• A horse scheduled to be euthanized is given a respite. An illiterate man learns to read so he can better care for his puppy. A neurologically-impaired kitten might provide a key to understanding storage diseases in humans. These are some of the successes that make the practice of veterinary medicine a joy, and sometimes a heartbreak.

    For Kylie Wheeler, they are why she’s chosen a career in veterinary medicine, and why she struggles every day of her professional life.

    The stories follow a young woman from her job as a Park Ranger on a New Jersey barrier island, to a position as a research assistant in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains, to Texas A&M

    Veterinary School, to an externship at a Kentucky equine hospital, to a rotation in a Texas women’s prison, to job interviews in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

    In the world of veterinary medicine, personalities clash, research is hindered by politics, egos spin out of control. Kylie Wheeler

    experiences firsthand the cruelty to which animals are subjected. In her professional life there are unexpected successes and heartbreaking failures. But always it’s the animals, the horses, cattle, dogs and cats, that have a hold on her heart.
    * * *

Kylie’s Ark Paperback & eBook Now Available!

Kylie’s Ark: The Making of a Veterinarian offers a profound examination of the heart and soul of a young veterinarian. If you love animals, you’ll be deeply moved by this collection.

The author, Rita Welty Bourke, takes us inside the life of a young veterinarian, from intern to licensed vet. Kylie encounters big egos, small budgets, grand intentions, and hollow triumphs. Does she have what it takes to survive a lonely internship in rugged Montana, grueling hours at a prestigious equine hospital in Kentucky, and worse, her own self-doubt when the decisions are hers alone?


About the Author

Rita Welty Bourke

Rita Welty Bourke has published over forty works of fiction and non-fiction in literary magazines including The North American Review, Cimarron Review, Louisiana Literature, Shenandoah, Witness, and the Black Warrior Review. One of her stories, Gunnison Beach, has been included in an anthology entitled “Naked” compiled by Susan Zakin. Five have been nominated for Pushcart prizes. Read more »


Praise for Kylie’s Ark

Jennifer Saunders, DVM

For those who have ever pondered the life of a veterinary student or a young veterinary professional, Kylie’s Ark is the read for you. It is a heartwarming and raw look at the trials and tribulations one experiences in vet school and in the professional world of veterinary medicine.

This is a gritty and heart-rending story of a young woman’s struggle to become a veterinarian. She faces challenges that test her spirit, but she never loses sight of her goal: to fight for animals, to care for those in need, and to affirm their value.

Phyllis Gobbell

Rita Welty Bourke weaves an intricate web of stories that showcase her marvelous talents as a writer. Rich and lyrical in their delivery, the stories in Kylie’s Ark are a powerful, profound examination of the heart and soul of a young veterinarian.

Every animal lover will be deeply moved by this collection, as I have been. Ms. Bourke has a way of crystallizing the joy and heartbreak inherent in our relationships with people and with animals. Her characters, of all species, are vivid and believable. I congratulate her on this achievement.


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