I don’t often read autobiographies but when I heard that Noel Fitzpatrick AKA The Supervet had written one I knew that it was one that I was going to read.
I have watched Noel Fitzpatrick on television since his days on the BBC as The Bionic Vet. Of course, now he is better known as The Supervet, star of the Channel Four programme that has been shown on prime time tv for years.
From what I have seen about Noel, he really is someone very special, his dedication is clearly evident, as is his genuine love of animals, and the fact that he loves hugs.
I have often wondered about who he is, the man behind the vet. What drives him to work more hours in the day than is healthy? There has never been any mention of relationships or even friends outside the vet practice, but surely there must be some life outside of it? And why does he hug pretty much everyone that he meets?
Listening To The Animals answers all of those questions. Growing up on an Irish farm was clearly tough and taught Noel some valuable lessons about hard work, although I think that most people will agree that the hours that he puts in are not healthy. The bullying that he suffered was heartbreaking to read, how lonely and isolated he felt as a little boy with only a farm dog to talk to about his worries. I loved how he knew from so early on that he wanted to be a vet and my goodness I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard of anyone working harder than he did to reach his goal. Serious respect to the man, whatever you may think of him, he is someone that will not be beaten and if one way of reaching his goal doesn’t work then he will find another way. Some of his stories were hilarious and had me chuckling away as I read.
I enjoyed reading about some of his hobbies that he loved and learnt from, although all fell to the wayside as work took over his life. And we also heard about relationships, here he was very honest with us, I’m not sure that I really needed to know how old he was when he lost his virginity, but it was an interesting chapter.
I also had no idea what went into building his practice, both in sweat and tears, but also money and debt. I told someone that I had read the book and the only thing that they said was ‘He must be so rich.’ I may have thought the same, but now I know better. He is not in the job for the money, it really is all about the animals.
He talked a lot about his love of Kiera, a little dog that he shares with a vet nurse because he is aware that his lifestyle is not one that would be fair for a dog. The relationship between man and their dog is a complex one, one that I think is often dismissed by people who have never had a dog and even some who have, but what makes Noel such an amazing vet is that he totally understands this. In fact, I think that he has a better understanding of that love and connection and how important it is than most people. I have a dog and I’ve been lucky enough to have had two other dogs who sadly died from old age, all three were part of my family but I am sure that I could not articulate the depth of the feeling that I have or have had for my dogs as well as Noel has.
At the time of writing the book, it appeared that Noel was single, I’ve always had a bit of a ‘thing’ for him, so if you’re reading this Noel and fancy meeting up then do get in touch!
Thank you to Trapeze Books for a copy of Listening To The Animals: Becoming The Supervet by Noel Fitzpatrick. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.
THE NO.1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER.
A powerful, heart-warming and inspiring memoir from the UK’s most famous and beloved vet, Professor Noel Fitzpatrick – star of the Channel 4 series The Supervet.
Growing up on the family farm in Ballyfin, Ireland, Noel’s childhood was spent tending to the cattle and sheep, the hay and silage, the tractors and land, his beloved sheepdog Pirate providing solace from the bullies that plagued him at school. It was this bond with Pirate, and a fateful night spent desperately trying to save a newborn lamb, that inspired Noel to enter the world of veterinary science – and set him on the path to becoming The Supervet.
Now, in this long-awaited memoir, Noel recounts this often-surprising journey that sees him leaving behind a farm animal practice in rural Ireland to set up Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey, one of the most advanced small animal specialist centres in the world. We meet the animals that paved the way, from calving cows and corralling bullocks to talkative parrots and bionic cats and dogs.
Noel has listened to the many lessons that the animals in his care have taught him, and especially the times he has shared with his beloved Keira, the scruffy Border Terrier who has been by Noel’s side as he’s dealt with the unbelievable highs and crushing lows of his extraordinary career.
As heart-warming and life-affirming as the TV show with which he made his name, Listening to the Animals is a story of love, hope and compassion, and about rejoicing in the bond between humans and animals that makes us the very best we can be.
About The Author:
SPECIALIST SMALL ANIMAL ORTHOPAEDIC-NEURO SURGEON
In 2005 he opened Fitzpatrick Referrals, the UK’s pre-eminent and largest dedicated small animal orthopaedic and neuro-surgical facility in Surrey, employing over 250 veterinary professionals and comprising superlative surgical, diagnostic and rehabilitation facilities.
Noel is the clinical chair and chief surgeon at Fitzpatrick Referrals. He is particularly experienced in minimally invasive arthroscopic (keyhole) surgery, spinal disc disease, limb deformities, joint replacement, regenerative medicine and limb salvage for severe trauma or cancer. He is widely appreciated for his innovative solutions to complex problems, whilst promoting and ensuring efficacy and ethicacy at all times. He has developed more than 30 new techniques including several world-firsts.
In 2009 he became the first veterinary surgeon in the world to successfully apply a cutting edge amputation prosthesis (called a PerFiTS) to a cat called Oscar who had lost both front paws in an accident. In 2015 Noel and Oscar each received a Guinness World Record for the achievement.
Noel opened a second state-of-the-art hospital in Surrey dedicated to Oncology and Soft Tissue in 2015, redefining the standard of cancer treatment and care for companion animals.
A further centre is being developed at the Eashing referral practice called Fitzpatrick Institute for the Restoration of Skeletal Tissue (FIRST). The purpose of the new facility is to provide a range of validated evidence based options for the treatment of complex conditions of the neuromusculoskeletal system. This includes marrying new advances in biomaterials with the revolution of regenerative medicine.