Review: The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs by Nick Trout


Title: The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs

Author: Nick Trout

Published: Allen & Unwin June 2013

Status: Read from May 24 to 26, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs is the story of Dr. Cyrus Mills who is forced to return to his hometown after inheriting his estranged father’s veterinary business. Though he is a qualified vet, Cyrus has never practiced, having chosen to focus instead on animal pathology, and he plans to sell The Bedside Manor for Sick Animals and return to Charleston as fast as possible. But Cyrus is shocked to discover the practice is on the verge of bankruptcy and he has just weeks to revive it if he hopes to see any money from it, money he needs to fight a spurious lawsuit he faces back in North Carolina. Reluctantly Cyrus finds himself accepting patients, the first a Golden Retriever named Frieda Fuzzypaws.

It’s no surprise that the animals and people of Eden Falls, Vermont eventually get under Cyrus’s skin. He becomes Frieda’s reluctant champion and with the help of Dr. Lewis and a handful of student textbooks finds a cure for Mrs Silverman’s husky’s skin condition, extracts underwear from the stomach of a Black Labrador and delivers the offspring of a cat, and her young owner. The animals are endearing, their owners quirky and their stories are variously amusing, joyful and heartbreaking.

A large part of the story concerns Cyrus’s struggle to understand the father he barely knew. Cyrus had never understood his father’s devotion to the practice at the expense of his wife and son and he had little contact with him in the decade or more before his death. The estrangement was so fraught Cyrus used his mother’s maiden name instead of his father’s name to underscore the distance between them. Few recognise him as the prodigal son returned but Cyrus feels the weight of the man’s memory.

The pace is a little slow, especially given the predictability of the outcome but the writing is solid. Though The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs is not especially compelling, it is a pleasant read and pet lovers in particular should enjoy it.


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