Don’t let the cover fool you — this is about more than just dogs.

The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs by Nick Trout is a feel-good, charming story about a veterinarian (veterinary pathologist, to be precise — the type that sees only dead animals) who is forced to take over his father’s small town practice (and deal with living creatures) when his father dies. This book is less about rescuing animals and more about rescuing one’s self from the shackles of childhood anger.

But don’t get me wrong — there are animals rescued. Very heart-warming rescue encounters, in fact. Dr. Mills, while waiting to sell his father’s practice and leave his home town as soon as possible, finds himself overwhelmed by challenging “patients.” The book overflows with intriguing characters. And their high-needs pets, leashed to owners that may or may not pay their bills, keep coming. Cyrus Mills, the overly-analytical, unmotivated newbie doc has no choice but to take action.

Dogged by a suspended license, and intent on getting the heck out of dodge, Dr. Mills soon warms to the charms of this quaint Vermont town. His rarely-present mentor, an aging vet who ran the practice with his father, refuses to be swayed by this new vet’s protestations. And he eventually becomes the catalyst for a come-to-Jesus moment Cyrus Mills stumbles onto at his mother’s grave.

This book has all the feels: stress-inducing suspense from Chapter One; a love connection fraught with tension; a rescued dog that charms even a grouchy dead-animal vet; hilarious encounters with spicy pet owners; and an unexpected tearful scene or two that both breaks and warms the heart. You may find yourself looking at your own father-child relations through a different microscopic lens.

I expected a cute story about rescue animals. But this book is so much more. Here are my criteria for best-of-the-month book reviews: 1) Cheerful cover; 2) Intriguing blurb; 3) Captivating first sentence, paragraph, page…; 4) Uplifting message; and 5) Bonus if I learn something. The Patron Saint of Lost Dogs has it all! (You’ll feel like you’ve been through Vet School yourself, it’s so specific about the how-to’s.)

Five enthusiastic paws up for this delightful read. Why are you still here? Go buy it now!

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