I Married A Veterinarian and Look What Happened

Today, to celebrate the Bywater Exclusive ebook release of Spindrift, I want to tell you story about how my wife’s career ended up turning into a book series.

“Wouldn’t it be funny if I wrote a series called ‘Magical Creatures and How to Treat Them’,” I said to my wife, who was busy finishing up the day’s paperwork–which documented how she treated the very real creatures that came into the veterinary hospital.

“Pocket dragons would be brachycephalic,” she said without looking up.

Which was how the Seal Cove series began. I had this idea for a story about veterinarians living in a world with mythical creatures who would need care from time to time. Ill-tempered pocket dragons. Centaurs with digestive issues. Hell hounds with ear infections. Then, as I began writing, I realized something: I didn’t need magic in this world, because the veterinarians I know create magic each time they save a life. So, I started a new word document (don’t worry, pocket dragon fans–the other file still exists and may one day become something). That word doc became Spindrift.

Pocket dragon reading The Hobbit

I’m married to a veterinarian. This was not a calculated choice, despite the fact that my mother told me that I really should consider marrying a vet in order to sustain my animal habit. She primed the pump, so to speak, by reading me James Herriot books, which for the uninitiated, are about an English veterinarian and his adventures doctoring around the English countryside, and by letting me bring a variety of creatures into our home. Injured birds. Baby rabbits. Snakes. Later, chickens, goats, turkeys, sheep, horses, rats, dogs, cats and even a wild human or two joined the menagerie. (My parents are very patient, tolerant people)

My wife wasn’t a vet yet when I met her. I accompanied her to vet school, helped quiz her on anatomy, critiqued her suturing, baked stress treats, feigned excitement about formaldehyde soaked cadavers, and did my best to support her through the grueling four years of her veterinary medicine degree. When I say grueling, I mean grueling. I watched her and her fellow vet students give everything they had to their studies. Helpless, I waited with them for exam results, listened to them talk about the relationships that didn’t make it through those years of sacrifice, and worried about the emotional and physical toll the student loan debt and stress put on them.

Wife playing with dog

They’re all doctors now, and still working their asses off. They save lives, despite the odds, despite the hours and the pay (the income to student loan ratio for veterinarians vs human doctors should be enough to refute any accusation, which vets hear every day, that they are in it for the money instead of a love of animals) and the emotional stress of the job. They love what they do. They love the animals they work with. They are freaking heroes and I am so proud of them.

This is all to say that Spindrift is about real people. Not any real people in specific–that’s against the rules of fiction–but about the choices and difficulties that face real veterinarians, as well as the rewards and the joy. You do good work. Keep it up. 

It is also about real animals and how they enrich our lives, so I thought I would share with you some pictures of the animals that have shaped my life.

The best thing about being married to a veterinarian, besides the comfort of knowing my animals are in the best possible hands, is the stories. I never know what I’m going to hear when my wife walks in the house at the end of the day. Animals–and the people who love them–are hilarious, quirky, and sometimes terrifying. They eat the strangest things. Their owners worry about the absurd as well as the real. And I get to take those stories, alter them, and put them into books for you.

I hope you enjoy Spindrift.

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