solution was to return to books that I consider my old friends- like All Creatures Great and Small.
James Herriot was a fresh-faced newly qualified Veterinary Surgeon who took his first job in the Yorkshire Dales of England. All Creatures Great and Small tells of his first years working in the town of Darrowby, both on farm animals as well as dogs and cats. The people and animals he meets along the way are widely varied and entertaining. From his colleagues Siegfried and Tristan Farnon to the farmers and townsfolk, each character helps bring the story to life.
Throughout his book, it is evident that veterinarians play more than just a role as animal doctors. They are intertwined in the lives of the humans they meet, acting as counselor, care-taker, and friend. He shares his successes and defeats with eloquence, but Herriot’s greatest achievement is to capture the essence of what it really means to be a veterinarian.