Lucky Dog: How Being a Veterinarian Saved My Life Info

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What happens when a veterinary surgical oncologist
(laymen’s term: cancer surgery doctor) thinks she has cancer
herself? Enter Sarah Boston: a vet who suspects a suspicious growth in
her neck is thyroid cancer. From the moment she uses her husband’s
portable ultrasound machine to investigate her lump — he’s a
vet, too — it’s clear Lucky Dog is not your typical
cancer memoir. She takes us on a hysterical and thought-provoking
journey through the human healthcare system from the perspective of an
animal doctor. Weaving funny and poignant stories of dogs she’s
treated along the way, this is an insightful memoir about what the human
medical world can learn from the way we treat our canine counterparts.
Lucky Dog teaches us to trust our instincts, be our own
advocates, and laugh while we’re doing it.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.19

402 Ratings

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Reviews for Lucky Dog: How Being a Veterinarian Saved My Life:

5

Jul 05, 2014

There are no words for how much I love this book. It made me laugh out loud, it made me cry, it made me think and reflect. It made me nostalgic for my first clinic job by reminding me of the senseless task of washing and autoclaving syringes. It made me nostalgic for my time at Guelph. Reading thia book gave me all of the feels.

I am recommending this book to everyone - if you are a veterinarian, if you work in veterinary medicine, if you are a pet owner, or a Canadian who has dealt with our There are no words for how much I love this book. It made me laugh out loud, it made me cry, it made me think and reflect. It made me nostalgic for my first clinic job by reminding me of the senseless task of washing and autoclaving syringes. It made me nostalgic for my time at Guelph. Reading thia book gave me all of the feels.

I am recommending this book to everyone - if you are a veterinarian, if you work in veterinary medicine, if you are a pet owner, or a Canadian who has dealt with our health care system, of if you are someone who has had cancer touch your life... then there will be a moment in this book that will resonate with you.

If you are all of these things, then you will have a hard time putting this book down and possibly neglect your household chores for a couple days. Just a heads up. ...more
2

Jun 03, 2014

First off I would like to say "Jesus in a white coat" you are not Dr. Sarah. I don't usually read autobiography but excited when I saw this in the library as my Coding instructor had mentioned it in conversation (she had just started reading it at the time) I found Dr. Sarah to have a huge ego, she is quite full of herself and I find it interesting that everyone on her circle has seemed to have had an awful to terrible experience with the human health care system. I have worked in a Toronto First off I would like to say "Jesus in a white coat" you are not Dr. Sarah. I don't usually read autobiography but excited when I saw this in the library as my Coding instructor had mentioned it in conversation (she had just started reading it at the time) I found Dr. Sarah to have a huge ego, she is quite full of herself and I find it interesting that everyone on her circle has seemed to have had an awful to terrible experience with the human health care system. I have worked in a Toronto hospital for over 20 years and have never heard of the hoops that she and especially Lulu had to jump through. I have seen people go into the ER leave with a ultrasound and blood work to return to the ER the next day for results to leaving with a specialist appointment in hand to having surgery to interventions within the month.
At the start of the novel she complains that the human health care system should be more like the animal system. Need I remind you Dr. Sarah that here in Canada you do not "pay" for healthcare the same way you pay for a vet. You are at the mercy of understaffed health care workers and the tax payers dollar. Good thing you moved to Florida and you can now pay out of pocket for the precious commodity however need I remind you that America's most vulnerable are at a disadvantage and that only the top 15 percent of Americans can "afford" healthcare. Canadian's are fortunate believe it or not, no one seems to truly understand that healthcare costs the government and therefore the tax payers. But at least the single mother who's child has Lyme's disease would be treated in Canada and not overlooked because mom does not have enough dollars. ...more
1

Jun 25, 2015

This book was just plain awful. I'm still not sure why I read the whole thing, other than it was an easy read. All Sarah does is complain: about her doctor, about the Canadian medical system, about people that have a different life than she does, about how she knows better than the doctors. It becomes really irritating. But if you imagine her saying how she knows best in a really sarcastic voice, it makes it tolerable.

I was hoping this would be a nice book about dogs. I was very wrong.
4

Nov 29, 2016

This isn't going to be an uplifting, full of hope book about cancer. Having cancer sucks, but I think having cancer and knowing exactly what it was doing to you would be even worse. Dealing with the pressures and constraints of the Canadian medical teams seems even more drastic; but having dealt with doctors that either don't believe your symptoms, reassure you with 'probably' or completely ignore you I have a tiny understanding of what this must have felt like, minus the whole cancer can kill This isn't going to be an uplifting, full of hope book about cancer. Having cancer sucks, but I think having cancer and knowing exactly what it was doing to you would be even worse. Dealing with the pressures and constraints of the Canadian medical teams seems even more drastic; but having dealt with doctors that either don't believe your symptoms, reassure you with 'probably' or completely ignore you I have a tiny understanding of what this must have felt like, minus the whole cancer can kill you scenario.

I also really responded to the dry, sarcastic tone this book is written in; perhaps because my own tone is dry and bitter at most times also. The front describes it as humorous; perhaps, but it is more a dark humor, not a laugh out loud kind. I felt like there was nothing Sarah wouldn't confront, from bowel movement to openly assessing her care and regime before and after surgery. This is a very honest book.

With the cute dog and smiling woman on the cover, perhaps I went in expecting a lighter toned novel, but I enjoyed what I got. It was refreshing and real and was a stark reminder of the evil of cancer. Four stars. ...more
5

Oct 06, 2015

As my sister had the same thyroid cancer 4 years ago, I was interested in this book. The author is funny at times. She describes well the frustration of waiting for diagnosis and treatment. On the one hand, my sister's cancer was discovered early by a intuitive general physician. On the other hand, when the cancer was growing again in her neck lymph nodes, all of her doctors said it was 'nothing' until she insisted that she have an ultrasound. The author has great compassion for animals and I As my sister had the same thyroid cancer 4 years ago, I was interested in this book. The author is funny at times. She describes well the frustration of waiting for diagnosis and treatment. On the one hand, my sister's cancer was discovered early by a intuitive general physician. On the other hand, when the cancer was growing again in her neck lymph nodes, all of her doctors said it was 'nothing' until she insisted that she have an ultrasound. The author has great compassion for animals and I enjoyed her writing style. ...more
5

Jun 18, 2014

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. She writes beautifully about her own experience with cancer and dealing with the Canadian health care system. Loved the dog stories!
2

Oct 16, 2016

I really wanted to like this book. I normally love dog books, fiction or otherwise. I simply couldn't like the author. I found her to be frustrating. Maybe it's just me, but I really struggled to empathize with her. The takeaway for me is that you really have to do your research and be your own advocate when navigating the Canadian health care system.
3

Aug 22, 2014

Gainesville veterinarian. Interesting study of the Canadian health care system as well as the differences in how our own doctors could sometimes learn something from our pets' doctors.
3

Jun 07, 2014

Veterinarians treat their cancer patients better and with more compassion than human doctors treat theirs.
4

Oct 15, 2014

An honest voice regarding cancer, our relationship to it as a society, medical care, and veterinary care. Very readable. Entertaining and thought provoking.

http://mmbookandmovie.blogspot.com/20...
4

Jul 11, 2014

I was excited to read this as my sister used to work with Dr. Boston and she raved about this book. Although I'm not in the field, I loved it too - hilarious, informative, heart breaking and honest...very well done!
2

Oct 12, 2014

The book jacket says it's hilarious - no. There are moments of humor. It was worth reading for one woman's perspective on a) the experience of having a cancer that is relatively treatable and b) the Canadian health care system. I finished it but would not recommend it.
5

Aug 08, 2015

This book definitely lives up to the description on the back cover: "it's clear this will not be your typical cancer memoir". Refreshingly honest, open, enlightening, hilarious, life-affirming, and heartwarming without being overly sentimental. I read it from cover to cover in one sitting. Loved it.
2

Mar 26, 2015

I found the veterinarian sections very interesting, being a person who might question giving a pet cancer treatment. I did find the author's experiences sad, but not representative of many people's cancer journeys. I hope that all her trash talking made her feel better - time to move on and hope there are no law suits. Sounds like the US is a much better fit for her.
4

Jun 25, 2016

Although we do not live in Canada I believe our Medicare system was modelled on the Canadian system. It certainly mirrors those difficulties highlighted in this book. Where in the private system any comment or criticism is most likely welcomed (if not corrected) in the 'social' system is is usually met with a defensive attitude and no change. I agree hospital staff could learn a great deal from the patient and owner care provided by a good veterinarian.
3

May 03, 2015

I have to admit, when I first started reading this book, the author's tone and attitude annoyed me at times. I wondered if I was going to enjoy this book enough to want to continue reading it. I am glad I did.
The author's issues in getting the treatment she needed was unbelievable. What made it more ironic is the fact that if she was one of her veterinary patients, she would seem to receive better service and care in a shorter time frame.
I loved the stories of animals she had treated and was I have to admit, when I first started reading this book, the author's tone and attitude annoyed me at times. I wondered if I was going to enjoy this book enough to want to continue reading it. I am glad I did.
The author's issues in getting the treatment she needed was unbelievable. What made it more ironic is the fact that if she was one of her veterinary patients, she would seem to receive better service and care in a shorter time frame.
I loved the stories of animals she had treated and was shocked that she seemed to receive better health care in the US, than what she did in her native Canada. Not what I expected to read.
In the end this was a really enjoyable book. I recommend it ...more
3

Jan 12, 2016

The back cover says, "A hilarious and heartwarming memoir about what our most beloved pets can teach us about health care and ourselves." That's what I expected to read but as others have reviewed, not what we got. It is, indeed, a memoir about a vet's own experience with her cancer and the Ontario health care system. I appreciate that her own medical knowledge made her a great advocate for her own treatment, and her assertion that privately-paid health care in Florida (for people) and The back cover says, "A hilarious and heartwarming memoir about what our most beloved pets can teach us about health care and ourselves." That's what I expected to read but as others have reviewed, not what we got. It is, indeed, a memoir about a vet's own experience with her cancer and the Ontario health care system. I appreciate that her own medical knowledge made her a great advocate for her own treatment, and her assertion that privately-paid health care in Florida (for people) and everywhere for pets can deliver faster health care service, but that's not why I decided to read the book. I wasn't so interested in her cancer care narrative. I enjoyed the stories about pets and their people.
...more
3

Dec 28, 2015

Hard one to rate. The story kept me interested and I guess I enjoyed reading the book. But man oh man I was not a fan of the author. She made herself seem like she was very arrogant, full of herself, and selfish. And as someone well versed in the human medical practice I wasn't pleased that she pretty much dissed every single physician she was in contact with. One example, " I don't feel that physicians take the same amount of time to explain to their patients what is happening as I do for my Hard one to rate. The story kept me interested and I guess I enjoyed reading the book. But man oh man I was not a fan of the author. She made herself seem like she was very arrogant, full of herself, and selfish. And as someone well versed in the human medical practice I wasn't pleased that she pretty much dissed every single physician she was in contact with. One example, " I don't feel that physicians take the same amount of time to explain to their patients what is happening as I do for my clients." Well excuse us human physicians for all being such horrible people. Really Dr. Boston you feel that you are so much better than physicians and that all physicians are that bad?? Come on. Also, after complaining through the whole book about the Canadian medical system, the one time she gets something to happen early (moving up of her 2nd surgery), all she does is complain! I could not believe it when I read this. Anyways, I must say it was nice to read that someone actually likes the American medical system I guess. I did enjoy the stories about the wonderful dogs she took care of. ...more
4

Jul 11, 2014

Although I did not personally like the way the author portrayed herself in this autobiography (I am also a veterinarian, and let's just say she's a very stereotypical surgeon), I do think she did a great job explaining some of the challenges associated with socialized medicine here in Canada, particularly with cancer treatment (although in all fairness, some of the inadequacies in her particular case was more because of the actual doctors and nurses she dealt with, as opposed to shortcomings in Although I did not personally like the way the author portrayed herself in this autobiography (I am also a veterinarian, and let's just say she's a very stereotypical surgeon), I do think she did a great job explaining some of the challenges associated with socialized medicine here in Canada, particularly with cancer treatment (although in all fairness, some of the inadequacies in her particular case was more because of the actual doctors and nurses she dealt with, as opposed to shortcomings in the system itself, and I have many friends and family that have had expedited care and wonderful physicians and nurses). I do agree that in the US, the rich and people with good insurance plans do tend to get much more rapid care and often have more therapies and drugs available to them, but I believe a good part of that is because there are so many people that can't afford to get even the most basic of care, that the demand is so much lower. And I strongly believe that our socialized medicine has contributed to a vast misunderstanding here in Canada of what the cost of health care is, both for ourselves and our pets. It always frustrates me to here how many people go to their doctors and even the emergency room for common cold viruses, and how greatly our emergency rooms are often plugged up with "emergencies" that could be seen by their own physician or a walk-in clinic (many of which are open extended hours), simply because it may be more convenient, yet actually costs the government a greatly higher fee. Because most people do not understand these true costs of health care, we veterinarians are seen as money-grubbing and heartless, because we need to pay our bills. Dr. Boston does touch on this quite regularly through the book. And the many stories of her patients and her own pets intermixed with her own story are very touching; not only because it reminds me of my own patients, but also because I just lost my own beloved cat (seen in my profile picture) to intestinal cancer despite aggressive therapy. Overall, I do think this book is worth the read. ...more
4

Apr 30, 2018

The story of an oncology surgeon/vet who is diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Since she was in Canada, her treatment was agonizingly slow. Ironically she treated dogs for the same cancer and their turn around was in days rather than months.
5

Sep 22, 2019

A dog story, a cancer story,, a meditation, all in one!

I don't remember how I first found this book, but the title grabbed me first. Then, I did love dogs, their veterinarians, Canadians, and I too am a cancer survivor (we always manage to work that in...). I loved everything about it: the inside stories of treating dogs with cancer, the truly horrible experience of cancer treatment, even with the best possible outcome, but most of all the fact that the author made it through with her sense of A dog story, a cancer story,, a meditation, all in one!

I don't remember how I first found this book, but the title grabbed me first. Then, I did love dogs, their veterinarians, Canadians, and I too am a cancer survivor (we always manage to work that in...). I loved everything about it: the inside stories of treating dogs with cancer, the truly horrible experience of cancer treatment, even with the best possible outcome, but most of all the fact that the author made it through with her sense of humor and her priorities intact. This book brought me joy. It really did. ...more
5

Nov 04, 2019

I loved this book. I didnt find the author to have a huge ego or complain a lot (as mentioned in other reviews). I found her to be brutally honest and in touch with reality, especially what takes places in the medical field. She knows her stuff and tells it like it is. I loved this book. I didn’t find the author to have a huge ego or complain a lot (as mentioned in other reviews). I found her to be brutally honest and in touch with reality, especially what takes places in the medical field. She knows her stuff and tells it like it is. ...more
3

Mar 03, 2020

This book had some insightful observations but I found it was mostly a lot of complaining about the Canadian healthcare system.
5

Jul 15, 2017

Really enjoyed. Being a dog person, enjoyed her sense of humor and how she related dog stories.

5

Jun 27, 2014

This book has got it going on, as the kids say. Or maybe used to say. Im a little bit behind with respect to pop culture, Im told. Anyway. WOW! Dr. Bostons book resonates with me on so many levels, I cannot count them. I have always enjoyed reading stories about animals, especially stories about veterinary medicine. I would venture to say that the James Herriot novels are my favorite books of all time. This book is definitely up on the top ten list.

So, what makes this book so great? Well - Dr. This book has got it going on, as the kids say. Or maybe used to say. I’m a little bit behind with respect to pop culture, I’m told. Anyway. WOW! Dr. Boston’s book resonates with me on so many levels, I cannot count them. I have always enjoyed reading stories about animals, especially stories about veterinary medicine. I would venture to say that the James Herriot novels are my favorite books of all time. This book is definitely up on the top ten list.

So, what makes this book so great? Well - Dr. Boston talks about being a veterinarian, and shares stories about her patients, in classic James Herriot style. These dogs come to life, and I feel for them and their owners on a personal and professional level. Carney with osteosarcoma, North and his nose problem, Kelly's ironic fate. Their stories ring very true, but what really stands out is the strong relationship between Dr. Boston and these dogs and their owners. I hope I am able to build such strong relationships in my own practice.

But - it's not all cancer patient stories! There's plenty of non-cancer material here. I am sure there is no companion animal veterinarian out there anywhere who won’t be able to relate to her FAQ “taken from [her] real life,” on p. 69, in particular -
“can you trim his nails and express his anal sacs while he is here?”
“Yes, as a board-certified veterinary surgeon with fellowship training in surgical oncology, I would be more than happy to perform the same duties as your dog groomer. Expressing anal sacs is a particularly enjoyable task, and I would love to do it at no extra charge.”

See? Don’t you love this woman already?

I was also charmed by her discussion of people who overshare with their veterinarians. As she explains, when a veterinarian has succeeded in building a strong relationship with a client, this sometimes leads to a level of intimacy that can be a tiny bit uncomfortable. Apparently a classmate of hers had a client tell her “that she wouldn’t neuter her dog because she liked to play with his testicles when they sat on the couch and watched TV together.” You may not believe this but I HAD A CLIENT TELL ME ALMOST THE EXACT SAME THING! Crazy, right? But it just proves that this book is full of win - this book is like a reality show, but written down (and with better production value, and a more sophisticated tone).

She draws parallels between her own health care and the care she provides to her patients, and the compassionate efficiency of her practice’s care serves as a sharp contrast to the sluggish and apparently unfeeling Canadian system which is providing her own care. I love her descriptions of the caregivers she meets, and how they treat her. Some of them are wonderful, and some of them need a swift kick in the rear. Note also that she is not ungrateful for the care she receives in the Canadian system - her critique is very well thought out, I think. In the end, she also experiences the American system, and I enjoyed reading her perspective on that. She shares a lot of insight into the differences and similarities between veterinary and human cancer care, not least that dogs and cats do not suffer from anticipatory worry or fear of death like people do, which is something that I always tell my own clients. Of course she spares no detail in describing her own anticipatory anxiety - the severity of which led her to take matters into her own hands, which I can also relate to. Veterinarian readers who have turned the ultrasound probe on themselves, raise your hands…. yeah, I thought so. Of course, then there’s the matter of what you do once you’ve self-diagnosed but you have to convince the doctor or doctors that you are correct… Dr. Boston has the whole story covered.

Overall, Dr. Boston’s tone is witty and her material is relevant for animal lovers, cancer patients and those who love them, people interested in comparative medicine, or anyone who has a good sense of humor. I highly highly recommend this book. Read it now! ...more

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