Monkeys, muntjac, and mules are only a few of the animals riding the veterinary carousel of life in Gay Balliet-Perkins' Lions and Tigers and Mares (re-issued by White Glove Press, 2015). Every day is a challenge, and many encounters spark laughter as this husband and wife veterinary team treats precocious pigs, rowdy roosters, baffled bats, and berserk buffalo. And the animal entourage comprises only half the fun. The other contingent comes from the human species: Bob, a burly Pennsylvania Dutchman who raised his deer, Andy, "from a titty bottle;" Ivanhoe, a South African woman forced to nail her refrigerator to the floor to outwit her African housepig; Bobby Miller, a corrugated-faced Dutch farmer whose cackling laugh made even his sheep flinch.
While the veterinary couple combs the bucolic Pennsylvania countryside tending their animal patients, the Balliets survive medical disasters and later laugh about rooster attacks and monkey feces and lion piss showers-all part of the daily adventure of treating large and exotic animals. Yet, considering the kaleidoscope of characters, both animal and human, and the palpable, odoriferous, and even dangerous situations they live through, a deeper message pervades the book, one that should not escape even those whose interests don't include animals.
This is the first book that I have read by Gay Balliet-Perkins--but it absolutely will not be the last!
It was one of those books that you wish would go on forever, with new stories every day. She paints such vivid pictures of the four-footed and two-footed characters that you instantly feel that you know them. In spite of the fact that I was reading in public places, I laughed out loud many times. She runs you through the gamut of emotions as she takes you from birth to death through the lives of her characters.
What a wonderful collage of stories from the world of a contemporary American mixed animal (VERY mixed) Veterinary practitioner and his family. I really had to fight the urge to bring home a pot bellied pig after finishing this lovely book.
- Meg Alonso
Balliet is the wife of a veterinarian who treats large and exotic animals, and she often accompanies him on his rounds as assistant and "gofer." The pair lives in eastern Pennsylvania, home of Pennsylvania Dutch farmers, exotic game parks, horse breeders, traveling circuses, and all of the animals that share their lives. As in previous books (Touched by All Creatures, 1999), the author mines the daily life of an animal doctor for stories that are amusing, sorrowful, touching, or thought provoking. Whether writing about trying not to laugh as a sheep farmer's pants migrate south while he catches lambs; the anger she and her husband felt when a novice breeder didn't care about a sick foal; a donkey that survived the total loss of his hoof; or being sprayed with cat urine, monkey feces, and all manner of disgusting fluids, Balliet ties her stories together with the thesis that animals and humans are all part of a cosmic family. Balliet's humorous reminiscences and graceful writing should find many readers.
- Booklist - Nancy Bent
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"I have read every one of Gay Balliet-Perkins's books. "Lowell - The true story of an existential Pig", "Lions and Tigers and Mares Oh My" and "Touched by All Creatures". What an author! She can make you laugh and cry. You will see animals in a whole new way. I actually cheered when her pig Lowell came to her defense when she was in physical danger. Want to see the gleam in a tiger's eye or feel his hot breath on your face? Read her books. Keep writing Gay and I'll keep reading."
- Kenny Muth