| Bookmark and Share

Phone-in: Veterinarian Helen Douglas - Stories about significant animals in our lives

It's Complicated : The relationships we develop with animals can become as nuanced as any human entanglement, with one overwhelming difference : we can decide the fate of the animals in our care. Their habits become part of our routines, and their quirks & behaviour fuel the humourous narrative we share with neighbours and friends.

Throughout human history, animals have been our hunters and labourers. They feed us, they can be our saviours when we get lost and soothing companions.

Sometimes the connection with our pets can be so powerful we'll spend almost any amount of money on expensive foods or high-risk medical procedures to try to keep them alive. And we grieve when they die.
There's a darker side to the relationship, of course - from neglect or abuse of defenceless animals, to using them for profit and gimmicry (like the recent promotional stunt in which a donkey was strapped into a harness and forced to parasail over a Russian beach).
Dr. Helen Douglas has witnessed most aspects of our complicated relationship with animals through a 30-year veterinary career that had its beginnings here in the Maritimes. From treating injured deer to vaccinating feral cats in bags, from calving in manure-filled barns on a frigid winter night to treating spoiled family pets, there isn't much she hasn't experienced.
Dr Douglas has gathered her experiences as a country vet in a book call William's Gift: One Veterinarian's Journey. It combines accounts of learning on the job - by caring for animals both great and small - with an exploration of the emotional connection between humans and the animals with whom we share our lives.

She shared her stories and we heard about animals that loom large in your life


Click to download podcast