All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

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All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot Summary: This book is an autobiography of sorts. James Harriot tells of his life as a vet in the Yorkshire countryside of England. Although the book is one large tale, starting with is internship with Siegfried Farnon and ending with his marriage to Helen, smaller stories about his dealings with his “patients” make the book seem like a collection of short stories. Mr. Harriot tells of how he delivered a calf in the middle of the night, or how he had to deal with an interestingly slow family going to a play. The variety in his stories made the book very fun to read. Essay: All Creatures Great and Small is made up of many smaller tales of a vet helping out the animals that he loves. In the first chapter of the book, James Herriot introduces himself to the reader through one such story. As a newly schooled veterinarian, Herriot gets a call to deliver a calf. It’s the middle of the night, and he knows very little of the Yorkshire area. He has to deal with the cow having the calf, and the curious owners of the cow, who question his ability as a veterinarian. Much of the situation is unknown to Herriot, because much of what a vet has to do is not in the textbooks. This is what makes this book so heartwarming and true. James Harriot focuses on emotional feelings that come with doctoring animals, not the medical, technical aspect. Throughout the first chapter, he has to deal with many problems that arise with the delivery of the calf. But at the end, he forgets all about his troubles and feels joy towards the newly born calf. “I grinned. This was the bit I liked. The little miracle. I felt it was something that would never grow stale no matter how often I saw it.” All of his medical training gets basically thrown out the window when the deed is done. He tells, through this little chapter, why he became a veterinarian. Not for the medical science, but because of his love of the creatures of the Earth. He sees how much an animal means to an individual, whether it be a cow to a farmer or a little poodle to an old lady. Each and every case is a brand new one. He feels for each and every animal, whether it is a bird or a horse.

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