In my mind there are two great authors of non-fiction about animals; on the serious side we have James Herriot, MCVS. It is no great leap to compare this book with Herriot's body of work. The author's father is a Herriot groupie, and much of the book involves Dr. Trout's efforts to free himself of the burden this casts on his professional life.
In the process of weaving this story around his family and the pets that moved through their lives, Trout brought another author to mind: a devout dog person who changed the way many of us look at our four-legged friends, James Thurber. When I read certain passages regarding a yellow Labrador puppy it was like reading "The Dog Who Bit People" Thurber's dogs: A collection of the master's dogs, written and drawn, real and imaginary, living and long ago (A Touchstone book)for the first time again. Trout, like Thurber, lets us see his dogs as DOGS, not furry children. They keep their identity and dignity, and are none the less for it.
And as for cats ...
Like Trout, I have had dogs all my life. Like the good Doctor, only one cat ever managed to make it through my canine defenses. She established herself in my life, and found her place with the two dogs in my house. She departed in the same way she arrived, on her own terms. There may be only one cat in this book, but there really is no need for another; the comparison would simply not be fair.
A good fast read that works on several levels - parents and kids and pets measured out over a space of time, growing together, touching one another's lives, and moving on - in short, life as we know it. Enjoy!