Unlikely Companions: The Adventures of an Exotic Animal Doctor (Or, What Friends Feathered, Furred and Scaled Have Taught Me About Life and Love)

with Samantha Rose. Da Capo: Perseus. Nov. 2016. 256p. photos. ISBN 9780738219578. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780738219585. PETS
Exotic animal veterinarian Hess, with collaborator Rose (The Suja Juice Solution), introduces readers to the world of treating parrots, reptiles, chinchillas, pot-belled pigs, ferrets, and the main focus of this work, sugar gliders, a marsupial currently popular owing to its small size and unusual appearance. Several sugar gliders arrive at her clinic in ill health and near death. Readers follow a harrowing week as Hess races against the clock to unravel their mystery ailment. Stories of unfamiliar and even unknown pets to most of us, along with descriptions of their owners, are sweet and often humorous. Although it may be important to the author, her guilty recollections of late nights with animal patients while her family waited detract from the narrative. Overall, this would have been a more effective work if the author had written solely about her selfless treatment of these intriguing animals and omitted the personal scenarios.
VERDICT Although this is a heartfelt memoir on the power and depth of human-animal bonds, it is recommended primarily for larger pet collections.
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