When you’re the only veterinarian in an area that’s 130 miles long and has a coast on either side, you never know what each new day might bring. A cow giving birth, a colicky horse, an aggressive lynx, caribou in need of pastures new, a polar bear in a bingo hall, a six-hundred-pound boar who won’t like what you’ve been asked to do to him… The only constants for Andrew Peacock are his faithful dog and his passion for his work.
When Andrew Peacock made the move from Ontario to Newfoundland, he thought he was kicking off his career as a newly qualified veterinarian with a brief adventure in a novel location. Turns out he was wrong about the duration —he is still in Newfoundland three decades later. But it has certainly been an adventure. A whole series of adventures.
In his immense new practice – half the Avalon Peninsula - Andrew was the only vet for miles around, visiting patients (and their owners) on farms, in homes and zoos, and in the wild.
A day’s work could include anything from performing a Caesarian section on a cow in a blizzard, to pursuing a moose on the loose, to freeing a humpback whale from a trap designed for cod. And, on the human side, anything from trying to impress a surprisingly large audience of farmers with your first boar castration, to taking care of the distressed owners of a stricken cat, to discouraging farm hands from helping themselves to hypodermic needles.
All this against the background of a domestic scene in which Andrew's wife Ingrid--also freshly qualified, as a “human doctor”--shares the adventure of making a new life, fitting in to a well-established community, and in due course of starting a family.
Andrew Peacock is a born vet, devoted to the care of animals, and in constant wonder as an observer of their lives. Luckily for the rest of us, he is a born storyteller, too. Creatures of the Rock is a funny, thrilling, unflinching but ultimately heartwarming collection of tales about the connections between people and animals, and people with each other.
Andrew Peacock was born in Toronto and grew up in Kapuskasing in northern Ontario. After graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph he moved to Carbonear, Newfoundland, where he practiced farm animal and pet medicine for twenty-seven years. He and his wife Ingrid now live in Freshwater, just outside of Carbonear.
Winner of the Newfoundland and Labrador Non-Fiction Book Award
Shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour
“[H]is stories show the dark side of life as well as the charmingly light. . . . Readers will also enjoy the author's self-deprecating humour and fondness for colourful detail in stories that illuminate his deep regard and warmth for the people and places—and animals—of his adopted province.”
“Peacock uses humour, real-life drama to share rural Newfoundland with the world.”
—The Southern Gazette (Newfoundland)
“Throughout the book, Peacock’s keen ear for dialogue draws readers in and makes the stories come alive. . . . Peacock’s wry humour contributes greatly to his storytelling. Peacock’s memoir is an ode to his adopted province and the creatures he serves in his practice. Creatures of the Rock provides readers with the opportunity to learn something new and be entertained at the same time.”
—Winnipeg Free Press
“Since 1970, when Alf Wight, under the pen name James Herriot, began his enormously successful All Creatures Great and Small series, based on his veterinary adventures in Yorkshire, others have tried to emulate his folksy, self-deprecating style. Peacock succeeds. His humorous anecdotes flow with an effortlessness that marks a true storyteller. . . . Downright hilarious.”
"Creatures of the Rock is a truly great read about an astounding life-long adventure. Funny, heartfelt and so insightful I think I have a good shot at birthing a cow if called upon in an emergency.”
“This is a book for anyone who has ever loved an animal. These are astonishing stories, told with self-deprecating humour and deep affection for Newfoundland’s creatures, great and small. Andrew Peacock inspires us to be curious and renews our sense of wonder. A marvel of a book.”
–Jessica Grant, author of Come, Thou Tortoise.