Unlikely Companions: The Adventures of an Exotic Animal Doctor (or, What Friends Feathered, Furred, and Scaled Have Taught Me About Life and Love)

by Laurie Hess, DVM with Samantha Rose


I am one of the lucky people in this world who have the pleasure of sharing my life, both professional and personal, with veterinarians. Unlikely Companions allows the rest of the world a small glimpse into the hectic, passionate, and sometime crazy life that I enjoy so much.


Now, I must make a few disclosures. First, Dr. Hess is a friend of mine, and someone I admire greatly. Second, I was provided an electronic copy of Unlikely Companions by Dr. Hess’ publisher for the purpose of this review; I have since bought a copy for my wife (who is a veterinarian). I disclose all of this, because I don’t want anyone to misunderstand my bias in this review. The life of Dr. Hess and her family is very similar to that of me and my family. We share many of the same struggles and triumphs. While some may feel this makes my review overly positive, I believe that, if anything, it makes it all that much more sincere.

Unlikely Companions gives the reader an honest and open look into the life of a veterinarian. During this one week trip into her life Dr. Hess’ exposes the reader to all the daily ebbs and flows of a busy veterinary practice. Hopefully not all of Dr. Hess’ weeks are as exciting and action packed as this one, but the week the reader is treated to is a wonderful, thought provoking journey. We get to know her staff, her family, her neighbors and the wonderful exotics with which she works (both patients and clients). More importantly, we get to understand the passions that drive Dr. Hess; as a veterinarian, a wife and a mother. Along the way you laugh, and cry, and want, oh so much, to be able to help solve the problems Dr. Hess shares.

And while this glimpse into the life Dr. Hess leads would be enough to recommend reading, Unlike Companions goes further. It gives the reader an frank look into the struggles that professionals, men and women, face every day in trying to balance their personal and professional lives. Dr. Hess doesn’t shy away from her worries and concerns. She freely opens her life up to the reader; mistakes, failures, frustrations, successes, all are there for the reader to see and share. In sharing this part of herself with the reader, Dr. Hess takes a fun, lively, adventure and turns it into journey so much deeper, more engaging, valuable and heartwarming.

Whether you are a member of the veterinary community, someone (like me) who is connected to this community, or just someone interested in exotic animals or veterinary medicine, Unlikely Companions has much to offer. Give yourself a gift, take the time to take this journey with Dr. Hess. I guarantee you will be thankful you did.