The Rhino and the Rat: Further Memoirs of a Vet is Mike Hardwich’s second memoir of his exciting real-life adventures as a country vet. His first book, The Lion and the Lamb: Memoirs of a Vet was well received, with one reviewer noting: “In places it is laugh-out-loud funny, and in others incredibly sad – just quite wonderful”.
The Rhino and the Rat is the continuation of Hardwich’s story and promises to offer even more insight into the colourful life of a country vet.
Tracey McDonald Publishers has shared an extract on their website:
THE GRIM PLIGHT OF RHINO IN SOUTH AFRICA
On a game farm in the lush Zululand bush the welcome coolness of evening, together with the gradual fall in temperature, was something that was much appreciated after a day of stifling heat.
A rising full moon silhouetted the thorn trees in silvery light and the water in the nearby dam shimmered. The scratch post and the rhino midden were clearly visible. The area had been a hive of activity throughout the day, and had included a multitude of dungbeetles around the midden busily rolling the dung balls in which their larvae would develop. Now, as darkness descended, it was quiet and still. All that came from the well-trodden patch of barren earth was the strong smell of digested sweet grasses, the distinctive odour that emanates from the droppings of most herbivores.
Following on from the success of his first book, The Lion and the Lamb – Memoirs of a Vet, this second collection of stories, The Rhino and the Rat – Further Memoirs of a Vet, from Mike Hardwich is every bit as captivating as the first.
As a country vet whose territory covers the rich valleys and farmland of KwaZulu-Natal, his clients range from cattle farmers to owners of domestic pets, from game ranchers to circuses. The demands on a vet are constant and often arrive at very inconvenient times. Called upon day and night, Mike brings to each case his skills, ingenuity and years of experience, and although he never loses sight of his aim of preserving and improving the lives of the animals he is called upon to treat, sometimes he is sorely challenged by their owners.
Whether he is describing the difficult birth of a two-headed calf, discovering sheep scab on the Isle of Man, caring for Dorothy the elephant in her declining years, or helping Reggie the rat’s grieving owner accept his impending demise, Mike’s compassion and pragmatic humour never seem to flag.
These enjoyable tales of the trials, tribulations and triumphs of a veterinarian who always sleeps with one ear cocked, will leave you wanting more.
About the author
Mike Hardwich is a dedicated vet who has worked with wild and domestic animals for over thirty-nine 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 forty-two 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.