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Quick Overview

The third book in Mike Hardwich’s Memoirs of a Vet trilogy.

“So far it had been a blissfully peaceful weekend. A restful break such as this is what every vet dreams of. The standby vehicle had remained stationary and the telephone had been silent. The veterinary hospital was empty even though the days of the last week had been very busy. Actually, it seemed too good to be true. As it happened, it was.”

It takes a lot to unsettle a vet who has been in practice for a career spanning a good few decades, but when Mike Hardwich learnt that the wattled crane from the Hlatikulu sanctuary with the badly broken wing needing his urgent attention was also the only breeding male in captivity in South Africa, and one of a highly endangered species, he knew he could not afford to make any mistakes. This and all the other stories in this the third book in his memoirs trilogy, following on from the bestselling The Lion and the Lamb and The Rhino and the Rat, makes riveting and unforgettable reading.

With his infectious mix of humour and humility, and drawing on a broad range of experiences, Mike recounts his endearing tales of treating creatures wild, wonderful and sometimes downright weird, including an encounter with an untrustworthy zebra, a llama in the Midlands who contemptuously spat in his face, and domestic pets whose owners probably needed more treatment than they did. We get to know Mike’s own story along the way, as the boy who carried baby chicks in his school blazer pocket and who never got to ride his first horse, to his grandmother’s talkative parrot who could command a span of oxen, and to the next generation of animal carers in his daughter Dale, whose patience and gentle skills reap multiple rewards for all.


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Mike Hardwich is a dedicated vet who has worked with wild and domestic animals for over thirty-five years. He assists whenever the need arises and has an extraordinary rapport with all living things.

This is perhaps best summed up by the late Sam Ngwena, who spent forty years in all working for various vets as an assistant and the last six of his life working with Mike:

“Mike is a white African who understands animals like no other. His spirit calms them; he knows no fear and never panics. He makes our really difficult work seem easy. We seldom have to restrain an animal patient; there is a calming spirit in our practice because of him.”

Mike has been married to Judy for more than forty years and they have three married daughters and seven grandchildren. Their family home is on a farm in the beautiful Tala Valley of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

ISBN: 978-0-620-60213-6
Format: B Format Paperback
Size: 198mm h x 130mm w
Page Extent: 254 pages