Kylie’s Ark eBook


This Kirkus’ Best Indie Book of the Year Selection is “an affecting portrayal of the making of a veterinarian and the day-to-day challenges she faces.”

The novel Kylie’s Ark 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-doubts when the decisions are hers alone?

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Kylie has taken an oath to help animals, but no one told her how hard it would be not to dwell on the mistakes — the medicines she might have prescribed, the lives she could have saved.

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. In Kylie’s Ark, readers discover the successes that make the practice of veterinary medicine a joy, and sometimes a heartbreak.

6 reviews for Kylie’s Ark eBook

  1. Sara J. Henry, author of LEARNING TO SWIM and A COLD AND LONELY PLACE (verified owner)

    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.

  2. Phyllis Gobbell, author of A SEASON OF DARKNESS and PURSUIT IN PROVENCE (verified owner)

    Rita Welty Bourke weaves an intricate web of stories that showcase her marvelous talents as a writer. Her sensitive, insightful portrayal of animals in the wild and in domestic settings is one of the great joys in store for the reader. 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 and the forces that shape the world she has chosen for her profession.

  3. Jennifer Saunders, DVM, Willamette Valley Equine Veterinary Services, Portland, Oregon (verified owner)

    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. The book highlights the compassion and humor that are required when one dedicates one’s life to reducing the suffering of animals. Kylie’s Ark is a treasure.

  4. M. M. Buckner, author of THE GRAVITY PILOT and WATERMIND (verified owner)

    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.

  5. Gayle Powers (verified owner)

    Kylie’s story of becoming a veterinarian is told in a series of 7 vignettes. The reader meets her at different times in the process of deciding, becoming, and being a veterinarian. She is a strong headed young women struggling with difficult choices. What guides you when your patient can’t speak, his life is on the line, and someone else, not you, will make the decision of life or death? Kylie’s Ark is a unique look into a competitive and much sought after career. The career of a vet has often been romanticized in literature, but not here. Ms Bourke’s treatment is clear-eyed, nuanced and complicated.

    She shows you Texas Prisons farms where students practice and work with animals and inmates. Then there are the fancy equine stables with the pressure of treating high priced animals, not to mention academia, research and infighting. This book gave me the closest possible look into a profession most of us only see in brief glimpses. If you love animals, strong women characters and seeing a 21st century perspective of veterinary medicine this is a book you will enjoy.

  6. Corabel Shofner, Author of THE BRAVE AND WISE RUBY CLYDE (verified owner)

    If you like the story of Temple Grandin, Kylie’s Ark is the book for you.

    This deeply moving collection of stories shows Kylie Wheeler’s journey through vet school and life as a veterinarian. We face the obstacles in her path and feel her passion for animals. This book is a must for anyone who is a vet, is going to vet school, and all of us who just plain loves animals.

    Even more, this book stands alone as literature, outside of the veterinarian niche. Kylie’s world is alive. The human animals (selfish and heroic) are as vivid as the wild, agricultural and domestic animals who populate the stories. The situations are diverse and filled with gritty conflict.

    We see Kylie in the park service protecting beach plovers, (where she struggles with unruly fishermen); spending a winter isolated in the Bitterroot Mountains (where she survives the elements and meets her future husband); navigating inflated egos and turf fights in an Equine Hospital (where she witnesses reckless ‘old timers’ who seem to endanger the animals); working in a prison (where she breaks a vial exposing herself to live brucellosis vaccine); frustrated by the disconnect in Amish country (where the owner refuses any paliative care for a suffering animal); missing connections and turbulent flights searching for the right job, and finally establishing her practice in the clinic with Gwynne, her priceless assistant.

    As a professional Kylie shares the common procedures, calamities, and rare diseases she faces. The owners, ranging from careless to deeply committed, present a special set of problems. The mistakes she has made haunt her as do the heartbreaking decisions involving unaffordable costs, research and euthanasia.

    Kylie must find a balance between caring and letting go, which is not easy for someone as passionate about her calling, someone who deeply believes that what she does matters. But Dr. Kylie Wheeler does mature and adjust without losing her ideals. By the final story she is stronger than ever. “What occurs to me is that if I ever stop hurting, if I ever get to the point where it’s just a job, if I begin to think the lives of these creatures are worthless, their pain of no consequence, I’ll give it up. I won’t be a vet anymore. I’ll look for some other line of work.”

    I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review of this book.

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