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Love Is the Best Medicine: What Two Dogs Taught One Veterinarian about Hope, Humility, and Everyday Miracles

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A book guaranteed to touch anyone who has ever had a beloved pet…       From instant New York Times bestseller, Dr. Nick Trout comes another touching and heartfelt story from the front lines of veterinary medicine—the story of two dogs who forever changed the way he thought about life, death, fate and love.    Helen is an older cocker spaniel found neglected and abandoned in A book guaranteed to touch anyone who has ever had a beloved pet…       From instant New York Times bestseller, Dr. Nick Trout comes another touching and heartfelt story from the front lines of veterinary medicine—the story of two dogs who forever changed the way he thought about life, death, fate and love.    Helen is an older cocker spaniel found neglected and abandoned in a restaurant parking lot one rainy night.  Despite her mangy condition and terrible smell, Ben and Eileen fall in love with the pitiful creature and decide to take her in.  But just as Helen is rescued from a sad life on the streets and enveloped in a loving home with all the creature comforts an old dog could ask for, a tumor is discovered and she's given a devastating prognosis.  All Ben and Eileen want is for Helen to beat the odds and survive for one more summer so that she can have one chance to swim in the ocean on the family's annual trip to Prince Edward Island.  In short, they want a miracle.    Meanwhile, fourteen-month-old miniature pinscher Cleo keeps breaking one leg after another which devastates her poor owner, Sandi.  While Cleo is visiting Sandi's daughter, Sonja, in Bermuda, she succumbs to yet another fracture.  Distraught that the injury happened on her watch, Sonja makes a plan to fly Cleo to Boston to get the specialist care she needs before Sandi even finds out.  Enter Dr. Trout who presides over what should be a fairly routine surgery.   What happens next forever links two families, their dogs and a beloved veterinarian and teaches them all a lesson about grace that resonates to this day.     Love is the Best Medicine immerses you in the true life drama of beloved pets whose lives hang in the balance.  Every page underscores the profound bond we have with the animals in our lives and the incredible responsibility Nick carries as their healer.  Certainly Dr. Trout has an impressive array of fancy equipment, training and skills at his disposable, but his most important tool (as he persuasively illustrates here) is a fundamental belief in the power of hope, humility, and grace.      Wry, charming, and intensely affecting, Love is the Best Medicine is a one of a kind story only the winsome Dr. Trout could deliver and is destined to become a favorite for animal lovers.


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A book guaranteed to touch anyone who has ever had a beloved pet…       From instant New York Times bestseller, Dr. Nick Trout comes another touching and heartfelt story from the front lines of veterinary medicine—the story of two dogs who forever changed the way he thought about life, death, fate and love.    Helen is an older cocker spaniel found neglected and abandoned in A book guaranteed to touch anyone who has ever had a beloved pet…       From instant New York Times bestseller, Dr. Nick Trout comes another touching and heartfelt story from the front lines of veterinary medicine—the story of two dogs who forever changed the way he thought about life, death, fate and love.    Helen is an older cocker spaniel found neglected and abandoned in a restaurant parking lot one rainy night.  Despite her mangy condition and terrible smell, Ben and Eileen fall in love with the pitiful creature and decide to take her in.  But just as Helen is rescued from a sad life on the streets and enveloped in a loving home with all the creature comforts an old dog could ask for, a tumor is discovered and she's given a devastating prognosis.  All Ben and Eileen want is for Helen to beat the odds and survive for one more summer so that she can have one chance to swim in the ocean on the family's annual trip to Prince Edward Island.  In short, they want a miracle.    Meanwhile, fourteen-month-old miniature pinscher Cleo keeps breaking one leg after another which devastates her poor owner, Sandi.  While Cleo is visiting Sandi's daughter, Sonja, in Bermuda, she succumbs to yet another fracture.  Distraught that the injury happened on her watch, Sonja makes a plan to fly Cleo to Boston to get the specialist care she needs before Sandi even finds out.  Enter Dr. Trout who presides over what should be a fairly routine surgery.   What happens next forever links two families, their dogs and a beloved veterinarian and teaches them all a lesson about grace that resonates to this day.     Love is the Best Medicine immerses you in the true life drama of beloved pets whose lives hang in the balance.  Every page underscores the profound bond we have with the animals in our lives and the incredible responsibility Nick carries as their healer.  Certainly Dr. Trout has an impressive array of fancy equipment, training and skills at his disposable, but his most important tool (as he persuasively illustrates here) is a fundamental belief in the power of hope, humility, and grace.      Wry, charming, and intensely affecting, Love is the Best Medicine is a one of a kind story only the winsome Dr. Trout could deliver and is destined to become a favorite for animal lovers.

30 review for Love Is the Best Medicine: What Two Dogs Taught One Veterinarian about Hope, Humility, and Everyday Miracles

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tara Chevrestt

    The first half of this book is superb. I had two really good laughs to the point that people around me wanted to know what was so funny and I really liked the way it was written, more like a novel rather than non fiction. It introduces the two main canine characters, Cleo and Helen, and their human parents and the lead up to their unfortunate medical problems. In between getting to know the two families there are funny stories about what is going on in Dr. Trout's medical facility. This is where The first half of this book is superb. I had two really good laughs to the point that people around me wanted to know what was so funny and I really liked the way it was written, more like a novel rather than non fiction. It introduces the two main canine characters, Cleo and Helen, and their human parents and the lead up to their unfortunate medical problems. In between getting to know the two families there are funny stories about what is going on in Dr. Trout's medical facility. This is where my laugh out loud moments came in. Loved the man claiming his dog was possessed by the devil and rabid, the cat getting the "sex change" operation, and later in the book, the Vicoria's Secret breast firming cream having some negative effects on a frog... Great touch! The last half of the book started losing me. Upon the death of a dog, the author seems to think that dog is somehow affecting his other surgical performances and just goes on and on about the dead dog. He also gets into his daughter being some sort of "sixth sense messenger" and all this other stuff and perhaps I'm just not spiritual or supersticious enough, but I failed to see any connection at all between Cleo and Helen. For me, this stuff grew tiresome. I understand he felt guilty about the death of the dog, but I don't get how it could have affected the other animals that came after. Another thing that had my eyebrow hitting my hairline in disbelief: Everyone is just "too good to be true." I found myself wondering if everyone actually behaved so saintly and said all these wonderful, unselfish things when these events actually occured. Seriously, if I went to pick up my dog after a routine fracture repair surgery and discovered my dog died in the first 15 mintues, well... I wouldn't be spouting words of kindness and mumbo jumbo about how I hope my dog's spirit or whatever helps dogs in the future.. More likely, someone would walk out of that consulting room with a black eye and sore gonads. Not a bad book, just didn't blow me away. I won this on firstreads I'm pleased to say.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Reese

    Starting LOVE IS THE BEST MEDICINE, I had, if not "great expectations," at least high hopes. Nick Trout's TELL ME WHERE IT HURTS told me that his second book would be worth reading -- despite its pardon-me-while-I-yoan (yawn that sounds like a groan) title. If the author were not a veterinarian, I wouldn't be reviewing this book because I would never have touched a book entitled LOVE IS THE BEST MEDICINE written by anyone other than a vet. The first half (or more) of Trout's second book made me a Starting LOVE IS THE BEST MEDICINE, I had, if not "great expectations," at least high hopes. Nick Trout's TELL ME WHERE IT HURTS told me that his second book would be worth reading -- despite its pardon-me-while-I-yoan (yawn that sounds like a groan) title. If the author were not a veterinarian, I wouldn't be reviewing this book because I would never have touched a book entitled LOVE IS THE BEST MEDICINE written by anyone other than a vet. The first half (or more) of Trout's second book made me ask myself one question -- again and again: Do I want to finish this? Trout fails pretty miserably in his attempt to use biographical fiction as part of the foundation of a memoir. And the presentation of the autobiographical material doesn't come close to making the content interesting. But the last chapters of the book contain the stuff that makes stars. So some 1.5-star pages became, for me, a 3.5-star work.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Daws

    I'm not one to cry easily, but this book had me in tears multiple times. More than that, Dr. Trout's reflections got me thinking about my life with my own pets as well as life with my friends and family. Some readers have criticized the second half of the book its introspective dive, but I found it appropriate and healthy considering the author's journey with a min pin named Cleo. Nick Trout writes with all the skill of a fiction author, taking the reader along on a story that I struggled to put I'm not one to cry easily, but this book had me in tears multiple times. More than that, Dr. Trout's reflections got me thinking about my life with my own pets as well as life with my friends and family. Some readers have criticized the second half of the book its introspective dive, but I found it appropriate and healthy considering the author's journey with a min pin named Cleo. Nick Trout writes with all the skill of a fiction author, taking the reader along on a story that I struggled to put aside so that I could be responsible in other areas of my life. His emotional journey with various four-legged creatures tugged at my heart and his openness about his thoughts and doubts, the way past perceived failures colored his present decisions all weave together to make him real, relatable, and human. I confess, I easily put my veterinarian on a pedestal, never considering what emergency she's dealt with that week before she walks into the exam room where I sit with my dog. Now, as I reflect upon the residual echoes after reading this book, I realize that Nick, Cleo, and Helen have changed me. Encouraged empathy, concern for others, and a willingness to just live and offer what love I can in the moment I presently walk in.

  4. 5 out of 5

    John Winkelman

    A terrific story by a veterinarian who has to rationalize the relationship of his scientific training and the power of love and healing in the animal spirit. I had it as n audio book but would still describe it as a great read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    As a veterinarian, I was touched by this book more deeply than I might expect of the average, pet-loving reader. That said, this story illustrates the bonds we share with our pets in such a beautiful way. I laughed, and cried, and hugged my dogs tight when I was done.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Nick Trout is a veterinary surgeon in Boston and here he tells the story of Cleo, a miniature pinscher with a broken leg, Helen, an elderly cocker spaniel who after a life scavenging on the streets gets taken home by a couple who shortly thereafter discover that Helen has lung cancer, and how the lives of these two dogs became connected. I don't want to be too hard on this book because I think Dr. Trout is well-intentioned (and also because: doggies!), but late in the book when he says that he k Nick Trout is a veterinary surgeon in Boston and here he tells the story of Cleo, a miniature pinscher with a broken leg, Helen, an elderly cocker spaniel who after a life scavenging on the streets gets taken home by a couple who shortly thereafter discover that Helen has lung cancer, and how the lives of these two dogs became connected. I don't want to be too hard on this book because I think Dr. Trout is well-intentioned (and also because: doggies!), but late in the book when he says that he knows the reader is thinking that he's really stretching to find some kind of transcendent connection and lesson in Cleo's and Helen's lives, he's correct because that's exactly what I was thinking. Clearly, there was something meaningful to him about having these two dogs as patients at around the same time, but he's not very successful in communicating what that meaning is. Mostly what I was thinking was that while a good writer can make fiction seem like real life, Dr. Trout was taking real life and making it sound like bad fiction.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Me

    Dr. Nick Trout analyzes how his dog patients and families have influenced his life. Two dogs in particular played a crucial role in how he perceives life, love, life expectancy, etc. Interspersed between the two stories that ultimately connect, the reader is presented with several accounts of technical descriptions of operations, other animal patients, and a delve into his personal life as he reveals his daughter's cystic fibrosis. This is a must read for pet owners! I will especially remember h Dr. Nick Trout analyzes how his dog patients and families have influenced his life. Two dogs in particular played a crucial role in how he perceives life, love, life expectancy, etc. Interspersed between the two stories that ultimately connect, the reader is presented with several accounts of technical descriptions of operations, other animal patients, and a delve into his personal life as he reveals his daughter's cystic fibrosis. This is a must read for pet owners! I will especially remember his advice to view cancer remission in dog years vs. human years. Hence, one year's time in remission doesn't seem to be much when viewed from the perspective of a human. However, from a dog's point of view, it equals 7 years of chasing squirrels, getting petted, sleeping next to its owner, etc.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    “Cancer is not the same as death” “But how could a dog with terminal cancer be so lucky” “And when she finally gets her first opportunity to live a decent life, a real dogs life, this goddamn awful disease comes along, determined to sweep it out from under our feet” Helen is a spaniel rescued from the streets to a good home. Abused and not taken care of this couple take her in, only to find out their new family member has terminal lung cancer. Reading how a women determined to keep her alive for “Cancer is not the same as death” “But how could a dog with terminal cancer be so lucky” “And when she finally gets her first opportunity to live a decent life, a real dogs life, this goddamn awful disease comes along, determined to sweep it out from under our feet” Helen is a spaniel rescued from the streets to a good home. Abused and not taken care of this couple take her in, only to find out their new family member has terminal lung cancer. Reading how a women determined to keep her alive for a summer to give her a proper doggy vacation was so sweet. The dog lived for 20 months after surgery. She got her little true dogs life. Then there is Cleo and oh my that broke my heart. How she kept breaking until she broke on the operating table. How the wonders respected and didn’t blame the vet but were happy they got to know her and be a part of her life. This story was so sweet. The author wrote about these two stories connecting and how Cleo would chose happiness and optimism to give others great lives! How Cleo would of been Helen’s friend.

  9. 4 out of 5

    David Szatkowski

    This is the second book by Dr. Trout that I've read. I have enjoyed them both. They are wonderfully written, and give insight into the joy that animals bring into our lives. If you enjoyed the "All Creatures Great and Small"series (either books or TV), then I would recommend this. I listened to this as an audio book, which was a good choice for this book. This is the second book by Dr. Trout that I've read. I have enjoyed them both. They are wonderfully written, and give insight into the joy that animals bring into our lives. If you enjoyed the "All Creatures Great and Small"series (either books or TV), then I would recommend this. I listened to this as an audio book, which was a good choice for this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Marie

    As a current Veterinary student this book reminds me of the many reasons the human-animal bond is so cherished. Great afternoon porch reading (meaning that I finished this book in one long sitting with several cups of tea) ❤🐾

  11. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I cannot get enough of Dr. Trout’s books! I don’t know if I identify because I work in a veterinary surgical practice, or because I have my own pets, but his ability to convey what it is like to be a veterinary professional is amazing. If I ever move back to the cold of the northeast, I want to work with Dr. Trout!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    This was a fabulous book. There are times I feel a book becomes available on my list and I happen to read it just at the right time. I have been coping with the illness of my beloved dog, Rudy and this book put so much into perspective. I so much appreciate it. Nick Trout is a veterinarian and he tells the story not only of the animals but their owners.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dee

    its always interesting listening to the introspection of individuals who we place our trust in (doctors, vets) and how they face their own experiences and mistakes to help make them better at what they do

  14. 5 out of 5

    LouAnn

    I thought this book would be funny, but it was quite serious. Even though it wasn't what I expected, I enjoyed it very much. It's very touching and the themes of love in it can be applied to people's relationships as well as pet owners' love for their pets. I thought this book would be funny, but it was quite serious. Even though it wasn't what I expected, I enjoyed it very much. It's very touching and the themes of love in it can be applied to people's relationships as well as pet owners' love for their pets.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    This a wonderful book! Trout delivers a brilliantly heartwarming and enlightening account of joys and heartbreaks he has faced as a veterinarian, and the lasting impact two amazing dogs had on his life.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn Johnson

    You had me at dog. Ok, I'm a sucker for dog bios. I inhaled this book. Dr. Trout brings his characters to life and best yet, these are the kind of people you want to befriend. This book hooked me emotionally in a good way and gave me insight into the thoughts of a veterinarian, at least, this veterinarian. You had me at dog. Ok, I'm a sucker for dog bios. I inhaled this book. Dr. Trout brings his characters to life and best yet, these are the kind of people you want to befriend. This book hooked me emotionally in a good way and gave me insight into the thoughts of a veterinarian, at least, this veterinarian.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I like his writing style. Additionally, as a healthcare professional, I really appreciate the inside workings of an animal hospital. I love comparing the animal hospital and care of animals to that of humans. This is nonfiction, which adds to the appeal.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Christine Goodnough

    Overall I enjoyed the book and the two stories very much. There were places where I found the philosophical musings a bit long-winded and deep, so I skimmed over some of those paragraphs, but overall the story is inspiring and definitely informative. A look behind the scenes, at veterinary medicine from the doctor's view. Overall I enjoyed the book and the two stories very much. There were places where I found the philosophical musings a bit long-winded and deep, so I skimmed over some of those paragraphs, but overall the story is inspiring and definitely informative. A look behind the scenes, at veterinary medicine from the doctor's view.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Audiobook Accomplice (Gillian)

    Awesome—fielding the hard cases, paying the price, then paying it forward! A high 4-stars. Would’ve been five if narrator triiiiiied My Full Review Awesome—fielding the hard cases, paying the price, then paying it forward! A high 4-stars. Would’ve been five if narrator triiiiiied My Full Review

  20. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

    This is my second Nick Trout book. After enjoying The Wonder of Lost Causes, I looked for a followup of his to read. I’m a fan because I’m an animal lover. His stories of his work as a surgeon in the animal hospital are inspiring. We recently lost our beloved peke and I relate so well to the families in this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Barb Turner

    As both a pet lover and a vet pharmacy tech - I loved this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    A must read for pet owners - whichever animal you choose to love be it dog, cat, bird, etc. - this book will make you think, laugh and cry. Beautifully written and heartfelt. I'm not sure how Dr. Trout faces each challenging case but it appears he has a heart of gold and certain animals and owners leave traces of themselves in his life. A must read for pet owners - whichever animal you choose to love be it dog, cat, bird, etc. - this book will make you think, laugh and cry. Beautifully written and heartfelt. I'm not sure how Dr. Trout faces each challenging case but it appears he has a heart of gold and certain animals and owners leave traces of themselves in his life.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    This is the second book by Nick Trout that I've read (My first was "Tell Me Where It Hurts.") but this one didn't pique my interest the way his previous book did. Now, if I'm going to say that, then it seems only fair to the author that I say why it didn't hold my interest, but I'm not sure I can. The pacing in this book felt slower, and so the story did not progress as fast as I would have liked, but I don't think that's the entire reason for my "just okay" rating. I think my rating has more to This is the second book by Nick Trout that I've read (My first was "Tell Me Where It Hurts.") but this one didn't pique my interest the way his previous book did. Now, if I'm going to say that, then it seems only fair to the author that I say why it didn't hold my interest, but I'm not sure I can. The pacing in this book felt slower, and so the story did not progress as fast as I would have liked, but I don't think that's the entire reason for my "just okay" rating. I think my rating has more to do with the fact that I found myself becoming frustrated by the level of emotional detail that Trout provided about the two dogs' owners. I just didn't want to know that much about their "issues" -- I wanted to read more about the dogs and less about their people! BUT, having said that, I'm sure I will read more of Nick Trout's books, because as my daughter has cleverly observed (with equal parts exasperation and affection, I think), I will buy any book with a dog on the cover. (-: Woof!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Heather G Gentle

    I read straight through this book in a reading marathon! Couldn't stop reading it. I really enjoyed the stories of Helen and Cleo and how they intertwined. I'm probably somewhat partial because I worship the ground my dog walks on but I just loved the emotions that these dogs and their stories brought out in the people. I've been through something similar with my dog-- major surgery-- investing everything I have-- and knowing it's worth it when you see that little face-- and knowing they would d I read straight through this book in a reading marathon! Couldn't stop reading it. I really enjoyed the stories of Helen and Cleo and how they intertwined. I'm probably somewhat partial because I worship the ground my dog walks on but I just loved the emotions that these dogs and their stories brought out in the people. I've been through something similar with my dog-- major surgery-- investing everything I have-- and knowing it's worth it when you see that little face-- and knowing they would do it for you without a thought. My "tagline" for years has been 'my goal in life is to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am' It's amazing how much these little animals can impact us This book was inspiring, sad and happy all at once and I was truly touched.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    I can't fully recall the first book of Nick Trout's that I read, apart from remembering I really enjoyed it. I have read other 'Vet' books, including James Herriot's, but never that of a surgeon. This book was much sadder than the first, more of a reflection than the humerous anecdotes from the first. The blurb on the back tells that two dogs will change the way you think, and this book was sufficently emotional to do this. I just didn't connect with Nick this time around as much as before, and I can't fully recall the first book of Nick Trout's that I read, apart from remembering I really enjoyed it. I have read other 'Vet' books, including James Herriot's, but never that of a surgeon. This book was much sadder than the first, more of a reflection than the humerous anecdotes from the first. The blurb on the back tells that two dogs will change the way you think, and this book was sufficently emotional to do this. I just didn't connect with Nick this time around as much as before, and the writing seemed choppy. Both dogs of course get 5 stars for their struggles, and the love of their owners. I still think this is a good book, but the other was utter perfection. I also still recommend this book for animal and dog lovers. Nick Trout is a truly awesome human being!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

    I received a copy of this through Goodreads First Reads. As a total dog lover, and since I am married to a veterinarian, I was very much looking forward to reading this book. But while it was interesting, the book seemed to get bogged down heavily in the death of one dog under anesthesia prior to a surgery, and the death of this dog weighs heavily on all the events and all of the story in the remainder of the book. And it just seemed to be a bit too much in my opinion. If you are a dog lover tho I received a copy of this through Goodreads First Reads. As a total dog lover, and since I am married to a veterinarian, I was very much looking forward to reading this book. But while it was interesting, the book seemed to get bogged down heavily in the death of one dog under anesthesia prior to a surgery, and the death of this dog weighs heavily on all the events and all of the story in the remainder of the book. And it just seemed to be a bit too much in my opinion. If you are a dog lover though, this book does have plenty of emotional scenes to tug on your heart strings.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    Dr. Trout lays it on pretty thick; there's a lot of sobbing and miracles and souls connecting and hearts changing. Still, who can deny the sweetness? The point of this book is to underline the special way that humans and animals can connect, the way that we can learn from them. I wasn't a fan of his pseudo-mystical, over-emotional anthropomorphizing, but I am a fan of what he tries to accomplish through it. Dr. Trout lays it on pretty thick; there's a lot of sobbing and miracles and souls connecting and hearts changing. Still, who can deny the sweetness? The point of this book is to underline the special way that humans and animals can connect, the way that we can learn from them. I wasn't a fan of his pseudo-mystical, over-emotional anthropomorphizing, but I am a fan of what he tries to accomplish through it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sandra McLeod

    This is the story of two amazing dogs and their equally amazing owners, but it is also so much more than that! It's the story of loss and love and pain and joy. The book is beautifully written and is inspiring as the author uses the loss of one dog to intensify his efforts to help other animals. Highly Recommended! This is the story of two amazing dogs and their equally amazing owners, but it is also so much more than that! It's the story of loss and love and pain and joy. The book is beautifully written and is inspiring as the author uses the loss of one dog to intensify his efforts to help other animals. Highly Recommended!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jennie

    Another book I ended up crying over. The stories were sweet. I liked the other cases he talked about. I will definitely check out his other books.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Interesting story about the everyday dealings of a veterinarian and the animals and their owners that he encounters. It was an enjoyable book.

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