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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Cute Poodles, Sweet Old Ladies, and Hugs is a memoir written by Dr. P.J. Miller. Miller was a New York City kid who had always wanted to be a veterinarian. Unlike many of his peers, he was unfazed by the horror stories of how impossible it was to get into a vet school. He attended the University of Florida in Gainesville and almost instantly fell foul of the dreaded weed-out courses designed to whittle down the hopeful masses of pre-med and pre-vet students. Calculus 101 was repeated twice before he finally, with the help of his roommate, a math whiz, got a passing grade. Most would have thrown in the towel by that point, but his father, of all people, had heard of the Atlantic Bridge Program, which assisted students in applying to vet schools in the British Isles. Through this program, Miller was accepted into, and attended, the Royal School of Veterinary Medicine in Edinburgh. Vet school was just the beginning of his education, however; his patients and their human companions would be taking care of the rest.
Dr. P.J. Miller’s memoir, Cute Poodles, Sweet Old Ladies, and Hugs is an engaging and often humorous look at the life of a veterinarian. While his stories about his animal clients and their often difficult human companions are marvelous indeed, I particularly enjoyed reading about his success in overcoming the academic challenges facing anyone who’s ever dreamed of becoming an animal doctor. It has always seemed a shame to me that so many potentially caring and empathetic aspirants should be turned away on the basis of a “weed-out” class grade, especially when it’s one of those giant lecture classes whose professors often know few, if any, of their hundred plus students. I loved reading about his university experiences as a New Yorker, first in Gainesville, and then in Edinburgh. This memoir will be of particular interest for young people considering veterinary medicine as a career as it shows both the educational challenges to be faced as well as what to expect after vet school is over. Cute Poodles, Sweet Old Ladies, and Hugs is most highly recommended.