Thursday, July 14, 2011


Those of you who have read the James Herriot books all ready know what an amazing man he was. Those who haven't, if you love animals and want to fall in love with someone you don't all ready share your bed with, then pick up "All Creatures Great and Small." (Link to Amazon)  Your library should have it.

OK you guys won't fall in love with this English veterinarian but I'll bet he would be someone you would like to hang out with.

His books ( about 23 of them which included 9 children's books) were not only marvelous animal stories but they were also a study of their owners and the intriguing Yorkshire Dales during the 40's and 50's.

His delightful humor  was often self depreciating and his compassion for animals endeared him to so many. It was speculated that his books are what caused the glut of applications to veterinarian schools in the 80's.

One of his beliefs was that there was a perfect owner for every animal and he often played matchmaker. One example was a huge Irish Wolfhound he was tending for intestinal problems. Bad gas.

Picture from the Net. Twelve pound Minnie brought me to my knees with her gas, A dog that size could take out a platoon.
Jim was unable to cure the gas problem so when the owner could no longer stand it and wanted to get rid of the dog, Jim talked him into giving the dog to a bachelor farmer he knew who suffered terribly with sinus problems. The man had no sense of smell so he and the dog lived in total harmony.

I tried to follow Jim's advice in my animal rescue attempts. The dogs I found were throw away dogs to begin with so they came with built in baggage. There was Corky with no hair that went to a child with allergies. Selma was a diabetic dog that was placed with a lady with diabetes who had no problem with the daily medication and controlled diet. Then Snuffy came along.

Not my picture but from the Internet. Looks a lot like Snuffy.
 Snuffy was a handsome blue merle Australian Shepard. One birth defect which affects that breed is deafness. Snuffy was deaf as a post. His owner was a young lady who had to give him up. Her husband had just been killed in an auto accident. She was pregnant and had to go to live with her parents  in a condo that didn't allow animals.

Normally I didn't take an unwanted dog from an owner as I found enough strays on my own, but I made an exception in this tragic case. I knew at the pound, his chance for adoption was slim to none with his deafness.

Snuffy had been well trained by the husband. He knew a wealth of hand signals and obeyed quickly. The only problem was that you had to get his attention so he could see the signals.
When I really felt intelligent was when he would be running ahead  of me and I would still go almost hoarse calling to him. Duh.

One other draw back to Snuffy is that since he was deaf, he had never heard himself bark. He had a TERRIBLE bark. It was an incredibly high pitched noise that he repeated in long sequences with no tone variation. All the charm of finger nails on a blackboard.

I had to find an owner with a totally fenced property so Snuffy couldn't get into traffic but I also had to find someone who could tolerate that bark. It could really wear on your nerves.

Luckily I found the right home for him before I lost my own hearing and patience. As with a lot of my placings, it all revolved around a friend of a friend of a friend. I had a delightful network of helpers.

Snuffy's new owner it turned out was hard of hearing. Dan wore a hearing aid but he only used it for conversations as the feed back annoyed him. He generally turned his hearing aid off to enjoy the quiet so Snuffy's awful bark would be no problem. He could tune him out.

Dan lived on 25 dog fenced acres so Snuffy could run all he wanted with no fear of traffic. It was love at first sight for the two of them. Snuffy was after all a beautiful and sweet natured dog and it was like he knew that Dan understood. They went off to live happily ever after in their quiet worlds.

Jim was right. For just about all animals there is the perfect home, you just have to be creative. If you are ever saddled with a troublesome pet that you just can't adjust to and you need to relocate, have patience. The perfect home is out there. Just think outside the box.

Hum--it has been 25 years, think I will go reread his books myself.  


  1. I loved that book. Sounds like you could write one of your own! You do have some stories!

  2. We lived the TV series and we've also read several of his books. sounds like you match up animals and their owners quite well.

  3. We had a daschund when I was growing up. The pooch had gas so bad it peeled the paint from the living room ceiling. We loved him so much we couldn't get rid of him. Of course, if he had weighed 200 pounds, that probably woulda' been a different ending......

  4. I've never read any of his books. You do have the stories of your own and some great adventures of your own. You do love your animals and birds. I was thinking of you this morning when I was looking at bird feeding stations for the winter.

  5. One of my favorite authors that for sure. And PBS series as well. :)

  6. I read some of his books long, long ago. It's about time for a re-read, thanks for the reminder. And yes, there must be a person for every creature out there. That was a very creative way to take care of the dog with gas: get him an owner with no sense of smell!

  7. I will certainly look for his books next time we go to town. Thanks for the recommendation!

    And, if you write one too, I will buy it!

  8. Can you find someone for me who has no sense of smell?

  9. I love the success stories. Animals add so much to our lives, and when the perfect match comes along, there's nothing like it. Great post!

  10. Oh my goodness, Patti. When you die, you are going to Dog Heaven.

  11. Good for you, Patti, for your animal rescue efforts. That's so rewarding. All of our cats have been rescues.
    I've always loved James Herriott's books and, about 35 years ago, when I was a magazine staff writer, I had the pleasure of interviewing him when he was in the U.S. on a book tour. We met in the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills hotel where a lot of celebs hang out. He was a lovely man, very humble, and took joy in simple things. I remember him savoring a glass of fresh orange juice and getting very excited when he spotted pioneer astronaut John Glenn two booths away. He thought about going over and saying "Hello" and even asking for his autograph, but decided against it because he didn't want to bother him. He said it was just a pleasure to see him from a respectable distance. The two hours I spent with him were so wonderful I remember the time vividly to this day. He was such a good, decent man.

  12. I loved Herriot's books as well as the BBC series, and once tramped all over the Yorkshire Dales to see his home. What a wonderful man. And, he was quite right there is a home for each of those wonderful animals. I think about Herriot when I hear the hymn from which he drew his book titles, and when my little Johnny lets a fart in my face. Thank goodness he only weighs 9 lbs.


  13. I never read his books, but I love how you tell a story, patti.

  14. What a marvelous character! I think I will read the book after all this.

  15. Wonderful post. I have not read his books but I have heard about him. Wish there were a lot more people like him to find homes for animals. You always have the most interesting posts to them. Hugs

  16. Reading your post was much like reading Herriott's books. Bless you for having such a kind soul. Rereading his books is a wonderful idea.

  17. His books were very addictive, I loved every one of them. Haven't read any for a long time. Wasn't there a made for TV movie about him or one of his book on TV years ago?

  18. No wonder I love you so much.
    This is an awesome post.
    It gives me hope for finding the kitties a prefect home too.
    Will keep this book in mind when at the library or Amazon

  19. I have to admit I have never read his books although my hubby did ...he read everything and anything. I did however follow the TV series we had here. It covered well over a decade ...maybe nearly two ...I loved it and all the amazing characters.

  20. I haven't read his books as I'm not a great animal lover. Well I loved our cats, but dogs scare me! I know I'm a wuz!

  21. Wonderful post! I remember reading some of his books many years ago - they didn't inspire me to be a vet but they did teach me a lot about animals. blessings, marlene

  22. I have read everyone of his books and loved each and every one of them and remember the story you refer to well! I just finished reading A Dog's Purpose, it was a very good book.

  23. Marylee,
    Thanks so much. That was a great book wasn't it?

    I missed that series since I couldn't get PBS. I did see a couple at friends houses and really enjoyed them.

    You are so funny. I like that you put up with the paint peelig. Says a lot about you.

    Besides the animals, his books are a great study of the English farmers. Yes, I am an animal lover.

    I see you have excellent taste. I wish I had seen the PBS series. I hear they stayed very close to his books.

    I rarely reread books or watch movies more than once but think I will make an exception here. Enjoy.

    Aw thanks for the offer. That would make two of books sold:)) I am sure your library will have the series.

    Ah--Judy--are you trying to tell us something. Actually Patty at Old Lady Lincoln has lost her sense of smell so I guess they are out there.

    No one knows more about finding the perfect home than Joey.

    Thank you and gosh, I hope so. Pretty sure Jim is there and I will finally get to meet him.

    Dr. Kathy,
    I am so envious of your time with James that I am such a dark green of envy I am almost black. How wonderful that you spent so much time with him and what a delightful episode you related. What makes me even happier is to learn he really was who I thought he was. Sometimes people disappoint in person. He did not.
    Thank you.

    How funny, you did exactly what a friend of mine almost did. Track that wonderful man's home down in the Dales.
    You went from very sweet about the hymm to cracking me up about Johnny. Be thankful for small animals. I am.

    Thanks robin. If you get a chance, his books are quite funny yet warm and very human. This was a really good man.

    Hope you find one. You will not be bored.

    Thank you. He was such an amazing man. He set the bar high.

    Ah, another Herriot reader. It really has been long enough that the stories will all be new again.

    Miss Dazey,
    There was a movie but there was also a long running series on PBS. It has been a long time ago. And yes, he was totally addictive.

    Grandma Yellow Hair,
    Of course, you are going to keep one aren't you?? Ha ha. Try networking, it is what worked for me. Let everyone you meet know you have kittens. Just don't put an ad in the paper. People looking for sparring partners for their fighting pit bulls will take "free" kittens, put them in a paper sack and let the dogs destroy them. Count on friend referrals. Good luck.

    Yes, that series ran here also but it was on a channel I couldn't get. Wish I had for I hear it followed the books closely.

    LLCool Joe,
    You are no wuz Joey. Should you have pet spiders, I would be totally scared and repulsed. Not all creatures are for everyone.

    I didn't want to be a vet either but sure loved the books. It was interesting to see what few medicines vets had to work with.

    Iowa Gardening woman,
    That one is new to me. I will have to check it out. Thanks.

  24. This was a great post. I loved James Herriot's books. He really was a wonderful man who inspired many to love animals in a whole new way.

    Thanks for sharing your own stories of matchmaking.

  25. I read several of his books and have them on my shelf. He was such a sweet guy. I even watched some of the series on TV. I wish I had a human doctor like him.

  26. I fell in love with Herriot from the first book and have read the second.

    Although I had no children, if I had, these would have been required reading. It has been shown persons mistreating animals, also are abusive to the point of dangerous in human relations, too.

  27. Who doesn't love a good animal story, they bring such companionship to people and reward us with much more than they ask. I am so glad you gave the woman who lost her husband, dog a good home, what a tragedy for her.

    That Irish wolf hound is huge, omg.

  28. I loved that book also!

    My mom used to say that there was a lid for every old pot and I think that extends to the animal kingdom.



  29. Retired English Teacher,
    Thank you. He really touched a lot of people.

    Me too. That is the only books I made sure I took with me on this last move.

    What was not to love about the guy? I agree, he should be required reading for youngsters.

    Linda Starr,
    They are the largest breed of dog. I have met a few and the are just gentle giants.

    Rocky Mountain Woman,
    I love your mom's expression. Gives this old pot some hope:))

  30. I would read James Herriot's books with tears running down my face at some of the stories. He not only had a way with animals, he had a way with words.

    As do you.

  31. Love the Herriot books; made me want to run off to Yorkshire and stick my hands up... well, you know where. :)

    I applaud your rescue & successful placement activities. I'm so glad Snuffy found a good home. Gorgeous dog.

    A wonderful post!

  32. Hi Patti,

    Wow, what wonderful stories that you have woven into this post. I do have one of his books that I have recently bought at St. Vinnie's and now I'll make sure to read it soon.

    How nice of you to spend all that time and hard work in your rescue mission. Thank you for that.

    God bless,

    Kathy M.

  33. Oooops! I forgot to say--my 3rd Celebration Post is up now...! (If you get a chance, my dear...)

  34. Sometimes, you are right, it is just finding the right match. When I was 12-years old, I was a horse nut. One day, a little grey kitten showed up at the stable. I bundled that little guy up and took him home. He turned out to be a Tasmanian devil tearing through the house. His favorite thing was to get some good speed going, jump up on my mom's book shelves sending her fragile's flying. She was about to croak. One day he simply disappeared. Fast forward a year or so and my mom is over at our neighbor's house. She gasped when she saw the "neighbor's" cat. YOU have that crazy cat my mom said. "What?" the lady replied indignant, "that is my cat and he is wonderful." My mom ticked a lock.

  35. I'm back in the blogging world. I enjoyed the break but missed my blogging friends.

    I too like James Herriot's books.

  36. I've read and re-read all of James Herriot's books. Just love animals myself. Now I watch Caesar, The Dog Whisperer - although I no longer have dogs myself. What an amazing person psychologist he is! And how I mourned the death of Daddy, the pitbull - watched all the tributes to him on YouTube. Sob! The trouble is dogs just don't live long enough.

  37. RV Vagabonds,
    You are so right. Not only was the subject matter so interesting, the man could really string words together like a master.

    Me too only I wanted to go to stalk the poor man.
    The blue merles really are beautiful animals.

    Oregon gifts,
    Careful, they are like potato chips, you can't read just one. Enjoy.

    I know Naomi, unfortunately for my dates, I used Jim as a measuring stick and few could measure up. He set the bar high.
    Thanks for the reminder. Don't know why you don't show up on my read list.

    That is a perfect example of the pot finding the right lid.
    I had to look up "ticked a lock." Never heard it before but may use it now.

    Well welcome back gal. I knew you had too much good stuff to say to stay silent for long.

    Welcome to TNS and thanks for commenting. I have only seen Ceasar a few times and really liked him. I can't get him with my service. I can get "It's me or the dog" with Victoria Stilwell who is quite remarkable. Off to visit you now.

  38. Your stories are always so great. They carry me along effortlessly untill there I am at the end wishing it would contiune. Great Post. I loved the pictue of the hugh hound/horse.

  39. I read that book when I was a kid, but I don't remember it very well. I've missed you stopping by my blog.

  40. Grayquill,
    Aw thanks GQ, you always say the nicest things. Well sometimes you just say funny things:))
    Would you believe that man was
    6'1"? Awesome dogs.

    Mom orf 12,
    So sorry I haven't commented on your blog. I really try to get to yours as it is such a feel good blog and I love your family ventures. My blog reading list has gotten so big that sometimes, I don't make it all the way through. I will do better. Thanks for stopping by.