Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet

Fans of Nat Geo Wild's reality show The Incredible Dr. Pol will immediately recognize the septuagenarian vet's droll wit and matter-of-fact approach in Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow. In this memoir, Pol traces his life from his childhood on a 40-acre dairy farm in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands during World War II to his wildly popular reality show that follows his daily adventures as a country vet in rural Michigan.

Part of Pol's appeal is that he is a "hands-on... old-style vet." While he clearly loves animals, Pol is pragmatic and his memoir is filled with stories that do not have happy endings. He understands that a farmer's relationship to his or her animals is economic, as opposed to a relationship with a pet, which is based purely on love. He also includes a tragic story about a pit bull whose attempt to comfort a child was misinterpreted and resulted in the dog's death.

Many of Pol's stories are not for the faint of heart, but his quirky sense of humor is always entertaining. For example, when discussing animals' ability to harm humans--especially when in pain--he observed: "We also had to teach some of the crew members how to be safe around animals. A lot of them grew up with Disney animals, and I don't think any character ever got stomped or had an eye poked in a Disney cartoon."

Grittier than James Herriot, this no-nonsense vet fills his memoir with his distinct, offbeat perspective on life. --Kristen Galles from Book Club Classics

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