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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.


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