Book review: ‘Patron Saint of Lost Dogs’ by Nick Trout

Dr. Cyrus Mills, a veterinary pathologist, has an agenda: Sell his father’s failing veterinary practice and at least get enough for it to pay all his father’s bills. Easier said than done.

Mills has to return to his small rural hometown, Eden Falls, Vermont. He had left fifteen years before when his father decreed he be sent to a boarding school in South Carolina for his freshman year of high school. Mills had not been back to his hometown since. Not even for his beloved mother’s funeral — his father didn’t tell him she had died until after she was buried. So he had not felt the need to attend his father’s funeral either. Cyrus had felt the need to change his last name from Cobb to Mills, his mother’s maiden name.

Everybody in town loved Dr. Bobby Cobb, Cyrus’s father. He was the kindest veterinarian; he treated their pets better than most doctors treated people. He always was available day or night, to help with any crisis. He gave out free animal food to clients who struggled with affording it. And he extended credit in lieu of payments. Now the practice was deep in debt with antiquated equipment and hardly any supplies. The bills were very high and funds were very low. Those people had no clue how Dr. Cobb had neglected his wife and son while taking care of business. He was a terrible husband and father.

Mill’s, as a pathologist, dealt with dead animals rather than live ones with pet parents. He was not prepared to pick up this business his father left him. His very first patient was an older golden retriever, named Frieda Fuzzypaws, which was to be euthanized because she “had accidents” on the kitchen floor. And then in came the black Labrador that ate underwear, followed by a Persian cat that knew her “mother’s” lover was a gold digger.

To complicate matters further, Cyrus meets a pretty waitress that brings out feelings he had never experienced before. And there was a creditor threatening foreclosure by the end of the week. Cyrus soon realizes this homecoming is much more complex than he ever dreamed.

I loved this book. As a pet owner I could relate to many of the pet parents’ concerns. I too want a vet that is compassionate with my pet. I want one that really cares about animals. But I also understand how a son can become disillusioned with a father he could not understand. With the help of these unique small town personalities, Dr. Mills finds forgiveness and a new beginning. It again verifies how animals wiggle their way into our hearts and make us become better human beings.

This book review was submitted by Anne Finck, of Elimsport. To submit a book review to the Sun-Gazette, send information to life@sungazette.com. Please include your first and last name, town of residence, the name and author of the book, a brief synopsis of the book and what you thought of it. Book reviews must be between 350-550 words. Not all book reviews will be published.

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