340 pages, no illustrations
Fresh out of university Luke joins a mixed practice in Dorset, run by the stern but benevolent Mr Spotswode and is quickly thrust into the real world of veterinary medicine: truculent farmers, out-of-hours-surgery, nasty biting squirrels, operating on frog's eyeballs and some of the harsher facts of farming life like dealing with an outbreak of foot and mouth and subsequent slaughter. Luke's dream is to set up on his own and find his place in the world. These things, however, are never quite straightforward. Across the course of this memoir, the young vet not only learns much about his trade, but about his own character – and develops a group of close friends – both animal and human – who will stay with his across his career. the most important of these is Cordelia – the woman of his dreams – his quest to win her heart is a marathon!
"In this book, Luke Gamble tells of the horror of the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak from a personal angle with the terrible consequences on the farmers he visits, challenging you to keep a dry eye. But not content with the challenges of everyday vet work, he embarks on an epic 152-mile run across the Sahara to raise money for his charity and win the heart of his wife Cordelia."
– BBC Countryfile Magazine 4 stars
"A gamut of emotions; laughter, serious weeping, but always enjoyable"
– Clarissa Dickson Wright
"Luke Gamble is a West Country treasure [...] like Dr Doolittle but real!"
– Martin Clunes
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Luke Gamble graduated from Bristol University in 1999 as a vet and then went on to Cambridge to specialise in large animal medicine and surgery. Although primarily based in his New Forest practice, Pilgrims, his extra curricular work with the Worldwide Veterinary Service charity (which he founded in 2003) takes him much further afield and was the subject of 2 TV series on Sky 1. He also runs an emergency service for animals in Dorset and a pet travel company. Luke is a black belt in karate, has run 152 miles across the Sahara to raise money for his charity (and to impress his wife) and in 2010 was awarded the JA Wight (James Herriot) Award by the British Small Animal Veterinary Association for outstanding contributions to the welfare of companion animals. Luke is married (to a vet) and lives in the New Forest with his two children, a ridgeback and a bossy rescue cat called Charlie.