Oct 18, 2012

by English Muse

In fourth grade, I was in love with animals.  My family had a darling but incomparably lazy cocker spaniel at home.  My parents had let me take a few riding lessons and attend a horse camp when we’d moved to Kentucky the year before.  I wanted, rather badly, to spend every day with animals.  Unfortunately, I’m allergic to many of them.

So I read books about animals–mostly horses and dogs, in retrospect.  When I had read my way through most of the fourth and fifth grade selection in the school library, my mom suggested that I read James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small.  I loved it.  Herriot’s tales of the many four-legged creatures–and their caretakers–he cared for in the English countryside made me fall that much more in love with my dear little dog.  All Creatures Great and Small was a library book, and I don’t have my own copy, but I do still page through this smaller collection of dog stories on occasion.

I’m writing today with a puppy on my lap.  Since he arrived in our home seven days ago, this little guy has made me laugh and cry in equal measure.  He’s stressed me out and warmed my heart, sometimes in the span of a few minutes.  I wish I knew where my copy of Dog Stories has disappeared to.  The delights, frustrations, and sorrows of having a pet sound like just the reading I’d enjoy right now.

Have you ever read any of James Herriot’s stories?  Do you have any favorite animal stories?


Until next Thursday,


(Unwritten, Untitled)


[image of James Herriot by Fay Godwin via the National Portrait Gallery]



This entry was posted on Thursday, October 18th, 2012 at 8:11 am. It is filed under Decor. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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5 Responses to “All Creatures Great and Small”

  1. NancyO. says:

    Love the Herriot stories, and have watched the series and read and re-read the books. My next trip to England will include a visit to Herriot country. BTW I live in Kentucky and grew up on a small farm.

  2. leanne says:

    I began reading his writing and absolutely fell in love with his stories and enjoyed every word, but I lost the book, it had all his stories in it, and have yet to get a new version. I was so happy when I saw this post too! I have always been drawn to animals and the natural world! I know now thats what I should go to school for 🙂

  3. Yes! We’ve been listening to the audiobooks over and over again. And watching the series. They’re good, but I like the books better. The first one “All Creatures” is my favorite. My brother had never read them, so everything was new to him, and we’ve listened while working at our computers.

  4. I love James Herriot! I first read his books when I was young and I decided I was going to be a vet/author just like him. As an adult I’ve loved re-reading his books. They’re like comfort food for me. I love your pup too!

  5. Susannah says:

    I love Herriott’s books! I read the same one when I was in grade school and fell in love. I loved it so much there were several years I aspired to be a countryside vet just like him.

    I’ll have to track down those books again.

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