Monday, July 22, 2019

Book Review: 'Lions and Tigers and Hamsters: What Animals Large and Small Taught Me About Life, Love, and Humanity' by Mark Goldstein

Lions and Tigers and Hamsters by Mark Goldstein
‘A life of love and great adventure, one lived for the human-animal bond’

Author Mark Goldstein earned his bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University and has made a significant impact in the welfare of animals through his advocacy and his guidance at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, the Boston Zoos, the Los Angeles Zoo, and the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA. His innovative work has been responsible for animal care, especially in his guidance in establishing the San Diego Campus for Animal Care. 

The tone of this superb book is set by the author in his Introduction: ‘For over forty years, I have been known as “Dr. Mark.” The title of doctor was never an ego thing or something I ever expected to be called; it simply came with my veterinary training. But over the years, I embraced the moniker because it represented who I was and what I card deeply about. From the time I was a little boy, even before I had my first dog, animals fascinated me. From my teens onward, I always sought out jobs where I could learn about all creatures, domestic and wild. Throughout college, I would spend much of my spare time pursuing creative opportunities that provided insight into caring for animals. I would even tag along with my veterinarian who would let me, learning s much as possible about the art of medicine to help keep animals healthy and relieve their suffering and pain. I just loved animals and the people who valued them…’ These words introduce a man of compassion, warmth, and caring – a man whose stories will be cherished and enjoyed.

Mark’s stories are named after the animal main characters – a typical bow from the author to the importance of each animal he shares. The experiences range from a Lion Country Safari starring Donia the elephant, to personal encounters with thoroughbred horses, a ‘white’ rhinoceros, a sojourn to practice in Israel, and dozens of other animal friends as he relates in story format the sacred bond with animals that he elects to share with the reader, hoping that that degree of care and concern and love will be contagious! 

Frequent simple snapshots of animals pepper the stories, a friendly addition that succeeds in fostering credibility and remembrance. Mark inserts medical material in the manner of questions – Why are antibiotics often ineffective against bacterial infections? What drives the cost of veterinary care? Why do we have Zoological Parks and Aquariums? Should homeless people have pets? In these challenging times, what is the future of animal welfare? – moments for philosophy and insight that inform as well as entertain. Toward the end of the book another aspect of the author is most touching – the love, and loss, of a special dog Ren. Encounters of the best kind flow from the pages of this splendid book, and the Doctor is completely IN! Highly recommended.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

Order it on Amazon today.
Two kings. Two princes. One queen. The true story of five aristocrats separated by time, culture, and circumstance -- all of them bound to the United States by accidents of history and left to hope for a tomorrow better than today. Prepare for a vision of the American Dream as few others have ever seen it.