I see the BBC is running a new series of James Herriot films. Alas, another generation will doubtless succumb to the charming tales of this Yorkshire vet (real name James Alfred ‘Alf’ Wight) and decide that being a veterinarian is the career. Many will fall by the wayside, unable to obtain the grades necessary to enter vet school, but the unlucky few will graduate and enter lives of stress and depression, a significant proportion committing suicide as the pressures mount.
Think I am joking or exaggerating? Many people do, but not many vets. Indeed, I still receive delighted messages from members of the profession who enjoy my tongue-in-cheek 2006 exposé, Pet Hates, The Shocking Truth About Pets and Vets, written under the pen name Josh Artmeier (an anagram of…? You guessed it!), and messages of hate from young folk who have set their minds on becoming animal doctors and will not countenance dissuasion, no matter the good intentions (life-saving!) behind it. These last messages are invariably insulting and semi-literate. I don’t have the heart to point out to the writers that their evident lack of academic ability will certainly prevent them ever battling with ungrateful animals and their sometimes even more difficult owners.
Incidentally, I received the most recent message in praise of the book only a month or so ago (from a young assistant vet who particularly appreciated my description of the owners of veterinary practices). It gives me mixed feelings to know that something that was published five years ago still rings such loud bells.
If you’re interested in reading it, you can order the book from me , or from Amazon (the range of the reviews on Amazon gives some idea of how controversial it is!), and here’s a wee video I made about it:
(I deleted the worst of the semi-literate hate mail that this video received, but there’s one example left below it for your delectation.)