The Buzz about The Gift of Pets:
Stories Only a Vet Could Tell

“Tender tales of animal care from a veteran veterinarian. There is a special bond between a pet and its owners, which Coston (Ask the Animals: A Vet's Eye View of Pets and the People They Love, 2009) gracefully brings to light in his second memoir about his Virginia practice. "The core of a veterinary hospital," he writes, is the "emotional and compassionate intertwining of hearts and hands, of science and souls, of lighthearted laughter and wrenching sadness." The author's concern toward the sick animals under his care and his empathy for the owners merge with humor as he recalls his daily routines. Independent, eccentric, fun-loving, serious—all words that aptly describe owners and animals alike as Coston diagnoses and treats a myriad of maladies in the dogs, cats and birds that come to him for help. Vivid descriptions place readers in the operating room as Coston treats cancerous tumors, removes partly digested tennis balls, coins and rocks from intestinal tracts, or puts a seriously ill animal to sleep. Woven throughout these stories of animal care are the author's reflections on his relationships with his staff. There's Rachel, "an unassuming, quiet woman…one of those people you think you know well but whose waters run deep and unseen, with surprising twists and eddies,” and Lisa, a young woman who, through diligence and hard work, moved from kennel assistant to veterinarian technician, only to have her personal story end in tragedy.  Benevolent, instructive stories of the bonds between animals and humans.”  (Kirkus Reviews)

“Coston follows up 2009’s Ask the Animals with an engaging second memoir of his Virginia veterinary practice aimed directly at the hearts and minds of pet owners and animal lovers. Unlike the first volume, the book only occasionally touches on Coston’s home life, instead concentrating on portraits of his various clients and their pets, alternating between detailed accounts of the medical issues involved and reflections on the emotional bond between people and animals. To balance the poignancy of owners confronting their pets’ serious, sometimes untreatable illnesses and injuries, Coston humorously depicts unusual pets, like the dog that, according to his owner, prefers eating rocks to gnawing toys out of machismo, and eccentric owners, such as the bullmastiff owner who invents his own language and medical terminology. He also describes the awkward start of his medical career and introduces us to clinic staff members like his practical joke–prone receptionist, Rachel, and veterinary technician, Lisa. Lisa’s sad but inspirational story provides the otherwise episodic book with its strongest throughline.” (Publisher’s Weekly)

            “The Gift of Pets shines a bright light on Dr. Coston’s love for animals and our profession. He’s a terrific storyteller too. I’m a fan of books written by veterinarians, and this is one of the best – honest, accurate and thoroughly enjoyable.” (Dr. Robert Sharp, Author of No Dogs in Heaven and Country Living magazine contributing editor and columnist)

            I’m very pleased to announce that The Gift of Pets has been included on the Los Angeles Times summer reading list for 2012 which came out on June 3, 2012! You can find the listing by clicking on this link (,0,7303587.htmlstory).


Dr. Coston was the featured author on the DogRead group ( DogRead is an online book club dedicated to books about dogs.  Dr. Coston was featured during the weeks of August 15 to 31, 2012.

Read excerpts from The Gift of Pets


The book can be found at, all major book stores and independent book stores. 

Click here to purchase a signed copy of The Gift of Pets: Stories Only a Vet Could Tell